Featuring an entirely new worldspace, main quest, voice acting, and more. Think of it as one of the possibilities for The Couriers multiple choice past.
Its 2260, and Vault 18 is an okay place to live. Tucked away in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, its secrets have been protected by solid rock walls and the tireless efforts of the legendary Wasteland Scouts. Coach Bragg drills his Vault Ball team with military efficiency, believing that discipline and character will help bring order back to the war-shattered world. Dr. Rossman might be a little strange, but his hearts in the right place. After all, you dont get to be a Wasteland Scout without a good head on your shoulders.
The Hydroponics Lab provides plenty of cloned food, and the security system keeps any unwanted individuals out. The main struggle that Vault society faces is one of manpower.
That is where you, the Star Player, come in. Orphan. Loner. Mutant. And now, youre thrust headlong into the war outside. Whether you like it or not.
After the events of the big Vault Ball game, and being eased into the adventure in relative safety, a deadly internal conflict forces you out of Vault 18 and into the deserts of The Pass.
Theres a four-way conflict going on, with participants familiar to the franchise and others that are completely new.
- The NCR, up to their usual attempts to annex territory, fight off raiders, and bring the law back to the land, for better or for worse.
- The Enclave, strapped for manpower, attempting to recruit anyone of pure blood into their war efforts on the East Coast.
- The Survivalist Raiders, a military dictatorship and conglomerate of numerous smaller raider tribes, united under Boss Elsdragon in their opposition against NCR rule.
- And a super mutant army, swearing allegiance to their mysterious Father.
You can help tip the scales of this conflict to either side, in a typical series fashion. Or you can kill them all, and let God sort them out.
Fallout: New California contains the following tropes:
- Action Survivor: The player character, starting out as a relatively normal Vault Dweller before they Took a Level in Badass.
- Adaptational Jerkass: The NCR gets this treatment to a degree, being depicted as a corrupt state essentially at the beck and call of the New Reno crime families. The player, however, can help expose the corruption and cripple the Mob's influence, setting the government back to its canon portrayal.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Siding with the Enclave turns the NCR even more into this. As while it eventually recovers from the nuclear strikes from Fort Daggerpoint, its expansion and revitalization are described as ruthless and a mirror image of the Enclave itself.
- Amnesiac Hero: When talking to Jenn Hail in Goodsprings (provided you saved her in Vault 18's destruction and New California's quest), the Courier will not remember their adventure in California due to Benny's attempt on their life.
- Bag of Spilling: Played with; Completing the story drops you into the start of the main New Vegas storyline, but you keep all the levels and skills you've earned by the end of the Mod and while you don't start with the gear you had you're given a mission early on to find the stash where you left it.
- Big Bad Ensemble: The Enclave sort of takes center stage as the "main" bad guy, if only because they're so identifiable. Of course, the Father and Juan Maxson-Elsdragon are major threats in their own right (and the NCR can qualify too, depending on which path you take).
- Bittersweet Ending: In one NCR ending, you succeed in destroying the Enclave (even going as far as sending the nukes to all their bases across America). Along the way, it's also possible to cripple the influence of both the New Reno crime families and their corrupt political allies, setting the nation down a more optimistic path. However, the NCR has discovered who and what you really are (i.e a mutant-human hybrid clone of The Vault Dweller) and want you dead, locked away or experimented on. In order to keep your freedom, General Silverman smuggles you out of New California and into the Mojave Wasteland to start a new life as a courier. You also have to say goodbye to your companions from Vault 18, if any have survived until this point.
- Almost all the endings (save the Unity and Empty Earth ones) counts as this since inevitably the Star Player has to leave their faction for some reason and begin a new life as The Courier.
- Brought Down to Badass: Downplayed, while the player character survived the nuclear destruction in Hopeville, their healing factor slowly diminishes to the point where it becomes very weak. Fortunately, it still works well enough to help them survive the gunshot to the head from Benny, but the player will lose their memories.
- Canon Character All Along: The endings (with the exception of the Mutant and Empty Earth endings) all lead to the protagonist going through the events that lead them to wiping out Hopeville and becoming The Courier.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Siding with the New Reno crime families as the Star Player involves quite a bit of this, whether it's other factions or other families within the Mob. Eventually, however, this comes back to bite the Star Player hard, after double-crossing one family and Mob boss too many, forcing them to lay low at Hopeville.
- Ironically, Senator DuVille, the Mob member you work for, ultimately turns out to subvert this and become the most trustworthy figure, provided you do everything he asks and don't try to screw him over.
- Elsdragon loves doing this, too. When Vault 18 is attacked, the Raiders pull off one against their Enclave "allies," massacring their forces and stealing their tech (though both sides know the other would attack eventually.)
- Disc-One Nuke: You can find Dr. Rossman's laser rifle in the prologue, which is a potent weapon aside from the fact that energy weapon ammo is particularly hard to come by.
- Doomed by Canon: Kieva and her Shi tribe, since they eventually become assimilated into the Legion.
- The Raider Alliance as a whole, since by the time of New Vegas proper the NCR has conquered all of California and is moving into Nevada. Facing NCR expansion, the tribes ultimately break apart the Alliance and scatter, with most of them fleeing east and being absorbed by Caesar's Legion.
- Even if the Star Player sides with the Enclave, it's revealed that Enclave Squad Leonidas eventually move east to answer President John Henry Eden's call, and is doomed to be wiped out by the Brotherhood of Steel in the Capital Wasteland.
- The New Reno Mob's control over NCR politics, simply due to the status of the NCR government as of New Vegas; while it's definitely still not all that clean, significant reform is said to be done by Aaron Kimball's administration after he comes to power.
- Doomed Hometown: Vault 18. Also Hopeville, which gets obliterated by its hidden nuclear cache thanks to the Fort Daggerpoint key the player character carries.
- Driven to Suicide: Vault 18's Overseer, after losing his family to the Enclave takeover and discovering the true intentions of Vault-Tec.
- Enemy Mine: The Raider Alliance is a mishmash of tribes and gangs that would normally be at odds with each other, but are united in their hatred of the NCR.
- During the final battle at Fort Daggerpoint, this occurs twice: the NCR and the Raider Alliance stop shooting at each other and focus on the Unity and the Enclave instead. This doesn't stop them from potentially continuing their war afterwards, though.
- Also during the final battle, the player can form a truce with the Father to defeat the Enclave.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Dr. Rossmans reason for creating a hologram copy of himself.
- Forbidden Zone: Fort Daggerpoint, with the standard 'no one who enters ever leaves' fare. Naturally the Star Player is enlisted by their respective faction to investigate. Turns out both the Father's army of super mutants and Enclave Squad Leonidas have made the fort their base.
- Future Primitive: The Exodite Tribes, mainly seen through the California Tribe. Despite only existing for approximately 60 years, and even being descended from Vault 18 to boot, you wouldn't see any of that from their simple tribal structures, language, and reverence of technology as "magic." This is partly by their design, as they chose to forsake the Vault's knowledge and willingly forget their origins to protect Vault 18; many of their structures even can be seen to have technical components upon closer inspection.
- Gang of Hats: The tribes that make up the Raider Alliance all have hats. There's Psychos (skull makeup, chems, giant spiders), Nanjima Clan (Communist samurai), Black Vultures (bikers, with an apparent mix of Hispanic and Arabic members), Vipers (cultish snake handlers), Vault Vikings (Norse by Norsewest), Necro Nation (an all-ghoul tribe), the Voiceless (albino mutants treated like slaves), Botniks (Russian roboticists), and the Old Guard (Cowboys plus preppers).
- Good Thing You Can Heal: The player character has superhuman healing abilities, as a result of the Father's experiments on them. As a result, they can shrug off bullets, fatal falls and a nuclear strike. It also explains why they survived being shot point-blank by Benny in the intro to New Vegas.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: The player's exact involvement in the events in the Pass are largely forgotten by virtue of government cover-up and most of the people involved dying over time. Of note, most of the player's surviving allies died at Hopeville and Ben mentions in the Mojave that the California Tribe was eventually destroyed by the Legion.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The Wasteland Scouts, especially Dr. Rossman. They are remembered as heroes by many in the Pass (including General Silverman.) However, they were labelled terrorists by the NCR after killing NCR mercenaries attempting to poison the California Tribals' water source.
- Multiple Endings: Considering this is a prequel to Fallout: New Vegas, the endings are largely the same, with variations depending on which faction you supported. The one ending this doesn't apply to is the unequivocally bad ending, where the Star Player agrees to help the Father, which leads to the rise of a nigh-invincible super mutant army and the total extinction of humanity. Not to mention the Empty Earth ending, where the player has murdered everything in the Pass and goes on to murder everything alive in the whole world.
- The as of yet unimplemented 1.0 rewrite contains one more, radically different than the rest: A Wild Card route where the Star Player rejects all players in the Pass and instead sides with a surviving Yetti Hail, reforming the Wasteland Scouts and saving the survivors of Vault 18. With no faction in the lead, the war for California is much bloodier, but ends nonetheless, and the Unity and the Braggs are defeated. The Star Player and their companions simply ride off into the sunset, becoming the stuff of legends. And the Courier is simply someone they pass on the road...
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In almost all epilogues, the Fort Daggerpoint key they Star Player carries sets off the nuclear arsenal hidden in Hopeville. This obliterates the settlement, kills every other Vault 18 survivor and NCR or Raider ally except for the protagonist and their companions, and creates The Divide. Oh, and launches Ulysses' obsession with the Courier...
- One-Man Army: In typical series fashion, and it's emphasized by the numerous quests that involve an Multi-Mook Melee. Also, it gets justified by the late-game reveal that you're a clone of the Vault Dweller with superhuman healing abilities.
- Playable Epilogue: Of sorts. After beating the final boss you get dropped into New Vegas, which has a few additions depending on your choices.
- Putting the Band Back Together: After finishing New California's main quest, in the Mojave Wasteland, the player can reunite, and recruit any companions they had in California (provided they were alive at the end of New California). As 21 years have passed since the end of New California, they will look noticeably older.
- Jenn Hail can be found at the start of New Vegas in Goodsprings, giving you a quest to find the others.
- Ben Kurtz can be found in Cottonwood Cove, inside the slave pen, with a grudge against the Legion for enslaving his tribe, seeking to kill Aurelius.
- Kira Mann can be found locked inside the Silver Rush, having been imprisoned by the Van Graffs and forced to produce energy weapons for them.
- Eric and Jamie Campbell can be found in a ranch near Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch, where the player must pay 3000 caps to support their two children to join them as companions.
- Johnny Matheson can be found in the Casa Madrid Apartments, owning a brothel and requiring the player to pay 1000 caps to join them.
- The Reveal: The player character learns that they are in fact a mutant-human hybrid clone of The Vault Dweller from the first Fallout game, with regenerative powers. The epilogues go a step further by revealing that the player character is the Courier.
- Retired Badass: Dr. Rossman, retired Wasteland Scout. The more you hear about his past exploits, it becomes more and more obvious he was right up there with the other player characters in terms of insanity.
- Shout-Out: All over the place, but mainly to other Fallout works. Notably, there are a few nods to The Frontier, referring to the frigid territories north of California. For instance, the Vault Vikings came from Vault 37, which is said to be in Portland. It's revealed in that mod that the remaining Vault Vikings eventually wind up there to escape assimilation into Caesar's Legion.
- MARIA's Vault-Tec database lists dozens of Vaults, including Vault 76 of Fallout 76 and Vault 10 of Fallout: Nuka Break.
- Johnny references Far Cry 3 while trapped in Athens-Tec Mine, telling you he doesn't want to be sold to "some homo named Buck on a butt fucking tropical island."
- A terminal in Senator Duville's office references Fallout Lore: The Storyteller with "Project V13", an NCR cloning project, as well as NCR Ranger Helen Tanner. Though knowing New California's plot and reveal, this becomes much more significant... Another terminal in Doc Marius' workshop also references it, providing a sort of explanation for the Storyteller's existence.
- Wild Wasteland adds a whole new layer on top, with such craziness as the Father making a Star Wars reference while explaining The Reveal.
- Unreliable Expositor: New California has a lot of these, reflecting that not everyone in the wasteland (and hell, even in the old world) would have complete or correct info about everything.
- Notably, NCR Radio 440's news broadcasts are said to be paid for by political interests seeking to discredit President Tandi, thus leading to such news claims as the ruins of the "legendary" village of Arroyo being discovered when the settlement itself has already been rebuilt and integrated into the Republic.
- One researcher who worked in Fort Daggerpoint thought the Project Brazil parasites were aliens. He was wrong.
- The biggest case of this is probably the Father, who has grown delusional believing that his decades-long Batman Gambit must have been successful in creating a clone of the Vault Dweller and treats the Star Player as such, when he has no proof at all and even killed followers who questioned him.
- The Unreveal: Through terminal entries you can find that the Father was once a Nightkin named Mark, and Word of God states your blood sample originated from a random blood splatter found on the floor at Mariposa, leaving your true identity a mystery.