Fallout: New California, previously Project Brazil, is one of the best mods for Fallout: New Vegas (opens in new tab), and it's now on the last leg of its journey through beta. The unofficial prequel has been in development for about eight years, while the beta launched last November. We've not heard much from it since, but last week it received its first update in seven months, along with news that there's only one more to go before it hits 1.0.
Modder Thaiauxn calls beta 221 "the version I wish we'd released with", and it squashes a large list of bugs, introduces new side quests, promises more rewards for exploration and there's a new installer that sets it up for you. Some players apparently had issues with downloading the 4GB beta patch and mod managers have trouble with the file size, so the new installer should hopefully solve those problems.
Stability and performance is the main focus of the update, but the team's also been working on more locations you can explore, companions with more to say and improving the general writing quality once you leave the vault.
You can also continue your character's journey in Fallout: New Vegas by crossing the bridge to the Nevada wasteland. Once you finish one of the mod's 13 endings, you'll wake up at the start of Doc Mitchell's office, 20 years later, and start your mission of vengeance. You'll retain your stats and find your old gear somewhere in the Mojave, and you'll even come across your old companions.
Check out the changelog here (opens in new tab).
It's a superb excuse to fire up New Vegas again. Andy Kelly called it "the best Fallout game you'll play this year (opens in new tab)" in 2018, and it's still the case in 2019.
"New California is a remarkable achievement, and one of the most confident and professional mods I’ve ever played," he wrote. "I didn’t think I’d ever go back to the 3D Fallout games after playing them to death, but this made them exciting again. Longtime Fallout fans will also appreciate the attention to detail when it comes to the story, as this is arguably more respectful of the series’ lore than what Bethesda and even Obsidian came up with in their games. It isn’t canon, of course, but makes its own mark on the mythology in some interesting ways, particularly in exploring the motivations of the sinister Enclave."
You can download the beta 221 installer here (opens in new tab).