Nothing is going to equal the dissonance of the original Dead Island trailer in relation to that game, but this campaign for State of Decay 2 sure doesn’t match the goofy jank of an open-world sandbox. There’s the Found Footage of Coach video above and a Medical Log of Nurse. The sequel to one of the best zombie survival games made is coming on May 22nd for normal folks and four days earlier for Ultimate Edition preorders. The marketing from Microsoft is ramping up and these spots are reminiscent of the Halo 3 Believe commercials. Somber, self-serious ads that turned out to have more gravitas than the product deserved. Everyone wants their zombie games to feel like the last few desperate minutes of Night of the Living Dead, when most of them play like the pie fight in Dawn of the Dead.
If you want to compare the tone of the videos with the actual game before launch, check out Tom’s livestreams of State of Decay 2 all this week!
State of Decay is full of wieners. Not the guy that won’t stop taking all the bandages, or the idiot that keeps messing up guard duty, oh no. We’re talking about hidden penises. According to Undead Labs’ Geoffrey Card, a contractor busied themselves with putting male members into various parts of State of Decay which couldn’t be seen until work started on higher resolution textures for the upcoming Year One Survival Edition.
“Some of our contractors worked a ridiculous amount of genitalia into the background.”
The next time Jacob starts blubbering about his family while wasting your food, just remember that there are wangs all around.
State of Decay is coming to Xbox One on April 28th. Undead Labs announced the release date and more details of the next-gen bundle of the game through IGN. The Year One Survival Edition, including all previous DLC for State of Decay, will cost $29.99 unless you already own the Xbox 360 version of the game. Last gen owners will get a discount making the Xbox One package $19.99. Those existing State of Decay owners will also get a special playable character.
Back in August, the developers outlined their plans for the Xbox One version of the game.
Next, we’re creating some new content – not an entire DLC’s worth, but a few cool new mission types, new weapons, vehicles, and perhaps a hero or two. We’ll also be making some of your favorite characters from Lifeline (yes, Sasquatch) available as playable characters in Breakdown, and taking some of the new base options from Lifeline and making them available in Breakdown and the core State of Decay game. And then we’ll throw in half an hour of new music from State of Decay composer Jesper Kyd.
Undead Labs had planned to either update the PC version of State of Decay or release the Year One Survival Edition for PC players, but no further news has been released yet on the Steam version of the game.
One of the most engaging aspects of the zombie apocalypse in books and movies is the breakdown of society and the destruction of civilization. Unfortunately, we rarely get to see that slide into havoc in zombie-themed video games. The digital version of the undead end of the world usually starts in media res so players can get to “the good stuff” of crafting weapons and shooting zeds right away. You wake up from a coma, or you just spawn in on a desolate shore… Even Undead Labs’ State of Decay skipped the beginning of the story. Players started in a campground and experience the zombie invasion after it’s already gotten hot. The upcoming Lifeline DLC offers a different beginning to the story we saw in the regular game. Polygon got to play a preview build of Lifeline at PAX East and they’ve brought back some exciting details.
Lifeline casts the player as a member of Greyhound One, a small platoon that’s attempting to maintain order in the overrun city of Danforth. Unlike in State of Decay, you start out with plenty of rations and support from the larger military. But all of it dwindles over time in the face of the zombie outbreak: Your supplies gradually deteriorate, and resupplies from your group’s commanders become more rare. That forces you and your comrades to head out of your base into town, in an attempt to rescue civilians and gather resources to fortify your defenses.
The shift from a secure, plentifully stocked military base, to a desperate group of scavengers flips the script of most zombie apocalypse video games. The normal progression is to build up to the point that zombies are an annoyance instead of a credible threat. If Undead Labs can pull Lifeline off correctly, it will be a nice change of pace from video games that skip the start of the zombie story.
You escaped the zombie-infested area of Trumbull Valley in State of Decay. You went back again and again in your RV in the Breakdown DLC. Are you ready to go somewhere new? Undead Labs has announced a new expansion to their open-world survival horror game called State of Decay: Lifeline. Astute Steam users found evidence of the developers testing the DLC and Undead Labs decided to make a formal announcement before rumors got out of hand. Although there wasn’t much to the reveal beyond the name, community manager Sanya Weathers dropped one morsel of information that’s sure to get players buzzing.
“Fine, I’ll say it straight up: There’s a new map, okay?”
Fresh meat! State of Decay: Lifeline will release on PC and Xbox 360 at the same time.
In the Breakdown DLC for State of Decay, you’re no longer playing towards State of Decay’s final mission. What was previously a once-and-done zombie apocalypse with an abrupt and decisive end is now an open-ended world without end. In theory. In practice, the difficulty ramps up until you fail. That’s a pretty decisive end, but not at all sudden. It’s also a fundamental part of zombie mythology. The zombies always win. The demise of all your survivors is a matter of when, not if. The main difference is that this time, you know what you’re doing. This time, your heroes are a band of experienced competent ruthless efficient survivalists. This is no amateur hour zombie apocalypse.
After the jump, there’s no more room in hell, but we can accommodate you on a harder map.Continue reading →
The Breakdown DLC is an alternative way to play State of Decay stripped of all its scripted story beats. Here the characters are all randomly generated, arranged in survivor enclaves for you to recruit, exploit, or ignore as you choose. Your only objective is your score, which is a factor of missions accomplished, zombies killed, upgrades researched, and so forth. At a certain point, your resources will get scarce. That’s when you load up the RV and start a new map with harder zombies and a higher score multiplier. The only story beats are the ones you make.
My first game with the Breakdown DLC for State of Decay ended in the above zombie buffet, with my last survivor as the featured guest. My score was 151. You won’t know how bad that is until you try it yourself when Breakdown comes out next week. Fortunately, the leaderboards don’t seem to be enabled yet, so no one will ever know I did that poorly. I mean, seriously, 151 points?
State of Decay’s Breakdown DLC will be available on November 29th, for $7, for both the Xbox 360 and PC. You’ll get a survival sandbox mode, new characters, and an RV. Did you hear that? An RV! Like in Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and We’re The Millers. More info here.
The Xbox 360 version of State of Decay is getting an expansion by the end of October. Undead Labs’ studio head Jeff Strain posted the status of Breakdown, the hardcore perma-death DLC. Strain explained that the expansion will be in quality assurance testing at Microsoft for the next week. Assuming no critical errors need to be addressed, certification can be issued, and the DLC will be published by the end of the month.
Breakdown adds ramping difficulty to the basic game, making things more challenging for players as they move through the game. Zombies hit harder, special zombies are more frequent, and stamina takes more of a toll on basic combat. An update to State of Decay will balance supply issues for all players, whether they purchase the DLC or not.
When we update the game to support Breakdown, everyone will get our updated resource system, which is designed to make scavenging fairer and more consistent across every player’s experience. As an added bonus, when you play Breakdown, the new system allows us to slowly drain out some of the Resources and items as difficulty increases.
Undead Labs will be showing off Breakdown today at 11:00 AM PST on the official Microsoft Twitch channel.
Contrary to what Tom Chick thinks, you really don’t need all those words to review a game. And you don’t need a five-star rating system either. You don’t even have to play the darn things. Allow me to demonstrate with the games of this past summer.
Unlike many open-world games, State of Decay ends decisively. You can always go back to your saved game just before the last mission. But once you do that mission, you leave Trumbull Valley for good. The credits roll. There’s no going back and doing fun activities. State of Decay is over.
Fortunately, developer Undead Labs is working on an open-ended sandbox mode. How will it work, given that Trumbull Valley is seeded with a limited amount of resources when you start playing? Community manager Sanya Weathers passes along some details from an online chat with Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain.
Jeff said, “The goal of sandbox is to provide an unbounded experience, one with no victory condition that ends the game. The way we do that is to continue to have a world with finite resources, but find out ‘how long can I stay alive.'”
Without going into too much detail (although details are coming within a week), you start in the world, build your community, clean the valley out – and when it runs dry, you can leave with some portion of your community and go to “the next valley.” The next valley is the same map, repopulated with resources…but harder. More zombies. More difficulty. Just…more.
How many Trumbull Valleys can you survive? Find out later this year, since Undead Labs has promised the sandbox mode will be out this year.
As the staff of Quarter to Three goes home for the long holiday weekend, we’ll leave you with a touch of our own fireworks in the form of an annual half-year list that may or may not include The Last of Us. Why else would there be a picture of it up there?
Tom Chick talks with State of Decay designer Richard Foge about the past, present, and future of Undead Labs’ brilliant zombie apocalypse game. We discuss the combat, the scavenging, the stealth, the character builds, the economy, the storytelling, the march of offline time, and more. And what’s the deal with co-op plans? What are the challenges Undead Labs faces with the upcoming sandbox mode? And in the event of a world culture reboot, find out which three movies Foge would pick to preserve zombie mythology for future generations.