State of Decay 2 is an upcoming zombie apocalypse simulator for Xbox One and Windows 10, but what's it all about?
State of Decay was originally a digital-only Xbox Live Arcade title exclusive to the Xbox 360. Developed by Undead Labs and Jeff Strain of World of Warcraft fame, State of Decay was a new kind of zombie apocalypse survival simulator, tasking players to manage an entire community of survivors, rather than a single playable hero.
State of Decay was one of the best-selling Xbox Live Arcade titles of its era and has spawned a dedicated following of zombie survival enthusiasts. Microsoft will be publishing its sequel, State of Decay 2, on Xbox One and Windows 10 this year. Here's everything we know (so far).
State of Play
Microsoft unveiled State of Decay 2 at E3 2016, offering a glimpse at what we can expect from the full game.
Like the first title, we know State of Decay 2 will focus on community management and supply gathering, taking place in a large open world. Players can expect to drive vehicles, mowing down zombies Grand Theft Auto-style as they hunt for ammo, food, and other supplies needed for a stable, zombie-resistant society.
State of Decay's combat takes place in the third person, using scavenged ammo, makeshift melee weapons, and even vehicular zedslaughter. Combat in State of Decay was often nail-bitingly tense, as you could easily get caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
While State of Decay doesn't lean too far into hyper-realism with its aesthetics, it's serious in tone, unlike similar comic book-style zombie grinders such as Dead Rising.
The trailer didn't reveal too much, besides that State of Decay's staple elements will return with gusto. The trailer shows a shanty community being built from the ground up, growing with upgraded facilities. It also shows a return of zombie hordes, and "specialist" zombie Freaks such as the Screamer, who can summon additional enemies.
The trailer also shows one of State of Decay 2's most requested features — the addition of online co-op — which will support up to four players. Of course, you can still play solo if you wish, too. The way the characters use flare guns also ties into gameplay somehow, exemplifying a seamless drop-in co-operative world.
- Each member of the community is a playable character. Each character you bring to your community has a bespoke combination of skills, statistics, and other characteristics that determine how they play. Like its predecessor, individual community members can suffer from perma-death in State of Decay 2.
According to Microsoft, your choices will determine what kind of community you build, making each player's experiences unique. The dynamism of the game's systems should result in tons of emergent gameplay, although details on exactly how this will work, are scarce.
- Co-operative play works on a drop-in basis. The details on how this works are a little scarce, but it seems to be tied to the flares seen in the teaser trailer. State of Decay's Jeff Strain described it like this: "This is not a session-based experience. It's drop-in/drop-out. They key thing that I want everybody to know is, it doesn't require you to be online. We've designed it very much with the intention of it being the easiest, most convenient type of multiplayer you can imagine." The exact details on how that works are anyone's guess.
- State of Decay 2 will have no form of player vs. player combat. It revolves entirely around the core sandbox survival experience.
State of Decay 2 features an RPG progression system similar to the previous games, where each community member can grow and develop in different ways.
- The passive offline progression systems seen in State of Decay 1 have been "rethought," for its sequel, as Undead Labs found them to be a source of frustration. Details on how will come later.
- Bases can also grow, gaining new facilities and fortifications, while unlocking new community abilities in the process. Undead Labs want to provide players with as many tools as possible to live out their ideal zombie survival fantasy.
- Like the first game, State of Decay 2 will support dynamic day and night cycles.
- Community members can be promoted into leadership roles, and gain unique goals as a result. Players will have to manage their expectations, morals, and motivations in order to build a cohesive society.
Details on the major differences between State of Decay 1 and 2 are pretty scarce at the moment. For the most part, it appears as though State of Decay 2 is a huge advancement of the original game's formula, expanding on the community aspects and open world, while including features long-requested on Undead Labs' bustling community forums. We shouldn't have to wait too long before finding out more.
Screenshots and concept art
Here's a gallery of all the screenshots and concept art released for the game so far. Undead Labs are releasing new images frequently on their Twitter feed.
When is State of Decay 2 launching?
All we know so far is that State of Decay 2 will launch in 2017. Undead Labs will announce the actual launch date at E3 2017, in June.
What platforms will State of Decay 2 launch for?
State of Decay 2 will be exclusive to Xbox One (and Project Scorpio) as far as consoles are concerned, supporting cross-purchasing and cloud-based progression syncing with Windows 10 PCs thanks to Xbox Play Anywhere. The website's FAQ hints at a a possible Steam release in the future too.
Stay tuned for more!
We'll update this post with the latest information as (and when) we receive it. Naturally, Undead Labs has already confirmed that State of Decay 2 will have a presence at E3 2017, but hopefully, we'll receive more details before then.
It'll be interesting to see how State of Decay 2 cuts through the deluge of open-world multiplayer survival games hitting the market in recent years. State of Decay focused its attention on simulation elements, such as passive community growth, emergent events, and other environmental factors that take a back seat in games like Day-Z and ARK, which are famed for crafting and bitter PvP conflict. State of Decay was a system-driven affair, and it's pretty safe to say its sequel will be as well.
We'll have to wait and see how State of Decay 2 separates itself not only from its predecessor but all the other zombie games on the market as well.
If you know any details about State of Decay 2 that you think should be in this round-up, let us know in the comments. You can also pick up the first State of Decay for Xbox One, which includes all of the game's DLC complete with improved visuals. See it on Xbox Live via the link below.