Undead Labs is working on State of Decay 3, but SoD2 continues to breathe with a new content update available now

Image of State of Decay 2 Update 34: Curveball.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • For a couple months, Undead Labs and Wushu Studios have been teasing and testing the next State of Decay 2 update.
  • Update 34: Curveball is officially coming to all players across Xbox and Windows PC on Sept. 18, 2023.
  • The update introduces Curveballs, a wide variety of random events that can have drastic effects on almost every aspect of SoD2's gameplay.
  • Wushu Studios will continue to support State of Decay 2 with new content moving forward, as most of Undead Labs is now working on State of Decay 3.

UPDATE (Sept. 18, 2023): Update 34: Curveball for State of Decay 2 is now available to download across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam. The update is completely free to all users.

Our original article continues below.

I'm not shy about professing my love for State of Decay 2. The game launched in a rough state, but Undead Labs has been overwhelmingly persistent about updating the game with endless new content, quality-of-life improvements, and community-requested features. Over five years after release, SoD2 is still breathing, with its next brand-new content update coming... Next week.

Except, it doesn't hail from Undead Labs, as most of that studio is busy working on State of Decay 3. Instead, the Xbox Game Studio tagged Wushu Studio to develop State of Decay 2's next update, and the duo have been teasing and testing that update for the last two months. Now, we have a lot more information — and a release date — on State of Decay 2 Update 34: Curveball. As the name suggests, it's a doozy of an update.

You can watch the extended stream above with members from Wushu Studio for more information on State of Decay 2 Update 34: Curveball, or you can check out this Xbox Wire post. Either way, I'll be summarizing all the changes and features you should be aware of, if you're a State of Decay fan like I am.

  • Curveballs are semi-random, dynamic events. State of Decay 2 now features Curveballs, which are highly diverse and dynamic events that can affect practically every aspect of SoD2's gameplay and world.
    • Curveballs can begin happening after five in-game days
    • Curveballs can happen as a direct result of player action, or can occur entirely unexpectedly
    • Multiple Curveballs can be in effect at any one time
    • Players can track current, upcoming, and ended Curveballs from a new dedicated menu
  • Curveballs dramatically change how the game plays. A common community feedback was that State of Decay 2 could grow repetitive, especially in the late game. Curveballs directly target that critique to make the game drastically more unpredictable, exciting, and potentially dangerous even for long-term veterans.
    • Curveballs can affect almost anything, including your community and settlement, resources and loot, NPCs, characters, enemies, world events, and more
    • Curveballs are often attached to new narratives, helping build out community stories
    • They can be objective or time based, and may require subtle or major shifts in strategies to overcome
    • Curveballs don't have to be negative though, with many offering positive boons or active buffs
  • There are countless modifiers, even just for zombies. Curveballs are so varied, with so many potential modifiers and effects, that no two games will ever be the same again.
    • Mutational outbreaks can occur in zombies as a result of in-world events or because of Plague Hearts actively fighting back
    • These mutational outbreaks can affect any of the zombie types, including Freaks
    • Negative effects may include major physiological changes like faster movement or stronger attacks, heightened senses like improved vision, hearing, and even smell, special effects like exploding in bile gunk after being killed or giving off toxic fumes that drain survivor stamina, and more
    • Positive effects are possible, too, like making zombies weaker, slower, easier to behead, or more clumsy
  • Players can choose to play with Curveballs. This update isn't meant to make State of Decay 2 feel like a completely different game, it's just meant to complement existing gameplay and make it more dynamic. Still, players can absolutely opt to not play with Curveballs and continue to play the game exactly as it was.
  • The feature isn't done yet. Wushu Studios has already said it is looking to improve this feature after its release to give players even more control over it.

Yeah, that's a lot. It's still not the end for State of Decay 2, either, as Wushu Studios is now going to continue supporting SoD2 in the same way that Undead Labs have been since the game's launch. Wushu has plans for a lot more content and features to come, but it's also going to address community feedback on existing features and systems, even in cases when it may require overhauling. Over five years later, State of Decay 2 is still going strong and shows no signs of stopping.

Of course, it helps that State of Decay 2 still has an active and passionate player base, which makes sense given how good the game has become. If you've yet to be a part of the community (or if it has been a while), this is an excellent time to play. State of Decay 2's Update 34: Curveball officially releases for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC on Sept. 18, 2023.

Looking for the best way to play one of the best Xbox games? State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition is never expensive, it's often on sale, and it's an Xbox Play Anywhere title. SoD2 is a permanent member of the Xbox Game Pass library on console and PC, too, and through Xbox Cloud Gaming. In fact, it's one of the games included in the new Xbox Game Pass Core subscription. There are so many ways to play this excellent game, join the community, and enjoy its healthy post-launch support.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Iamdumbguy
    Is buying a studio that only makes (middling) zombie games maybe the stupidest Xbox-related idea Microsoft has ever had?