How State of Decay 2's co-op works: Progression, tethering, and more

In State of Decay 2 you control a group of zombie apocalypse survivors hunting for shelter and resources, as you battle your way through the ruins of civilization. In the latest installment, you can play in co-op with up to three additional friends, but there has been some confusion about how co-operative play works.

Like many co-op games, when you join the host's game you'll be helping to progress their base and their story, but that doesn't mean you'll miss out on loot and other items. Here's how co-op works in State of Decay 2.

Player tethering

State of Decay 2 won't allow co-op players in a shared world to roam freely. Instead, for performance reasons, you will be tethered to the host as you move around the game's sizable open world. This is similar to other co-operative games such as Far Cry 5.

In our hands-on session with the game, we didn't find the tethering range to be restrictive, or even noticeable, as you work together to plunder the haunted ruins of zombie-infested America. You can't go running off in different directions to do separate excursions, however. When you drive a significant distance away from your friends, they will "hitch a ride" towards you. The distance feels generous enough that most co-op players shouldn't really notice it. You're there to help out, mainly.

Progression and loot sharing

When you join a friend's session, you are effectively playing as a survivor within their game. It's their base, their survivor community, and their story progression. State of Decay 2 is a bit divergent in the sense that it doesn't feature a linear story, instead spawning progressive narrative events based on your decisions and growth.

What you will gain from helping a friend, however, is influence points, which is a resource needed for base building and other actions, generated by successful activities. Additionally, any loot you acquire on your travels in your friend's game will be taken back to your own personal base. Players will be able to drop items on the floor as well, for others to pick up, use, and keep. You will be able to access your pool of supplies and gear from your personal progression from your friend's game, via their bases and outposts.

Achievement progress will also be shared when you're inside a multiplayer game. Additionally, you build up special rewards the longer you remain in a friend's game, which will be delivered to your supply cache when you return to single player.

Communication and death

Similarly to Monster Hunter: World and Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 features a communication wheel that can be used for basic commands such as "over here," and warnings. Obviously, you'll be able to use Xbox party chat too, and any services you like on PC, but if you prefer non-verbal co-op, the dialogue wheel is there for you.

Perma-death for a controlled survivor remains a thing in co-op. If you die, the survivor you are controlling will be gone, permanently. You'll have to assume control of another from your personal community, so, be careful!

State of Decay 2 looks promising

That's all we know about State of Decay 2 co-operative play for now, but in our early impressions, we certainly think the game holds a lot of promise for zombie fans. Be sure to take a look at our full preview below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

State of Decay 2 hands-on preview

State of Decay 2 launches on May 22, 2018 for Xbox One and Windows 10 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title for $29.99. It'll also be available in Xbox Game Pass for $9.99 per month.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!