Shown off during the Microsoft E3 Press Conference, Undead Labs revealed new footage of the follow up to its original 2013 release State of Decay. In the sequel, State of Decay 2, players will find themselves in the shoes of a randomly generated survivor and must navigate the landscape of the zombie apocalypse while engaging with the undead, coordinating with survivors, and making hard choices in order to survive and live another day.
During a special behind-closed-doors session with the game, founder of Undead Labs, Jeff Strain, gave us a detailed look at State of Decay 2, and how his team is bringing the number one requested feature from fans, online co-op, into the game, which will dramatically alter the fundamentals and coordination with survivors. Set 15 months after the events of the first game, the world hasn't gotten much better, and things will soon become even more complicated.
At the beginning of the game, players will pick their character from an assortment of randomly created individuals. Much like the last game, characters have unique skills and traits that they're best at, and in State of Decay 2, they made the characters far more diverse. For instance, the skills system from the last game has been greatly expanded, offering more options and avenues for role-playing. Players good at scavenging will have a better time finding useful materials in the field, and in addition to new skills, players can upgrade these abilities to acquire brand new perks which significantly expand their more useful skills.
For the most part, the general gameplay loop of State of Decay 2 remains similar to the original game. Players must fortify a stronghold, find new survivors to help with expanding and strengthening their home--which includes growing food, gearing up, and having security to guard against random zombie attacks--and also going out on missions to find supplies, new survivors, and new strongholds to expand the network of safe spaces around the world. Speaking of which, the game space is now three times bigger than the previous game, which will certainly make traversal and exploration a larger focus for SOD2.
During the presentation, our group of survivors traveled to an abandoned police station to acquire weapons. Inside, zombies were present. One of the players used a machete and his enhanced melee skills to make quick work of the undead, while another player--through co-op play--took all the supplies and loaded them up into the trunk of the car, which is also a new feature in State of Decay 2. While driving back, they came to find their base overrun by the undead and had to quickly use their new weapons to fight off the horde. During this fight, new zombie types quickly made an appearance. The Juggernaut, which was shown in the trailer, took out the entire group, but not before killing off some of the survivors.
The original title did a solid job of portraying an open, explorable setting in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, and State of Decay 2 is looking to keep that going here. I was impressed with how much of the core gameplay focused on resource management and base building was expanded, while retaining the focus on simple survivalism in the middle of the zombie plague. The online co-op--online only, no local play--should be a game changer for this title, especially when factoring in the tough choices and important decisions that have to be made when it comes to keeping your head above water.
With its release coming Spring 2018, this open-world zombie survival game is shaping up to be a more refined and developed take on a surprise hit that showed just how nerve-wracking and stressful it is to survive in a world full of zombies.
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