If I were to sum up in one word what Undead Labs is trying to be with their upcoming State of Decay, it would have to be ambitious. What other game can describe itself as an open-world-sandbox-survival-horror-stealth-RPG-tower-defense-zombie-simulator? Phew, I need a breath.
Slated for an early 2013 release on Xbox Live Arcade and PC, State of Decay is aiming to be that niche zombie game that nothing else has been able to yet. You aren’t just killing wave after of wave of the undead while running from Point A to Point B, nor are you just pushing forward threw a linear story (though there is one). In Undead Labs’ take, you’re living the zombie apocalypse. If you were disappointed that all of the end of the world predictions were off and want to find out for yourself if you could handle attacking corpses day after day – this may be right up your alley.
It’s important to note right away that in State of Decay there isn’t a single high powered indestructible hero to lead us through the adventure. In fact, much the opposite. In State of Decay, when you’re dead – you’re dead. That’s what makes what is possibly the main aspect of the game, human relationships, that much more important.
Now, when I say human relationships, I don’t mean actually building a rapport with someone à la The Walking Dead. In State of Decay it’s all about banding a group of people together to increase your chances of survival. Throughout the game you’ll be faced with the opportunities to help out your fellow humans. If the situation deems itself too dangerous, you may have to leave he or she to deal with it on their own. However, if you come to the rescue, odds are that the fellow survivor will thank you for your good samaritanism (is that a word?) by joining your residence and thus bringing their skills to your group. The more the merrier when the undead come knocking.
Once you’ve welcomed a wide range of characters into your home base, you can do with them what you please. You aren’t stuck to a single main player, you can switch between the survivors in your group and control them as you wish. Different characters specialize in different traits, so you’ll be able to chose who is responsible for what tasks based upon their talents. And while who you’re controlling may be out doing a raid for supplies, you can send the other members of your clan out to handle different task of your choosing at the same time. The computer A.I. will take it from there. Should any issues arise, keep your walkie-talkie close to make or hear a distress call.
Weapons will come in a wide variety. There is said to be 30 to 40 melee weapons around the world. Also available will be 99 different guns ranging from: pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, assault rifles, light machine guns and sub-machine guns. However, it’s discouraged to go throughout the game guns blazing as you can quickly become overwhelmed. Stealth, distractions and evasion is the real key to this title. But really, what’s the use in guns and stealth if you don’t have anywhere to hide at the end of the day?
One of the most robust features within State of Decay is the tower defense like base modifications. Buildings that are surrounded by fencing designate that they can be established as a base. Only one base can be occupied at a time but you can turn other buildings into outposts. The number of outposts you can control is directly connected to how large your base is. At the base, players can expect to build much of what is needed to safely survive on their own: storage areas, guard towers, defense walls, sleeping quarters, gardens, workshops, garages, infirmaries and even radio stations. The depths to which you can build within your base is pretty impressive.
Food, water, materials and ammunition do dwindle, so it’s important to keep an eye on exactly what items are depleting and what’s available when your out and about. Side quests featuring supply runs will be a relatively frequent occurrence to keep your home location stocked. However, if you target the same locations for supplies time after time they will run out and become more invested with walking corpses. You’ll have to venture around to many different locations to keep finding a healthy supply of goods.
The main story is expected to last roughly 10 to 15 hours. However, players can continue to “survive” within the open-world for as long as they choose – or should I say are able. Again, a release window hasn’t been solidified for Undead Labs’ “most anticipated” title. Logic may have us assume that the game’s publisher, Microsoft Studios, will aim to have State of Decay released during its annual Summer of Arcade. Hopefully an announcement will be made at this year’s E3 or sometime before. Check back here at OnlySP.com for news and release date information. And be sure to chime in at our recently relaunched forums for all the latest gossip on State of Decay.