A Cause For Concern: A First Look At 'State Of Decay 2'

Undead Labs is currently working on State of Decay 2, and at the Xbox E3 press conference earlier this week, the studio revealed a new trailer for the game. Fans won’t be able to play it until Spring 2018, but we were able to see more of the game behind closed doors. What we saw might be a cause for concern, however, for those hoping for drastic changes to the game.

For the demo, a member of the development team played the game while Mark Coates, an executive producer at Microsoft Studios, provided commentary on the gameplay. The gameplay started on the survivors’ home base: a church. The first major change we noticed was a cleaner UI. The first game’s menus were displayed in the style of a notebook. This time around, categories and smaller panels were displayed in simple and clean squares.

Our first look at some of the survivors revealed that the studio added more traits. According to Coates, there are over 1,000 traits available for each character. Some of these traits can also add an extra skill. For example, one character had a Groundskeeping trait, which gave her the bonus Gardening skill. Another character had a previous job as an action choreographer, which gave him a high ranking in the Fighting skill.

In order to keep the small community alive and content, the survivors need to have a specific amount of food, ammunition, medical supplies, and influence. In the case of the demo, the group needed to increase its income of food. Scavenging buildings for meals isn’t enough, so the next best option is to construct a garden, one of the improvements that came over from the first game. However, someone will need to get seeds somewhere in the world, and the first place to look is in the local town.

Two of the survivors head to town via car, which makes plenty of noise and attracts a large number of enemies. Veterans of the series know that noise should be avoided as much as possible. In State of Decay 2, you’ll have to keep an even more vigilant watch on your noise levels. If you’re making a ruckus, you could bring down an entire horde on your position. The scavenging excursion didn’t go according to plan thanks to the loud noises from the car’s engine. The zombies were attracted to the area, and the duo had to use firearms in order to escape. However, the damage was done. Construction at home base combined with the use of guns by the scavengers brought on a massive zombie horde.

In the past, you had to deal with these problems alone, but State of Decay 2 will finally include support for co-op and online multiplayer gameplay.By default, you'll play the game by yourself, although you can also play with friends if they join your game or you invite them to kill some zombies with you. If you want the help of strangers, you’ll have to launch a flare, which makes your game available to join for a small amount of time.

At this point, another developer started to play the game, and the two players attempted to quell the aggressive zombies. However, it was too little too late. A larger zombie grabbed one of the characters and killed him with a few blows. There were still zombies everywhere, and the camp was overrun with them. If this incident occurs, or if you’re looking for a change of scenery, you’ll have to pick a new site to place your base of operations. The new game will include three large maps, and if you want to try out a different area, you’ll have to dismantle your old base and transfer it near the area you wish to explore.

To someone new to the series, these features sound exciting, but veterans of the first game will notice only a small handful of new features, specifically the change in UI and the support for co-op or multiplayer. Those additions felt like they could have been released as an update for the current title. However, there’s more than enough time for Undead Labs to introduce more changes. With a Spring 2018 release date, State of Decay 2 will doubtless continue evolve throughout its development cycle.

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NameState of Decay 2
TypeOpen-world, Survival
DeveloperUndead Labs
PublisherMicrosoft Studios
PlatformsPC, Xbox One
Where To BuyN/A
Release DateSpring 2018