March 23, 2013
State of Decay: An Undead Savior?
The first title from indie developer Undead Labs seems to be a promising new venture in action survival games. Will it live up to the hype? Or fall short?
With the horrible failure of The War Z, no new Left 4 Dead, and poor reception of Resident Evil 6, it seems like the zombie survival genre is starting to rot away (pun intended!) among the gaming community. For the past few years, players have wanted to play a full sandbox zombie survival game that simulates a real zombie apocalypse realistically and excitingly.
Developer Undead Labs intends to answer that call with their upcoming XBLA/PC game “State of Decay.” Formed in 2009 by MMO industry vet Jeff Strain, Undead Labs hopes to create a studio with the most talented developers in the industry. Their focus on zombie games comes from the decades-old question of “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?”
State of Decay prides itself by claiming that it’s more than just a zombie shooter like Day Z, Left 4 Dead or Resident Evil. This game is about survival. Its’ game throws you into a world overrun with zombies, where you must hone your survival skills, scavenge for supplies, build up a base of operations, and get other survivors to help you in your quest to stay alive and resist the undead horde.
Even though the survival is the most important part of this game, what I’m most excited for is the different ways to combat the zed army. It’s assumed that you’ll be using melee for most of the game, considering the scarcity of ammo. But along with guns, you can use several melee weapons such as baseball bats, axes, and your own two hands. You can even jump into vehicles and go on a joyride, mowing down zombies. That is, as long as there’s fuel in the tank.
The zombies in this game are coded with semi-intelligent AI (they’re zombies, after all). Their senses are based most directly on sound. If you’re rummaging through a cabinet and making a lot of noise, within moments you’ll find yourself surrounded by the living dead. If you’re shooting up a group of zombies, more will come to replace them. From a survival standpoint, it really makes you weigh your options before you rush into a situation.
Another idea that Undead Labs hopes to push with this game is a huge, living, open-world sandbox for you to explore and survive in. It gives the player the choice to be a nomad, traveling from place to place as you look for supplies. You could also set up a base, gather an army of survivors, and set out on raids to fight the undead and bring back as much loot as you can. But this world changes and develops in real-time. While you’re out looking for bullets, a horde may charge your camp and kill all of your comrades, forcing you to relocate.
This game sounds extremely promising and has the potential to be something great. The graphics aren’t the pinnacle of this generation, but as of the latest gameplay footage (above), it could become a precedent for zombie games to come, with a little bit of polishing. Undead Labs also says that after State of Decay, they plan to release a huge, MMO sequel based on the engine of State of Decay, codenamed Class4. While it lacks a release date, State of Decay is said to be hitting XBLA during the spring of 2013.
Image Credit: Undead Labs