Since their first announcement at E3 in 2012 State of Decay from Undead Labs has managed to pique the interest of a community not satisfied with the current video game offerings for the zombie survival genre. Ears perked at the mention of a realistic sandbox zombie survival game. With everything mentioned and the promise of more to come the most head-turning announcement wasn’t the real-time building, realistic degradation of materials and social interactions, but that this impressive vision was coming to the Xbox Live Arcade.
For any developer, console or PC, the list of features in State of Decay would be daunting. Starting off with the barest of supplies – literally a branch to defend yourself – you’re set loose to survive. How to survive is completely up to you as you meet new characters and explore the world. Each new member might bring with them unique and useful attributes, as a doctor or mechanic, but they’re also a mouth to feed.
Of course there is always the threat of zombies which gradually congregate and form hoards if not thinned occasionally. A single zombie can take a dozen melee hits from a blunt object, so upgrading your weapons is an imperative. While guns and bullets can be found scattered around the abandoned houses and shops, they have their drawbacks with sounds attracting attention and even slowly breaking down as used. If that weren’t enough, there is even a base-building mechanic that allows you to upgrade your Home Base with structures to accommodate more members, build new weapons or produce desperately needed materials. It’s a tenuous balance, as space is a premium.
At first I asked a question that probably passed through many others: Could such an ambitious, realistic and open-world game truly come to Xbox Live Arcade? After my hands-on at PAX East 2013 my hopes are soaring. Console gamers finally have a zombie survival game to pin their hopes on in State of Decay when it releases later this year.
See our off-screen gameplay and developer interview with State of Decay and Undead Labs on the PAX East 2013 show floor.
Not into video or just want more? Check out our interview with State of Decay on Front Towards Gamer Radio podcast.