State Of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, Microsoft’s zombie sleeper hit rises again - Games Weekly

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

State Of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, Microsoft’s zombie sleeper hit rises again

Many games are left to rot in the wild after they’re finished, but that’s not what happened to State of Decay. Since June 2013, Undead Labs has released expansions and updates that addressed many of the issues players had at launch. Soon, the game’s gritty take on survival in a zombie-filled apocalypse will be hitting the Xbox One and, for the first time, retail. We spoke with lead designer Geoffrey Card to learn what’s new, for both fresh players and veteran survivors.

“It sort of represents the first year of the game’s progress,” Card says of the game’s name. “It also gives you that sense of the way people mark time. After the apocalypse hits, there’s no point in saying 2015 now. You might as well just say, ‘Year one of the new world.’ So it sort of gives it that apocalyptic vibe.”

The Year One Survival Edition includes everything from the initial release, as well as all of the content from the open-ended Breakdown DLC and the Lifeline campaign. Undead Labs is giving the game’s presentation some muchneeded special attention, too. The original release was a lot of fun, but at times it was as visually attractive as a worm-eaten corpse. Card says it now runs at 1080p, with better texture quality, as well as improved and newly added character animations.

All survivors have a blade as a weapon of last resort, in case you run out of ammo or your golf club breaks. “If you’re in the apocalypse, common sense is you’ll have a knife at all times,” Card says. Players looking for something more explosive can use the new incendiary ammo in shotguns, which lets them set clusters of zombies ablaze.

A new mission chain is spread throughout both campaigns, centered on a mysterious radio broadcast. Card won’t give up many specifics, but he says that players who complete it are rewarded with new vehicles and equipment for sticking with it. If you don’t have that kind of patience, you can still track down new SUV auto types in the world or some new super-exotic vehicles that the team has stashed away in the world.

State of Decay has sold more than two million copies since its release, which is a number that’s not lost on the team. “So much of what’s gone well for our studio recently has been people supporting our game, people playing our game on Twitch, people talking about it, and sharing it through word of mouth,” Card says. “We feel like we owe a lot to the people who actually stick with the game and make it a part of their lives, so we’re trying to find all the ways we can to reward them.”

For instance, returning players won’t have to start fresh if they don’t want to. An update to the Xbox 360 and Steam versions will let players export their saves into the enhanced edition of the game. As thanks, those players will gain access to an exclusive new hero, Gurubani Kaur. She’s a college student whose parents immigrated to the United States from India. Her parents kept a number of relics to remind them of their homeland. When she comes to visit and finds her parents gone, she grabs a pair of swords and a suppressed World War 2-era rifle. “Now she’s basically sort of a badass Sikh warrior,” Card says.

Undead Labs will continue to reward players who stick with the game, too. They’ll be supporting Xbox Challenges, giving players special in-game rewards for completing these time-sensitive tasks. As Card sees it, The Year One Survival Edition isn’t going to be a case of firing and forgetting it. “It’s part of an ongoing interaction,” he says.

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