Microsoft have blown us all away with the announcement of five new studios to the fold of Microsoft Studios. The Initiative is the new studio formed in Santa Monica, California. Playground Games is the UK studio responsible for the Forza Horizon series of racers, including the new UK based Forza Horizon 4. Undead Labs are the brains behind the recent zombie survival game State Of Decay 2.
Probably the biggest coup is the purchase of Ninja Theory, who were the masterminds behind the recent Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, one of the best games of the last few years.
Completing the quintet are Compulsion Studios, who are currently working on We Happy Few.
State of Decay 2 only released a couple of weeks ago, but Microsoft seem to be happy with the way it’s performing.
Over on Xbox Wire, they are celebrating the fact the game has exceeded 2 millions players since launch, revealing some interesting trends and data since the previous milestone of 1 million players. So far, survivors have eliminated close to 2 billion zombies! In the last week, players tended to survive about three days on average.
Xbox also discussed the fact they have released a patch lots of key fixes, gameplay tune-ups, and quality of life improvements. For further details on what’s changed see the full patch notes here.
Yes, I know you’re all excited about that other trailer, but the new gameplay trailer for State Of Decay 2 has also been released, and yes, the footage is making this look rather special as well!
State of Decay 2 is launching on Xbox One on May 22nd, and will be free to all you Game Pass subscribers out there, but its also available to purchase for the low price of £24.99. State of Decay 2 is the ultimate zombie survival game in an open world where you and up to three friends build a community of survivors. It’s up to you to establish a base, develop your characters’ abilities, and manage resources to survive as a group in a world where choices matter and every decision has lasting consequences.
Every player’s experience is unique – as you play, the open world responds to your decisions, developing in real time and dynamically offering new opportunities for you to demonstrate your own personal survival priorities. These decisions also result in real consequences that affect your community. Send your best scavenger across the map to gather medicine for a sick friend… but know that they might not make it home. Help your neighbors, and you might make new allies… or you could decide that you need their food supply more than they do. In the end, how you survive might surprise you.
You can read the TiX review of the original State of Decay here.
State of Decay: Year one survival edition throws you into what was once a beautiful scenic town that has been overrun by zombies, not only do you have to survive, but you have to keep others alive too and stop them from becoming scared and hungry, you also need to scavenge for supplies too – in some respects it’s a bit like looking after children, without the zombies obviously, but it’s good fun doing it.
When State of Decay first hit the Xbox 360, zombie fans couldn’t wait to get their hands on it, and clearly it was popular enough to get the Xbox One treatment with all the DLC thrown in. If you already own the game on the Xbox 360 you’ll get 33% off this version, plus you can also transfer your save over.
If you are new to the game, you don’t really get much of an explanation as to what is happening, except that there are zombies, and zombies eat humans – you are human, therefore you need to try to survive. To do this you’ll need to scavenge for supplies – from food and ammunition to building materials that can be used to fortify your home base, which is where the survivors live and where you will start most of your missions. Completing missions will earn you influence, which is essentially the currency of the game.
Influence allows you to take weapons out of your base’s locker, but everything you take decreases your overall score. As you explore the different areas of the game you can return items to bump your influence back up. Having a high influence will allow you to upgrade the base with extra facilities, such as new sleeping areas or a garage that can repair your vehicle each time you park it there. It adds a whole new side to the game that I really enjoyed – it made scavenging feel more worthwhile too.
The map is quite large, which you will really feel should you venture out on foot, thankfully there are plenty of vehicles to commandeer to get you around, and they are also great for running over zombies – though if you hit too many, the car won’t last very long and you’ll soon be off searching for a new motor. The year-one edition treats you to a brand SUV, which is pretty cool, as well as some paint jobs that can be found throughout the game. Rather helpfully, the map marks off any locations you have explored allowing you to concentrate on what and where you need to go next.
As you explore, you’ll eventually come across other survivors that will come and stay at your base or take up residence at any outposts you may have built or unlocked, having more survivors allows you to swap between the different characters, this allows you to spend time upgrading each of their abilities, such as fighting, shooting and stamina. Inactive characters will have their stamina and vitality restored, so it’s worth swapping characters often.
On the 360, State of Decay wasn’t the prettiest game in the world, and felt quite primitive in some of its movements, like when your character is searching through boxes – nothing really happens, boxes don’t get opened and shelves look exactly the same even when you find items. When barricading an area, wooden planks just pop into place out of thin air when you cover up windows! The Year-One edition of State Decay has been remastered to 1080p and had the lighting and textures improved, which has made the game look a lot better, but the character models don’t feel like they have changed, which is shame. As well as the graphical improvements, the game has had an extra 30 minutes of music composed by Jesper Kyd – Rich will certainly be happy with this, he has quite the soft spot for Jesper Kyd!
Combat in State of Decay is fairly limited and is split between melee, firearms and finishing moves, the Xbox One version has introduced some new weapons to discover as well under-barrel attachments that can hold grenades and incendiary ammo. The combat animation have been overhauled but I’ll admit that they don’t seem vastly different but the finishing moves still look and respond really well! There is also a new mission type that sees random weapon crates drop around the map, if you can take out the large amount of zombies surrounding them, you’ll get access to some of the most powerful weapons in the game. Despite the limitation in the combat I found it a nice challenge, especially with the constant fear that if you make a mistake with a character that sees them die, then you lose them for good, which is quite hard to take when you have spent a long time investing in their abilities. Where possible it’s worth brining a survivor with you to help out on solo missions.
The Year-One edition is certainly not short on content, you’ll also unlock Gurubani Kaur, a survivor with an awesome sword that I have had a lot of fun take zombies out with, it’s worth noting that only Xbox 360 State of Decay owners will get this character to unlock. The game also comes with the two pieces of DLC that were previously released, “Breakdown” and “Lifeline”.
The “Breakdown” DLC adds a Sandbox Mode, where the player leads a group of survivors in repairing an RV in order to escape the valley. It’s actually a lot of fun as there are 6 levels where you and your fellow survivors have to survive stronger enemies while trying to find the RV to escape, tactics were really important in the main game and even more so here. The RV spawns in random locations, which will constantly keep you on your toes. When you find the RV you then face the difficult decision of having to choose a maximum of six characters who will escape in the RV. I say difficult, it isn’t really as you don’t have any chance of gaining any empathy for the characters you help survive.
The other piece of DLC, “Lifeline”, allows you to play as the army on the first day of the outbreak, it’s a great idea to play the game from a different perspective, it’s just a shame that the story from the main game didn’t hit a sweet spot with me otherwise I think I would have enjoyed this DLC more.
Although the story is somewhat of a letdown, I’m having a great time with State of Decay. Frankly it’s a package full of great content that I’ll be playing for many months to come, the majority of the graphical improvements are good and the new weapons are great to play with. I love the micro management side of the game and the responsibility that comes with looking after your fellow survivors. I’ve been much more careful to look after my characters after losing one of my strongest survivors – I can’t remember the last time I have had to do that in-game without being punished, if you are looking to play something a bit different then this is well worth a look at – it is a shame that there is no co-op support, Rich and I would have had a blast playing this!
Thanks to Undead Labs for supplying TiX with a download code
State of Decay Year One Survival Edition releases later this month and with its release comes an additional 500 achievement points to hunt. The game, which released back in 2013 on Xbox 360, will release on Xbox One with both DLC packs, reworked game mechanics, improved animations and in 1080p at 30fps. There’s new characters, weapons, vehicles and a new mission – that’s a whole host of zombie survival goodness!
Check out the achievement list below, but beware… there be spoilers ahead!
How You Get It
Cannibal Family Picnic
Got to the Mt. Tanner Ranger Station.
Escaped Mt. Tanner and found the survivors at the church.
Escaped Trumbull County.
It Was Just a Police Action
Found out what the Army was up to.
Home on the Grange
Played matchmaker for Quentin and Becca.
Saw things through at the courthouse.
Helped the Wilkersons resolve their differences.
Destroyed 5 infestations in one day.
Watch the Birdie!
Distracted zombies to complete an objective.
I Can See My House From Here
Completed a survey activity.
Built one of every type of facility.
Built a facility.
I’ll Be There For You
Earned 500 Fame.
Killed a member of your community to prevent them from turning.
Come and Knock On Our Door
Convinced another enclave to join your community.
Built 8 outposts.
Everywhere You Look
Got 15 people in your community.
Movin’ On Up!
Relocated your home base.
Maxed out a community member’s Cardio skill.
Trust Me, I’m an Expert
Earned a skill specialization for one of your community members.
Destroyed 10 hordes in one day.
Ya Always Were An A-Hole Gorman
Sacrificed your life in a blaze of glory.
Got killed by zombies.
Get Yo’ Freak On
Killed one of each freak zombie type.
Killed 3 zombies with an exploding propane tank.
Performed a hand to hand double kill special attack.
Gotta Enjoy the Little Things
Used a car door to kill a zombie.
Get Outta My Dreams
Killed one of each freak zombie type with your car.
Ran over 250 zombies.
Completed 50 missions or activities with the same character.
Get Over Here
Invited a community member to follow you.
Invited a community member to follow you 10 times.
Order at DZ
Intercepted a mysterious supply drop.
Letters from Cleo
Intercepted 5 mysterious supply drops.
Maxed out a community member’s Shooting skill.
Maxed out a community member’s Fighting skill.
Maxed out a community member’s Wits skill.
Apples and Beans
Fixed delicious snacks 5 times.
Powder and Primer
Crafted ammunition 5 times.
Watch the World Burn
Killed 25 zombies with incendiary shotguns.
How You Get It
Went out in a Blaze of Glory at Breakdown Level 1 or Higher.
The Dead Man
Destroyed 5 Bloaters at Breakdown Level 2 or Higher.
Performed 50 Zombie Executions at Breakdown Level 3 or Higher.
Collected 150 Resources at Breakdown Level 4 or Higher.
Destroyed 5 Juggernauts at Breakdown Level 5 or Higher.
Executed 50 Stealth Kills at Breakdown Level 5 or Higher.
Reached Breakdown Level 6.
Unlocked All Heroes.
Reached Breakdown Level 2.
Reached Breakdown Level 3.
Reached Breakdown Level 4.
Reached Breakdown Level 5.
Completed All Research Projects at Breakdown Level 1 or Higher.
Burned 100 Zombies with Fire at Breakdown Level 2 or Higher.
Destroyed 5 Ferals at Breakdown Level 3 or Higher.
Earned 25 Headshot Streaks at Breakdown Level 4 or Higher.
How You Get It
Wired for War
Killed 100 zombies with Drone Strikes.
Rucks in Trucks
Delivered 6 rucksacks to your base in the back of a single vehicle.
Survived 10 sieges on your base in a single playthrough.
Survived 2 minutes within a Danger Zone.
Sent an energy drink flying.
Completed all hunting missions with Sasquatch.
War Never Changes
Survived detonating a nuclear device in Danforth.
Last Voice of Danforth
Escaped Danforth with Vienna Cho in your community.
Brought Thomas Horn to the Landing Zone, at least.
Successfully extracted Julene Horn.
Successfully extracted Michele Martin.
Successfully extracted Timothy Hall.
Successfully extracted Hadley Westen.
Successfully extracted Dan Bogatz.
Successfully extracted Madison Grant.
Brought Eldridge to Black Friday, but he won’t leave.
Microsoft confirmed yesterday that the next generation port of State of Decay will be hitting our beloved Xbox One systems this April.
Undead Labs’ State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition won’t just be a port though, it’s going to be getting the full 1080p treatment when it launches on 28th April 2015, making it the perfect time to play the zombie survival title if you missed it on the Xbox 360.
It’s looking pretty damn glorious from the screenshots that Gamespot have acquired. Here’s to hoping that this remastered edition will have a lot of the kinks and technical issues fixed, as State of Decay was a great downloadable game.
Earlier in the week we updated you on how Undead Labs intend to release State of Decay in Spring 2015 with an all new Year-Survival Survival Edition. Below are a handful of newly released screenshots and the official fact sheet. Developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios, one week after its launch on Xbox 360 in June 2013, State of Decay became the fastest-selling original game ever on Xbox Live Arcade, selling over half a million paid downloads. The franchise has sold over 1 million paid downloads to date between Xbox 360 and Steam.
The end is here. Life as you know has gone to hell. Now, you and a few scattered survivors must band together to survive and rebuild. Choose where to make your stand, design and fortify your home base, perform daring raids for food and ammunition. The open-world constantly generates new content based on your actions and the ever-increasing zombie threat. No two players experience the game the same way. How will you survive the (next-gen) zombie apocalypse? “State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition” brings the hit zombie-survival-fantasy franchise to Xbox One and PC, delivered in beautifully premastered 1080p.
All ‘first-year’ content completely remastered:The original State of Decay, along with major add-ons Breakdown and Lifeline are fully-remastered in stunning 1080p. Improved lighting, textures, and shadows bring the faded beauty of Trumbull Valley and the city of Danforth to life like never before. Animations and combat mechanics are completely over-hauled to add a new level of intensity and action. Hundreds of a smaller improvements to core game systems make “State of Decay: Year-One Edition” a must-have for Xbox One and PC.
Xbox One additions
Community Challenges and Rewards
New content: More than you can pack into a single backpack, “State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition” has enough content to satiate new and old fans alike:
New Mission Type: Cleo Drop – Mysterious military-looking supply crates are dropping into remote areas across all maps, and their beacons seem to attract massive hordes of zombies. If you’ve got the firepower, you can pick up some of the rarest and most powerful equipment in the game.
New vehicles: SUV…and more – The new SUV sets a new standard for durability, and it doesn’t end there — brand-new vehicle skins are distributed across all map.
Unlocking Heroes: Lifeline Roster – Your favorite characters from “Lifeline” can now be unlocked in “Breakdown” with a new set of Challenges. Hop into the familiar boots of Hawkes, Kilo, and Vince … or take control of the previously unplayable Kelly “Sasquatch” Eldridge
New weapons: Under-barrel attachments and Incendiary Ammo – Now if you find the right weapons, you can switch to an under-barrel grenade launcher or a masterkey shotgun on your assault rifle … or load incendiary ammunition into any shotgun, and take out crowds of zombies without even switching weapons
New Music – Featuring 30 minutes of intense new music from award winning composer Jesper Kyd.
Community Improvements – The facility actions from ‘Lifeline’ now show up in every version of the game, including ammo-refilling and snack-making at your base. NPC Enclaves are also getting a makeover, making it easier to trade and build trust with them.
State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition will be out in Spring 2015 and has already been priced at $29.99 / ₤19.99 / €29.99 with an anticipated rating of ESRB “M-Rating”; PEGI 18+.
“Throw Me a Lifeline” say’s Undead Labs as the next major expansion for their State of Decay title is currently in progress. The second expansion pack is titled State of Decay: Lifeline, which has no final release date as of yet! That’s a “YET”, so just have some patience!
Quoted by Undead Labs on their blog:
We are just now digging into the internal playtest process (which is how our favorite stalkers players on Steam found out about the title a couple of days ago – with PC testing, we are playing using Steam, so we can experience it the way you do). We’re not yet ready to discuss features or make promises. All we can tell you is that it will offer you a new way to play your favorite survival game, that we intend to launch on PC and the Xbox 360 at the same time, and that yes, it will broaden your horizons by a few kilometers.
The next update will bring with it a whole new map too, but no further comment was added other than the tease of new content.
State of Decay developers; Undead Labs have agreed a new multi-year, multi-title agreement with Microsoft Studios according to a recent blog post over on http://undeadlabs.com.
I wanted to let you know we’ve signed a multi-year, multi-title agreement to extend our development relationship with Microsoft Studios. We’ll be able to share details later this year, but as with State of Decay, we think it’s best if we just keep our heads down and build some prototypes before we talk too much. For now, suffice it to say there are big things going on with State of Decay.
So whilst this doesn’t give too much away, it does reassure State of Decay fans that the game will continue to receive updates and patches whilst new projects are also being planned. Blog author Jeff went on to thank Phil Spencer – head of Microsoft Studios – for his on going and continued support.
If this were a press release, we’d have a carefully vetted quote from Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, expressing Microsoft’s excitement as well. But pictures speak louder than words, and we think Phil spoke pretty loudly during the keynote at E3 last year:
The potential Undead Labs seem to ooze is undeniable and like you, we are excited to see what they do in 2014 and beyond with their newly extended Microsoft Studios agreement. State of Decay Xbox One Edition anyone?
Almost, that’s the message from Executive Producer Jeff Strain over at Undead Labs. Their first piece of DLC for State of Decay is almost with us. He went on to say;
First, our excellent QA team at Microsoft will spin up multiple teams on two continents for around-the-clock testing. Most of these guys were involved with State of Decay, so they are not only able to find bugs — which is always an essential task — but also help us understand where we are and are not hitting the mark for the survival experience we’re working hard to create. These guys are hard-working, passionate badasses, and we’re glad they’ve got our backs.
Through next week the QA teams will be playing Breakdown, logging any issues they find, and sending feedback to the development team. We’ll spend our (probably quite long) days reviewing, prioritizing, and squashing bugs, and incorporating the design feedback from the QA teams, members of our publishing team at Microsoft, and of course our own developers here at the Lab.
But, assuming no catastrophes, we plan on getting Breakdown into your hands by the end of October.
State of Decay is an open world Zombie survival title that took the Xbox Live Arcade populace by storm, receiving both positive and negative reviews from critics alike. Although we (well… mostly I) gave it a 5/10 on initial review I clearly stated I looked forward to seeing more from studio in terms of patches to fix bugs and of course DLC. Well here we go, the new DLC is build to add challenge to those that think they have mastered game. Full details can be found here as detailed by Geoffrey Card, one of the Designers on State of Decay.
Below is a list of all the changes and explanations as taken from the Undead Labs website. You never know, they may have forgiven us for our low score by now and even be willing to let us review this piece of DLC. We’ll keep you updated.
***Breakdown DLC Changes***
The first mark of great skill is how well you avoid mistakes. Thus, one of the best ways to test your skill is to ramp up the consequences of those mistakes. As difficulty rises in Breakdown, the damage you receive from zombie attacks increases. It is up to you to stay out of their clutches.
The zombies’ great advantage in State of Decay is their tirelessness. You experience fatigue. They don’t. As difficulty rises, it takes a little more effort to bring down each zombie, which requires you to manage your stamina more carefully.
In a typical horde, you have a large pack of lumbering slow zombies, and a small handful of fast-moving crazy dudes. If you want to flee, all you have to do is kill the crazy dudes, and you can outpace the ones that fall behind. But now, as difficulty rises, the number of fast zombies in the population will get higher and higher…until it gets kind of ridiculous.
Do you ever get that feeling that you haven’t seen a Feral in over four hours of play? As you progress through Breakdown, that feeling will very quickly disappear. (At one point, I did a brief test where I made one out of every six zombies a Bloater. It was a very different game. Don’t worry, I scaled them back…a bit.)
When we update the game to support Breakdown, everyone will get our updated resource system, which is designed to make scavenging fairer and more consistent across every player’s experience. As an added bonus, when you play Breakdown, the new system allows us to slowly drain out some of the Resources and items as difficulty increases.
We’re putting some limits on this, though — scavenging an empty house isn’t all that fun, and we never want the world to feel like a desert. So the resource drain will hit a floor and stop, while the zombies keep on getting tougher.
Remember all the sneaking around you did during the tutorial? Remember how little of that you did after you got your first car? Cars are super-powerful inState of Decay, and they’re everywhere. Smash one up ramming it into a horde, and you can simply trade it in for another.
But now, as difficulty rises, the number of available vehicles drops like a rock. Suddenly, cars become a rare resource that you have to use wisely or not at all, and you’re no longer as inclined to make a suicide run straight into a Juggernaut just for kicks. Sneaking around on foot, using your car as a last resort, becomes one of the best strategies.
And you should probably try to keep your Tools Expert alive.
Keeping Up With You
When I told Sanya about my plans for the difficulty ramp, she immediately told me to take my plans, and double them. Add more difficulty levels, ramp the challenge level higher and harder, because that’s what our players are searching for. So I’ve made it my goal to create a version of the game that gets so hard by the end, I can barely play it, and then let you folks show me how it’s done. Are you ready?