State Of State Of Decay: Multi Out, Windows 8 Undecided

By Nathan Grayson on August 23rd, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Honey! I'm home! Also, dead now. Don't ask. It's been a long goddamn day.

Yesterday, Undead Labs re-announced its long-awaited zombie sandbox survivor Class3 as 1) State of Decay and 2) a game that’ll be launching on PC as well as Xbox. Good news all around, basically. But these zombies emerged still partially obscured by a thick fog of mystery. Among other things, Microsoft’s on publishing duties, and other recent titles to share that distinction on PC have come with some rather worrisome strings attached. Also, I spied many things in the new trailer, but another player wasn’t one of them. So, is co-op out? And, at one point, Undead was also working on an MMO based in this universe. What ever happened to that? Happily, Undead got back to me with some very helpful answers.

So then, let’s run down the list. First up, are we looking at another Windows 8 exclusive? For now, Undead isn’t saying “yes,” but it also can’t send our fears into their (hopefully permanent) graves with a “no” either.

“I don’t know for certain yet,” is all an Undead rep (business title – not actual description of their current life/un-life status, sadly) could offer.

Fair enough, but how about the game itself? The phrase “dynamic world,” for instance, can mean a lot of things these days. So how does State of Decay actually, well, work?

“There is a storyline that drives you from your fishing camp (which is how you missed the beginning of the outbreak) to the small town where you set up your base and rescue other survivors, and then to a bit we have not discussed in public,” explained the rep. “But you don’t actually need to do any of those things. You can just run it like an apocalypse simulator.”

“Stuff happens depending on who you rescue, how you upgrade your base (or how you don’t, if you prefer to keep the base spare and yourself on the move), how you interact with the rest of the survivors, whether you fight zombies offensively or defensively, and so on. The storyline missions are the only things that remain the same however you play the game. Literally everything else adapts to you.”

Next up, there’s the matter of multiplayer. Originally, Class3 was set to top off its open-world sandbox antics with a healthy helping of co-op. Now, though? Well, multiplayer’s won’t be part of the package at launch, but you’ll probably find a couple alternative options if you’re patient.

“We announced that we would not be able to launch State of Decay with co-op mode,” said the rep. “Since [MMO follow-up] Class4 is the online world version of State of Decay, we’ll be developing the multiplayer goodness, and our hope is to bring some form of co-op mode to State of Decay after launch.”

And yes – in case you were worried – Class4 is definitely still in the works.

“Yes and yes,” the rep replied when I asked whether Class4 was still a) alive and b) an MMO. “But first we need to get through PAX, and then launch [State of Decay]!”

So that’s where everything’s at as of now. And in spite of my horrific zombie fatigue – a trait I have in common with roughly every media-oversaturated human being and a few particularly savvy orangutans – I have to say this one sounds sort of interesting. The fact that you can just sort of ignore everything and the world will apparently react to that is pretty neat, but how exactly it’ll go about doing that is another matter entirely. If nothing else, the idea’s quite ambitious. Fingers crossed that it lives up to its potential. Sure, I may be sick of zombie plagues, but – between Day Z and Telltale’s Walking Dead – that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a damn(ed) good year for them.

__________________

« | »

, , .

49 Comments »

  1. BigMistake says:

    I’m not hearing anything new here. It’s been known for a while that coop was out of the picture (at launch at least), the storyline and mechanics like basebuilding have also already been talked about extensively. And there was never any doubt that Class4 was not going to happen. Research >.>

  2. Spengbab says:

    Humm. Kind of tired of zombie games anyway. As for W8, who knows. From what I’ve seen, I definately won’t be using it if they don’t allow the classic desktop environment (And I dont mind change, but my PC isnt a tablet, sorry Microsoft, its not my fault).

    Lets just hope MS doesnt buy EVERY DEVELOPER EVER to force W8 exclusivity.

    • thaumoradiance says:

      Even though I might find myself using Windows 8 for reasons undisclosed, I get to agree that W8 exclusivity is a bad, bad thing – and also forcing developers to comply with their blown-out (I doubt there’s any game that would run only on Win8 right now, and not on, say, even Win7) requirements is a pretty unfair practice, unless you believe that in business everything goes.

      On a somewhat related note, it initially took me about an hour to figure out how to properly shut down a machine with Win8 installed, and I have my fair share of usage of various shells/desktop environments (Windows, Linux, Android). That says something about their new “user-friendliness”.

      • roryok says:

        ‘reasons undisclosed’ very secretive. I like it. I was compelled to reply to your post but I can’t divulge why just now.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          I see what you did there…. of course I can’t tell you how I saw it at the moment.

          • atticus says:

            I really want to give you all my personal opinion of these comments, but then I’d have to kill you afterwards.

          • Icehawg says:

            I [ redacted ] and [ classified ], [ classified ] about [ redacted ]. [ entire sentence redacted ]. [ top secret] was the only [ word redacted ] [ word redacted ] [ word redacted ] . Amirite?

      • Mctittles says:

        I’m guessing he did that to keep the focus on the argument at hand and not why he uses W8.

      • Kestilla says:

        When Windows Vista was being pushed, many games would offer, in their options screens, DirectX 10 options and ULTRA HIGH graphics settings, which were grayed out because you didn’t empty your wallet into Microsoft’s piggy bank.

        Which could be enabled many times through mods or simply by editing .ini files in the game folders, running DirectX 10 (!!!) features on your Windows XP non-DX10 AGP card. This has always been a gimmick, it’s their attempt to force people into upgrading (or as many people joked after Vista was released, upgrading to XP), and it’s bad for the game companies releasing titles for such an exclusive group.

        I so want another company to come up with a functional, cheap alternative to Microsoft Windows that performs all the same tasks and gives Windows a run for its money. Without a competitor they think they can just keep forcing this crap on us, like saying how upgrading to DirectX 10 will suddenly make DX9 games look better with all new textures and effects.

        http://www.joystiq.com/2009/05/22/dubious-marketing-microsoft-makes-directx-9-look-really-bad/

        The original Microsoft page boasting sharper (completely redone) textures for everything in the game has probably been taken down since I can’t find it.

    • Milky1985 says:

      It has the normal windows desktop in it, except for the start menu which seems to be the stupid panels thing designed for touch screen.

      you jsut have to press on a panel to make it load, its a bit confusing :/

    • alundra says:

      Worry not, help is on the way, well, actually, it’s here already

      http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/

      This is here is the reason why we must strive to keep the PC platform as open and free as it can be.

    • Bob says:

      I’m with Spengbab on both counts. I’m over zombies in games and vampires in movies. I love Windows 7 and don’t like the look of the Microsoft App Store aka Windows 8.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Given that I have actually bought my Windows 7 legally and would like to remain legal for a while, and the fact that every single thing I want to do currently works 100% on Win7, I don’t know why I / we / anyone needs Windows 8.

      All those “boots up 4x faster zomg” idiots can go away, too. Know how long it takes to go from suspend to ram to login screen? 1.5 seconds.
      And no SSD required for that, either.

      Also why is boot time even relevant for people? 100% of my boots I don’t spend staring at the screen hypnotized, but either go to the bathroom, eat, read, or do something else useful.

      Do those people sitting there with stopwatches as their OS boots up really exist in such droves that it even remotely is a buying factor? Are these people actually serious, or at they bought commenters that I see everywhere?

      I mean COME ON.

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    When people ask what’s wrong with Windows 8, my answer is ‘nothing that can’t be handwaved or otherwise grown used to’. But you can never excuse the horrible business strategy it seems it will be bringing with it.

    Edit- Makes me worry that Win8 exclusives will sell poorly and then it gets labeled as ‘PC sales have underperformed’ instead of blaming the right thing.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      they should use that in their marketing

    • roryok says:

      Maybe not excuse it, but in light of how much money Apple are making, and the threat they pose to Microsoft, I can totally understand it.

      • frightlever says:

        That’d work if MS had a line of Xbox PCs that they controlled from the ground up, but they don’t. IBM left a truck-sized hole in their original PC architecture that Microsoft shovelled money out of for decades. Now they want to put the genie back in the bottle, but the whole infrastructure is based around doing whatever the fuck you want with the platform, whether you’re a massive studio, a PC builder (from Dell to bedroom) or a quirky indie. Nothing wrong with a MS app store, but turning your OS into a giant funnel to drop customers into it is flying in the face of what made the MS/PC platform cool.

        And on top of that they’re trying to justify successive failed MS phones by a final all-in play that’ll foist their latest phone OS look and feel onto the desktop. Genius. How Apple got to Balmer I do not know.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          There’s a very good article about Microsoft’s “downtrend” I wandered across the other week, not sure if it was me following what someone else had mentioned on RPS or not:

          Microsoft’s Lost Decade

          (apparently it’s a bit forgiving to Bill Gate’s hand in all this, but I stll enjoyed the read)

        • roryok says:

          Certainly the huge gulf between the extremes of windows hardware is an enormous challenge, and you’re right – the openness of the PC platform is the single greatest thing about it.

          Microsoft is trying to close that with Windows 8, but they won’t succeed. They want what Apple has: a customer base of millions of devoted users who buy into the idea that it’s better if Apple controls everything because it ‘just works’, and will forgive pretty much anything because they love iDevices. But MS can’t have this, because PC users are used to much more freedom.

          But they are a business. A HUGE one. And the people at the top – right or wrong – believe that the only way that they can succeed is to do the same thing as Apple, and get people buying stuff through the Windows Store and using Microsoft cloud products. They want to lock people in to another ‘walled garden’ of apps and clouds.

          I understand it, but do not condone it.

          As for the failed MS phone bit, I think you’re being a bit unfair there. The phones have not succeeded because they’ve been so late to the market that IOS and Android dominate so massively. The Windows Phone UI stuff is great, and I think it makes perfect sense to bring it to Windows, especially when touchscreens are becoming so commonplace. The fact that you can then pop to a desktop if you want is a perfect compromise. Not being able to permanently disable the Metro UI is the only part that sucks

    • Kestilla says:

      Their idea of tying your windows login to your Games For Windows account (which is the worst institution PC gaming has probably ever seen, and has even eaten my Batman: Arkham City profile so my game will NEVER LOAD AGAIN unless I buy a new copy and a new account to wipe away the junk corrupted data on the cloud profile when, if it were on my computer, I could just delete it and continue) is awful on its face.

      I can’t wait to see the fairytale-esque stories we hear about the troubles people encounter with that one. You try to log in to your PC and the Microsoft servers are down, and Clip-It shows up. It looks like you’re trying to use your computer? Click here for more information.

      Loading- help server is down, please try again later.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The question isn’t what’s wrong with Win8, but what’s wrong with a Win7 where everything works completely well already.

      Outside of having a different number or just plain representing new revenue for MS, I don’t know why consumers would need it.
      At least for the people moving from XP to 7 the argument could be made that you can now use > 4gb of ram efficiently, without mucking about with page extension switches and whatnot. Also you finally got a functional, rule based firewall to work with.

      But what is so lacking in Win7?

      • roryok says:

        There’s nothing wrong with Win7, really. You could argue there was nothing wrong with XP either. But microsoft is a software business. In order to keep making money they have to keep revising their software.

  4. caddyB says:

    Damn.
    I hate it when a new Windows version comes out.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Yeah, me too.

      I definitely like Microsoft better when they’re just ignoring the PC as a games platform.

      • RegisteredUser says:

        How on earth would that be related?

        Win7 has everything you could want. If MS wants to support the PC as a games platform, they should open up more interface documentation and work on integrating DX more closely with graphics driver makers so that the endless game of dog chasing its own tail when making games finally comes to an end.

        Dito for the sound interface, obviously.

  5. Yosharian says:

    Nah not this time, MS. It’s not happening.

  6. roryok says:

    I don’t think it matters too much really. Windows 8 x86 is backwards compatible with Windows 7, and uses the same drivers. Unless this is a Not-Called-Metro-UI-Anymore Game then it’ll run in W8 desktop mode. If it runs on the desktop it’s win32 code. If it’s win32 code someone will make it run on windows 7.

    • frightlever says:

      When DX12 is Windows 8 only? Nothing stopping MS doing thinks at kernal level to stop it running on W7.

      • Matchstick says:

        MS could certainly put checks in the game to ensure it thinks it’s running on Win8 but without a fundamental difference between Win7 & Win8 (like a unique DX version) the chances are that any check would be trivial to spoof or patch out.

      • TormDK says:

        Given that Windows 8 does not run on a completely new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM), I would consider it safe to assume that any new versions of Direct X (Which are not even announced at this time to my knowledge. Give us a source please Fright) will feature on Windows 7 (And likely Vista as well even though it’s not in mainstream support at that time).

        That was the reason that XP didn’t get DX10/11 in the first place, since it didn’t support WDDM 1.0 onwards.

      • varangian says:

        >When DX12 is Windows 8 only?

        Not being greatly interested in Win8 that’s the first time I’ve registered that fact. But really MS, are you still trying to play the same old trick? Every time they’ve got a new ‘better than ever’ OS to release they try to tie it to some, frequently mostly imaginary, enhancement(s) that they believe will compel everyone to upgrade. It rarely, if ever, works. DX upgrades are usually the carrot for the gaming community but how many fall for it? According to the Steam survey it seemed to take quite a few years before DX10/11 systems took off, presumably tied to the natural replacement cycle for hardware. It’s just not worth anyone’s time rushing out to get Win8 then paying a small fortune for a graphics card with a DX12 sticker on the box. Mainly because most of the developers will stick with an older DX version for several years anyway and for the odd game that does get a DX12 build you’ll probably be hard pressed to spot the difference between it and a DX10 game.

        No wonder Valve are getting interested in OpenGL and Linux as a platform, they’re probably getting fed up with being constantly jerked around by MS.

        Edit: Although my general point remains sound so far as I can tell the premise is BS. Having got me curious I tried to get more info on Win8/DX12 but I can’t find any reliable source saying DX12 is/will be part of Win8. Win8 appears to be launching with DX11.1. Unless fright comes up with a decent source for the assertion I’ll count it as baseless.

        • roryok says:

          @varangian in fairness to frightlever I think he was just suggesting that it could happen in the future, not that it was announced.

          And in theory, they could release DX12 and make it Windows 8 only. However, this game is far along in development so they’ll not be changing to a new DX version just to make it Win8 exclusive. If it’s win8 exclusive it’ll just be some kind of easily patchable OS check.

          I think what MS should do to encourage gaming on / gamers to switch to Windows 8 should be to offer discounts on Windows 8 versions through the App Store, or maybe offer extras (DLC etc) for Windows 8 versions that aren’t available on Windows 7 versions. Unlikely but far more groovy

  7. razgon says:

    Windows 8 will cause the Zombie Apocalypse, so you could say it was Windows 8 Exclusive…

  8. NicholasTimothyJones says:

    Game: Do want!

    Win 8 : Do not want!

    Windows 8 is the least appealing OS I have ever encountered. The only way I would use it is if ALL games were to use DirectX WhateverTheHellIsNext on Win8 only.

    • Mctittles says:

      Good thing you can hack directX whatever on previous windows versions :)

      • NicholasTimothyJones says:

        I know but I never fully trust that kind of thing to work. I strongly dislike it when games do not run properly anyway.

    • roryok says:

      Windows 8 is the least appealing OS I have ever encountered

      I’d like to know why. Not picking a fight, I’m genuinely curious what people find the most objectionable?

      • NicholasTimothyJones says:

        Well for me its just the simple fact I do not like Metro. I prefer ‘classic’ style GUI’s with nice menus and explorers. I know Win8 can be set to use Win7 style using reghacks but I would much prefer an option.

        Unless I have missed the option in a recent preview? I am starting to fear I have now.

      • Mctittles says:

        Err…because more things have been taken away than added.
        Because it’s just a store program running on top of existing windows.
        Because with the customization options available in windows since like forever I can already make a “Metro” looking interface pretty easily if I wanted it.

        Because it’s a store, not an OS.

  9. Mctittles says:

    Here’s the question I’d like to ask:

    “When making a Windows 8 exclusive game, is it difficult to program it in a way that ensures existing Microsoft customers will not be able to play it?”

    • Jesus H. Christ says:

      I dont know if you’re trying to be funny, but that was pretty funny.

    • HothMonster says:

      Not difficult, impossible. But that won’t stop them from doing it ineffectively.

  10. Smashbox says:

    I hope the money-hat will make up for folks like me not being able to buy their game.

    I wonder if they think about the fact that its weird to make the money from your product not from actual sales, but from exclusivity and weird contracts. It’s kind of like farm subsidies in a round-about way.

  11. CommanderZx2 says:

    Windows 8 exclusive you say? There goes 90% if not more of the sales on the PC platform.

    • bigblack says:

      Unlike most, I am not at all tired of zombie games yet, and I am absolutely into the idea of this game. However, should it be sold with Win8 exclusivity, not only will I not buy this title, I’ll be skipping over any Undead Labs games I see in the future as well. I really hate this sort of thing enough to carry a grudge (stink-eye right at ya, Bungie).

      And Yes, I’m sure these devs will be positively sobbing over the loss of me, from the lonely heights of their haystack-sized piles of MicroSoft $$$ .

  12. MythArcana says:

    OK, let me add this one to my list. Let’s see…

    No Valve.
    No Ubisoft.
    No ICR games.
    No Windows ATE.
    No more zombie chasers.