State Of Decay PC Releasing Via Steam Early Access

By Nathan Grayson on July 17th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

I’m not usually one to wade into sandboxes fully of decaying body parts (what can I say; guess I’m a bit of a germophobe), but State of Decay has me reconsidering that policy. The zombie survival sandbox from the apocalypse technicians at Undead Labs pushes all the right emergent, never-know-what-might-go-wrong buttons – at least, if word from the haggard survivors over in Console Land is to be believed. Unfortunately, last we heard, the prognosis on PC wasn’t looking so great. And, to be honest, it still isn’t, but at least Undead Labs is doing its damndest to make the PC version worth the wait.

First up, State of Decay will be setting up shop on Steam Early Access sometime late this year. That’s a step in the right direction given that Undead was originally fearing the worst for any kind of reasonable release date, but it’s the improvements to this somewhat notoriously janky game that have me scrawling out death avoidance plans on every loose scrap of paper I come across. Relaying the results of a recent livestream, Undead explained:

“Will the PC version have enhanced graphics? Higher res? Improved framerate? Yes. A high end PC can do all those things, so we’re modifying the game to support those things. The PC version will not have different content or features, however.”

“What the PC version also won’t have are modding tools (for time/testing reasons), but we have no objection to mods or modders, and we look forward to seeing what our PC players come up with.”

Mod tools would be much appreciated, but still: that’s much better than nothing (or the negative-nothing publishers like EA offer). Plus, Undead’s hoping to continue supporting all versions of State of Decay with new content, so the game’s not necessarily at a dead end just yet.

It’s still a ways off, but this is definite progress. And in the meantime, well, maybe I can conjure up some kind of voodoo spell that’ll make me un-sick of zombie games. I mean, I could also just wait and see if that does the trick, but I get the feeling that I’m gonna need all the help I can get.

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32 Comments »

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  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    That screenshot is just a picture of me coming home from the shops.

    • tnzk says:

      Can you confirm if all old British manors are haunted?

      • Mstrymt says:

        ALL British manors are haunted, no exceptions, usually by disgruntled butlers

    • Diving Duck says:

      You really need to remember to get that lawn mower fixed

    • bstard says:

      Looking at the staggering walk it’s either shops being a codeword for pubs or a very heavy pack of milk.

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        Jonfon says:

        Aye, that has the look of the Sunday Morning Shamble of Shame to it alright.

  2. tnzk says:

    For the first time ever, I bought something on the Xbox Live Arcade. On the day of release, of all things. State of Decay is a fantastic game, and it’s only going to be better on PC.

    It even made me forget about that other post-apocalyptic game on the Playstation which sold millions of copies and received rave reviews or something.

    Anyway, one of the best open-world games alongside Just Cause 2.

    • Perjoss says:

      I agree, it’s one of the buggiest games I’ve ever played but its also one of the best games i’ve ever played. There is so much potential here, and considering its not a full retail release its actually very ambitious. There are some really interesting gameplay mechanics in there, and for the first time in a very long time when playing I often get the feeling of “I’m very far from ‘home’ and I’m starting to worry that I might not actually make it back in 1 piece”

      1 thing I loved in particular was that every character had their own set of traits, some were super useful (like if they are an ex cop) but there were quite a few characters that had traits that were interesting but totally not useless in an apocalypse situation (like people that smoke or they are very good at talent show trivia). It’s entirely up to you who you keep as part of your community and who decide to neglect or even kick them out completely.

      good stuff! very rough around the edges, but brilliant at the same time.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    I’m excited about this. From what I can gather, you can control a group of characters one at a time, there’s perm death, and an actual ending.

  4. Diving Duck says:

    How open worldy is this? Will I run into the edges of known zombie infested land quickly or can I choose a direction and blindly head on for yonks?

    • Iceman346 says:

      I have only played the demo version of the XBLA Release (which is limited to 1 hour playtime as soon as you exit the tutorial area) but the map is decently sized. Not remotely near Skyrim proportions obviously but it takes a while to cross it. So I’d say its as open world as a smaller development team is going to get which is a good thing.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      The world’s not particularly big, but there’s moments when it feels pretty big – you accidentally roll your car on a highway and have to trek cross country through fields of zombies, for example.

      It’s a pretty quirky game, and full of weird systems that sometimes don’t seem to fit together too well, but for a budget/XBLA title, it’s great.

    • tnzk says:

      You can go anywhere your heart desires pretty much from the start.

      But you won’t, because you’ll get ripped in half easily. It’s an in-game achievement, but.

  5. Mbaya says:

    Looking forward to sinking my teeth into this. I’m aware the console version is a little…wobbly, so it’ll be interesting to see how it fairs on PC through early access, I guess the good news is it’ll only get biter.

    I’m actually quite impressed that they’re going the early access route and not just releasing as-is as some other developers might do (even if they’re pushed into it by Publishers or have a third party come in for the job). It’s nice to see that it’s not just for indies/alpha’s/kickstarters.

  6. XhomeB says:

    I’m so looking forward to buying this. SoD, Mortal Kombat, Dark Souls and Red Dead Redemption were/are pretty much the only console-exclusive games I wanted to play, so I’m very happy that three of them actually got PC releases.
    Such a shame about RDR, but oh well…

    • vonRout says:

      RDR is the only reason I still owned a 360 until SoD came out – it’s a bunch of fun. Damn shame RDR never made it to PC, though…

    • Syra says:

      Yeah I always had a small list of console games in waiting to see if they will come to pc too ^^, most of them do but ports are often dissapointing (looking at you dark souls). I just bought RDR GOTYed for under a tenner anyway ^^ so I can finally scratch that itch before next gen.

      Though I’m still very happy with my PS3! Sony really do churn out exclusives worth owning a console for, and xbox indies usully come to pc while ps3 games don’t to name a few: Journey, Flower, Dead Nation, Uncharted, Heavy Rain, Unfinished Swan, The Last of Us, God of War…

      I’m a PC gamer but I feel no shame in this ^^

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    RedViv says:

    Cue nigh inevitable news about the first day of Steam giving them more money than the entire span of XBLA.

    • fish99 says:

      That would be quite an achievement given that it sold >500K copies on xbox live.

      • nekoneko says:

        The Xbox has a terrible UI and the window ad for SoD was a tiny box on the third or fourth page of it. Not only are they doing early access to increase visibility, but when the game actually launches it’s going to get a huge chunk of the front store page and everyone who looks at Steam that day will see it. While it’s unreasonable to expect them to beat XBL sales in one day, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll beat them in total.

        • benkc says:

          Probably not day 1 of early access, but if you count early access sales up through day 1 of “official release”, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that figure beats their entire XBLA earnings.

          (Not that that isn’t playing with semantics.)

  8. ZombieJ says:

    Can’t wait. I’ve been hoping to hear this news since SoD came out on Live. No Live for me – I resent having to pay for the console, pay for the game, and the pay again merely to play games online.

  9. Noviere says:

    I’m glad they got over their initial “this is a console game for consoles ’cause… couches!” attitude.

  10. Crainey says:

    I dusted off the old tractor powered 360 for this one. Not only was it my first console game in quite some time, but it was also my first Micro-point purchase. Thoroughly enjoyed the game. I like to think of it as the perfect Walking Dead simulator.

    Suffice to say I will be buying the PC version when it is released too. Hopefully they add co-op in the future, least if they don’t the modding community will.

  11. Sandepande says:

    Yes. Oh, yes. Yehes. Must give them money, so they will create a smashingly lovely sequel too, with more of everything, especially smashinglyness.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Also in reply to Crainey above: I think I read somewhere that the sequel will be a multiplayer thingy built from the original. I think SoD does have an MMO sort of feel already, despite being singleplayer, a bit like Dragon’s Dogma. Could be interesting.

  12. hemmingjay says:

    This is a bit disappointing, isn’t it? Without the promised sandbox mode there is little to get excited for. The xbox version is fun but very buggy and there seems to be no attention to fixing it. It’s either a lack of desire or a lack of know-how, both of which blacken the eye.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It mentions the sandbox mode specifically in the article:

      “Without going into too much detail (although details are coming within a week), you start in the world, build your community, clean the valley out – and when it runs dry, you can leave with some portion of your community and go to “the next valley.” The next valley is the same map, repopulated with resources…but harder. More zombies. More difficulty. Just…more.”

      It sounds great. Very Don’t Starve-ish, but with a group.

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    xao says:

    Having played through State of Decay, I must say that the more I played it, the less I liked it. It starts strongly with you having control of a couple of characters, sneaking and bashing your way through the undead horde, striving for even temporary security. By the end of the game, it became a bad taxi simulation.

    I had a strongly fortified base, with more supplies than any sixteen people really needed. The only thing I ever ran low on was ammo, mostly because the more ammo you have, the more your survivors would use on a daily basis. I divided my time between my survivors, getting all of their basic combat skills maxxed. I kept them all armed with both melee and ranged weapons. I kept them happy, fed, and rested.

    I still spent eighty percent of my time picking up their sorry butts from excursions gone wrong. Keep in mind that I didn’t send them out on said jaunts. Oh no, they just took it upon themselves to go wandering about a zombie infested wasteland for no damned reason. They don’t bring anything back, they don’t find any resources. They just get lost, as often as not inside one of your outposts, a block from your base, no zombies in sight, gibbering in the corner of an abandoned warehouse.

    It gets worse the more survivors you have. Because your situation degrades in real time, regardless of whether you are playing or not, returning from work, firing up State of Decay, and finding four or five of my sixteen survivors “in trouble” or “missing” was a common occurrence. In order to finish the game, I wound up just waiting until survivors got morale missions (which keep them cooped up in your base), and ignoring the missions. It’s easier to make up for the lost morale by scavenging than to keep making pickup runs every fifteen minutes.

    Then there were the bugs. Oh, the bugs. “We’re surrounded by infestations!” Not a single infestation shows on the map. Check the observation points. Every. Single. One. Not a single infestation. Your radio operator finds supplies for you and says she’ll send you the location. Half the time it never appears on your map. And yes, this is after discovering every single location in the game.

    The zombies are generally annoying impediments rather than serious threats, at least once you get the greatest weapon in the game: a pickup truck. This turns out to be a good thing since they spawn according to the needs of the game, not thanks to any rational progression. Have a rescue mission in a cleared and outposted area? You’ll have to wait with the survivor until the game spawns enough zombies for you to kill in order to make the sniveling wretch feel safe. I killed enough zombies to depopulate the entire area four or five times over, but hey, there’s another magically invisible infestation out there, pouring hordes into the area. Guess it’s time to hop in the truck, mow down a hundred or so of them, and rescue another survivor with maxxed combat skills from the whole two shamblers in the house with him.

  14. Branthog says:

    I regret that I wasted my money on this on the 360. I figured it was never going to make it to PC. That said, I don’t know if I’m going to play it on PC, either. This was a game that has a tremendous amount of potential and realized very little of it. Maybe they’ll make something more of it on PC, though . . . it is a game that really deserves to be in constant development. Make it more complex, less gamey, less buggy. It’s definitely pushing toward the kind of Zomboid-style thing I want to see more of, though. Less shooty-shooty and more long-term survival where relationships, social stuff, barricading, building, preparing, searching, hunting, strategizing, planning, fortifying and so on come into play.

    • Sandepande says:

      So, logically, as these folks are (seemingly) the only ones who have managed to get a game (that is not Flash-based) like this out, they must be given money to improve upon what they have done.

      Which I shall do. In the future. Although I detest multiplayer, and will be sad if the sequel, if any, is to be an MMO. Ewgh.

  15. thranx says:

    That means we will be doing a controller-only PC version in advance of the final release for the purposes of feedback.

    From the notes of the live stream. That’s important/should been noted in the article. The greenlight release is going to get panned… this is a company that’s doing greenlight wrong.