Rising: Dead State’s Early Access Release

Years of waiting and it comes to this. I’ve been excited about Dead State since I first became aware of it, long before I merged with the RPS Hivemind. Since then, I’ve discovered more about Doublebear’s plans for the zombie survival RPG but I hadn’t had a chance to play it until late last night when the game launched on Steam Early Access. Oh no! Early Access means the game will be crumbling, rotten and bug-ridden like the dead that inhabit it, right? Not so, says the man at Doublebear. This is an early section of the game rather than an early version of the entire game. The first seven days, to be precise, forming an opening act (though for backers and buyers only) rather than a beta build.

I’ve waited long enough for Dead State that I’d be willing to wait a little longer if this was the typical Early Access release. Playing a small section ahead of release seems like a fine idea though – in fact, I’m planning to play as soon as I finish writing this post and I’m hoping to be occupied into the wee small hours. Here’s what to expect:

Dead State: The First Seven Days is an early, WIP preview of the first week of Dead State’s gameplay – an opportunity to prepare your strategy for the full game and help us test and polish the full Dead State experience. You’ll meet some of your initial allies, explore a dozen or so locations, and settle into your base of operations, the Shelter. There are several solid hours of gameplay in the Early Access alone, and it barely scratches the surface of what the full game will provide.

This demo doesn’t herald the arrival of the full release in the near future though. There’s approximately 3-5 months of work left to complete. Among the elements missing from the game are animal NPCs, some perk and XP functionality, and in-game tutorial text. The lack of the latter can be circumvented by peering at the manual, which is available here.


  1. DonJefe says:

    I generally don’t buy early access game as I think it tends to ruin the experience of the full game. It’s like when a friend tells you too much about a movie you’re anxious to watch. But with Dead State I will make an exception.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I backed, so I have early access, but I’m going to wait for the full release. This is very much the kind of game one could easily burn out on, leaving little interest to return even after the game gets some polish and a more comprehensive set of features and environments.

  2. Jockie says:

    I backed and have the demo installed, but not in any particular rush to play and think I may just wait for the finished thing.

    The Steam forums as usual are full of people who didn’t read the GIANT DISCLAIMER ON THE STORE PAGE THAT’S WRITTEN IN CAPS and are complaining that this early demo isn’t worth £20 and that it isn’t like DayZ or Rust. I think the new Steam tags system must be for people like this who are unable to read if a body of text contains more than 3 words.

    • Lokai says:

      There are always a great many people that entirely ignore everything that is written on the actual store page. It makes me wonder why they bought the game. Like, where did they see it and hear about it from to the point where they bought it without looking at any of the information first or gameplay videos or trailers. Very weird that people are even thinking it is anything like Rust or DayZ. It seems like a lot of the people who are so into DayZ that they are willing to buy anything that looks similar are a bit terrible when it comes to researching games before they buy them.

  3. bills6693 says:

    Hate to be the one to say it (unless someone ninjas my post :P) but another delayed kickstarter. Its to be expected I know, but it was meant to be finished in Dec 2013 and now delayed by 2 months just for a sort of ‘demo’ section, and a while yet before the full thing.

    However I give them that they did go over their original goal – however the stretch goals they added did not seem too ambitious, not enough to take several more months of work.

    But as I said, its to be expected. Just looking forward to the final release :)

    • SillyWizard says:

      It might be helpful to think of realistic release dates being whatever the original estimated time of delivery is, + 1-2 years, depending on the scope of the project.

      Reality is always more complicated than optimistic forecasts — especially forecasts specifically designed to be optimistic in hopes that you’ll give away some of your fundage.

      Any Kickstarter project that ends up actually producing what it set out to and not going belly-up is a success as far as I’m concerned.

      • bills6693 says:

        Aye, I understand that now unfortunately. At the time this was kickstarted, this apparent trend was not really a known thing yet.

        • SillyWizard says:

          True enough! This was one of the early ones, wasn’t it?

        • xao says:

          Sure it was! The trend isn’t a Kickstarter issue, it’s a software development issue. Even if we just consider games, how many actually make their a release date established at the beginning of development? How many of those are bug-ridden messes requiring major patches or community work to render fully functional?

          Any ambitious game tends to be a complicated, messy endeavor, that even project management professionals struggle to schedule. Consider that many of the games that Kickstarter funds are made by smaller teams with comparatively little PM experience…

    • AngoraFish says:

      ITT: People who think Kickstarter is broken.

      • bills6693 says:

        Not true (at least on my part).

        On balance I think, although it has lots of positives and negatives, overall its a good influence on the industry and gives lots of oppotunities that would never happen otherwise.

        Ignoring the really big ones, things like this would never get publisher funding. Or WFTO, or lots of other interesting things.

    • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

      Software Project Management 101:
      you calculate how long your software project is going to be, you do a very conservative calculation like: this feature can be done in a few hours, let’s make it a day. Then you sum and round up all the data. You look at it and say: I guess we can do it faster. Then you multiply the time by 2. Usually that is the time that is needed.

      All those small things need LOADS of time, especially stuff like user interface, menu screens, etc.
      The guy from banished has great article about it:
      link to shiningrocksoftware.com

    • BattleXer says:

      This game has been in development since before anyone had even heard of Kickstarter. And they only entered it last year to finally hire some additional staff and get the game over the finish line.

      And another thing: You seem to forget that KS is NOT a pre-order service for the game/idea/product you are willing to back, but solely a way to support a project you are personally convinced of. With no guarantees. Even if Brian Mitsoda was to decide tomorrow that his game was not going to be finished – ever, you could not claim your money back… So, to complain about a missed, estimated shipping date is rather poor form, and shows that your sense of entitlement is stronger than your ability to actually appreciate what DoubleBear are doing here.

      Personally, I have been waiting for this game since I heard of it. The concept is solid, and I am very much looking forward to playing this.

      • HothMonster says:

        I too have been eyeing this for years before it had a release date but that doesn’t make a shifting release date any more enjoyable. Though that certainly didn’t keep me from rushing home to boot the demo. It’s a good thing in the long run, it seems like they have a lot of interface and ease of use polish to do and that’s a good thing to get community input for. Still doesn’t make me any happier that I can’t start tearing into the whole thing yet.

      • InternetBatman says:

        You actually do have a legal right to claim your money back if they do not deliver on a project. Also, kickstarter would be dramatically less effective at raising money if people did not treat it like a preorder.

        • BattleXer says:

          It may be that people treat KS as a pre-order service. And hence the expectation.

          But to my knowledge – and I am willing to be corrected on this issue – anyone who backs any kind of project on the site does so with taking the risk of the project not being completed/turning out to be unviable/being stuck in development hell forever, and never seeing the light of day.

          And the reason for this is that any funds pledged to any project are being used for the development of any given project. This does not per se guarantee an outcome.

          However, I suppose, anyone using crowd funding to get their project off the ground, had better be delivering some sort of result. And as seen with some of the high profile KS project of the last couple of years, they mostly have done so – with varying degrees of success… Or they would have faced the certain backlash of the combined internets.

          But as far as refunds are concerned, I am not so sure anyone can legally argue their case based on the speculative nature of KS campaigns.

  4. SillyWizard says:

    Hah, this is like the 3rd Kickstarter project I’ve had Early Access to which I didn’t realize until reading an RPS article on it. Thanks, guys!

  5. therighttoarmbears says:

    I’d like to point out that humans are merely preapocolyptic, Early Access zombies. You, too, are in an alpha/beta state, and will be liberated someday to be an eternally moving, endlessly hungry, 1.0 human (“zombie”) when the reckoning comes.

    Also this game looks fun.

    • therighttoarmbears says:

      You know, now that I ruminate upon it, perhaps zombies are only trying to upgrade us to full release status when they bite us. They are trying to enlighten us, perhaps. After all, they are clearly superior, right? Never sleeping, never tiring, no regrets, never in conflict with themselves or others of their kind, completely single-minded in the pursuit of spreading their freedom to others. Downright altruistic of them. Perhaps we are the villains?

      • Darth Grabass says:

        That’s pretty much the pitch that the aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers give their victims.

    • noom says:

      Next time I’m caught eating somebody’s brains, I’ll be sure to use the excuse that I’m merely involved in beta-testing for my upcoming zombie “gold” status.

  6. tk421242 says:

    So far I like what I have seen though I did admittedly skip through the dialogue because I do not want to spoil that part of the game till it is finished and polished. My main concern was exactly how complex the turn based combat was going to be and right now it feels like it falls between Fallout/Fallout 2 and Shadowrun Returns. Each weapon has various attack modes with varying AP costs which I like but ranged combat feels very off still.

    I do like what I have seen of the base features. There is a white board that you interact with to assign jobs to various NPCs in the base and already it shows the ability to create armor, weapons and base items such as gardens and rain barrels. In that sense it feels very much like State of Decay with their base building and management.

  7. revan says:

    So I get hooked up on the game by playing what is essentially a demo and then have to wait 5-6 months – or more, knowing this particular developer – for the full experience? No thanks. I don’t need abstinence crisis in my life. :) I’ll just wait for the full release and then lose myself completely in the game for a week or so.

  8. Jerppa says:

    Another fucking zombie game.Ho ho ho.

    • bills6693 says:

      I believe (more from their pitch, not going to play this demo, just wait for the full thing) that its more about relationships and survival, with zombies as the backdrop/setting that brings these people together. Its about managing the relationships you have with the other survivors and their relationships with each other, with the post-apocalypse pressures added in and forcing you together.

  9. strangeloup says:

    I was really baffled by this showing up on Steam because I was convinced that it was already out. After poking around for a bit I realised I had it mixed up with State of Decay.

    It’s reached a state of zombie-game saturation when they all start to blur into one.

  10. bill says:

    So it’s a “Demo”? Isn’t that what these used to be called?

    I remember when early access games came free on dvds attached to magazines. sigh.

    • HothMonster says:

      boohoo preorders come with early builds instead of nothing these days.

      Pay me 15 dollars a year and I’ll print up 3-5 month old RPS articles and send them with a CD full of the demos that get released after these games are finished just like your childhood. Then you can wait till the weekend when you mom can take you to Babbages and hope that they have it in stock. Then when you get home you can pray the disks all work and that your $4000 wordprocessor’s 128mb of ram is enough. Then you can find the 4th word on the 8th page of the book to get past the title screen.

      I remember when you could take out 5,000 page books from the library and type out the code for dozens of full games. AAAAHHHHH the good old days, when everything was better except for all the super awesome convenient things and direct funding for good devs.

  11. Sacarathe says:

    Will it be cheaper after early access ends?

  12. Oakatsura says:

    This kind of early access idea of giving us the first 7 days reminds me of the old way GTA2 worked in the demo giving you 5:00 minutes to run amuck, it was fun getting your thrills on, but until got the full game was rather aggitating, I am still gonna get it, and add it to my already high list of Early Access Games I have in my steam inventory, but darn it, I need some new full games soon or I am gonna pop like an overprimed pimple on the head of a HBP.

  13. Enthusiacs says:

    This is great! We’re actually looking forward to Dead State, and we got the channel to speak with Double Bear about their upcoming game! Take a look! link to enthusiacs.com