Watching the State of Decay 2 [official site] trailer which came out of E3 it got me thinking about how focused the games industry is on the human undead. Sure there are sometimes a few pets or whatnot which appear sometimes in a horror movie-ish way – this thing which was cute is now scary – but why aren’t people resurrecting dinosaurs? Is this a comment on whether a T-rex has a soul?
Anyway, State of Decay 2 is a multiplayer zombie survival game with no dinosaurs (as far as I can tell) so let’s take a look:
Zombies in pop culture are now far away from the ideas contained within Haitian folklore and vodou. The idea of zombies you’ll generally encounter now has its own symbolic language which has been applied in metaphors for so many different ills. There’s an interesting piece in The Atlantic which points out that nowadays zombies often don’t actually function as a specific metaphor but have become a kind of sufficient standalone scary thing which can itself be the focus of entertainment (although they still tap into broader anxieties in how zombies generally exist in relation to an apocalypse).
The Atlantic piece focuses on how Haitian zombies relate to post-colonialism and slavery. The New York Times has an op-ed which goes into more detail on that with A Zombie Is A Slave Forever. I also remember a How Stuff Works podcast focusing on zombies which dug into zombification as a punishment for societal transgressions and how some of the processes involve neurotoxins which result in the subject being imprisoned within their own body as a type of locked-in syndrome. That would then be followed up with burial, exhumation and hallucinogens.
To return to State of Decay 2 the summary is as follows:
“18 months after the zombie apocalypse, the military abandons a refugee camp in small-town America. Those left behind must band together to survive the fall of civilization and the rise of the undead. In State of Decay 2, it’s up to you to gather survivors, build a community, and redefine what it means to survive.”
So it’s very much the scary entity in and of itself as linked to the apocalypse flavour of zombie. From the trailer it looks like there’s base-building which involves some gardening. That’s what I’m interested in. Less so the spattery gore and the running over determined corpses and the gibsplosion of a human being ripped in two. You may feel the opposite.
State of Decay 2 is being heavily promoted as an Xbone/Windows 10 title coming in spring 2018. That said the FAQ mentions there will be more to share in the future regarding Steam. I’m guessing that means the Xbox live stuff is a timed exclusive rather than an exclusive exclusive but there’s always the chance that the devs might just announce some DLC related to steam power, or just a handy guide to how you could use steam to do things in a post-apocalyptic society. Perhaps it will explain how to build your own autoclave out of a pressure cooker.