State of Decay 2 brings all the zombies to the yard

State of Decay 2

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.

18 Comments

  1. Holderist says:

    In State of Decay the houses could have gardens too, iirc. But they are basically plots that you pick from a selection of designated areas in your living location. The NPCs did all the work after that.

  2. CAMN says:

    I played the first one quite a bit, and having watched the trailer for the second one… I can’t really say I notice the improvement.

    Don’t get me wrong, the first one was extremely entertaining, I just hoped for a lot more. I know it’s a trailer, so they can’t really show much, but then again… it’s a trailer, they should have shown things to get people excited about the game, right?

    Even the church looks oddly familiar, is it the same one from the first game?

    Also, the animations look a bit clunky, like robotic at some points (getting in and out of cars), I hope they have time to iron out those things from here to launch.

    • Premium User Badge

      DuncUK says:

      I agree with the criticism that this looks alot like the first one… and that church looks almost identical the the one you start off in in SOD.

      That said, I’d happily play this if it’s a similar game but a bit more fleshed out. I liked the fact that you had no fixed protagonist and were forced to swap between each of your survivors as they got tired. It also nailed the atmosphere nicely, I liked that you had a home base to build up, made regular scavenging runs into the nearby towns and could even meet your own survivors in the field that you’d sent to pick up stuff. There was something about the feel of the game that was right that I can’t quite put my finger on.

      Where it fell down was the real time aspect, if you didn’t play for several days then fired up the game you’d find your supplies exhausted and half your guys dead , despite claims they never really patched that out. It also fell into the trap of being a numbers game where you were just keeping the base supply numbers up to stop everything decaying. The combat was fairly rudimentary and the scavenging itself was a rather unpleasant “hold down a button for 10 seconds” to search each container. It was very flawed, but really got the feel right… so a tidied up and fleshed out version of that would do just fine.

      I’ll wait for the Steam release though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Martell says:

      I have 33 hours on SoD YOSE and 109 hours on vanilla SoD.

      What changed exactly? Everything in that video looks just like a slightly prettified version of the first game.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Oh, it’s win 10 exclusive? I guess I can’t play then. Thanks, MS, for making PCs more and more like consoles, every day.

    • Troubletcat says:

      Reminds me of when I couldn’t play Company of Heroes because I was still on Win 2000 and it required Win XP… Hell, I can’t believe most modern games don’t run on 3.1. The utter bastards.

      Operating systems become obsolete and stop being supported. It’s not always convenient but it’s been happening forever. It’s still not like a console, though – you can install the new operating system on your current machine, if you want to. Operator choice! Major system overhauls without bricking your old hardware!

      • Scare Tactics says:

        I guess what he meant was bringing exclusive titles to certain versions of Windows, namely the newest one which no one asked for, is closer to console marketing. There is no reason why SoD2 wouldn’t run on Win7 machines, other than the fact that Microsoft wants to push its spyware-ridden abomination by releasing exclusive titles for it.

    • xvre says:

      You had one year to upgrade to Win 10 for free.

      Apparently, you still can: link to zdnet.com

      • Premium User Badge

        Drib says:

        Install a spyware OS on my computer for no charge at all? What a deal!

        But also even ignoring the constant snooping Win 10 allows, I don’t want to change my OS forward when there’s no reason for them to be setting games as Win 10 only, other than advertising. They don’t need to make it exclusive, they just add the check in there to try to force people to get the new OS.

        It’s crappy and it’s behavior I don’t want to encourage.

    • wombat191 says:

      I know what you mean. while im pissed its only on windows 10, im not annoyed enough to change OS for it

  4. Premium User Badge

    Captain Narol says:

    Indeed, Pip, Zombie T-Rex will be uber-cool !

    At least, we could have zom-bears, Zomb-dog and Zomb-couguar, without pulling the thing as far as dinosaurs…

    I remember that in one of the “Resident Evil” movies, there was even a murder of zombie-crows, and that made for an intense and very original scene of a kind I hadn’t seen before in any other zombie movie…

  5. cpt_freakout says:

    Didn’t expect anything less than the now cliché zombie apocalypse, but thanks for some interesting links! I enjoyed the first game a lot, but this trailer doesn’t show anything different from that, like CAMN above says. TBH they should’ve done away with the sadface one-liners any of us could’ve come up with after a week of binge-watching The Walking Dead and done a more gameplay focused video. Oh well, those will start turning up eventually anyway I guess.

  6. jezcentral says:

    I think a bit too much thought has gone into the modern use of zombies. They are cheap from an AI point of view, and they are not morally dubious targets, either.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Might be neat to see a game that tries to move beyond “just survival” and fleshes out, har har, what living in a world that has zombies means. Rebuild 3 kinda did that, sort of, so at least other people are aware of this as a thing. World War Z (the book) also was based on “okay the zombie apocalypse came and went, let’s get back to business” which was what made it more interesting than The Walking Dead. I suppose I should look for some post-apocalyptia mod for Civilization or something.

  8. 1Derby says:

    The male T-Rex has very short arms. Too short to pleasure himself. This leads to anger, rage, and mass destruction. It is known.

  9. racccoon says:

    Can’t wait for State of decay 2, hang’on I’m already in a state of decay 2! its called the Earth!
    The game looks great anyway. lol

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