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.