State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition Preview

Survival scenario fantasy.

Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain began his presentation of State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition with the statement that his team had been given the opportunity to do something that a developer never gets to do: go back and make the game they originally wanted. This isn't to say that State of Decay wasn't what they wanted to make, but that the resources and the time weren't available for his small team (only 25 employees) to really give it the higher degree of polish and attention it deserved... until now. 

Year One Sruvival Edition, which upgrades the character animations and textures, increases draw distance, and softens shadows and other graphical improvements, also includes new weapons and vehicles. It's a fairly comprehensive overhaul to a game that became an Xbox Live Arcade giant when it released originally on the Xbox 360 and selling over 2 million copies.

State of Decay is a zombie apocalypse survival game that puts the emphasis on survival. In the main campaign you play as a survivor who must roam around a recent-apocalyptic rural town area, collect other survivors, and fortify a base against the undead. Though it has a narrative, the emphasis is on this open world exploration and survival, with nothing feeling canned or especially scripted; and generating dynamic missions outside of the main story that become more and more difficult, as resources in the game are finite. 

It's a tribute to Undead Labs devotion to their fanbase as well. While I played the game, developer Richard Foge took over occasionally to show me some of the Easter eggs from the original State of Decay that directly referenced people in the forums and how fans had directly contributed both to the game's world and its lore. In one case, a fan who was a gun expert was sent designs for the in-game guns, and not only examined what their real-world specs would be, but translated that back into how they should operate in-game, helping them develop better weapons for the game. As tribute, the devs put the fan's favorite gun in the game and, as he asked, attributed it to his grandfather. 

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition includes the original game and the two DLC expansion packs, Breakdown and Lifeline. Additionally, as an added bonus, the characters from the expansions can now be played during the main game as well. Owners of the original game on the Xbox 360 will receive a 33% discount, and an exclusive character.

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition will be available for digital and retail versions for $29.99 on April 28, 2014.