‘State of Decay 2’: Here’s everything we know so far

'State of Decay 2' will launch with three maps, each equal to the size of the original

When State of Decay launched, at what might have been the height of the zombie craze, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that the game resonated with Xbox 360 players. The game implemented a bevy of tropes from an eclectic blend of genres, including action-adventure, survival-horror, stealth, role-playing, and strategy mechanics, to deliver a compelling survival-minded zombie apocalypse simulator.

If you’re itching for more zombie action, you won’t have to wait long. After a genuinely surprising announcement at E3 2016, Undead Labs has been laying the groundwork for State of Decay 2, which is set to launch later this year on Xbox One and PC. Here’s everything we know about the sequel so far.

Survive with friends

Microsoft announced State of Decay 2 with a teaser trailer, shown above, during its E3 2016 press conference. The trailer features the tagline “no one survives alone,” cementing the sequel’s premiere feature, co-operative play for up to four players.

Speaking with IGN in December, Undead Labs CEO Jeff Strain said, “The primary goal for multiplayer is that other players bring an interesting new dynamic to the simulation.” With that said, Strain assured players that co-op won’t feel tacked-on. He claimed that the friends you play with will serve a narrative purpose. Although we don’t know precisely how the dynamic will work, we do know that you will have to remain on the same side as your friends.

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Friends you join up with cannot attack you or cause any direct harm to your base. That’s not to say that the actions of your companions won’t have ramifications when you go back to braving the conditions solo, however. Strain suggested, for instance, that if your ally attacks an NPC enclave, there’s a good chance that your enemies will come back for blood later on. In other words, pick your friends wisely, because once someone messes with your game world, you may have to deal with consequences in the drop-in-drop-out co-op format.

When playing co-op, you also won’t be tied down to the same area as your friends. Strain said it’s possible, and sometimes even recommended, to split up for awhile, completing separate missions before meeting back up. He remarked that while it’s advisable to remain relatively close, Undead is leaving that choice up to the user.

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Overall, working as a team seems to be beneficial. In an interview with GameSpot at PAX East, Strain said enemies will not become stronger when playing cooperatively. While this may be a deterrent for users looking for the ultimate challenge, keep in mind that you can always branch off and do things on your own.

Trumbull County has expanded

The first frame of the announcement trailer shows a sign for Trumbull County, the setting of the State of Decay. A car zooms by, and soon skids into a gas station, blasting a few zombies in the process. Marcus, Maya, and Ed — the main protagonists from the original title — emerge from the car. Ed wipes the blood off the glass, as if to say that our time in Trumbull is just getting started.

Trumbull County’s setup will be not only larger, but more varied than the original. According to a post on the official State of Decay site, State of Decay 2 will launch with three separate maps, Each of which cover about as much terrain as the State of Decay world map.

“You should expect to see slightly different environments, definitely different landmarks and locations, different layouts lending themselves to different strategies, unique home sites, and even different mission types,” the post read.

Undead Labs said that the multiple map system makes it easier for them to add new content to the game, suggesting, though not confirming, that it will add additional maps as DLC.

Undead also said it wants players to give players the option to transfer in-game supplies from map-to-map as they play, but the wording suggests the scope of what you can bring with you is still up in the air.

Trumbull may sleep while you’re away

One of the facets of State of Decay that wasn’t so well-received was that events could occur in your game world while you weren’t playing. In an interview with MMORPG, Strain said, “That was an area that players really didn’t like not having a feeling of agency over that.” In order to give people more control, Strain added, “We’ve really re-thought the way that system works.” Expect that system to change, or be discarded entirely.

Night and day

Since January, Undead has posted a new piece of concept art on its site each week. While none of the images offer any definite clues into the game’s features, they do show off the refined lighting system made possible by Undead’s recent switch to Unreal Engine 4.

When can you brave the undead?

State of Decay 2 is expected to launch on the Xbox One and PC in 2017. It will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so you will be able play it on both platforms by purchasing an Xbox One copy of the game. While we don’t know an official release date just yet, but Undead Labs said the game will be part of Microsoft’s E3 2017 Xbox press conference, so we expect to hear more in June.

Updated on 4-6-2017 by Steven Petite: Added information about maps