It has been over three years since the release of Undead Labs’ State of Decay 2. Expectations of the next game in the series, State of Decay 3, are only growing. Even after continuing updates and improvements for State of Decay 2, this hasn’t stopped Undead Labs from looking towards the future. Last year, the announcement trailer for the third game had dropped at the 2020 Xbox showcase.
Here are 5 things that could make State of Decay 3 stand out as a fantastic entry to the zombie survival genre, including concepts that were teased in the trailer last year.
1. CHALLENGING NEW ENEMIES
The cinematic trailer was brief; however, it showed us an interesting and exciting concept to look forward to. This is the introduction of zombified wildlife which will most definitely bring a new depth towards exploring the already tense and terrifying apocalyptic world.
The absence of animals in the previous two games had always been quite suspicious: There are billions of animals in the world, and yet it’s only humans/zombies to be found? Luckily, this is no longer, and players will now need to worry about accidentally running into a zombified deer that could catch you off guard. These zombified animals will presumably carry over some of their species’ traits such as a deer’s speedy movement which could make them a formidable foe, especially when playing as a character with a low stamina gauge. Maybe zombified wolves still move in packs which could prove to be challenge for players if they do not carry a firearm.
The inclusion of undead wildlife could also mean that there are non-zombified animals in the game. After all, there are human survivors, so why not animals? Perhaps there could be a new hunting mechanic introduced as another means of providing food for your community.
2. A WEATHER MECHANIC
The trailer also showed off a harsh snowy climate which suggests that there will likely be more emphasis on weather variation and seasonal changes. A weather mechanic has been a missing feature from the previous games and has been heavily requested by fans on online forums forums ever since the first game released. This feature could really shake gameplay up in a number of ways. For example, snowy conditions could affect driving in the game, such as skidding on ice, or maybe ruining the engine start-up.
Intense conditions could also fetch more into the survival element of the game and drive the player to manage new sections of survivor management, such as a temperature meter which forces the player to adapt their wardrobe to fit the temperature and weather conditions. A mechanic like this can be seen in games like Read Dead Redemption 2 or Ark: Survival Evolved.
Outside of the trailer, however, there are still other features that haven’t been teased but nonetheless would be a more than welcome addition to the franchise.
3. A LARGE CITY MAP
One of the more popular requested concepts on the online forums is a large and dense city map location to include for players to scavenge buildings and kill hordes of zombies. Think of the small town areas of the previous games but on a much larger scale and including tall skyscrapers and other buildings to loot. This type of map could make the environment feel more challenging and claustrophobic, and having narrow streets filled with hordes of zombies would add strongly to the apocalyptic atmosphere. With that said however, based on previous State of Decay games, the denser, more urban areas of the game tend to carry the most valuable loot. So perhaps a city map could have a higher challenge for the sake of a large pay-off.
With the stronger hardware of the Xbox Series X/S, it would make sense for Undead Labs to try and stretch the capabilities of these new consoles by creating a detailed environment such as this.
4. IMPROVED SURVIVOR RELATIONSHIP MECHANICS
Another popular fan requested feature is an in-depth relationship system. State of Decay 2 provided a more refined version of the survivor relationship and community role element that plays a large part in what makes the game so enjoyable. However, there is still room for improvement in this area.
Specifically, including more in-depth character relationships; for example, recruiting family relatives, childhood friends, and other backgrounds with depth and character would really add more weight to the community aspect of the game. In addition to this, the ability to marry or engage in romantic, friendly, or rival relationships would really knock the community element of the game out of the park. It could even rival other impressive relationship mechanics such as the Nemesis System from the Middle Earth: Shadow games.
These improved relationships could also add to community tension if a character was to potentially die and, for example, their spouse was to react negatively and impact their performance ability and personality in response to this. I never thought I’d be in a situation where I want a survivor to die in order to see the impact it has on others.
5. MORE THREATENING HUMAN AI
One of the main criticisms for the previous two games is that the interactions with hostile human characters are very basic and undeveloped. Interactions mainly consist of an enclave stealing resources, resulting in a short and simple gunfight which usually finishes within 5-10 seconds after an instant headshot kill. State of Decay 3 absolutely needs to develop the hostile human encounters to feel more challenging and become a more dominant threat to the player.
Taking advantage of the current generation Xbox hardware, Undead Labs could develop these encounters in different ways. They could add more than just a mere three or four hostile enemies at a time; they could improve the AI so that they do not run around into walls like headless chickens with guns. If popular zombie fiction like The Walking Dead has taught me anything, it’s that human enemies are just as, if not more of, a threat than the zombies themselves.
These are just some of the many features that would be a more than welcome inclusion for the future of State of Decay 3 when it drops presumably within the next year or two, although more information may potentially arrive during the Xbox and Bethesda showcase on June 13th.