State of Decay (video game)

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State of Decay
State of decay logo.jpg
Developer(s) Undead Labs
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios[1]
Composer(s) Jesper Kyd
Engine CryEngine 3
Platform(s) Xbox 360 (XBLA), Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) Xbox 360
  • June 5, 2013[2]
Microsoft Windows
  • September 20, 2013 (Via Steam Early Access)[3]
  • November 5, 2013 (Official release)
Xbox One
{Year-One Survival Edition}
Spring 2015
Genre(s) Stealth, survival horror, Third-person shooter, Simulation[4][5]
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Digital distribution

State of Decay is a third person persistent world open world stealth zombie-survival horror video game, developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios. It was first released for the Xbox 360 on June 5, 2013. A Windows version was released on September 20, 2013 via Steam's Early Access, with an official release following on November 5, 2013. State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition for the Xbox One has been announced scheduled for Spring 2015.[6]


State of Decay emphasizes utilizing existing resources, which are finite. Here the player character stands atop a tower and scouts for possible survival camps and places that may contain supplies.

State of Decay focuses on survival tactics: stealth, evasion, distractions, base building, survivor community, securing resources, and moving through the world more than actual zombie combat.[7][8] The game is in an open world, where the player's choices are an important factor.[1] Players are able to choose from a large variety of locations to build a base in. Structures such as watch towers, gardens, sleeping quarters, kitchens, workshops, medical bays, and barricades can be constructed to defend against the infected population, help survivors recover faster, and build explosives and other tools.[1]

Food, medicine, shelter, ammo, and construction materials are necessary for survival and should be used wisely.[1][7] To obtain these supplies, the player will need to go on raids to abandoned supermarkets and many other locations, although food can be grown at the base. The player can also find other groups of survivors that are willing to trade their resources with the player, in exchange for ammunition.[1] The player will be able to rescue other AI survivors to help with defense, build facilities, and repair cars/guns (with the appropriate facilities). They can also be sent out to loot, find a new base location, or to come pick up supplies found by the player. If one was to get enough supplies they are able to craft items like a homemade suppressor but has to wait 30 real world minutes while it is being made. Once a high enough relationship is developed with these new characters, they will become playable.[7][8] The player's choices will affect how the gameplay evolves.[7] The game world is 16 square kilometers[9] but because of mountains, it is 8 square kilometers of playable area.[10]

The non-player characters (NPCs) in State of Decay will vary in skin color and gender and they will sometimes show signs of aging in the game. They can set up bases to survive which the player character can find while exploring. Saving NPCs will add them to the community of survivors. Each NPC can be assigned tasks like doing runs to collect items or do scouting. If the player is friends with an NPC and has a high enough influence, and the NPC has joined the player, they can ask the NPC to come explore with them. Characters can trade with other survivor bases for items which they excel in, such as weaponry. NPCs can become trapped when on a run for items, although the player will have the option to rescue them. If they are not rescued, they may die or become lost. If morale or supplies dwindle too low, Survivors may abandon the home and leave. They can form their own enclaves and may be persuaded to rejoin the player. There are 30 NPCs in State of Decay which will spawn in a semi-random arrangement, while 20 Story NPCs will always spawn in a designated location. Zombie NPCs come in various sizes, genders, and races. When the player's character dies it becomes permanent and the player must continue without them. Characters killed by zombies may also turn into zombies, using "zombified" models of their original survivor. In addition, there are several "special" types of zombies that randomly appear in the game world, such as animal-like "Ferals", that can pose a dire threat to both the player and survivor NPCs. If a horde of zombies is left unchecked for too long, they can cause an area to become "Infested", reducing survivor morale at the home base and continuously spawning zombies in the general area until the player clears the area.[11]

The game features 99 different weapons, including between 30 and 40 melee weapons to be found around the game world.[12][13][14] The higher a character's skill with guns, the lower the chance of them jamming. Jammed guns will need to be repaired at any home base. High skills with guns will also result in lower recoil. Gunshots will attract zombies; to combat this weapons can be equipped with suppressors.[11] Each gun has a decibel rating seen in the game's inventory; higher decibel ratings result in louder gunshot.[15] There are three classes of melee weapons featured in the game; light blunt, light edged, and heavy weapons. Each class will have its advantages and disadvantages. As characters use weapons, their skill will increase.[13][14]

During the game, player characters can enter a variety of buildings and areas. While loot will often be found, so will zombies. Fenced buildings can be turned into a base. Only one base can be occupied at a time, they can be overrun, and relocated. A large number of customization options exist for the base, including, but not limited to, gardens, kitchens, sleeping areas, storage areas, radio station for communication(comes automatically when base is inhabited by player), workshop for upgrading and repairing weapons and repairing cars, as well as creating items such as homemade suppressors and firecrackers, training centers, and guard towers. Almost all bases come with some building areas already built, and some may come with special building that cannot be upgraded. Any building that is not destroyed can be turned into an outpost. An outpost is a place for players to sleep in or store items. The number of outposts available to players is dependent on the size of the player character's base. Zombies may spawn near outposts and bases periodically, and can even overrun them, depending on how well-supplied, populated, and well-armed the bases and outposts are. There are also occasional "Zombie Horde" events, where a large number of zombie groups will encroach on the player's home base. If they are not dealt with, they will attack the home and may kill friendly NPCs while doing so. Survivor enclaves the player encounters can also be overrun and zombified.

Another feature of the game is dynamic progression; the game world continues acting whether or not the game is being played. If the game is not being played, friendly survivors within the home can still use and gather supplies, explore, and possibly be injured. Some characters may take weapons and ammo from the supply cache and may level up their abilities. New survivor enclaves can appear or disappear, cars the players' survivors own can be repaired, and weapons can be repaired. Non-plot-essential NPCs can become injured or fatigued with the player absent, but cannot die nor abandon the base.[16]


The player starts out as a character named Marcus Campbell; A store clerk who is an athlete and a born leader. Returning from a fishing trip at Mt. Tanner with his friend, Ed Jones, he finds that the world has degenerated into a zombie apocalypse.[17][18] Upon reaching the ranger station, the two encounter Thomas Ritter and a small group of survivors. While searching the area for supplies and survivors, Marcus and Ed hear gunshots and rescue Maya Torres, a soldier. Returning to the ranger station they find that one of the survivors has turned and killed the others. Ed searches Thomas Ritter's body and is attacked and bitten in the progress; he does however find a walkie-talkie which the trio use to talk to Thomas' daughter Lily. Lily directs them in escaping Mt. Tanner and making their way to a church called the Church of the Ascension,[18] where she and several other survivors have made a home base. Ed rests up and Lily asks the player to find medicine at the local vet for him; he needs it if he's going to survive the bite wound. The player heads there with two other survivors. Upon returning, they find that Lily is using much of the medicine brought back because she has Lupus erythematosus.

As the game progresses, the survivors become aware of the United States Army's presence in Trumbull Valley. It is soon apparent that the troops are not there to evacuate the survivors, but to seal off the valley to contain the zombie menace. The players also find the local civic leader—Judge Lawton—has barricaded the courthouse with the local law enforcement, believing the zombie incursion will blow over in time. Finally, the players are also introduced to The Wilkersons, a group of hillbilly gun-runners who are using the apocalypse to profit and exploit their fellow survivors.

The civic center eventually falls to a zombie attack and the Army seals off the valley, leaving behind the jaded but good-hearted Sergeant Tan, who helps the players engineer a final escape through the north wall of the containment.

As the game is an open world, the story progresses based on whether the player is focused on the story or simply surviving. Progressing the story will periodically trigger world-changing events which will make the world more difficult to survive in.

Downloadable content[edit]


On July 20, 2013, in conjunction with the PC development for State of Decay, Undead Labs announced an upcoming downloadable content (DLC) titled "Breakdown" for both PC and console users. The DLC adds a "Sandbox Mode", where the player leads a group of survivors in repairing an RV in order to escape the valley. The DLC allows infinite gameplay and no story line, simply allowing players to put their survival skills to the test. Breakdown adds 6 levels/tiers for players to survive in, and as players progress from one level to the next, the difficulty increases, resulting in numerous faster and stronger zombies, along with higher numbers of special zombies, making players have to stealth their way around the map and use distractions in order to survive the higher levels. To continue on to the next level, the player needs to find the RV, which spawns in random locations throughout the map with each level. The players are only allowed to take a total of six characters (Lily included) with them to the next level. On November 15, 2013, Undead Labs officially announced the Breakdown release date for November 29, 2013.[19]


Not long after the release of Breakdown, Undead Labs announced that a second DLC is in development. On February 4, 2014, an addition on the Steam Database confirmed the DLC to be named "Lifeline." On February 11, 2014, Undead Labs officially announced news of the "Lifeline" DLC, also confirming it to include the fictional city of Danforth that can be seen just outside Fairfield. On February 27, it was explained that the DLC will explore the military's side during the first days of the outbreak.

The player will play the role of a military unit by the name of Greyhound One in Danforth City. The player will be tasked with keeping a group of survivors alive long enough to get them to safety, as well as defending the main base by setting traps and planning tactics. But unlike the typical survival only bases that deal with just excesses of hordes, there is a new threat called raids that get progressively harder with each one that passes. The DLC is set on more of a time-based approach instead of the never-ending approach seen in the Breakdown DLC. At the Pax East 2014 convention, Undead Labs expected to be release on June 6, 2014.[20]

Not long after the announcement, the release date was revealed to be Friday, May 30, earlier than its previously expected. The DLC features a new map and narrative. The DLC has been priced same as the first DLC, Breakdown which is $6.99 / £5.59. [21]


State of Decay was first announced in 2011 as an Xbox Live Arcade exclusive title originally titled Class 3.[22] Jeff Strain, the founder of ArenaNet and co-creator of World of Warcraft, wanted a game where individual players could make up their own zombie survival plans and put them to the test.[7][8][23] Then, he set out to create the game, which runs on CryEngine 3.[24] On May 16, 2013, Undead Labs announced that State of Decay had gone into the final certification process and is now ready for testing by the game's publisher, Microsoft Studios.[25] State of Decay was envisioned as a step towards Undead Labs' full online console game, Class4.[8] Class4 will be one of the first zombie massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) to come to the Xbox One. In a 2014 interview, Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain stated that State of Decay had officially become a franchise, with the company's partnership with Microsoft Studios confirmed. He stated that the first State of Decay was "just the start of (Undead Labs') long-term ambitions".[26]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 76.94% (X360)[27]
74.60% (PC)[28]
Metacritic 79/100 (PC)[29]
78/100 (X360)[30]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 8.5/10[31]
Game Informer 7.0/10[32]
GameSpot 8.0/10[33]
GameTrailers 8.2/10[34]
IGN 8.9/10[1]
Official Xbox Magazine 8.0/10[35]
Polygon 8.5/10[36] 9/10[37]
Joystiq 3.5/5 stars[38]

State of Decay has received generally positive reviews. Sanya of Undead Labs stated that "2013 Was a Damned Good Year" and that "Being your personal game of the year was the highest honor we could get, and we sure do appreciate each one of you."[39] Metacritic scores range from 70/100 to 89/100, with an average score of 78/100.[40] The game sold more than 250,000 copies in its first 48 hours of release to the Xbox Live Arcade. As of June 17, 2013, the game has sold more than 550,000 copies.[41] Within the end of June the game had sold more than 700,000 copies, making it the second-fastest-selling XBLA game of all time.[42] On October 4, 2013 Undead Labs announced that the game has sold one million copies. The figure combines both XBLA and Steam Early Access sales.[43] On November 30, Undead Labs has sold more than one million copies of State of Decay.[44]

Polygon gave a positive review, praising the survival and role-playing aspects of the game. Reviewer Arthur Gies wrote, "State of Decay is one of the most cohesive, terrifying and engaging open-world games I've ever played."[45]

The Australian Classification Board refused classification because "[the game] contains the option of self-administered drugs throughout, in order to restore players' health or boost their stamina".[46] Jeff Strain said "we are going to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit." On July 11, 2013 State of Decay was rated R18+ for high impact violence.[46]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Reilly, Jim (2011-02-03). "Xbox Live Going Undead With Class3". IGN. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  2. ^ "State of Decay Release Date Revealed". 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  3. ^ Pereira, Chris (2013-09-19). "State of Decay Enters Steam Early Access Tomorrow". IGN. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  4. ^ Tanner, Nicole (April 16, 2013). "4 Hours in State of Decay’s Open-World Zombie Nightmare". IGN. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Leif (June 18, 2013). "State of Decay Review -". GameSpot. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
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  8. ^ a b c d Dutton, Fred (2011-02-03). "Zombie Epic Class3 Announced for XBLA". Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  9. ^ Sanya (June 22, 2012). "Quick and Dirty Q&A". Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  10. ^ "Even the correction to the typo was wrong". June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  11. ^ a b Weathers, Sayna (2012-12-18). "Q&A: Tactics/Buckle Up Followup.". Undead Lab. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  12. ^ "Undead Labs Forums Number of Weapons". 
  13. ^ a b Weathers, Sayna (2012-10-03). "Well,Shoot.". Undead Lab. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  14. ^ a b Foge, Richard (2012-12-10). "Decay Welcome to the End of the World – or – Buckle Up, Y’all. Shit Just Got Real". Undead Lab. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  15. ^ noovoNoc. "Pax Prime 2012 Footagedate=2012-9-04". Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  16. ^ "State of Decay ALPHA — Garden Building (Clip)". Undead Lab. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  17. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (August 21, 2012). "Undead Labs Announces State of Decay". ING. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  18. ^ a b "Day by Day". Undead Labs. January 10, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  19. ^ McGlaun, Shane (2013-07-20). "State of Decay Sandbox Mode DLC Details Revealed". Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  20. ^ Bradley, Lee (2014-04-22). "UState of Decay Lifeline Add-on Coming in June". Xbox Achievements. Retrieved 2014-04-25. 
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  24. ^ Mallory, Jordan. "Class3 Runs on CryEngine 3, Has Some Lazy Zombies." Joystiq. 21 Aug. 2011. Accessed: 23 Mar. 2012.
  25. ^ "Out Of Our Hands...". Undead Labs. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  26. ^ Sarkar, Samit (April 20, 2014). "State of Decay's Lifeline DLC is just the start of Undead Labs' 'long-term ambitions'". Polygon. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
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  28. ^ "State of Decay for PC - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
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  30. ^ "State of Decay for Xbox 360 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
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  32. ^ Juba, Joe (2013-06-06). "State of Decay Review". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
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  35. ^ :Lewis, Cameron (2013-06-03). "State of Decay Review". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
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  38. ^ Hinkle, David (2013-06-07). "State of Decay: Don't stop". Joystiq. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  39. ^ "State of Decay: 2013 Was a Damned Good Year". Sanya. January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  40. ^ "State of Decay Critic Reviews for Xbox 360". Metacritic. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  41. ^ "State of Decay". Kotaku. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  42. ^ "State of decay sells 700k june". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  43. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (4 October 2013). "State of Decay sells one million copies". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  44. ^ Craft, Scott (2013-11-30). "State Of Decay: Breakdown Gives You As Much Time As You Want To Dig Your Own Grave [REVIEW]". International Digital Times. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b Porter, Claire (June 26, 2013). "Second video game - State of Decay - banned in Australia". News Limited. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 

External links[edit]