State of Decay 3 was announced last year, but we haven’t gotten much in terms of development updates. And this is understandable since the 2020 announcement marked the start of pre-production. Meaning that we are far from getting the third entry into the post-apocalyptic zombie survival franchise.
An article by loadout.com went into details about Jeff Strain leaving Undead Labs to found a new studio called Possibility Space. Jeff Strain was the founder of Undead Labs, and he was there since day one working on State of Decay 1, SoD 2, and the latest installment. But he did share some interesting information during his interview. “State of Decay is still on its way to achieving its ultimate vision,” reported Strain. And then he praised Microsoft for how well it manages Undead Labs and their other studios.
The ultimate vision is of course a State of Decay MMO-type game. For those of you who do not know, the franchise was supposed to be an always-online massively multiplayer game. Featuring buildable communities, facing the zombie and human threat together. But from there the project was scaled down to match the resources of the studio until it was an MMO no longer. Furthermore, the first game didn’t feature ANY multiplayer-related gameplay.
In 2018 State of Decay 2 was released. Featuring full co-op support. Then a wave-survival mode was added, supporting multiple players. The studio obviously cares dearly about this aspect of the game, as it was built upon for years after release. And now we have State of Decay 3 ahead of us. But what sort of game will it be?
State of Decay 3 – The ultimate vision of Undead Labs fulfilled?
When Strain said that the studio is on its way to achieving its ultimate vision, he meant that original MMO idea. But how likely is it? Could the third installment be a full-blown MMO? Featuring hundreds of players rummaging through buildings in hopes of finding some food for their community? Engaging hostile factions run by other human beings? Perhaps working together, and trading?
The foundation for all of that is there. State of Decay 2 could easily pass for an MMO with a larger map and respawning supplies. With its impressive trading options and community-building systems. But now a new problem with the original vision has hatched. Two installments were entirely single-player focused. And many already criticized the State of Decay 2 story for being heavily dumbed-down. An MMO is not what fans of the franchise are expecting.
But while the expectations might not be there, this does not mean it’s not possible. Final Fantasy has been single-player focused for like 10 main-line games. And now Final Fantasy XIV, an MMO, is the most popular title in the franchise by far. Fallout 76 was an MMO entry into a franchise where no one would ever consider multiplayer, and it has quite a player base. If done right, State of Decay 3 could be the next big multiplayer sensation.
But so far, we do not know if the game is multiplayer-focused or not. Maybe it will feature a campaign and a multiplayer component? Maybe it will stick to the campaign with coop implementation. We do not even have a release date, but you can expect State of Decay 3 in the next couple of years. And it will come to Xbox Series X, and PC platforms. It is a Microsoft IP after all.