State of Decay 2 Date @ E3, Game Will Have Dynamic Narrative System & Substantially Enhanced Visuals

Last year, Undead Labs announced State of Decay 2 at E3. The developer now revealed via Twitter that the open-world zombie apocalypse game will get an official launch date (as well as a gameplay first look) in about two months, during E3 2017. If we had to guess, it would probably be during the latter part of Fall and it's likely that the title (powered by Unreal Engine 4) will be a technical showcase for Project Scorpio.

But there's more. WindowsCentral spoke recently with Undead Labs Founder Jeff Strain, who revealed some of the biggest enhancements fans can expect in State of Decay 2.

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The Innovate list was for features that were designed to push the survival fantasy simulation forward into new territory. Cooperative multiplayer was at the top of this list, as well as a new dynamic narrative system that ties the way you interact with your fellow survivors more deeply into the simulation. Of course, substantially enhanced visuals are on this list as well. We'll be talking more about new features as we get closer to release this year.

The dynamic narrative system is particularly interesting and it's probably an enhancement of the model already used for the first game, which Strain detailed later in the interview.

When we started working on "State of Decay" we spent a lot of time thinking about how to make a game that did not rely on thousands of hand-coded scripts to generate content, both because that kind of content gets burned through quickly, but also because it limits the experiences players can have to only what the developers explicitly envisioned.

We wanted to make a game that would allow players to tell their own stories, rather than merely experience stories we were telling them. So we solved these issues by designing a true simulation engine and a simulation language we call "FateEngine" and "FateSpec."

Rather than using a scripting language to describe what happens when a player takes a specific action or reaches a certain point (usually called a "tripwire"), we instead create a data model for the world and feed it to the simulation engine to determine what happens, which makes the world feel more responsive to your decisions and actions.

Lastly, Community Director Sanya Weathers shared the news that State of Decay 2 will ship with three separate maps, each one about the size of the map in its predecessor.

Hey, all, I’ve seen a lot of chatter about what everyone is hoping to see with a map. We’re finally far enough along that I can safely tell you: We are launching with THREE maps. Each roughly the size of the original. 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.

Why’d we do it that way? Well, primarily, because it makes the game more fun. It really feels like you’re moving from one small town to another, and creates a tremendous sense of immersion. And perhaps counter-intuitively, it makes the world feel even bigger. You know how on one map (even one three times the size as the original game’s) the longer you play, the more you start feeling deju vu with every mission? That’s less of an issue with separate maps. And see above about strategies and missions. Oh, and one more detail – the multiple map set up makes it easy to expand the world down the line, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of specifics, I KNOW you all are going to ask “but what can we take with us between maps?” About half of you skipped the previous paragraph just to see if I was going to tell you. Foge (for new survivors, that’s Richard Foge, the Design Director here at the Lab) says that the intent is for us to be able to take all of our people, and everything in our supply lockers and rucks. We’ll have all the vehicles parked in our home site parking spaces, along with whatever’s stored in the trunks. We’re also going to get at least a partial refund on what we sunk into building our facilities. That’s the intention, anyway.

Stay tuned for more State of Decay 2 coverage as the launch date gets nearer. The game will be available on PC (presumably on the Windows Store, though the first game is on Steam) and Xbox One.

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