Set around the travails of a community of survivors and concerned more with the subtleties of zombie-apocalypse survival — stealth, evasion, scavenging for resources, diversions, traversing through a gigantic large open world with the aim of establishing a solid base camp — State of Decay would seem to lend itself well to the multiplayer format, despite initially launching as a solo experience in June over Xbox Live Arcade.
Developer Undead Labs intimated as much last month, expressing plans to instate State of Decay with a co-op mode through the release of DLC. Recently, however — after conversations on Twitter between Undead’s Sanya Weathers and a trio of inquisitive fans suggested that the mode’s inclusion was unlikely — Undead has confirmed that co-op will not, in fact, be headed to the Cry Engine 3-built thriller.
And its reasoning makes perfect sense.
Explaining the no-go decision on the Undead forums, “Undead Jeff,” a developer working on State of Decay, says that implementing multiplayer would have taken his team nine whole months — delaying the game’s release by six. He also claims that Undead has been “thoroughly evaluating the possibility of adding co-op multiplayer,” only to conclude that it would never live up to fans’ standards of quality.
“We could ‘check the box’ and shoehorn multiplayer in sooner than that, but it wouldn’t be a great experience, and certainly not one we’d be proud of.
“…it’s easy to imagine how [the multiplayer development process] would come together — as many have said, the game is practically begging for it — but retrofitting the game to add that experience would take the rest of this year, and well into the next. Worse, it would preclude our ability to offer any other kind of support for the game, including Title Updates and DLC.”
But Undead’s problem isn’t one of desire or skill; just time and resources. Undead Jeff promises that the studio’s ambitions regarding multiplayer in future State of Decay installments remain unchanged:
“That said, I can say definitively that multiplayer will be the absolute heart of any future State of Decay games. As many of you know, we’ve always had ambitious plans for the future of State of Decay, and those plans have not changed.”
Having awarded the game 4 out of 5 stars when it released last month, it’s nice to see that Undead Labs has chosen to… preserve State of Decay’s original product rather than neglecting fans already enamored with the single-player campaign. There’s no allowance for dead weight in a zombie apocalypse. And State of Decay appears to have survived the unnecessary-multiplayer pitfall that many games — Tomb Raider comes mind in 2013 — and their respective developers all too frequently find themselves consumed by.
Here’s hoping the multiplayer components of future State of Decay titles prove well worth the wait.
Ranters, what do you think of the way Undead Labs is handling — and for the short term tempering — its multiplayer ambitions for State of Decay?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.