State of Decay 3 – Everything You Should Know

State of Decay 3
State of Decay 3

In a world overrun by the undead, are you a survivor or just another body to throw onto the pile? In Xbox Game Studios’ State of Decay, you find out very quickly if you can navigate the rotting world. Over the course of two games, the zombie threat persisted, forcing players to rally a band of survivors, build up a base camp, and do whatever it took to survive another day. Undead Labs’ third entry in the series, aptly titled State of Decay 3, looks to revisit familiar concepts with a shiny new luster and some inevitable tweaks to gameplay.

At least, that’s what we garner from the very, very limited information provided about the upcoming release. State of Decay 3 was first officially revealed during an Xbox Games Showcase in 2020, and that first trailer is all we have to go on even three years later. What’s nice is that the trailer did hint at two big changes coming to State of Decay 3. But before we get to those, let’s speculate a possible release window.


When Is State of Decay 3 Coming Out?

We say “speculate,” of course, because there currently isn’t a set State of Decay 3 release date. Not even the whisper of one. In fact, State of Decay 2 is getting more news and updates than its sequel, and that game came out in 2018.

However, Microsoft really needs to make a move on one of its flagship titles. So maybe, just maybe, 2023 will be the year we hear something on State of Decay 3’s release, especially as it’s coming to reveal season. And if so, we’d expect a release window within six months to a year from when the announcement is made. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see when Undead Labs steps into the spotlight with some news.

The most recent update actually came from the LinkedIn profile of Undead Labs’ senior cinematic artist, Alan Diekfuss. Per his listed “Experience” at Undead Labs, Diekfuss noted he was working on the game’s “visual direction of cinematography” and “storyboarding and pre-vis[sic] for in-game cinematics.” In-game cinematics are quite intriguing, specifically because the first two games were completely devoid of them. Following many survival games, State of Decay didn’t have cinematic breaks, and players were always immersed in the undead action.

Could State of Decay 3 be going a more traditional narrative route? It’s possible, and it wouldn’t be the only known change the game’s making from its predecessors.


What’s New in State of Decay 3?

We can expect State of Decay 3 to follow in the series’ footsteps, putting survival and community building right behind the zombie slaying. But there’s definitely something new with this sequel. Going based on the only trailer we have, it’s possible that we’re going to see a more diverse environment.

State of Decay unfolded in a rural part of the U.S., a forgettable slice of Nowhereville that mixed small downtown sections with farmland and the occasional wooded region. Considering all of State of Decay 3’s trailer takes place in the wilderness, it’s possible we’ll be seeing more forestry. Which is a horrifying thought, considering how easy it is to be ambushed by zombies slinking around trees.

We’d expect new environments to bring new threats, but nothing prepared us for the big reveal from the 2020 trailer: zombie animals. Whether the infection is evolving or it’s an entirely new strain, State of Decay is introducing zombified wildlife, which is sure to make things even more difficult. It will be interesting to see if these new enemy types bring something new to gameplay, such as skinning for animal pelts to craft items.

As for where you will be able to play State of Decay 3, Xbox Series X & S and PC are pretty much a given, though Xbox One is a bit more up in the air as begin to get more distance from the last gen.


Who’s Developing State of Decay 3?

Undead Labs is returning to the series to bring us this third entry, but it’s not doing so alone. During a PAX West 2022 interview, CVP of Xbox Game Studio Matt Booty confirmed that The Coalition is also helping with development.

While Booty noted the collaboration is to utilize The Coalition’s knack for developing on Unreal Engine 5, there could be something a little more significant to this news. The Coalition is the team behind Xbox’s flagship narrative-based third-person shooter, Gears of War, and it’s quite possible that some of The Coalition’s resources are being siphoned to bring some semblance of a grander story to State of Decay 3.

While the State of Decay series has had some semblance of a narrative, it’s always unfolded in real-time through side quests and missions. With hints of a more cinematic experience at play, it’s not unthinkable that The Coalition’s chops for storytelling will be at play.

Or it really is just a matter of helping with development on UE5. That’s the fun of absolutely no information being available. Everything is speculative. For now, we’ll just have to patiently wait for State of Decay 3 to emerge from its grave.

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