State of Decay 3 finally revealed, here’s what it brings over SoD2

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State of Decay 3 was revealed at the Xbox Games Showcase with a surprisingly AAA look.

The State of Decay franchise has cultivated a dedicated fanbase over the years. The first entry was praised for its unique take on the action-packed zombie games of its era, focusing on survival and human elements instead of combat. Although a bit janky, State of Decay and its sequel were massive successes, selling millions of units and hosting tens of millions of players.

In 2018, Microsoft acquired Undead Labs, State of Decay’s developer, as part of Xbox Games Studios. Soon enough, Undead Labs announced the State of Decay 3 at The Game Awards 2020, before going radio silent for the next four years. Finally, at June 2024’s Xbox Games Showcase, Undead Labs revealed the first trailer for the game.

What’s new in State of Decay 3?

The State of Decay 3 trailer showcased a sleek new look for the once-indie franchise.   The trailer primarily focused on Undead Labs’ graphics evolution since State of Decay 2. With the budget of an Xbox Games Studios title before it, the trailer showed off the team’s growth, and more importantly, highlighted the core remains telling human stories.

Previous reports suggest State of Decay 3’ will have live-service elements, which won’t come as a surprise to dedicated fans of the franchise. After all, State of Decay 2 was practically a GaaS title before the label raised eyebrows amongst gamers. Fans praised Undead Labs for the regular free content updates, and the acclaimed Heartland and Daybreak expansions.

It helps that unlike a lot of other GaaS titles, State of Decay 2 still had a fully playable physical copy, available even if the game’s online elements ever get shut down. Regardless, gamers still have a wary eye on any GaaS titles in the current gaming landscape, especially after Microsoft’s 

When is the release date for State of Decay 3?

Undead Labs has not announced a release date for State of Decay 3.  After four years of development, no release date did concern a few fans. Still, given the years between State of Decay 1 and 2 was five years, there’s still one more year before fans start getting truly worried.

With Undead Labs’ rebranding as an AAA-tier studio, Microsoft likely wants to push State of Decay as one of its new landmark titles. Many often criticized the company’s gaming division for lacking exclusives with staying power. State of Decay 3 may break that trend for critics, given the studio’s solid track record.

However, with the mass layoffs the Xbox division experienced in 2024, State of Decay 3’s success will make or break the studio’s reputation as an AAA contender. Fans hope Undead Labs hits it out of the park and actually gets rewarded for it.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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