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Undead Labs Talks aboutthe Future of State of Decay. Multiplayer will be the Heart of Any Future State of Decay Games
Hola fellow survivors,
There's been a flood of good news about State of Decay lately, and it's been both exhilarating and humbling to share it with you. It's always easy to share good news; but it's much harder to share disappointing news, and unfortunately that is what I must do today.
Over the past few weeks we've been working with Microsoft to lay plans for the future of State of Decay, including future Title Updates, DLC, and possible sequels. As part of that process we've also been thoroughly evaluating the possibility of adding co-op multiplayer to State of Decay. While there are great things in store for State of Decay, unfortunately multiplayer is not one of them.
As many of you know, we had originally planned to offer co-op multiplayer in State of Decay. However, we had to make the decision to cut it during development, which we announced in our forums one year ago. The reasons were mostly technical, as we were up to our eyeballs trying to retrofit our game engine to support an open-world sandbox game rather than the FPS style games it had been designed for. That retrofitting would have extended to the multiplayer support as well, and we estimated it could have delayed release of the game by as much as half a year. It was a painful decision, but a necessary one given the realities of our team size and project budget.
It's no secret the game has done well, so we now have the opportunity to realize some of our hopes — and your hopes — for how we reinvest in the game and make it even better. We know co-op is the most requested addition to State of Decay, and we've also continued to hope it might be a possibility after release. Unfortunately, after reevaluating it over the past few weeks, we believe our original estimate of six months was optimistic; the actual time is probably closer to nine months.
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 not simply a matter of adding the technology, but also redesigning core game systems to support multiple players, and then adding new content designed for people to play together. It's easy to imagine how all that 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.
We want to see a multiplayer State of Decay as badly as you do, but it’s not feasible to retrofit it into the existing game. 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.
From the entire team at Undead Labs, I want to express our gratitude and appreciation to each of you for being here on the forums and giving us your thoughts, hopes, and opinions on the game every day. I'm not just talking to those of you who give us support and encouragement — although you give us the rocket fuel we need to keep going every day — but also those of you who provide constructive criticism and help "keep it real.”
Stay tuned for announcements on what we are going to do with State of Decay. We're just getting started.
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Earlier this year, the studio was said to be evaluating its future project and prospects, following Redmond's decision to drop the Kinect sensor from the Xbox One and offer a console package at a reduced price.
With a number of high-profile devs leaving the studio after Microsoft's decision to change the development process at the studio, many were left wondering what its fate would be.
"I'm a Rare fan from the N64 days - that's kind of where my relationship with them was built. The range of genres that Rare exceeded at on N64 was crazy; you go from GoldenEye, to Conker and Banjo, Diddy Kong Racing... they were all over the place and they nailed a wide variety of genres."
"So I don't see them as a 'certain genre' studio: their strength has always been in their diversity," Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division told CVG.
Many players love Rare for its Banjo-Kazooie games and Diddy Kong Racing, classic titles that brought many people a lot of good times, considered by many even better than what Nintendo's first-party studios were able to make during the era.
"When they came to Xbox we did Grabbed by the Ghoullies and the Conker remake. They didn't have tremendous success but I think they were fun games."
"Then they started building out the Avatars - that was really their work - and then frankly Kinect, which they were innovating with before we'd even decided we were going to do something like that. They actually build this kind of wand thing on their own before the Wii came out," Spencer explained.
The head of Xbox continued by stating that he didn't want the Rare brand to be associated solely with Kinect, on account of the fact that the dev's last three games were motion-based, as the studio was much more valuable than that, and it was just pursuing some innovative titles and features.
"I think it's about them thinking about the next game that's going to be the next 'Rare game' and really stand for what they are. So they've got some new ideas, they're excited about them and I think Rare should, can and will be an important part of our game future," Spencer concluded.
It definitely seems that Rare could turn out to become for Microsoft what Naughty Dog has been for Sony, a strong, platform-exclusive developer able to create great games that draw audiences to the Xbox One and Xbox 360.