In State of Decay's new Lifeline DLC, you won't control a ragtag group of survivors. Instead, Lifeline shows the military perspective of the zombie apocalypse.
"At the height of the initial crisis, you still have support, but things are rapidly breaking down. You control Greyhound One — a small surviving unit that has been sent to the fallen city of Danforth to rescue scientists whose research is critical to fighting the outbreak," explains designer Geoffrey Card on the Undead Labs website. "This is at the height of the initial crisis. You still have a chain of command and access to off-map support, but the voices over the radio are making it clear that things are rapidly breaking down."
Card says that this inverts the progression system from the base game. You're not building your base up from nothing. Instead, you begin the game as a well-supplied military unit and slowly lose your resources. You then have to find ways to compensate for your shortages.
The player must first secure a landing zone that they can use for receiving supply drops or extracting civilians. After taking control of the area, they must defend it at all costs. They set up a perimeter with minefields and other equipment that can then be upgrades. Artillery can be called in from off the map to bombard zombie hordes. Your soldiers are well-trained and can be commanded to defend or attack.
Your ultimate mission isn't just to survive. You need to keep the scientists at your base alive. If you lose too many of them in zombie attacks, you've failed your mission.
The concept for Lifeline is compelling. Most zombie apocalypse stories are told from the perspective of small groups of survivors just trying to get by. It's rare that we get to see the outbreak play out from the perspective of the government. Equally uncommon are stories dealing with the initial outbreak, when the humans still outnumber the zombies rather than the months or years after the fact when only a handful of humans are left.
Undead Labs hasn't said when they're going to release Lifeline. However, Card promises a lot more information soon.
"In the coming weeks, we’re going to expand on more of these topics. We’ll introduce our all-new cast of characters, investigate our new military facilities and defenses, explore the map of Danforth, break down the military hardware…and add a few more surprises."
Lifeline will be the second major DLC pack released for State of Decay since its release on Xbox 360 and PC last year. The first, Breakdown, added a sandbox game mode that lets players relive the apocalypse over and over with higher difficulty levels.