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Undead Labs' State of Decay made a serious splash on Xbox Live Arcade this week. The open-world zombie game has sold over a quarter million copies in its first two days, making it the second-best launch in XBLA history behind Minecraft.
State of Decay puts players right in the middle of zombie apocalypse. They'll have to establish a base for survivors to live. After that, they'll make forays into the towns and countryside to find supplies to maintain and grow the base. All the while, the survivors will have to fight off hordes of zombies. Players will switch between multiple survivors, each with their own distinct skills.
In some ways, State of Decay's launch is more impressive than Minecraft's. By the time Minecraft had come to Xbox 360, it was already a global hit on the PC, Mac and mobile devices. State of Decay, however, is a brand-new game from an untested studio with no advertising budget.
"All we had was what we believed was a great game and a great community," the company said in a blog post. "And make no mistake, a solid game is not enough, not in 2013. Plenty of great games wither away in obscurity. This train got rolling because you got out and pushed."
I think some of the success can be attributed to the popularity of The Walking Dead. State of Decay feels like a Walking Dead game, with the drama between survivors as important as the zombies themselves. The narrative isn't as tight as Telltale game. However, State makes up for the looser story by offering more action, exploration, and scares. I'm wondering how many copies this game would've sold if the Walking Dead name had been slapped on it.
Undead Labs plans to release Title Update 1 for State of Decay next week in order to address some of the major bugs with the game. They're also working on releasing the game in Germany, New Zealand and Australia.