Our friends at Microsoft hosted a media event in London at the end of last week, and the press embargo was lifted this morning. I can’t wait to see what the attendees had to say, but in the meantime, here are the new details from the release that went out on the Xbox Wire:
We had a great time in San Antonio, thanks to all of you! We sure appreciate how patient everyone was with the lines. That’s the (only) downside to developers doing demos: We are really freaking proud of our games, and we all want to show you every detail. Keeping to ten minutes is the hardest thing about the show, hands down.
Media demos are longer, fortunately. The reporters get twenty minutes to explore, shoot footage, and ask questions so that everyone not at PAX can get all the juicy details. If you weren’t there to get your own hands-on time…or either of the epic collectible Pinny Arcade Pins…check out the following!
We announced the release date for the Year One Survival Edition. We’ll be coming to Xbox One, Steam, and retail outlets on April 28 in the USA and around the world on May 1. (That’s right, retail – YOSE is being released on disk. Woo! Tell your friends!) If you missed our announcement last summer, here’s what it is:
Man. What a ride we had in 2014! We went from our State of Decay announcement in January, to the XB1 announcement, to the limited release of Moonrise without stopping for air. Behind the scenes, we went from a tiny group working on one project to a full-sized team or three hard at work on great things both known and unannounced. And the thing that has made it all happen (and all worthwhile) was you. Each one of you made a real, measurable difference to us – and we hope our games in 2015 and beyond make a difference to you. Thank you for your feedback, your encouragement, your teasing, your private messages and public comments. All of it is the rocket fuel that launches us forward every day.
From all of us at the Lab to all of you, we hope for the most merry holiday season and the brightest future. And just to let you know we’re always going to be Undead, here is this year’s wallpaper:
…Solari Arena Mode, One Of The Two
by Richard Foge
One of our main goals with Moonrise has been to create a robust platform for a huge variety of different gameplay modes, especially for PvP. Our first foray into the realm of custom gameplay types produced Solari Arena, which is inspired by Sealed Deck formats popular in many CCGs…but with mechanics that helps create more balanced teams.
By Ian Adams, Age 32
Hello again, folks, this is Ian Adams, Content Designer and Writer on Moonrise. I’ve already introduced myself in a previous article, so today I’ll just give you a fun fact: I can say “toy boat” ten or more times in a row, quickly. I can do any other tongue twister as well, but that’s the one I’m proudest of. I challenge all of you to do it even four times. If you can, maybe Sanya will give you a prize. I don’t know, I didn’t ask her about this.*
When discussing story, we’ve mentioned “quests” off-handedly a few times, but we haven’t really gone into detail on what that means. By the time this article is over, we will no longer live in a universe where that is true. We’ll talk about quests, what they have to do with story, how we make them, what our goals are and other things that I’m going to leave out of this list. To find out what they are, keep reading!
Thanks to all our friends on Facebook, Twitter, and the forums for the great questions! We’ll definitely do more of these, so if there’s something dear to your heart that we skipped, please click on the comment tape below. On to the Qs:
Q: Brian mentioned in one of the articles that some Solari have multiple affinities. How do you know which one to choose?
by Richard Foge, Andy Collins, and Brian Giaime
From the very outset, we knew that we wanted PvP to be a huge part of Moonrise. In this article, we’re going to chat a bit about an important element of PvP in Moonrise. Specifically we’re going to dig into meta-gameplay.
by Brian Giaime
What does “Balance” really mean?
Balance is a misleading term. You might think this means “everything is as good as everything else”. This isn’t entirely incorrect, but it misses out on one of the great things we can create through games: A series of interesting decisions.
by Brian Giaime
Combat lies at the heart of Moonrise, and it takes a lot of forms. You and your team of trusted Solari might battle wild, rampaging Lunari. You might fight against another Warden in a friendly duel. Or perhaps you’ll face a truly nefarious villain, with innocent lives at stake! But regardless of the enemy, combat follows the same rules.
How do you fight?
by Brian Giaime
[Meet Brian. He has gaming in his pores, starting with building with the Warcraft III editor as a kid, to setting his sights on video game design in college, to shipping Marvel Super Hero Squad Online while still in college, and from there becoming a designer at Glu Mobile working on several games, the best known of which was the incredibly successful Deer Hunter 2014. The back of his car contains every RPG handbook known to man, as far as I can tell. Certainly there is no room for actual people to sit. We love his enthusiasm, and how much he cares about our future Moonrise players. — Sanya]
One of our favorite aspects of Moonrise is the way in which your character (your Warden), participates in combat. You’re right there with your team, hurling fireballs, doling out heals, and actively engaging with powerful foes.
Every player will play their Warden differently. Some players will build their Warden into an artillery piece that slings powerful attacks from behind tanky, defensive Solari. Other players will bring healing and buffs to support and strengthen their already formidable offensive Solari. Some players may equip relics with unusual effects like:
Our #2MMinutes campaign has so far resulted in just over 3500 minutes streamed in the first half of October, which, while not near our goal of two million, is still pretty damned amazing for a game that’s been out since June of 2013. But let’s see if we can kick this up a level. We’re only going to award the all-expenses trip to our studio if the insane goal is met…but we’re going to award TWO XB1 machines to lucky participants no matter what.
The tl;dr version is that Moonrise is a AAA multiplayer, creature-collection RPG for mobile devices. The long version is the rest of this article!
Moonrise is our first game (as a company) to be released on mobile, in partnership with Kabam who have a ton of experience on mobile platforms. Many of us at the Lab love playing games on our mobile devices (as well as the ubiquitous 3DS, and the Vita stalwarts), and we felt that phones and tablets would be a fantastic home for our AAA take on the creature-collection/battling RPG. There’s a long story about how we got there, but we’re saving that for a future article.
About this time last year, we had a million reasons to smile.
Now, we have two million reasons. That is, two million copies of the original State of Decay have been sold, between Steam and XBLA. We’re not even talking about DLC, here.
There just aren’t the right words to tell you how much this means to us. No marketing, no advertising, just you playing and streaming and spreading the word. You made this happen, and if we could individually thank each person who hit that download button, we would. Your enthusiasm and support have been everything. Thank you.
When we hit five hundred thousand copies sold (which was pretty remarkable for a zombie apocalypse simulator with a persistent world and permadeath), we celebrated by starting work on Breakdown. When we hit a million, we gave away some freebies.
Two million calls for a hell of a celebration. We’ve already announced everything we can when it comes to the future of State of Decay — and then some — so we’re going to kick off a month long celebration. Keep your eyes here, and on our social channels (@undeadlabs on Twitter, http://facebook.com/undeadlabs on Facebook – accept no substitutes!), for details. If you make videos or stream, be sure to come back later today!
You’re…you’re just the best. Thanks again.
Hell yes, we’re making State of Decay for Xbox One!
Man, it felt good to write that. There’s a huge difference between “We think it’s a good idea and we’re seriously considering it”, and “Hell yes, we’re working hard on it right now.” It’s generally a good idea to wait until you can say “hell yes”, because until then, Things Can Change, but we’ve crossed that threshold for State of Decay on Xbox One.
State of Decay is coming to Xbox One via the State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition. While we’re still very much in development, here’s what I can tell you today.
Ten years ago, before zombies were legend, I sat down and began a journey that would eventually bring some of you with me down the long, post-apocalyptic road of armageddon. Day by Day Armageddon, for some, was a brief escapist reprieve from a cubicle or other such devilry. For others, it was the heart and soul of a lone survivor poured onto the pages of a ten dollar paperback. For me, it was a humble contribution to a zeitgeist defining genre.
Fast forward to now, and we’ve seen the zombie genre explode into every medium you’ll pay money for. As an ardent gamer since the days you needed a flathead screwdriver to connect your console to your TV, I’ve played my share of zombie games. In all my years of blistered thumbs, I hadn’t run across a title that I thought did the genre justice—until a year ago. I had recently transferred from an arduous tour of duty and had a little free time on my hands. I decided to boot up my Xbox 360 to see what I’d been missing. After an eon of system updates, I scanned the Xbox Marketplace and noticed a game titled State of Decay.
In the fall of 2009 I went on a zombie bender. Zombieland had just been released, and I saw it four times. It wasn’t the best zombie flick I’d ever seen, but I loved the road-trip aspect of it, and the focus on how each person needs to decide whether they’ll work together, or alone, in the apocalypse. Mostly, it just rekindled my love of the zombie-survival genre, so it was back to Day, Dawn (classic, and the 2004 remake, which was a damn fine movie), the 28s, a ton of obscure hipster zombie stuff, and a fantastic dive into the Walking Dead comics. And books, too. Brooks of course — more the Guide than WWZ.
Fun stuff for sure, but none of it was really scratching my survival-fantasy itch. The great thing about zombie books and movies is that they make you think about what you’d do if the apocalypse hit tomorrow. Hanging out with your friends and comparing survival plans is truly one of life’s great pleasures.
But then a friend (known around here as Brant) turned me on to the Day by Day Armageddon series by J.L. Bourne. The author was an active duty military officer, and it really showed in his work. The story was personal and gripping, but also logical and well structured. It was believable. It was impossible not to cast myself in the role of the narrator, relying on my wits and whatever equipment I could find to survive every day. I consumed it in a day, read it again, then read the sequel.
Exactly one year ago today, one year ago from this very moment as I write this, I was in bed. Not sleeping — oh no, that wasn’t going to happen for at least a few more days — but finally, actually, truly in bed. After a final, all-in push to get things wrapped up, the hours were ticking down to the worldwide release of State of Decay, a game we’d been working on for two-and-a-half years; a game we’d poured our hearts and souls into, bled over, fought for, and pulled kicking and screaming into existence despite its design breaking almost every game design rule in the book.
On that Tuesday night, June 4, 2013, I was in bed waiting for Judgement Day. The game would start rolling out on the Xbox Life network at 2:00 AM local time. Scarier still, the review embargo lifted at midnight, so reviews could start hitting within the hour.
Hola fellow survivors,
I wanted to let you know we’ve signed a multi-year, multi-title agreement to extend our development relationship with Microsoft Studios. We’ll be able to share details later this year, but as with State of Decay, we think it’s best if we just keep our heads down and build some prototypes before we talk too much. For now, suffice it to say there are big things going on with State of Decay.