The News From PAX

We would like to thank all of the players who came out to PAX Prime last weekend (or to our meet and greet before PAX) to show their support and get their hands on the game. You all rock!

It was an incredible experience. We honestly didn’t know what to expect. We haven’t been hyping the game at all, and we didn’t bring a Potemkin-village-style demo to the show. We brought our alpha build. Specifically, we brought the build we’d been working on right up to Thursday afternoon. We disabled the story missions (they trigger irreversible world events that would have been confusing without hours of context), and we loaded up the base supply lockers with stuff that would ordinarily take time to acquire and stockpile. But other than that… we were showing the game in the exact condition we’d completed it on the day before the show. There we were, lab coats and all, just waiting.

You can imagine our excitement when people started playing it. And then they started telling their friends. And then the line formed. People were waiting for an hour just to get their hands on it. Once they did get their hands on it, they got it. People were cheering, laughing, blowing stuff up, tricking out bases, shredding zeds, and wincing when they got the “Ripped In Half” achievement.

If you didn’t get to go, and you haven’t been stalking our Facebook or Twitter feeds, what follows is all of the accumulated media goodness so far. Videos, interviews, and articles galore…and more are coming. This is just what we’ve seen to date, but we couldn’t wait to share.

Machinima: These guys brought a camera crew to our meet and greet, so you could get a real inside look. Check it out to see our studio (and the zombies that festoon our walls), and an interview with our fearless leader.

Jeff recording the Machinima interview.

GameCritics: Brad was also at our party, and partook of the zombie cake pops and the deer jerky. (C’mon, deer jerky is a brilliant survival food.) His article is a solid writeup of the little details that mean big things for the players. From the article:  “After having the chance to talk with several of the people responsible for creating the game, I got even more fired up.”

Official Xbox Magazine: Steve got an hour with the game at our meet and greet, and chatted with a large number of developers. I feel bad, though, because one of us confused him. He reports that getting bitten means you might turn into a zombie, but we’re actually still discussing what–if anything–will happen if you’re bitten. We’re incredibly proud that he thought enough of the game to say “If Undead Labs can fine-tune gameplay and nail the combat, State of Decay might be the most audacious zombie game to date.”

The media gets the lowdown from Phinney at our party.

IGN: Day One of PAX, and one of the first teams to come by were the people from IGN. They said our alpha looked a little rough around the edges (and we agreed – it WAS our alpha, after all), but “the ideas that it’s presenting are very exciting.” Take a look at this video to see some of the gameplay the people at the show were enjoying.

The Weekly Blend: The Weekly Blend team came to the booth, and said we “are really ambitious with what [we’re] trying to do.” The Danish Assassin tells me there will be video and a writeup coming later, but for now, you can hear a brief discussion of what they saw on the podcast starting at -47:43:00 running through -42:46.

Play Unwired: Scott came by and had a good time driving. Not that I’m going to get into a car with him anytime soon. He said: “My favorite is using the e-brake to spin the car and use the G Force to send [the zombies] flying off your car.”

4Player: This team was a trip. First two of them came over. Then someone else. Then another. I ended up devoting a pocket just for 4Player business cards, and finally I asked what was up…and it turned out they were considering us for a Game of the Show award, so their whole team needed to get hands on. Since we were showing our alpha build, not even a proper demo, I guess you could say we were pretty excited. They brought us a little “Game of the Show Nominee” placard, and I leaned that sucker up against our raffle jar. (We didn’t want to stick it to the booth, because we wanted to take it back to the studio for our brag wall.) Anyway, check out the screenshots, and the interview with Jeff.

“It was an honor just to be nominated.”

Money quotes, for me: “It’s hard to demo a project as ambitious as this in a short amount of time on the floor of a convention,” and from the podcast, “If they live up to what they say, this is going to be one of the deepest XBLA games that I ever played.”

GhostRobo: This guy was super fun. It was probably the sideburns. At any rate, he knows what you want to see. He stuck his camera right behind the player seats, and gave you a solid five minutes of pure gameplay/walkthrough.

There was a lunchtime lull for about ten whole minutes. So we got to play our own game a little.

The Verge (soon to be Polygon): Mike wrote up a good piece that balanced the action-oriented fun he had (“I was ambushed. I sprinted to the nearest car that hadn’t been totalled in the zombie apocalypse, and went on a hit and run spree”) with the stuff that doesn’t really come across in ten minutes of alpha gameplay.

Destructoid: We almost missed out! Casey came by just before the show closed, when the line was finally shortish. He’d been meaning to give us a try, but with a line that was an hour long every time he walked past, he had to keep moving if he was going to cover the whole show.  Fortunately, we all caught a break. The headline says “not just another zombie game,” and in the article, he said, “the pure intent of the developers’ vision…shines through even after just a few minutes of gameplay.”

Not pictured: The line wrapping around the side of the booth and out.

Seriously, y’all, we are fired up. PAX was the first chance we’d had to see real players interacting with our concepts and ideas. As several of the sites above said, this game is really hard to boil down to a snappy one line pitch. No one has ever done anything like it before, which makes it twice as hard to explain in ten minutes or less. To see everyone dive right in and really get it from the beginning? That was huge for us.

But you all have been with us all along. Thanks again.

Join the Discussion