Case #



Year 2 Recollections

Hello fellow survivors,

On this very day two years ago, several hundred thousand of you took a chance and bought a little Xbox Live Arcade game named State of Decay. You had no idea who made it, or what it was all about, but you clearly loved survival-fantasy games and had a true gamer’s appetite for innovation and new gaming experiences. You may not have known that most of the development team behind the game — the artists, programmers, designers, musicians, animators, testers, and producers at Undead Labs — had been awake all night, waiting to see how you would react to a game that didn’t follow any established templates, and even broke fundamental design rules with mechanics like permadeath.

And, much to our joy (and, yeah, relief), the vast majority of you loved it. And told your friends. And streamed it on Twitch. And posted videos to YouTube. And tweeted about it. And over the next few months, State of Decay became the fastest-selling original* game of all time on Xbox Live Arcade, and went on to sell millions of copies on Xbox 360, Steam, and Xbox One.

And you know, two years later on, as we work on Big Things for the future of State of Decay, it’s a good time for all of us at Undead Labs and Microsoft to take a deep breath and reflect on exactly why we’re here, and why we have the opportunity to work on Big Things. I know it’s cliche to thank your customers, and sometimes it’s kind of like your mom saying “I love you” — she probably says it every day and you kind of start taking it for granted. But man, she means it from her heart. And so do we. Thank you for getting us here. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to keep working on Big Things. And thank you for being the kind of gamers who will take a chance on innovation.


June 5, 2015

* Curse you Minecraft! 😉

What would an anniversary be without some fond memories? Here are a few of our favorite moments from along the way.

My “favorite” recollection? Rewriting a serious mission critical bit of code on the bus ride home at midnight. Getting up on a few hours sleep the next day. Finishing it on the bus. Getting it working that day and submitting a milestone deliverable which required it.

Amazingly the code was solid and worked for the entire project. I thought I might have been hallucinating when it actually worked.

– Shaun Leach

The Team with our Superfans before we launched State of Decay

The Team with our Superfans before we launched State of Decay

We designed the game to be extremely systems driven.  This created a huge amount of content despite our tiny team (we made that big open world game with fewer people than the team that did the cinematic facial animations for Ryse!)

Unfortunately, sometimes systems-driven games take on a life of their own.  Very close to ship, we got a report from a tester along these lines:

As I walked into the church I heard Pastor Will flipping out at another character, shouting “I’ll cut you like a prison bitch” before abruptly leaving my community.  Is this expected behavior?

We never managed to repro that one, but our debate about whether it was a *bug* or a *feature* was a classic.

– Steve Theodore

Making videogames tends to turn you into a Feral

Making videogames tends to turn you into a Feral

One of my favorite memories was from near the end of SoD. James [McMillan] wanted a giant muffler man that looked like Billy Connoly (because of the film Fido) in the game, and I thought it was an awesome idea. That same day Shaun said ‘No more content after today’, it was a hard line in the sand. So I told James, #$@# it’. Figured it wasn’t meant to be.

The next day before James was in I was driving around testing the game, and there’s this giant muffler man in the game. He stayed at work until four in the am getting it in there

– Doug Williams

I was testing on my laptop at home late one night.  The lights were off, my headphones were on, and I was pretty engrossed.  I was looting a house.  Once the house was clear, I left through the front door. Then out of nowhere I got side tackled by a feral.  I screamed like a little girl, waking my 1-year old son.

– Matt Heiniger

1) The zombie clown-car cabin that would spawn so many zombies that they would be spouting out of every door and window

2) Ben [Scott]’s “Gore Bomb” that was supposed to fill infested houses with blood and guts but it would spawn them as you drove by so there would be body parts exploding out of windows into the street. It got pretty gross on main street Marshall with all the buildings vomiting body parts.

– Brant Fitzgerald

Undermining Civilization? Why we'd never!

Undermining Civilization? Why we’d never!

What was so great with SoD is that after 6 months of selecting our game engine we could run, shoot, and drive… and kill lots of zombies. It was obvious early on that what we had was fun and that we were on the right track. This was contrasted by my years of working on fantasy RPGs where the fun factor doesn’t show up until late in the project.

The day that Foge wired in the ability to take out a zombie with the car door sealed the deal.

– Dave Dunniway


Best Error Ever

My favorite part was Eli refusing to stay dead. omg…Eli. What a [redacted] nightmare. So the farmhouse mission ends with you putting Eli out of his soon-to-be-turned zombie misery.

He’s laying on a cot, and you have to shoot him in the head.

Well there was a bug so that when you shot him, he would just stand up on the cot frozen there. And that bug came back i would say at least once a month if not more.

Until we shipped…

for like a year.

– Jess Brunelle


Zombie Jess

just another night at the lab

Just another night at the office

My favorite Lifeline memory was Geoffrey announcing to the whole company that I was the first person who had reached the end of the game.

– Abby Wilson

My favorite was working on Lifeline and driving vehicles to places they shouldn’t ever be able to get to, then taking screenshots of it and sending it to Brant and waiting for him to sigh loudly from his desk behind me.


CPH's parking job

A CPH Park Job

During Lifeline, it seemed to take weeks to get the latrine in and hooked up and we had no way to force someone to use it.

So Brant was following npcs around and waiting for them to use it…they’d always tease – walking up and standing next to it.

Until one day – someone walked in, sat down, and started eating beans.

We all died.

Chris Willoughby

Tricycle of Gibraltar

Tricycle of Gibraltar from Captain Assassin

“After we sell a million copies, I’m getting a tattoo.”

– Jeff Strain, millions of copies sold, still tattoo-less


Be sure to check back in with us all through June, our Two-Year Anniversary Month!

We’ll be giving away some really cool anniversary T-shirts and some even bigger prizes along the way.

Hey, it’s a celebration after all.

Case #




News, State of Decay

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition

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.

First, we’re remastering the game in glorious 1080p, with sharper textures, a refined user interface, and more environment detail. We’re also taking advantage of the more powerful hardware by remastering and adding new environment effects, and increasing the fidelity and smoothness of character and zombie animations throughout the game. And along with these visual enhancements, we’ll ensure the game runs at a rock-solid frame rate and polish out a few glitches along the way.

Next, we’re creating some new content — not an entire DLC’s worth, but a few cool new mission types, new weapons, vehicles, and perhaps a hero or two. We’ll also be making some of your favorite characters from Lifeline (yes, Sasquatch) available as playable characters in Breakdown, and taking some of the new base options from Lifeline and making them available in Breakdown and the core State of Decay game. And then we’ll throw in half an hour of new music from State of Decay composer Jesper Kyd.

Finally, we’re bundling both Breakdown and Lifeline DLC releases into the game to create the ultimate State of Decay experience.

As of today we have the game up and running on Xbox One (and you may see some video of that coming out of our media announcement at the Lab last night, including this bit from Major Nelson), and it already looks fantastic, but we still have a long way to go to make the visual improvements worthy of Xbox One hardware. We’ll crank on that through the fall, and plan to release State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, both digitally on Xbox One and PC/Steam, and at retail, in spring 2015.

For those of you who’ve played State of Decay, I know you’ll have lots of questions. Will my characters transfer over? What is the upgrade path for current players? Have the system specs for the PC changed? How much will it cost? I don’t have answers to these questions today, but rest assured we’re working on them, and I’ll let you know as soon as I can. What I can tell you is that we’re always aware the reason we have the opportunity to continue making State of Decay games is because of your support, and that will guide every decision we make.

This is the first of many planned next-gen steps for the State of Decay franchise. We’re working hard on Year One, but rest assured there are other, perhaps bigger, irons in the fire as well. I’ll let you know about those the moment I can say, “Hell yes!”


Case #




Moonrise, News, Press, Studio


Today it’s my great pleasure to announce our new game, Moonrise.

Moonrise is a multiplayer creature-collection RPG for mobile devices, conceived and developed here at the Lab and published by Kabam. It’s a fun romp through a gorgeous 3D world of ancient ruins and magical creatures, with deep, real-time strategic combat, full character and creature customization, and real-time online play with your friends.

You can read more about Moonrise and our partnership with Kabam in the Moonrise announcement press release, and at the game website at We’ll also be showing the beta build of Moonrise off at PAX Prime in Seattle at the end of this month, so look for more information about the game and release details then.

Like everyone at the Lab, I’m intensely excited about Moonrise. It’s a game that embodies the same passion and spirit we poured into our first game, State of Decay. But alongside that excitement, I’m also very aware that this is a surprise to everyone who has been following the Lab for the last few years. What does it mean for us to be releasing a game that isn’t State of Decay?

First, our commitment to State of Decay is stronger than ever. Survival fantasy is in our DNA, and always will be. While I can’t talk specifics yet (and believe me when I tell you how hard that is), the long-term partnership with State of Decay publisher Microsoft we announced in January, and collaboration with author J.L. Bourne we announced last week, are all in service to something. Or perhaps I should say some things. And I think it’s safe to say those things will be exciting to State of Decay fans.

But those things — particularly when they’re big things — require time; for planning and design, for R&D and new technologies, for business and contract discussions, for new platforms to mature, and for a whole host of things that need to get done before you can unleash a full, chomping-at-the-bit game development team. So while the core State of Decay team continued to work on those things after the release of the game last summer, we built another team to take on a new project we’d been thinking about, which became Moonrise.

I’ve used the phrase ‘gaming omnivores’ to describe our personal gaming tastes at the Lab. You’ll find fans of every genre and platform here, and most of us love it all, provided it’s made with passion and respect for us as gamers. As game developers, we’re the same — omnivores. But just as we wanted to create a fresh take on the zombie genre with State of Decay, we wanted to create a fresh take on the creature RPG with Moonrise. As we’ll discuss in the coming weeks and months, Moonrise builds on the core foundation of collecting creature companions, with deeper team mechanics, real-time combat, a strong multiplayer core, and console-quality art and animation. And, of course, it’s playable on a device that most of us already have in our pockets or backpacks.

Moonrise is of course very different from State of Decay in many ways. It’s bright and colorful, it’s fantastical, and it’s on mobile. But despite those notable differences, you’ll also find that it’s very much an Undead Labs game, with a focus on systems-driven content, sophisticated progression mechanics, and a few bold design choices — such as strategic real-time combat — we think will result in a fresh gameplay experience. And, like every game we will ever make, Moonrise is a gamer-focused game, meaning it’s developed for people like us — passionate gamers who expect our time and money to be treated with respect. It’s also fully an Undead Labs game in terms of our complete commitment to the player community and long term support for the game. Moonrise is as much our baby as State of Decay, and babies needs lots of love and attention…

In my State of Decay: Year One anniversary post, I said:

The success of State of Decay, and the opportunity we have to take it even further, is 100% because of you. Not just because you’re customers, but because you’re gamers. Real gamers. Not just casual fans of the latest big-budget shooter or pre-scripted action adventure (although those can be awfully fun too), but gamers who are passionate enough to try something new. You met the unexpected with a smile rather than a frown.

As we prepare to release Moonrise and continue development on the future of State of Decay, this is more true than ever. It’s been a pleasure building games for you so far, and I can’t wait to show you what we have in store for the future. On behalf of all of us at Undead Labs, thank you.


Case #



Let’s Chat

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.

And then it was time to build a studio that could make the ultimate zombie survival-fantasy game.

A few months later, Undead Labs was formed, and I found myself joyfully working with some of the most talented and passionate developers in the industry. As we started laying down the design for what would become State of Decay, numerous copies of Day by Day Armageddon (DbDA) were purchased and passed around. In those early days every developer on the game read the books. Of all the movies, books, comics, epic poems in iambic pentameter, and folk songs about zombies, DbDA stands apart in its contribution to our design and development culture.

Fast forward to January 2014. State of Decay is a huge success — thanks everyone! —  and we’re announcing a multi-year, multi-title relationship with Microsoft to build on State of Decay and take it to greater heights. (Yeah I know that’s vague… damn gag…) I did an interview for Xbox Wire, and while I couldn’t give them any details, we did talk about influences, and I mentioned DbDA and the strong impact it had on State of Decay.

I didn’t think much about it afterward, until a few weeks later when my phone chirped with a Twitter notification:


After I privately worked through my fanboy freakout, I contacted J.L., and we started talking. About zombies. About Day by Day Armageddon. About survival fantasy. About the future of State of Decay.

We flew him out to visit the studio, meet the team (including Brant, who is still working through his fanboy freakout, although not quite as privately), and talk some more. He liked what we had to say, and we liked what he had to say. There was a real meeting of the minds going on, and everyone could feel it.

So, we decided to work together.

I’m very excited to announce that J.L. Bourne will be collaborating with Undead Labs on the future of State of Decay. I can’t talk about any potential future titles right now (mmph mmmmmmph mmmph), but on the road we’re now traveling, we have the benefit of J.L.’s powerful narrative voice and intimate knowledge of the skills, tactics, weapons, and daily realities of the zombie apocalypse.

When we said the future of State of Decay is bright back in January, we meant it.

Welcome to State of Decay, J.L.!





[Read J.L.’s welcome to the State of Decay community here, and please welcome J.L. yourself by clicking on the comment tape.]

Case #





Automation Programmer

Do you like to find ways to make the computer do the work of a 100 people? Do you get a big thrill from pushing a button and watching your code handle thousands of things perfectly that silly humans would constantly screw up, or find things humans have already screwed up? Do you get an even bigger thrill by then figuring out how to automate pushing the button?

We’re looking for someone who loves to write automated test harnesses, sophisticated build and patching systems, and simulation tools to drive games to their knees begging for mercy. That perfect someone would have good instincts for grey/black box testing, and be able work with game programmers, designers, and testers to instrument the game and our service platforms for automated testing.

Here’s what we’d like to see:

  • As with all our positions, a love of gaming is a must
  • Knowledge of C/C++, C# and higher-level languages such as Lua, Python, or Ruby
  • Excellent understanding of QA methodologies and experience writing Test Plans and Test Cases
  • A customer oriented mindset, with good communication skills
  • Experience in console, mobile, and/or PC development a plus (all three is awesome)
  • Self motivated with a focus on delivering results
  • A degree in Computer Science or equivalent is a plus, but not required

Here’s what we’d like you to do:

  • Own and deliver automated test strategies for our products, spanning multiple release cycles
  • Improve the efficiency and reliability of our games by working with team members to encourage a test-driven mentality in the development process
  • Own diagnostics and fault-tolerance aspects of various systems
  • Automate verification of end-to-end customer experiences, from client front end to server back end interactions
  • Own our automated build and patching infrastructure based on a blend of commercial and in-house tools
  • Participate in testing regularly scheduled releases

This position is for full-time employment at the Undead Labs studio in Seattle. For more information about what it’s like to work at the Lab, check out our jobs page.

It this all sounds awesome and you think you have what it takes, send your resume and any code samples you can share to

We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Case #



State of Decay: Year One

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.

I, and my colleagues at Undead Labs, had no idea what was to happen over the next 24 hours. We knew we’d built something unique: a game that broke rules about permadeath, multiple avatars, and offline progression; a game that blended RPG, third-person action, and survival simulation in a manner that caused our publisher to scratch their head through most of its development (and kudos to them for standing by it). We were proud that we’d built something new, and grateful we’d had the opportunity to do so; but there’s a difference between being proud of what you make, and making something people actually want. We’d soon find out whether people wanted a zombie-survival simulation in which your starting character was very likely to die in the first hour of play. (Ah, Marcus, we loved you, man…)

I distracted myself for a few hours by watching Zombieland for the fifth or sixth time. Not really genre canon, but still a great movie. Zombieland came out in fall 2009, exactly 12 days before the foundation of Undead Labs. At that point the seeds of ‘Class3’, the codename for the game that became State of Decay, were well planted, but Zombieland focused on human relationships over a period of weeks and months, and really made me think about how survival is not just about food, water, and shelter (and bullets), but also about your emotional health. Having good friends may not be more important than avoiding being eaten, but it’s definitely up there somewhere around ‘sanitation’ and ‘tooth brushing’ on the long-term survival priority list.

Anyway, the movie ended, and midnight hit. Judgement Day was upon us. I waited. I felt like my whole life was on the line, and in some ways, it was. At about 12:15, Sanya sent an IM with a link, that simply read, “IGN review is in”. I stared at it for a long time. IGN is one of the big guns, and if their reviewer got his Marcus killed and rage quit an hour in, we’d be toast.

I finally mustered the courage to click the link, scroll to the bottom, and open my eyes.

8.9 — Great. “For many, State of the Decay is the zombie game they’ve always wanted.”

I couldn’t believe it. I read the entire article, and they loved what we loved. They understood how permadeath made your decisions meaningful, how playing multiple characters made your community your primary investment, and how other risky decisions were made in service to our goal of creating a true survival simulation. I was floating — although that was probably more from lack of sleep than anything, but the combination was awesome.

The next day was like a waking dream. The game rolled out across the world starting at 2:00 AM as planned, and by the time I went into the office at 6:00 AM, we’d surpassed 25,000 paid downloads. By noon we hit 50,000, by the start of our release party at 4:00 we’d passed 100,000, and by the end of the day we settled in at around 135,000. It was a record-breaking release (only Minecraft, a game with a huge existing fan base, had sold faster), and would set the pace for the 500K and 1M thresholds to come over the next few months. State of Decay went on to become the fastest selling original game in Xbox Live Arcade history, and is now among the top sellers of all time.

Over the next year we released numerous free updates and two DLC expansions to the game: State of Decay: Breakdown, which focuses on the simulation mechanics of the game to offer an ever increasing survival challenge, and the just-released State of Decay: Lifeline, which returns to the narrative focus of State of Decay and offers a new map, new mission types, and a whole new military-themed story to experience.

State of Decay continues to sell well a year after release, but we’re just getting started. In January we announced a multi-year, multi-title partnership with Microsoft Studios to continue development of the State of Decay franchise. State of Decay was a great first step, but our ambitions for where we take it from here are much higher, and Microsoft is ready to step up and work with us to make those ambitions a reality.

Those of you who have followed Undead Labs from our early days probably know where all this is going, and I won’t disappoint you. The success of State of Decay, and the opportunity we have to take it even further, is 100% because of you. Not just because you’re customers, but because you’re gamers. Real gamers. Not just casual fans of the latest big-budget shooter or pre-scripted action adventure (although those can be awfully fun too), but gamers who are passionate enough to try something new. You met the unexpected with a smile rather than a frown. Your Marcus died, but you didn’t rage quit (or if you did, you came back the next day after you cooled off), because you were willing to embrace a game with real consequences. You enabled us to take risks and push the boundaries of game design in the pursuit of new gameplay experiences.

More than merely being thankful to you for making State of Decay a success, I want you to know that it’s a genuine pleasure to make games for you guys. You’ve fueled us up over the past year, and now we’re off building the future of State of Decay…and we sure as hell don’t intend to let you down.

On behalf of the entire team at Undead Labs, thank you.


Case #




News, Studio, Team Zed

Lewis Fixed It

One day, everything blew up.

This was back in 2007 or so. I was at ArenaNet at the time, and we had just published an live update for our big MMO Guild Wars. Something had gone wrong, and nobody could login to the game. Our community forums were exploding with angry players, our customer service team was calling us frantically wanting to know what they should tell people, the server programmers were snapping at anyone who even walked into their field of view (“If I knew what the frakking problem was don’t you think I would have told you by now?!”), and everyone was tense and worried.

Well, except for this one guy. We’d hired this kid out of DigiPen about a few years earlier, and he’d turned out to be a damn fine programmer. So much so that we now had him working on core server code, which is basically the lifeblood of any MMO. The Big Scary Stuff. Lewis was kind of quiet, had a terrible sense of humor (in the sense that he had a strong sense of humor, but loved bad puns and daily joke calendar kinds of things), was super smart, and completely unflappable. While everyone else was batting away the swarming management types, Lewis was quietly coding amidst the chaos.

I remember thinking, “Damn, doesn’t he realize what’s going on here? We have several hundred thousand players who can’t login right now, and he’s just sitting there coding without a care in the world.”

And then, without turning around, he simply says, “Fixed it.”

It took a few minutes for it to sink in, but yeah, he’d found the issue, fixed it, and published a build. Everyone was logging in and happily playing.

So this is the kind of guy you want on your side, whether you’re programming the zombie apocalypse, or actually trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Calm, cool, competent, and, when called upon, a real ass kicker. Of course, the bad jokes would get him killed on the second day, but my god, how awesome would he be on the first day?

Lewis is a great addition to Team Zed, and he’ll be helping drive a lot of the awesomeness to come. Welcome aboard, Lewis!


“Did you hear about the kidnapping at school?”
“No! What happened?”
“He woke up.”

(Actual joke Lewis told me yesterday.)

Check out Lewis’s own article here:

Case #




News, Studio, Team Zed

‘Bout Damn Time

“Did you write the code that spits out an empty page at the end of every print job?”

It was June 1996, and I was on a pay phone in the cafeteria at Hewlett-Packard interviewing for a job at Blizzard Entertainment. The guy on the other end of the line was Patrick Wyatt, their VP of R&D.

It wasn’t going well.

“Uh, no, I don’t think so. It probably…”

“Well, I think you probably did it because it makes HP a ton of money on paper sales. What do you know about device independent bitmaps? Are you familiar with CreateDIBSection()? What is the make and model of the video card in your gaming PC? What are the pros and cons of object oriented programming?”

Object oriented programming was still a pretty new concept at the time, and I had just finished a few training courses in it at HP, so I talked about that and my sweet new video card (a Diamond Stealth3D 2000 OMG 3D!) to try to cover for the fact that I had absolutely no clue what a DIB section was, much less how to create one.

Somehow, I got the job; and while getting to work on some of the definitive online games of that era was great, working alongside Patrick Wyatt on them was even better.

Patrick was a programmer and designer on Blizzard’s early console titles such as Rock & Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. Great games, but ultimately mere warmups for his next efforts: Warcraft, Warcraft II, and StarCraft, for which he was the principal programmer and producer. As VP of R&D for Blizzard, Pat also made major contributions to Diablo and Blizzard’s gaming network.

Patrick left Blizzard in 2000 to co-found ArenaNet, where, in addition to his business, design, and production roles, he developed the core server and network platform technology for the hit MMO Guild Wars.

So yeah, the guy has some serious game development chops.

Prior to starting Undead Labs, I worked alongside Pat for almost 14 years. He’s been a tremendous mentor, colleague, and friend during that time, and we’ve made some damn fine games together. It’s true that he once called me at 5:00 AM because he hit the wrong speed-dial button when he was trying to get the surf report, but I forgave him when he took me to Carl’s Junior for a Western Bacon Cheeseburger while my wife was in labor with our first child.

Jeff and Pat living the healthy California lifestyle.

Jeff and Pat living the healthy California lifestyle, circa 1996

Today, I’m very happy to announce that Patrick has joined Undead Labs, and will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with Team Zed as we dive into the development of… well, what’s next, and beyond.

Patrick has written some thoughts on joining the Lab, which you can read here.

Welcome to the Lab, amigo. ‘Bout damn time.


PS: Patrick still insists I’m responsible for the extra blank page at the end of every print job. Of course, he’s also always insisted that every person has an NSA agent assigned to spy on them from birth, and it turns out he was right about that, so…

Case #




News, Studio

The Road Ahead

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.

If this were a press release, we’d have a carefully vetted quote from Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, expressing Microsoft’s excitement as well. But pictures speak louder than words, and we think Phil spoke pretty loudly during the keynote at E3 last year:


Thanks to Phil and everyone on our hard working team at Microsoft Studios for believing in State of Decay!

And most of all, thanks to all of you for your ongoing support, encouragement, and enthusiasm for State of Decay. We know how far we’d have gotten if it hadn’t been for your spreading the word, and it definitely wouldn’t be here. You made this happen.

It’s been a long haul from the original vision to this point, and the road ahead of us will take years to travel. We hope you’re up for the trip, because we can’t do it without you.

Case #




News, State of Decay

Almost to the Breakdown

Hola fellow survivors,

Today I’m happy to announce that our first DLC for State of Decay, ‘Breakdown’, has been delivered to Microsoft for pre-certification testing. This means the game is content-and-feature complete, and all that remains is to squash any remaining bugs and make final tweaks to tuning and balance.

So what happens from here?

First, our excellent QA team at Microsoft will spin up multiple teams on two continents for around-the-clock testing. Most of these guys were involved with State of Decay, so they are not only able to find bugs — which is always an essential task — but also help us understand where we are and are not hitting the mark for the survival experience we’re working hard to create. These guys are hard-working, passionate badasses, and we’re glad they’ve got our backs.

Through next week the QA teams will be playing Breakdown, logging any issues they find, and sending feedback to the development team. We’ll spend our (probably quite long) days reviewing, prioritizing, and squashing bugs, and incorporating the design feedback from the QA teams, members of our publishing team at Microsoft, and of course our own developers here at the Lab.

The plan is to have all that wrapped up and submit formally to certification testing at the end of next week. As we’ve said before, we like to be transparent about our plans, but things could change. Our test team could turn up some huge game-screwing design flaw next week. We might make a mistake in the packaging format and fail certification. The government shutdown could close down the internetz. Anything could happen.

But, assuming no catastrophes, we plan on getting Breakdown into your hands by the end of October.

If you want to know more about the design goals for Breakdown, make sure to read Lab designer Geoffrey Card’s post.

We’ll do our best to survive the rest of the month; then it’s your turn. 😉