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Memories of PAX Prime 2014

Has it really been three weeks since PAX ended? It seems like just yesterday Drew Hobson (the voice of Marcus) was cheerfully saying “niiiiiiiice” on request, and revealing his other role on State of Decay. J.L. Bourne was only a few hours ago signing autographs in our booth and telling stories during the Superfan prize dinner. I feel like we were just standing in a crowded room, telling people that as a matter of fact you’ll be able to play as Sasquatch in the Year One edition of State of Decay. And it sure feels like I was very recently sitting on a convention center floor scribbling notes, while over my head Jeff and Foge were designing a PVP tournament for Moonrise.


Brant isn’t in the picture because he’s taking the picture, but what you’re seeing is the Superfan celebration. We are the luckiest game company on earth, I have to tell you. Our Superfans were supposed to be treated like royalty in return for all they’ve done…and instead they did more. They met us at the crack of dawn at the company HQ to load boxes. They helped set up the booth. And even though they had four day badges to see the show, every time I turned around one of them was doing a demo of the game for new players. (Our Negnar did step away from the Undead Labs area long enough to try out the new game, and he wrote up his experiences here.) I hope they had as much fun as we did. I mean, we are grateful to all of you for being part of the community, and meeting some of you in person is SUCH a thrill.


Speaking of meeting in person, here’s Drew! He signed shirts and hats and recited any line you wanted. “Niiiiiiiice” was a popular request. As befits a guy who is a professional DJ as well as a voice actor, Drew was the life of the party. It was great watching people come up to talk about the game, and then realize that “Marcus” was standing right there. What they didn’t know, and Drew was able to reveal, is that he’s also the voice of Sasquatch. Sasquatch, who will be a playable character sometime early next spring. We’ll be working with Drew until Hollywood comes calling for this guy.

JL signs for a player

Fans of J.L. Bourne (he whose novels were such an inspiration to us during the development of State of Decay), you will be glad to hear that he is EXACTLY the guy you want beside you if the apocalypse happens. He doesn’t just spin a pretty story. He thinks tactically at all times. It was an education watching him make plans and contingency plans, and more than once I got a little shiver and thought, boy, glad we’re on the same side. He’s also a hard worker, thoughtful, honest, and damned funny. We are so lucky to have him working on the future of the game. Wish I could talk about that future…


In the immediate future of State of Decay, and what we can talk about, is the Year One Survival Edition, which I would really like everyone to abbreviate on Twitter as “YOSE” instead of the cringeworthy “YO.” Seriously, if you could please hook me up, I will pay you back at the first State of Decay live event. Drinks, swag, something. Okay, moving on. Although we weren’t ready to show it at PAX, we did talk about it at our press event the night before the show. Major Nelson made a horror movie about it. Gamespot saw it in person. So did Ten Ton Hammer. Some big sites wrote about it. And it wouldn’t have been a media event without some of the writers who’ve been there since the beginning.

Highlights include, but are not limited to: Remastered in 1080p. New mission type (“Cleo Drops” – military looking crates that contain rare and powerful goodies…but they seem to attract a hell of a lot of zombies). New playable Heroes from Lifeline — Hawkes, Kilo, Vance, and Sasquatch. New SUV, new weapons, new music. The facility goodies (snacks, ammo) from Lifeline will be retrofitted into the whole game. And to be honest, we’re not done.

YOSE will bundle all of the DLC into this package, to make THE definitive version of State of Decay. This generation of it, anyway. We’re still talking about ways to thank those of you who bought the original game but might want to upgrade, so, stay tuned.


And of course, there was Moonrise. PAX was our first chance to see real players interacting with our alpha build. As you regulars know, our PAX booths are never staffed with temps or marketing people. Every demo is given by someone who is actively working on the game, and really, REALLY cares if you’re having a good time. So, this show was big for us.


With fourteen demo stations, we figured the line would move so fast that there wouldn’t be a chance for much of a line to form. We were…pleasantly surprised. We were freaking delighted when one of the PAX people came over with a roll of tape to mark out where the overflow could go — around two sides of our booth! — without pissing off the fire marshal.

And then there was the line on the OTHER side of the booth for the tournament. After the show started, Jeff and Foge (the Design Director, BTW, you’ll be hearing more from him soon) looked at each other. They had a gleam in their respective eyes that I have learned means nothing but trouble. “Man, people don’t get to the PVP during the demo. That’s the best part,” one of them said. One thing led to another, until I was sitting on the floor of the booth taking notes while they worked out the rules. At the end I held out my notebook. Jeff took a picture of the page and disappeared. He came back a few hours later with two posters, four iPad Airs for prizes, and a few thousand postcards with the rules.

The tournament was EPIC. Nothing is more fun than PVP. Check out the pictures on the Moonrise Facebook page. And if you don’t believe it happened just the way I’ve described:


As usual with our games, Moonrise is damned hard to boil down to a simple slogan. Early next month we’ll start a series of design articles that will show you what all went into crafting this beauty, and I’ll post a more complete press roundup next week. This post is already crazy long, so in addition to Negnar’s post, for now you can start with MMORPG: “[C]heck out Moonrise, a real-time combat RPG that really made the obsessive compulsive gamer collector in me get excited.” And hey, why not GamersInBeta: “Besides the intuitive game play, what was most impressive about the title was how quickly you forgot about the medium you were playing on as you were so immersed in the story and action.”

If you want the news as it happens, be sure to follow us on our various social media things. We’re @undeadlabs on Twitter. We’re cleverly disguised over at Facebook. Although we don’t have the State of Decay tags on either Facebook or Twitter, we share the Moonrise tags with the people at Kabam: @moonrisemobile and

Please do keep track of us. We have something really neat to celebrate with you in the near future, and I don’t want you miss any of the fun.

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Events, Fans, News, Studio

Will We See You At PAX Prime?

PAX Prime is a special show for us. It’s the show where we first revealed State of Decay, AND it’s our “home” convention. You can in fact walk from the convention center where PAX is happening to our office, even if you should probably change out of formal shoes and into sneakers before you try it. Oh, well, live and learn. The point is, we love PAX Prime, and our absolute favorite part of it is meeting as many of you as possible.

And we have some one day passes to give away to make that happen, if you can get yourself to Seattle, courtesy of the gang at  Microsoft. Here are our plans for next week:

Thursday, August 28: Media event at the Lab. We’re going to be unveiling the next thing for State of Decay (but the news is embargoed until Friday morning), and doing a hands-on with our new game, Moonrise. We still have seats available for this event, but because we’re doing dinner and drinks for the attendees, there’s a limit. If you are a reporter and in town for PAX in time for this party, drop me a line! sanya at undeadlabs dot com

Friday, August 29: PAX opens! Come find us in TWO places:

State of Decay Fan Booth: N5. We’re behind the escalator in one of the fourth floor lobbies. We were there accidentally last year and loved being able to talk to you without screaming. We loved it so much we requested the spot for this year! Come and play State of Decay, meet the developers and the designers, get swag, buy Undead Labs or State of Decay gear if you’re so inclined, and participate in some fun contests (the hashtag is going to be #snacksofdecay). Look for the green and brown balloons.

Moonrise Booth: 6103. Walk into the sixth floor expo hall and look for the tower with the moon on it. What can I tell you, we try to make it easy. Ten minute time limit while there’s a line waiting, but if you make us your first stop, you’ll get plenty of time to be the first to play our lovely new RPG.

Saturday, August 30: J.L. Bourne, author of the Day By Day Armageddon series that so inspired us during the development of State of Decay, is now part of our team…and will be in the Undead Labs booth signing autographs and talking survival between 1 and 3 PM. That’s between 1300 and 1400 hours to some of you. Please come by and give JL a big Decayed welcome to the community.

Sunday, August 31: Our own Drew Hobson will be hanging out in the booth, telling stories and making us laugh, from 1 to 3 PM. For those of you new to the community, Drew was the voice of Marcus… and he also played a big role in one of our expansions. Come by and ask him which one it was.

Monday, September 1: Last day. We’re always a little bit burnt and a little bit punchy by the fourth day. This is the perfect time to ask us questions.

The only question now is… will you win one of these passes I have burning a hole in my pocket? I’ll do more contests on Monday (one on Facebook and one on our forum), but here’s the first one:

Share this post on Twitter, with the hashtag #UndeadLabsPaxPrime — and let me know what day you want to attend. I’ll pick one sharing and caring person at random on Sunday, 11 AM EDT/2 PM PDT. Annnnnnd…go.



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Events, Moonrise, News

Pinny Arcade, Now Featuring Moonrise Pin

If you’re into pin trading, you’re in good company…if you think of the Lab as good company. We were lucky to be included in Pinny Arcade for PAX Prime 2014 at the end of this month. Each player who does the Moonrise demo at our booth in the 6th floor hall (#6103, can’t miss us, you’ll see the giant tower labeled MOONRISE from the entrance), will get one of these nifty keen collectible pins:

I need a home.

I need a home.

I’ll have more information about the Undead Labs booth (#N5, fourth floor, behind the escalator) coming soon.

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Events, Fans, News, Studio

Are You a Superfan?

If you are Undead for life, we’d like to meet you. Without what we call our Superfans, we wouldn’t be where we are today. You don’t just like our links — you share them. You don’t just play our games — you tell people about them. You don’t just consume our games — you make them better with feedback and saves and constructive criticism. You don’t just hang out in our community — you’re the soul of it.

So, yeah. We want to shake your hand and thank you in person. Tragically, not everyone can get out to PAX Prime at the end of August, but we’re going to do what we can for two of you. How does plane fare, a hotel room, a PAX badge, and an invitation to our Thursday night media event (where we’ll unveil the latest news for State of Decay and go hands on with Moonrise) sound?

We’ll choose one Superfan based on their total participation and contribution to the community over a long period of time. (Being a Superfan is a whole lot more than your post count.) We’re going to ask you to choose one of your own in the Second State of Decay Superfan Contest.

Here’s how to enter:

Before 11:59 PM (23:59) PDT on Monday, August 11, 2014, you must make a post in the forum with two parts.

Part One: In one paragraph, tell us why you are a superfan. (For legal reasons, you must enter to be considered.)

Part Two: In one paragraph, nominate another member of the community, either by forum handle or Facebook name, and tell us why he or she is a superfan.

(The fine print is all here.)

Prizes (2 total): One round-trip plane ticket to Seattle from the nearest major airport to your home, four nights in a Seattle hotel room, one badge admitting you to PAX, one admittance to our private media event on Thursday, August 28th, and dinner with Jeff Strain and J.L. Bourne on August 30th. (And whoever else can convince Jeff we should be included, COUGH COUGH AHEM.)

Yes. This is basically the coolest prize pack we could put together, and we only have two regrets. One, we could only two prize packs instead of fifty. And two… and this is the hardest one… for legal reasons, you must be a resident of the USA.

I know. It’s the worst. Someday we are going to have an Undead World Tour, and we’re going to do something to make it up to you guys who can’t enter this contest. This I swear.

But for all of you who ARE eligible, and are willing and able to hop a plane on the morning of Thursday, August 28? Get going! The comment thread IS the official contest thread, so just click the green tape.

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News, Studio

What Do You See?

You are indeed seeing things. What you’re specifically seeing at the top of the website is our new logo (and some cleaner new fonts and other assorted tweaks). Just because you’re Undead for life doesn’t mean you don’t want to grow and improve, and what you’re seeing on this page is our sleeker, leaner, new logo for the Lab. We’ll be changing over Twitter and Facebook and the forums as our web team* gets around to them.

All of you with shirts featuring the old logo? You now own a collector’s item ;)

*The web team is still just Jeff. (And me, if he’s willing to trust me again after the regrettable LinkedIn avatar incident of 2012.) There are some things about the Lab that will never change.

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Belated Title Update #6 Celebration on Twitch

What with one thing and another, we did not properly celebrate TU6, even though it was filled with great fixes that we knocked out thanks to lots of help from you. So, let’s rectify that, shall we? Join us tomorrow, Tuesday (July 22) at 2 PM EDT / 11 AM PDT / 6 PM GMT for the Twitch with the usual suspects for an hour of merriment and shenanigans. We’ll show off the changes, answer questions, and probably embarrass ourselves more than once. Our host will be our friend Alex at Xbox:

Tell your friends. We might throw down some prize codes, so if you haven’t been able to get your hands on Lifeline…be there!

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News, State of Decay

State of Decay Skin Pack For Minecraft

If your guess last week, in response to my teasing on Twitter and Facebook, was “totally a skin pack,” pat yourself on the back. State of Decay is featured in Skin Pack 6, coming “soon” (don’t worry, it really is soon, not gaming-industry soon) to Minecraft for Xbox. I don’t know the cost, myself. But I want it just because they went with SHARK HOODIE GUY as one of the five characters! Check out the screenshot after the jump.


I’ll update this post as soon as the release date for this little treat is announced. If any of you get it and use it, be sure to tweet a picture to me :P

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Photo Call – Will You Share Your Happy Milestones?

The one year anniversary of State of Decay is this Thursday. Can you believe it? All of us have come so far in the last year, one day and one step at a time. We would like to celebrate your milestones as well as our own. If you’d like to contribute something to a project I have in mind, please click the green tape and let me know!

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Lifeline is LIVE

We are now live on both the Xbox 360 and Steam, and so far, it looks like everyone who knows about it is enjoying it. Thank you so much for your good wishes and good cheer all over the internet. It means everything to us.

Some of us are trying to be all chill about your reviews and tweets and posts. Some of us don’t have a cool bone in our bodies and we’re running around the internet like methed up ferrets, reading every word and watching every video.

Er… was that TMI?

But seriously, keeping cool when you’ve been waiting for this day for months is hard, and the best feeling in the world is when real people actually play it and LIKE it. These were the first four reviews to come in. Not cherry picked. Just the first four in my spreadsheet:

Lifeline feels like a natural high level expansion to an RPG, and it’s an interesting design philosophy when applied to an open-world action game. Exploring a whole new location within the still incredibly fun State of Decay engine is a blast.”

Rather than adding a few hours onto the existing State of Decay narrative, the Lifeline expansion offers an entirely new campaign; one which is likely to take you more than one attempt (and quite a few hours) to complete successfully…I’m not sure there’s a zombie-survival game on the market (single or multiplayer) that currently holds a candle to the State of Decay franchise, and the Lifeline expansion only extends Undead Labs’ lead over its competitors.”

What you can get in this DLC exceeds the price tag as it is intense, replayable, and overall a blast to play. If you were expecting just another version of Breakdown, you were wrong. What Lifeline feels like to me is the opposite of Breakdown and that isn’t even close to a flaw.”

The new DLC seems more like a sequel built upon the same engine instead of just an add-on for State of Decay. Lifeline is a must for fans of Undead Lab’s zombie survival entry. Gamers who enjoy the genre and haven’t tried the game yet should really give it a shot as it remains one of last-gen’s best examples of zombie gaming.”

As with the original launch and Breakdown, the only advertising we have consists of these reviews, and more importantly, you telling your friends that the game was worth your time. If you like what you’ve seen so far, please spread the word that the game is out!

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Lifeline Release Time

We are ON for tomorrow, everybody! The cost is $6.99, or whatever the rough equivalent is in your local currency (the Xbox/Steam does the math, not me). Who will be joining us?!?

What time?

Very early in the morning, Pacific time.

But what EXACT time?

Okay, for Xbox players, it doesn’t work exactly like that. The process will begin at 2 AM PDT/5 AM EDT/10 AM GMT (and for my Australians, 5 PM WST and 7 PM EST). However, the exact time it hits your local marketplace will vary, because the files have to move from server to server all around the world. So it may not hit precisely on the hour. Try to be patient.

For Steam players, Microsoft is going to push the button at 10 AM PDT/1 PM EDT/6 PM GMT (Australians, that’ll be 1 AM Saturday WST and 3 AM Saturday EST). Again, it may take a bit for your personal computer to see it.

In the meantime, reviewers have been putting up streams and posts. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed. I’m sharing links as they come in: @undeadlabs is where the party is all day tomorrow!