State of Decay 2 test update ramps up the terror of looming zombie hordes

State of Decay 2
(Image credit: Undead Labs)

State of Decay 2 is changing how zombie hordes work to make the undead menace feel more like a real threat bearing down on your community.

Despite rapidly approaching the fourth anniversary of its May 2018 debut, the developers of State of Decay 2 have some significant changes in the works for their zombie survival game. The first set is already live on the PC version's public test realm, and a developer live stream broke down all the current changes in the test as well as some potential follow ups.

In short, the new changes make infestations more directly target your base and outposts with the hordes they send out at semi-regular intervals - previously, they'd just head out to a random spot nearby to continue their spread. In exchange for that extra danger, the game will reveal when infestations are about to grow in size or send out another horde via map indicators and notifications. You'll want to keep an eye on them, because hordes infesting your outposts means no more passive benefits, and hordes near your base means a bigger chance of being sieged.

Zombie sieges in the current, non-test version of the game occur based on a timer, with their overall intensity determined by your community's threat level (an abstracted measure of how much noise you're making). Undead Labs wants them to eventually be dictated by how many infestations and hordes you've let linger nearby instead.

"I think our vision for sieges is that these infestation-horde-triggered sieges will completely replace the randomly timed sieges," systems designer Larry Wu explains in the stream. "Since we're putting sieges in a completely preventable map strategy game, the intensity of them - we imagine that we're gonna be able to get closer to the original vision of sieges, which was those scenes from all those zombie movies that you're familiar with, where the horde's banging on the walls and everyone barely makes it out alive."

While work continues on State of Decay 2, Undead Labs is also still quietly making State of Decay 3 - though we haven't seen anything new since that announcement trailer at the 2020 Xbox Games Showcase. 

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.