E3 is all about showing off the best and the brightest of the year to come. While some expos in the past have been a bit lackluster, this year's E3 has gotten off to a strong start with Bethesda, Sony, Ubisoft, and Microsoft all delivering some trailers and demos for their upcoming games.
Microsoft made some major announcements with the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio, but that wasn't all that the company had to show off. It also announced some pretty impressive-looking games, like State of Decay 2.
A follow-up to 2013's State of Decay, the sequel seems to focus on everything that made the original game great. The trailer shows a car driving down an empty highway, occasionally opening a door to clip a zombie and send it flying through the air. After the trio of occupants leave the car, it then cuts to scenes of co-op action and the creation of custom encampments for the survivors to share. The trailer also displays a tagline that drives home the multiplayer nature of the game: "Nobody survives alone."
One of the things that sets State of Decay 2 apart from other zombie survival games is the fact that it essentially gives players a zombie-filled sandbox to explore and enjoy. Vehicles are available to use for transport and as weapons, it's possible to create a persistent community to use (and defend) and there are various areas for players to explore. The game is designed for co-op play, though, so exploring too much of the game as a single player might not end very well.
Though the trailer only revealed a little bit of what players can expect from the game, what it did show off should have a lot of appeal to both fans of the original game and new players who enjoy things like The Walking Dead. There aren't many games that focus on having a community of survivors, and even in those where players band together it's generally more up to the players how well they work together. Games like Left 4 Dead have players who need to work together as a team, but in that case they're just moving through a scenario and trying to survive. State of Decay 2 focuses more on long-term survival scenarios, and that's something that's sorely missing in most zombie games.
While it will have its share of action, the focus on community building might not be right for all players. That said, even those who aren't sure about the community aspects might be surprised at how much they enjoy it once they get in the game and experience it. If nothing else, the experience at least provides something different in an era when so many games seem to be functionally the same.
State of Decay 2 is slated for release in 2017, exclusively for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.