A PC mod for ARMA II called DayZ gained steady popularity over the summer of 2012. Set in the zombie apocalypse, the game tasks players with finding food, tools, weapons, and medicine while avoiding zombies and other players who won’t hesitate to gun down a fellow survivor for supplies. If DayZ hasn’t entirely proven that the open-world zombie apocalypse survival game was a genre with a future, State of Decay now certainly has.
State of Decay was released last week, in the midst of E3 and the full-on declaration of the new console war. Even with all of that distraction for gamers, Microsoft states that the game has now sold over 500,000 downloads via Xbox LIVE Arcade. Microsoft claims that State of Decay is now the fastest-selling “original” game for XBLA. Presumably, the “original” qualification leaves out the Xbox 360 Edition of Minecraft, which became so phenomenally popular on XBLA that Mojang is now selling boxed copies of the title for the console.
State of Decay demonstrates that open-world zombie survival will have a future in gaming by showing that the genre does not have to be the player-versus-player wasteland that DayZ often seems to be. It’s a single-player experience, though players still have to scavenge and risk zombie attacks to survive, especially early in the game. The focus is to find fellow (NPC) survivors and work with them to build fortifications against the encroaching zombie hordes. Though criticized for technical problems, reviews for State of Decay have been generally positive.