State of Decay 2 is a game where you tell the story of your zombie apocalypse, alongside up to three of your friends. How will you survive?
Welcome to our four part series on the human survivors inside the game! Just as in the original State of Decay, you don’t play as any one individual. Instead, you’re a community of survivors, all of whom have their own unique combination of appearance, traits and needs. It’s up to you to manage and satisfy these needs while executing your strategy in pursuit of not just surviving, but instilling belief among your community that tomorrow will be a better day.
A big part of the State of Decay experience is that you recruit people as you find them. People have on them whatever they happen to have been wearing when the apocalypse broke out, or maybe the best outfit they were able to take off the body of their dead neighbor. (As with the original game, the look of each survivor is locked in when you recruit them.)
So how did we put together the look of the survivors? A whole lot of photochop, well that’s what Undead Labs Art Director, Doug Williams, calls it. In a game with far, far fewer human beings, you’d start with a “pie in the sky” concept piece such as this one below and develop from there.
In State of Decay 2, which has to feel like a teeming world with lots of human variety, and the survivors themselves are dynamically generated from lists of faces, personalities, and clothes. We also wanted to stay true to the vision of State of Decay being a thing that could happen right here, right now. It’s fun to fantasize, but for our purposes, the clothes needed to be things people might plausibly have been wearing. So, more hoodies and leather jackets, fewer horns. More flannel and boots you could…uh…scavenge, less hand forged body armor.
More than a hundred friends and family members, and developers and members of the community, went through the face scanning process as you see above. We put in a lot of them, but reserved some faces for future use.
Our artists pulled together composites from reference photos, and since we were planning to handle the faces via photogrammetry, sometimes we threw in placeholder faces of famous actors and actresses, which is why some of the pictures are pixeled here. From there, we chose the clothes and outfits that matched our goals (leather jackets: stylish AND zombie-resistant), and got to work making sure there was a wide variety of colors and fits for each item. We had to make it all look sharp, because hardware has changed a lot since 2013 and we want you to enjoy what you see.
We put all those pieces together to create the humans of State of Decay 2. We think the result is a world where you can see yourself surviving. We’d love to hear from you so let us know what you think on Twitter or Facebook!