Like a bat into hell

Living out your survival strategy is a defining feature of State of Decay 2, and the Curveball update just made the world come alive in a whole new way.

With Update 34: Curveball, expect the unexpected, both of the good and bad variety! The world is changing and you’ll need to stay alert. It’s time to seize the boons and tackle (or avoid) the banes! In this dynamic, changing wasteland, the choices made and opportunities you take will determine your community’s survival or demise.

“Coders, Designers, QA and UI all worked together to make the Curveball feature feel like it belongs in SoD2 and that it complements the experience.” – Designer John Hollingworth


Don’t miss the Free Play Weekend on Xbox and Steam! Starting Thursday, September 21 at 10am PT and running until Monday morning, September 25, at 10am PT. Mark your calendars and text your friends, because this is the only time this year you can play for FREE! Don’t miss this event!


So, where to begin? While your game is updating, deep dive into the patch notes or join us later today (if you’re reading this on the 18th) on our Undead Labs developer livestream at 3pm where we’ll break down the notes. Read an interview with the team over at the Xbox Wire, and spice up your screens with new wallpapers. (And text that one friend to get ready for the Free Play weekend!)



Developer Q&A:
What’s Curveball all about?

John Hollingworth (Designer, Wushu), Eric Anderson (Designer, Undead Labs), and Meg Chaney (Producer, Undead Labs) give you an in-depth look at the update — read to the end for their personal gameplay tips!

How will the Curveball update affect new vs established players? 

“Brand new players won’t immediately see the benefit as the feature is intended to be introduced later in a game session. We were cautious not to overwhelm or entangle the experience with the center line missions and player objectives. However, returning players loading into an old community will be introduced to a Curveball relatively quickly. We’re hoping the features breathe new life into the late stage of the game by spicing up the gameplay loop and encourage returning players to adopt new strategies and take new opportunities. By modifying and adding variation to a wide selection of game mechanics, we hope to present new surprises, challenges and stories for returning players.”

How random are Curveballs? Are they designed to have a steady cadence from small effects to big effects?

“Curveballs are pretty random, but we do have certain conditions and pre-requisites to ensure the ones picked have relevance and are applicable to the player’s session. There are also some which are triggered by certain events in the game, making them feel a bit more connected and more of a result of the player’s actions. In terms of size, some are naturally more dominant than others and they can appear at any time.”


How often do Curveballs appear?

“That’s a tricky question! There are no indicators of when the next curveball will appear because we wanted to create a simulation of random events emerging. But there is an internal score under the hood to ensure pacing. We had a few goals in mind when creating this feature.Firstly, we wanted the opportunity to have multiple curveballs active at the same time. Second, we wanted periods of time when no curveball could be active to provide that breathing space. In general, the score is designed to introduce them into the world anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, but depending on triggers and conditions, you may see some in quick succession or experience a time in which the wasteland is a bit quieter.”

Can you play without Curveballs after this update?

“We don’t want to force this feature onto anyone and respect that each player has a preference. After the Curveball tutorial has been completed, a toggle will appear within the gameplay section of the settings menu. This toggle will prevent any future curveball events from appearing in the game”


Is there any story added to address Curveball’s additions?

“Each Curveball is a standalone narrative event. The idea is that the world changes over time, and new situations will inevitably arise in a wasteland in which communities are battling for survival. A curveball’s narrative is delivered to the player through observations, incoming radio messages, requests and new dialogue with friendly survivors. These notes are recorded in a new page called the Curveball menu which also contains a curveball’s information, details and status.”

What are your pro tips for new players joining SoD2? Any favorite tips or observations about seasoned players? 

“Don’t be afraid to be afraid. State of Decay is a game with permanent consequences, and committing to being heroic is a good way to get some survivors killed fast. Always keep an eye out for when a situation is turning bad, and always be prepared to run instead of fight.

Get a vehicle early, and get out and explore the map. We’ve found that our most successful players tend to not be afraid to venture far from their base regularly. Your community has a lot of needs that have to be managed, and knowing where you can find what you need is an important factor in your success, so get out there and scout that map.

Get some ranged weapons early. Success in State of Decay largely comes down to preparing for the worst, so having ranged weapons and explosives to be able to handle a situation turning bad is an effective safety net.”

Thank you for reading and playing, Survivors! Now… Batter up!