I was honestly surprised not to see any zombie cosplayers at PAX East. But among the hordes of Destiny, Evolve, and obscure anime characters one could still find the undead on the convention floor. Undead Labs, the studio behind the Xbox Live Arcade hit State of Decay were posted up near a booth hocking overpriced steampunk hats. Geoffrey Card, Lead Designer for the State of Decay franchise, was on hand to preview their next-gen port of the game. The game’s been retooled and polished with new animations, textures, shadows and greater draw distances. They’ve also thrown in a ton of new weapons and items as well as SUVs to tool around (and over zombies) in.

There’s a laundry list of countless fixes and new features but most prominent is the polished look. There’s more detail and less pop-in and character animations look crisp. Fighting zombies is still a brawler’s dream and the shooting mechanics remain solid. They’ve also given you an unbreakable knife as a weapon of last resort; no more kicking the undead to death like you’re in some macabre chorus line. The luster of new additions however are somewhat overshadowed by the lack of what feel like common sense additions to the game, multiplayer in particular. “One of the big problems is that the game is basically this bubble with the world around you. When you have 2 bubbles and they go in opposite directions then it’s rendering more than the hardware can handle,” explained Card.

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He did not elaborate on how the Xbox One was not up to task, “time’s limited, money’s limited, people are limited,” said Card, “If we were GTA it wouldn’t be a problem.” Card made it clear however that the studio is moving in the direction of multiplayer and fans can expect a sequel to the game some time in the future. “We want the State of Decay multiplayer to be the definitive experience so that when it does come around it’ll be the real thing,” said Card.

As far as additions to State of Decay’s story there won’t be much in the way of new content. Card mentioned a new quest about mysterious supply drops ala Dying Light, but beyond that the story at large remains unchanged. If you were hoping to see narrative loose ends from State of Decay neatly tied up in the HD cut of the game you’re in for disappointment. “We haven’t made any changes to the original story,” said Card. Conflicts with the Wilkersons, the nature of a mysterious downed jumbo jet, and various other dangling narrative threads will remain dangling.

You find seeds of narrative trees planted throughout the game but few that grow in any satisfying direction. “State of Decay is this idea that you’re telling your own story. It’s yours,” said Card. These “moment to moment” story beats, while not always harmoniously syncing up with the game’s plot arch, supply the body of SoD’s engrossing atmosphere.

Card did say that the studio is particularly sensitive to feedback from the community, “listening to people at PAX, people on the forums, that’s a huge part of where our inspiration comes from” said Card.

The game is slated for release April 28 and will include a price break of 33% and exclusive content for last-gen owners. It will set you back $29.99. The game will be available both in stores and online. You can check out the pre-order bonuses and extra content out here. Below is a list of things NOT in the game but that Card hopes will be in future installments:

Sniper Scopes

Human Enemies

Customizable clothing/equipment

Multiplayer

New Story Missions

New Zombie Enemy Types

Night Defense for the main State of Decay game (the mode will remain a feature of Lifeline which is included with Breakdown in the HD reissue).

Playing as a solo character without a group

New Upgrades or perks for characters

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Alex is from New York, is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and once played a Call of Duty Deathmatch against himself.