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State of Decay 2’s Curveball Update: A Game-Changer That Lives up to its Name

State of Decay 2: Curveball Update Brings New Challenges and Fresh Content

Introduction

How do you meaningfully add to a game that’s been in players’ hands for five years? In the case of State of Decay 2, you throw a curveball. This new update, coming to players for free on September 18, is a landmark moment for the game – not just offering a swathe of new content for the game’s most dedicated players and newcomers alike, but marking a new era in State of Decay 2’s development through the work of Wushu Studios.

Wushu Studios Takes the Lead

Wushu, from Liverpool, England, will continue providing support to State of Decay 2 as much of the original studio, Undead Labs, transitions to work on the next entry in the series. However, Wushu is making a big splash with this update called Curveball. It is a major update that touches almost every element of the game and is designed to consistently offer brand new challenges, even to those who have been playing State of Decay 2 since its release.

Curveballs: Changing the Game

Available after the fifth in-game day, curveballs can change the world around your settlement in some very interesting ways. Housed in a new menu, curveballs will periodically appear, each with its own narrative attached, offering new objectives, rewards, enemy types, and much more. Curveballs can be positive, like finding increased loot, or negative, like buffing regular zombies in multiple ways. They can be timed or objective-based and can affect enemies, your survivors, or other NPCs. Essentially, any element of the game that players may have gotten comfortable with can, and often will, change.

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“We basically wanted to address the feedback that over time the game became a bit repetitive relatively quickly,” said Undead Labs’ Meg Chaney and Eric Anderson. “So we wanted to introduce something that would shake things up and keep the game changing as players spend more time with it.”

“For experienced players, the later stages of State of Decay 2 can get a little predictable,” adds Wushu’s John Hollingworth. “That’s why we are introducing curveballs. This feature is designed to keep you on your toes by adding random events and world-changing modifiers to the game. It introduces new layers of challenge and unpredictability to keep the wasteland fresh, exciting, and dangerous. These new scenarios help to develop more unique stories around your survivors, so whether you’re a seasoned survivor or just starting out, each session and playthrough will feel different to the last.”

Unpredictable Curveballs

To enforce that sense of unpredictability, curveballs are fairly random. While a few are tied directly to actions you take in the game, many can appear completely unexpectedly. You can even have multiple curveballs active at the same time. “We think it’s going to be a bit of a rollercoaster ride for seasoned players,” Chaney and Anderson explain. “Some of the curveballs may only require minor adjustments to tackle or will provide new opportunities, but some of them can be pretty vicious and require major adjustments to your tactics.”

Changes to Zombies and More

Of course, the most obvious changes come in the form of curveballs affecting the zombies. “Zombies were the first and most obvious target for modifiers,” says Hollingworth. “We wanted to lean into the idea that there is an ebb and flow of mutational outbreaks within the population as a result of events occurring in the world or the Plague attempting to push back and fight the enclaves.”

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The zombie side effects can include lethal physiological changes or heightened senses. For example, zombies may have stronger attacks, improved eyesight, hearing, and even smell to zero in on survivors out of sight. Zombies may explode with decomposed bile gunk when killed or carry a stench that suffocates and drains the stamina of any survivor up close. These are just some of the challenging mutational modifiers. However, zombies may also carry side effects that make them weaker. They can become frail, slow down, and be easier to behead and knock down by affecting their center of balance.

Keeping the Game Familiar Yet Fresh

All these diverse changes and effects demonstrate how curveballs add variety and excitement to State of Decay 2 without making it feel like a completely different game. “We have touched on a lot of different systems but only to an extent which complements the current gameplay,” explains Hollingworth. “We wanted to ensure it narratively fit and could be justified within the simulation as to not break the immersion.”

Continued Support and Player Feedback

The Curveball update is just the start of Wushu’s work on State of Decay 2, and players can expect more updates in the future. “We also are hoping to introduce more player control over the feature over time, so ultimately it should be up to the player to determine how much of an impact they want curveballs to make,” Chaney and Anderson tell us.

After the big new feature of curveballs, the team at Wushu wants to spend some time ensuring that they address player concerns and tackle items from the player wishlist. “Some of them may require extensive overhauls to existing systems, but mostly I think we’ll be focusing on improving what’s already there and making sure it matches players’ expectations,” says Hollingworth.

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In Conclusion

The Curveball update brings fresh content and challenges to State of Decay 2, keeping the game exciting for both seasoned players and newcomers. With the introduction of curveballs and their unpredictable nature, Wushu Studios aims to provide a unique and dynamic experience for players. As Wushu continues its work on the game, players can expect more updates and improvements based on player feedback. State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition is available on September 18, so get ready to face new challenges and embrace the ever-changing wasteland.

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Written by Brandy McPherson

Brandy, known in the gaming community as "PixelProwess", has been a prominent voice in the eSports scene. Author of "Beyond the Joystick", he delves into the psychology of competitive gaming.

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