State of Decay developer Undead Labs has confirmed that its open-world survival horror game won't get multiplayer, despite the studio's desire to add it.
Why won't it, you ask? Is Microsoft keeping the man down, perchance? It turns out the answer is simply a technical issue rather than anything sinister.
"We were up to our eyeballs trying to retrofit our game engine to support an open-world sandbox game rather than the FPS style games it had been designed for," said executive producer Jeff Strain in a statement on the studio's forum. "That retrofitting would have extended to the multiplayer support as well, and we estimated it could have delayed release of the game by as much as half a year. It [cutting multiplayer] was a painful decision, but a necessary one given the realities of our team size and project budget."
While Undead Labs announced a year ago that the game would be single-player only, it kept the co-op dream alive in hopes that it could be added as DLC. "We know co-op is the most requested addition to State of Decay, and we've also continued to hope it might be a possibility after release," said Strain. "Unfortunately, after reevaluating it over the past few weeks, we believe our original estimate of six months is optimistic; the actual time is probably closer to nine months."
"We could 'check the box' and shoehorn multiplayer in sooner than that, but it wouldn't be a great experience, and certainly not one we'd be proud of. It's not simply a matter of adding the technology, but also redesigning core game systems to support multiple players, and then adding new content designed for people to play together. It's easy to imagine how all that would come together - as many have said, the game is practically begging for it - but retrofitting the game to add that experience would take the rest of this year, and well into the next. Worse, it would preclude our ability to offer any other kind of support for the game, including Title Updates and DLC."
"We want to see a multiplayer State of Decay as badly as you do, but it's not feasible to retrofit it into the existing game," lamented Strain.
But there is hope! "I can say definitively that co-op multiplayer will be the absolute heart of any future State of Decay games," he continued. "As many of you know, we've always had ambitious plans for the future of State of Decay, and those plans have not changed."
I asked Undead Labs if this could be taken to mean that a sequel has been confirmed, but was told, "the only future game we have in the SoD universe revolves around multiplayer, but negotiations continue."