The Gears of War and Avowed studios are teaming up to help State of Decay 3's "much larger, truly shared open world"

State of Decay 3
(Image credit: Undead Labs)

Obsidian Entertainment and The Coalition are helping out their corporate sibling Undead Labs on its open-world zombie fest State of Decay 3, which sounds like a much meatier co-op sequel.

State of Decay 3 popped back up with a new trailer last night, focusing mainly on a tense fight against undead hordes and the melancholy permadeath that's come to define the series so far. The whole thing looked largely familiar to long-time decaying survivors, but we now have more details about the threequel's co-op ambitions. 

While State of Decay 2 introduced co-op to the series, you and your friends were tethered together and thus, couldn't stray too far from the host player. State of Decay 3 is looking to change things with a "much larger, truly shared open world."

"The first thing that I hope people pick up [from the trailer] is that there's four player characters we're highlighting — three of them start in different places in the world — so we're implying this idea of a shared world experience, not just a ride-along, and that the boundaries in which you can go off independently are going to be much, much greater than they were in State of Decay 2," explains studio head Philip Holt in a recent Xbox Wire blog post. It doesn't sound like State of Decay 3 will be a totally untethered co-op experience, but the game is at least loosening the leash a little.

To deliver on that promise, Undead Labs is teaming up with the RPG hitmakers at Obsidian Entertainment (the Avowed studio) on the game's improved online flexibility. Obsidian's bug-sized survival hit Grounded released with Undead Labs' "shared save technology," and it sounds like the team is now returning the favour to "deliver a truly open co-op world owned by multiple players," which potentially alludes to multiple player-owned communities on the same map.

The Gears of War stewards at The Coalition are also helping the studio become acquainted with Unreal Engine 5, as is evident by the lack of the series' signature jank, so there's a real Xbox Game Studios team-up happening on the infected threequel. 

There's no release date yet for State of Decay 3 but you can check out everything else announced at the Xbox Game Showcase.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.