E3 2018: Microsoft picks up State of Decay 2’s Undead Labs

    
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Buried under the avalanche of pre-E3 news this weekend was the blip that Microsoft is spinning up five internal studios, including a brand-new one. The other four are basically being acquired by Microsoft, and one of those is one MMO players will probably recognize: Undead Labs.

Undead Labs, of course, just rolled out State of Decay 2, which has already racked up two million sales. Our writer found the game a fun multiplayer PvE survival experience on the whole, in spite of the rails and bugs.

The MMO community had its eyes on Undead Labs for years as it worked on first State of Decay and then the Class4 project, which was originally supposed to be a zombie MMORPG. In 2016, however, the company admitted it had switched gears from an MMORPG to do the smaller-scale, four-player co-op SOD2 instead.

The other four companies now under Microsoft’s wing? Compulsion Games, Ninja Theory, Playground Games, and The Initiative, the final of which is a built-from-scratch outfit.

Source: Microsoft via Polygon
Massively Overpowered is on the ground in Los Angeles, California, for E3 2018, bringing you expert MMO coverage on Anthem, Fallout 76, Elder Scrolls Online, and everything else on display at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo!

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Jack Pipsam

It makes sense. I get the impression Undead Labs would struggle without Microsoft’s backing at this point, so they were already reliant on them anyway. So making it officially a first party studio (and forever securing the State of Decay IP as an Xbox IP) just fits. Hopefully it means Undead Labs has the resources to make their next game not a total janky rehash.

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Armsbend

More importantly ($7.5B more importantly) they bought Github – which some of us are familiar with.

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Sally Bowls

Yep. Although, I am too busy moping about
https://www.pcgamer.com/nvidia-ceo-says-it-will-be-a-long-time-before-next-gen-geforce-gpus/ and Intel Ice Lake slipping to ’19 to focus on other tech news.

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Brother Maynard

AMD seems to have a fairly aggressive push with Ryzen (Q3 will bring a new monster CPU), while the GPU part of their business is expected to move to a new architecture in 2019 / 2020.

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Kevin McCaughey

They don’t need to bring out new cards – there is not really any competition at the high end. I don’t see AMD ever really getting back in the game. They will just be perennial midfield runners.

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Armsbend

I didn’t really see that as a Nvidia negative. They recently put out the GPU that was so strong that they can focus on other ventures – which I have no doubt they are doing. Retool a monster GPU rather that incremental bursts like Apple – I personally like the approach.

(disclaimer: I took profits on NVDA so I’m just a bystander now :P)

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rafael12104

Yup. But there are more. I think it is clear that there is a slightly new strategy unfolding.

Ninja Theory United Kingdom -Hellblade (awesome game, great story)
Undead Labs United States -State of Decay 2 (Survival MMO)
Compulsion Games Canada -We Happy Few (great story).
Playground Games United Kingdom -Forza Horizon 4 (Forza MMO!)

See what I mean?

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McGuffn

NUCP!

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Greaterdivinity

Of the studios Microsoft bought the only one that seems like a legit “win” is Ninja Theory, which is a great pickup for them. The others are either far less exciting or were essentially Microsoft studios already. They really needed to beef up their first party studio lineup though, and this is putting them in a better position for next-gen. They shit the bed with first party games this gen in a spectacular way, so hopefully we’ll see them giving Sony some legit competition again.

Hopefully the MMO will be back on their plate at some point. Still sad we don’t have a solid, mid/big-budget zombie MMO.