State of Decay, Undead Labs’ zombie survival sim, is getting another slice of DLC in the form of Lifeline. Last time, it was a sandbox mode, but the developer is going back to the slightly more story and character-driven experience from the core game. There's a key difference, though: you’re in the army now.
This key difference informs a lot of things that could make this DLC standout from the original game. Instead of starting with nothing and growing into a burgeoning post-apocalyptic society, Lifeline is about losing everything and learning to improvise to survive.
The army’s role in State of Decay was to be a shifty threat, an obstacle. But this time, in Lifeline, they aren’t the bad guys. “Few people have a greater opportunity to make life-altering choices than soldiers,” explained Undead Labs. ”They’ve played that role as side characters in the original State of Decay...but now we are adding a new story, in which you take on that responsibility yourself.”
Players are put in charge of Greyhound One, a unit which has been sent to the city of Danforth to rescue mission-critical scientists. “This is at the height of the initial crisis. You still have a chain of command and access to off-map support, but the voices over the radio are making it clear that things are rapidly breaking down,” Undead Labs says.
Lifeline is a story about holding the line. Rather than attempting to build a functioning, albeit small, society like in the core game, the unit’s goal is to aggressively defend their base and landing zone and the precious egg-heads inside. But you’ll start off with plenty of tools with which you can hold back the hungry horde of shambling corpses, Undead Labs notes. “You have minefields and defenses to build and upgrade. Off-map artillery to call in. Well-trained soldiers who will guard weak points and respond to zombie threats. A stock of military-grade weaponry to use from several commanding positions. But in the end, when the zeds get into the heart of your base, it’s down to fighting tooth versus blade.”
The original State of Decay was an inventive title with a unique spin on zombie survival, so I look forward to more content. Normally I wouldn’t be particularly interested in playing as soldiers - it’s a bit rote - but it sounds like Undead Labs are going to ensure that the unit is put under lots of pressure, so it won’t be your typical jingoist power fantasy.