Why State of Decay 2 may be the most hardcore zombie game ever

It might sound like a strange complaint, but a lot of people reckon games are too easy these days.

There's much more hand-holding going on, along with so many more save points that dying in-game generally isn't a big deal.

State of Decay 2 isn't like that. When characters die in this post-apocalyptic zombie game, they stay dead, no matter how much you liked them.

"Everyone who plays this game will have a different story, and for some people that story goes, 'then they all died'," Richard Foge, the game's design director, tells Newshub.

That's right, you won't just have one hero die - but instead an entire community of people you've been dutifully caring for.

While there's more zombie games on the market than you can shake a chainsaw at, this one is different - you're not just one badass mowing down armies of the undead.

"You control an entire community of people, each with unique back stories. You try to manage that group as they endeavour to survive in the zombie apocalypse," says Foge.

"You're making sure they get along with each other, that they're reasonably healthy and you're providing for their survival needs. Each of your survivors can die, at any point, which will dramatically effect the dynamic narrative that you're experiencing."

One of the first things that needs to be done in State of Decay 2 is building a base with good defences and resource generating capabilities.

In State of Decay 2, players must build a self-sustaining community.
Photo credit: Xbox

Then you've got to manage the survivors, decide who you let into the community and who you don't, solve internal conflicts and eventually pick a leader.

Despite the freeform nature of how players go about all this, the developers have tried to give State of Decay 2 a narrative.

"We have an overall structure to the game, but one of the key differences to linear games is we don't have specific ways that we tell you to accomplish the goals. There's no specific timeline, you're not going to see any cut-scenes that push you through the narrative or anything like that," says Foge.

"It's your choices that drive the overall story of your community. Instead of having the game tell you how to play, it's trying to be as responsive as possible to how you want to play it."

State of Decay 2 does allow multiplayer, but players can't attack other players - they can only work together. Foge says that having someone kill your whole community was just too "stressful" to allow.

State of Decay 2 may just be the most hardcore zombie game ever.
Photo credit: Xbox

Nonetheless, your community can still be wiped out - every last one of them.

"We tried to balance the game so that that would only happen in the most dire of circumstances," says Foge.

"There are options to recruit more survivors into your community when numbers start getting low, but it's absolutely possible that you can lose them all. That would then be the story of that community - that they didn't make it and all died."

Such grimness and the difficulty of this zombie game mean it won't be for everyone - but for a certain, hardcore sector of the gaming world, it'll be just what the doctor ordered.

State of Decay 2 was released this week for Xbox One and Windows 10.