Updated Tue, Jan 14, 2014 by Martuk
The goal of Class4 was to take State of Decay massive, and if nothing has changed that will involve expanding on the original systems and adding a few new ones. And while State of Decay didn’t manage to implement a weather system, it did have a creepy day/night cycle. Undead Labs has also hinted at the Class4 crafting system and how players can gather materials to help keep the hordes at bay.
“Hell yeah! We’ll keep the mechanics for things like this pretty simple in Class3, but you’ll be able to drive a truck to a construction site, load it up with materials, and then go back home to reinforce your base’s perimeter. At least, you’ll have that option. And we highly recommend doing so.” – Undead Labs, February 2011
While a business model is far from being announced, the industry has been heavily trending towards the free-to-play or buy-to-play model with microtransactions, something that was a bit different when Class4 was originally discussed. So take the following response given by Strain to a question about the possible business model with a grain of salt as a lot has changed since that time.
“This is of course a lengthy discussion that we’ll need to undertake with our publisher, so I don’t have a definitive answer, but I can give you some insight into the way we currently think about this.
The current dominant business models for online world games — subscriptions and micro-transactions — each solve a set of problems at the cost of creating new ones.
I’ve previously expressed that while the subscription model is not exactly loved by the gaming community, it does have the benefit of being a simple, clear, and above-the-table contract between gamers and the publisher. Each month, the game either earns your business or it doesn’t. The developers have a singular goal: ensure that the game is fun enough to keep people playing. I like the clarity and purity of that model, and I like that it keeps designers doing what designers should be doing: creating fun. On the other hand, subscriptions are yet another monthly bill to pay, which ranks right up there with rent and car payments as an effective joy kill.
Existing micro-transaction models make it easy to get into a game and let you pay as you go, but I’ve also seen them cause game designers to spend their time focusing on things other than making a fun game, such as channeling players through in-game stores or creating escalating pricing structures for in-game items. I also dislike the slippery slope of what is defined as something you purchase versus something that is a core element of the game experience. We see the phrase “free-to-play” kicked around a lot these days, and some of these games are good games, but we all know that nothing is truly free to play; they are simply blurring the line between playing and paying.
Both models have their strengths, but I’m hopeful that we can also find a way to avoid some of the weaknesses. I’ve challenged our designers to think through the concerns I’ve raised with these business models and be ready to work with me on some new ideas. We may not be able to satisfy everyone on this issue, but perhaps we can get close.” – Undead Labs Founder Jeff Strain, February 2011
Given that Microsoft is the publisher, it’s pretty much a given that this will at the very least start off as an Xbox One and possibly even 360 exclusive. Just don't expect Microsoft to ever let it near the PlayStation 4. We may eventually get it on PC as we did with State of Decay, but whether that’s at launch or later is anyone’s guess. Sadly, my money is definitely on later. Microsoft is quite fond of exclusivity, even if it’s limited. As for the rest, we’ll have to wait and see just what Undead Labs is cooking up for our shambling friends.
What did you think of State of Decay? Are you looking forward to whatever Undead Labs is cooking up with Class4? Tell us below.