State of Decay 2 was never going to be the biggest exclusive on Microsoft's slate for this year – but then with that slate looking pretty thin it wasn't entirely impossible. And so the news that the game has already racked up two millions players in its first two weeks will be welcome to the publisher.
That number includes every player on both Xbox One and PC – with a single cross-play community. And both physical/digital purchased copies as well as those coming into the game via Xbox Game Pass.
It's the new template for Microsoft exclusive releases then, following on from Sea of Thieves. A template that head of first-party Matt Booty talked about in detail in our recent interview. Where he talked up the community and sharing aspects of upcoming titles.
“There will always be single-player games with maybe 20 to 30 hours of gameplay, we love those kinds of games and there’s a place for those, but it’s also certainly the case with the focus on watching, streaming, broadcast and esports that it’s really important to think about the longevity of a game,” Booty explained.
That obviously allows for better monetisation in the long-run, with an engaged community around the game. However State of Decay 2 is notable in not going down the microtransaction route with Richard Foge from Undead Labs saying:
“There’s going to be a one-time price for it, rather than a relationship with the game where people pay for things and don’t know what they’re going to get. That shouldn’t feel right. We didn’t want microtransactions or where you’re buying loot boxes with Zombucks or anything.”
The game did have a shaky start with lots of reports of problematic bugs, Aaron Greenberg, general manager, Xbox Games Marketing made some comment on those initial problems in a blog post, saying: "The entire team has been working hard to bring all 2 million players lots of key fixes, gameplay tune-ups, and quality of life improvements with our latest game patch released last Friday. We are always listening to our fans to improve the game experience, and we will continue to bring updates and additional content as you explore all that State of Decay 2 has to offer."
The survival game, which is set in small-town America where "not even the military could stop the zombies," has all the typical survivalist tropes, where players must "gather survivors and build a community in a post-apocalyptic world." And that 'community' seems to involve a whole bunch of shooting stuff of course. Cultural commentary on American society is beyond MCV's remit, but we'll let you draw your own conclusions.