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State of Decay studio's next game is about collecting monsters, not killing them

 State of Decay  studio's next game is about collecting monsters, not killing them
August 4, 2014 | By Kris Graft

August 4, 2014 | By Kris Graft
More: Social/Online

Undead Labs made a name for itself with the popular zombie survival game State of Decay for Xbox Live Arcade and PC. The studio's next project is quite a departure from that.

Seattle-based Undead Labs today announced Moonrise, a free-to-play monster collection RPG for mobile, published by successful social game company Kabam. Undead Labs was founded by Jeff Strain, an accomplished online game veteran who previously worked at World of Warcraft house Blizzard, later co-founding Guild Wars studio ArenaNet.

"Moonrise is of course very different from State of Decay in many ways," wrote studio founder Jeff Strain in a blog post. "It's bright and colorful, it's fantastical, and it's on mobile. But despite those notable differences, you'll also find that it's very much an Undead Labs game, with a focus on systems-driven content, sophisticated progression mechanics, and a few bold design choices -- such as strategic real-time combat -- we think will result in a fresh gameplay experience."

While people may have expected Undead Labs' next game to be related to State of Decay, Strain stressed that its zombie franchise -- which was released late in Xbox 360's life cycle, yet became one of the most popular XBLA games -- is still very much alive. Undead Labs has a State of Decay partnership with publisher Microsoft, and a collaboration with author J.L. Bourne.

These partnerships are "all in service to something," which Strain didn't elaborate upon. But the studio is ramping up something, as Strain mentioned planning initiatives for a "big thing" that requires time, including allowing for "new platforms to mature."

"While the core State of Decay team continued to work on those things after the release of the game last summer, we built another team to take on a new project we'd been thinking about, which became Moonrise," Strain said.

Moonrise's publisher Kabam is no slouch when it comes to the free-to-play games business. The company is the same one behind Kingdom of Camelot, Dragons of Atlantis, and The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, each of which, Kabam said, has generated over $100 million in revenue.

A beta for Moonrise debuts at PAX on August 29, with a release date to be determined.

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