Doublebear Productions, founded by Black Isle and Troika veteran Brian Mitsoda, is currently hacking away at Dead State, a zombie-themed RPG with a focus on character interaction and the grittier aspects of post-apocalyptic survival. Yesterday, the developer released its first gameplay demo, giving us a chance to see the title in action.
Apart from the ability to manipulate the camera, the game is instantly comparable in both style and feel to the Fallout games of old, right down to the use of action points and two-handed wielding system.
With the focus being on staying alive, Doublebear has been careful to manage the incentives of tussling with zombies and the hostile living. As Mitsoda mentions in the clip, killing things won't award you skill points, instead, you'll have to complete objectives and build up your safehouse.
The studio has made some interesting decisions regarding the effectiveness of weapons, with blunt instruments trumping edged ones, the rationale being that sharp weapons are better against targets that can bleed (or are affected by bleeding). Last time I checked though, decapitation or a piercing implement to the face was the preferred method of disposing of the undead.
That said, you can apparently get one-hit kills by sneaking up to a zombie with a small, piercing item, such as a screwdriver and performing the necessary act of amateur surgery.
Finally, sound plays a role in how noticeable you are, with a decibel counter in the top-left corner keeping track of the racket you're causing. The louder you are, the more delicious you become to nearby zombies.
Dead State is due out December 2013 for PC, though it's unclear whether this includes Mac and/or Linux.
Dead State combat demo [YouTube]