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Dead State Gets a Kickstarter

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Since I first heard about Dead State, the brain child (BRAINSSSS!!!) of former Black Isle/Troika/Obsidian devs Brian and Annie Mistoda, I’ve been interested in seeing what would become of this so-called “zombie survival RPG.” Zombies have been done to death (pun unintended), we all know this, but there are good ideas to be had from even the most overmined tropes and a game that’s about the relationships and politics of survival in a zombie apocalypse is right in my wheelhouse. That it looks Fallout (as in Fallout 1) inspired doesn’t hurt either. There hasn’t been much news on the Dead State front since RPS profiled it ages and ages ago, so I’ve begun to doubt whether or not this one would see the light of day, but the team is apparently still alive and kicking and they’re now the latest indie project to launch a Kickstarter campaign – one that’s already gotten two-thirds of its $150k funding target. (There’s also a fresh RPS interview with the Mitsoda clan.) The money is said to go towards bringing more of the team into the project full-time, though there’s no ETA on a final product.

If you’re interested in learning more (for what it’s worth, I’m giving to this one), check out the Kickstarter page. Here’s a quick synopsis of what the game intends to offer:

This is your story – you’re the leader and it’s up to you to force the lucky, the traumatized, and the selfish to work together for weeks and months after society has collapsed. Zombies are the least of your problems – you need to keep morale high, mouths fed, and your shelter safe. You will lose people. You will make enemies. You will have to make tough decisions. And you might not make it.

-A PC RPG with stats, skills, and perks that make a huge difference on your character’s abilities.

-Dozens of characters with branching, reactive dialogue, and randomized events that unfold over months of in-game time – player decisions and the death of loved ones can change relationships drastically.

-Turn-based combat where line-of-sight and noise affect whether you are spotted or not, making for extremely tense encounters.

-Base-building mechanics featuring multiple upgrades, NPC jobs, and item manufacturing.

-Scavenging mechanics that require players to find supplies, weapons, armor, and other items to keep their allies fed and alive.

-A morale system that factors in player success/failure, allies’ faith in the player, and the overall strength of the shelter.

-Crisis Event dialogues that factor in political maneuvering and making difficult choices that affect your whole shelter.

-Reactive AI that responds realistically to combat situations, player commands, and the state of panic from the presence of zombies.

In all honesty, of all the games to which I’ve given a serious look on Kickstarter, this one is probably the most likely to come out an absolute mess. These kinds of RPGs are hard to do and, although the pedigree on the team is relatively strong, its a pedigree with a history of buggy releases and the footage they’ve show so far is a bit rough. I doubt going the indie route makes a finely-polished release more likely. Nonetheless, this is the kind of game I want to see more of and I’d love to see it succeed.

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Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and proceeded to spend over 16 years as a development editor for Pearson Education, publishing books, videos, and digital learning products under the Que and Sams Publishing imprints. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd has also been a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets. Follow him on Twitter @ubrakto or check it out his website at

5 thoughts to “Dead State Gets a Kickstarter”

  1. I have been tracking this one for a couple of years now and have been patiently awaiting its Kickstarter launch. I am looking forward to it.

    Like comic book movies, I really don’t get sick of zombie-related stuff so long as it’s good. Also, because I tend to regulate my intake pretty well of a variet of things, I tend to avoid the exhaustion others feel by “most overmined tropes.”

    I think I’m backing 6 of these things now. All of them turn-based and with some kind of RPG element:

    Dead State
    Legends of Eisenwald
    Shadowrun Returns
    The Banner Saga
    Wasteland 2

    At this rate, I will never need to upgrade my PC.

  2. As much as I want to support this game I am done with Kick Starter until I actually receive something. The stories I am starting to hear on people actually getting product from KS campaigns has really spooked me from backing anything else.

  3. Thanks guys for bringing this game to my attention. I kicked in some money for the game, it looks like the type thing I would really love.

    As a lot of people said though I hope they find way to get more people to up their donation from only 15$ (of which they have 3000ish) to the more $50-$100 range. But ATM they don’t offer much in the way to entice people to do so..

  4. Somebody tell me if this turns out to be good. I’m happy to see zombies get dealt with differently, but I am done with zombies for, like, 20 years.

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