Undead Labs, the developer behind State of Decay 2 and the upcoming State of Decay 3, is now apologizing for confusion caused by the zombie survival game’s “Punches Nazis” trait and its effects on characters who have it, and for apparently blocking Twitter user and Steam Marines 2 developer James Seow, who noticed and later criticized the feature.
State of Decay was first released in 2013 to positive reviews and relatively high success, which spawned a sequel in 2018. While State of Decay 2 was released to a considerably more lukewarm reception, high sales figures meant that another sequel was confirmed only a month later, and further officially announced in 2020. Like its predecessor, State of Decay 2 was a third-person zombie shooter, where players focused on survival by cooperation with up to three other characters, who can be recruited in the game’s world and who bring their own set of traits and skills to the party. But while the game’s initial criticisms were levied towards its technical issues and overall repetitiveness, State of Decay 2 garnered a degree of controversy two years after its release, when Seow live-tweeted his playthrough of the game and discovered rather questionable effects surrounding a survivor’s trait.
During his playthrough, Seow recruited a survivor with an uncommon trait, “Punched Nazis,” which was ostensibly placed in-game as a reflection of ongoing political turmoil in the real world at the time of production. While the trait offers four stars of fighting experience, it also apparently makes the character “irritable” towards fellow survivors. This fact paints any survivor willing to punch a Nazi as ill-tempered, argumentative, and antisocial, and makes “Punched Nazis” a negative trait. Seow immediately cried foul on Twitter, tagging State of Decay in his tweets, and was swiftly blocked from the game’s Twitter account. But Undead Labs, the developer behind the series, issued an apology for the mistake, chalking it up to a series of confusions in the development stages, and that Seow’s blocking was the result of his profanity triggering an automated system designed to screen hate speech.
— Ω (@Worthless_Bums) February 25, 2021
Undead Labs, for its part, went forward with changing the negative trait to a positive one, and apologized to Seow for the blocking. The move was supported by many in the State of Decay community, including the game’s tech director, as one geared towards condemning Nazis, despite a few complaints. While it’s curious that it took two years for someone to notice and point out the issue, Undead Labs’ response seems a pretty solid indicator that it was a genuine error, not simply an empty effort to placate a single angry gamer, which would, in turn, anger others.
Seow, for his part, is unimpressed by Undead Labs’ apology and their response, since it took several days to receive and read to him more like “corporate damage control.” But his Twitter escapade with Undead Labs and State of Decay 2 demonstrates that players with the best intentions do have the power to effect change — even if they have to rally a lot of other Twitter users to do it.
Source: James Seow/Worthless_Bums