"A good story isn't about characters as unchanging archetypes. It does explore innate potential and expectations, but it's also about choices and change (or refusal to change)," Phinney wrote on the blog. "A good survival story in particular puts its characters to the test, but not just as individuals.
"A crisis is both a test of the individuals and of the dynamics between them. In designing the character and skill systems for State of Decay, we've tried to capture all of these elements."
Players tailor their survival group rather than customizing a sole character. Characters with different skills sets are encountered throughout the game and the player must decide whether they need or want that characters skill set.
All survivors share basic skill sets of cardio, wits, fighting and shooting. Characters are rated with up to seven stars for each and using a skill set improves the star rating; extra abilities are gained as more stars are awarded.
Characters encountered can have one of a dozen base personality traits such as Chatterbox, Selfish Asshole, Coward, Born Leader, Braggart, Autocrat, and Daydreamer, with particular traits boosting or hindering a survivors skill set rating. The survivors react to each other differently based on these traits, which is important to consider when picking up a new survivor.
A majority of traits has access to Personal Skills such as a Bruiser, Construction, Leadership, Counseling, Sexting and Sports Trivia. Desired Personal Skills can be developed upon and channeled into further skill subsets.
Players can chose one Weapon Specialization for each survivor; however, they need to be unlocked by developing certain Basic Skills. For instance, Shooting needs to reach four stars before the Pistol Weapon Specialization is unlocked. As with other skills, Weapons Specialization's star ratings improve the more it is used.
The blog details at length the marrying the modules together to create successful survivor community. Undead Labs encourages those with questions to visit the A Matter of Character forum.
State of Decay is slated for release onLIVE Arcade and Windows PC.