Tensions over a confusing in-game character trait’s effects have left at least one State of Decay 2 fan feeling burned by developer Undead Labs, who has now issued an apology and clarification, PC Gamer reports.
Steam Marines developer James Seow had been innocuously tweeting about their experience playing State of Decay 2 for the past month, until they discovered one of their characters possessed the “punched nazis” trait. The gist of the trait is that the character is quick to resolve conflicts with physical violence, particularly when arguments arise from strongly held convictions.
Materially, the trait just adds a damage bonus and makes your character more irritable to others and was flagged as a negative trait.
As Undead Labs refined State of Decay 2 post-release, that trait became less and less nuanced. All arguments between characters had ended up being categorized under one umbrella, making any strongly held belief, no matter how ideologically different, penalized the same.
Noticing this, Seow tweeted at both the Undead Labs and State of Decay 2 Twitter accounts asking why the game had “Nazi shit” in it. Seow was soon blocked by both Undead Labs’ and the State of Decay 2 Twitter accounts.
The Best Games to Play on Xbox Series X|S
Undead Labs tweeted Thursday that the blocking of Seow was the result of auto-blocking software that was inflamed by negative comments regarding Black History Month.
Undead Labs continued by saying the “punched nazis” trait was created long before State of Decay 2’s 2018 release date and was never intended to be a negative trait.
“One designer actually told us firsthand stories about punching Nazis in the underground music scene,” Undead Labs tweeted. “We loved it and boom, the trait was born. It was designed as an overall positive trait with a skill bonus — it grants four stars of Fighting experience, and also made the character more likely to argue passionately for their beliefs. We figured someone punching Nazis in a mosh pit is going to have some strong feelings.”
State of Decay 2’s morale system, which came later in development, altered the readout of the trait’s text to highlight the damage bonus as a positive and the propensity for arguments as an exclusively negative.
“So today, this trait has a positive skill bonus (white text) and red text in the UI due to the likelihood of arguing,” Undead Labs tweeted. “It’s been that way for years and we never realized how confusing that looks until tonight. It’s not common, we have over 1300 traits.”
Undead Labs concluded by saying their next hotfix will address the issue by making the trait only have the positive damage bonus and remove the “irritable towards other people” sub-trait.
Now that we know it, we’re fixing it. We’re removing the negative Morale effect from the trait and it will only have its positive effect on Fighting experience going forward (that has never changed). This change will be in an upcoming hotfix ( how it will appear before & after) pic.twitter.com/URDlsq6RuJ
— State Of Decay 2 (@StateOfDecay) February 25, 2021
“We think it’s better overall for no one to think of it as a negative trait ever again,” Undead Labs replied to one Twitter user.
IGN has reached out to Seow for comment, but Seow says on Twitter that Undead Labs reached out to them via a private message.
“[I] woulda accepted the design explanation and ‘we’ll fix this’ eight days ago, sounds very corporate damage control to me now,” Seow tweeted. “Glad it only took a week of me and other people yelling.”
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer/shambler for IGN.