Undead Lab’s 2013 user hit game “State of Decay” has always been on my watchlist, over the week I decided to invest in the game and I can say, I’m thoroughly upset. The game focuses on a randomly generated system of characters, only having forty~ characters that have some tie in with the storyline, so I expected SOME black characters. But, no.
Throughout the game you come into contact with THREE black characters that play alongside with the storyline in some way, those being Marcus Campbell, Sam Hoffman, and Judge Lawton. That’s great and all, yay, three black characters! Ignoring the one hundred and fifty possible characters that can generate, why are only three out of forty possibly black? Now yes, the character system CAN randomly generate skin colours so you can get black characters, but when throwing that in a blender it isn’t the best for representation.
Let’s talk about the characters, shall we? Starting with the first character you play as Marcus Campbell, he’s one of the strongest characters you can get with the “leadership” perk, you typically main this character if you want the best odds at survival. Having such a strong character as the first playable character really sets a false narrative for how you’ll expect the game to roll out. I really enjoyed Marcus as a character and played him a lot, however as he is the only dark-skinned character apart from Sam. I’m a little scared to actually go out far and kill zeds with him. I don’t want to permadeath the only representation this game can muster up? I do like he has the title of the “Hero”, nice touch.
Sam Hoffman is the next black character you meet, and it’s a breath of fresh air in this white world. Coming in with braids, a killer attitude and…terrible defence…Yep, Sam is terrible at defence and so players who want to play strategically won’t choose her to go on important trips. What makes the situation worse is that Sam has a story of alcohol and drug abuse, runs ins with the law, only to be saved when a white religious man takes her in. She has the title “convict” which just screams red flags of racism. Stereotypes and white men saving the day?
Judge Lawton is a good character. Really. I have no issues with her or how she’s portrayed. Oh…all but she DIES. Lawton runs The Law enclave in Marshall, she built up a broken empire of police and restored order. She makes the most sense throughout her time in the game and although “mardy”, she only wants what’s best for her enclave. Then she dies. You cannot save her, she dies in a zombie attack no matter how fast you are. Great character gone within seconds.
In my game I have not come into contact with a single non-essential storylined black character, I have met some ambiguous POC characters but nothing that would say to me “they aren’t a white person in tan…”. Instead, I propose you skip State of Decay 1 altogether and jump to State of Decay 2 where they have MUCH more representation, even caused Reddit to complain about the “racism” due to the lack of white characters.