When Microsoft announced that all future first party title would be added to the Xbox Game Pass on day one, anyone that was interested in Microsoft games, but hesitant to pay $60, could pay $12 instead and get access to the whole upcoming library. And naturally, I signed up because it would save me some money that I could put towards bills and other games. But in the lead up to State of Decay 2, I did something I hadn’t originally intended to do: I paid $50 for it.
State of Decay 2, like Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and any future Xbox title from Microsoft, is “free” with Xbox Game Pass. And like I said, my original intent was to pay nothing, but the subscription fee. The original State of Decay is one of my favorite games. The gameplay may be repetitive in that you found a home base, look for other survivors to add to your growing community, and search for supplies in a zombie infested world, but the part of it that I really like and that keeps me coming back is the tension when you leave your home base. Zombies are everywhere and special strains like the Feral are quite lethal. Any character can die, and so every time you go out, you risk losing a character who might have an important skill. The fun is actually trying to survive long enough to escape.
Because I love the original game, naturally I’m excited for State of Decay 2 and I know I’m going to want the DLC that comes out for it. The base game is $30, and that’s the version that is included in the Xbox Game Pass. For $50 though, I get the DLC thrown in plus four days early access. Microsoft dangles that premium edition in front of Game Pass owners like “Hey, we’re giving you the base game for free, and you get discounts on the DLC for being a pass owner. But for $20 more, we’ll give you all the DLC, a bonus prepper pack, and you get to play the game four days early.” And they caught me hook, line, and sinker.
Of course, the DLC being bundled in isn’t entirely what caught me. I plan to get Detroit: Become Human for PS4 on May 25th, even requested three days off from work so I could play it, but State of Decay 2, another game I was really looking forward too, comes out on May 22nd. So if I had stayed with the base game that Game Pass provides, I would have had three days to play State of Decay 2 and then probably switched over to Detroit without finishing State of Decay. But now that I have that early access period, I get a full week to play State of Decay 2 before Detroit comes out. So I guess in some weird roundabout way, you could say that Sony caused me to buy a Microsoft game.
And yet, the Xbox Game Pass is still worth owning. Because of the Game Pass, I have Sea of Thieves, a game that I was pretty disappointed in. But, because I spent no money on it, it didn’t really burn me. Once a lot of content drops for it and some of my friends take an interest in it, I’ll still have it and can jump in with them. The same can be said for Crackdown 3, a game I do not plan on purchasing no matter what they try to tempt me with, but I’ll have it because of the Game Pass. There are only four upcoming Microsoft games that I have a feeling I’ll pay for, and those would be Gears of War 5, Halo 6, Fable IV, and Ori and the Will of the Wisp. I’d include Forza Horizon 4, but because Forza games tend to have quite a bit of DLC that adds up after a while, it’s actually better to get the base $60 game for free through Game Pass, and then spend money on the DLC.
At the end of the day, the final reason I actually paid for State of Decay 2 is because State of Decay 2 is, in some way, still an indie game. It’s under the Microsoft banner, sure, but it didn’t get the funding that Sea of Thieves or Crackdown 3 have and that’s why Microsoft priced it so low. So I bought the game also to support the developers at Undead Labs. Depending on how much the game makes, they may not see a penny of it, but I imagine a sale means more to them than a download.