Video Game: State of Decay

State of Decay is an open world zombie apocalypse survival simulator and the first game from developer Undead Labs, founded by Jeff Strain (aka lead designer of World of Warcraft.) Released on XBLA on June 5th, 2013 and released on the PC on September 20th the same year, State of Decay is set in the rural Trumbull Valley: 16 square kilometers of farmland, forests, and small towns. The player returns from a week-long camping trip to find the dead have risen and must establish a group of survivors to endure the zombie apocalypse. The game's official website is here.

State of Decay combines elements of multiple game genres including third-person combat, base building and community management, loot collection, skills improving, and permadeath, among others. The game is single-player only (Currently Undead consistently stated they had no intention of making a Co-Op DLC), but will pave the way for Undead Labs's future zombie apocalypse MMO, tentatively titled "Class4".

The game received positive reviews from critics, with IGN giving it an 8.9 out of 10, but they did point out that the game had framerate issues.

It was released on September 20th 2013 for PC on Steam's Early Access program (Notably, the game looked better and has keyboard support, but mouse control is very clunky - an Xbox 360 controller is still preferable - and the graphic options cannot be fine tuned). Details can be found here. Later updates and patches finally tuned mouse control to something acceptable for a shooter.

The first DLC, Breakdown was released for seven dollars on November 29th. It comes with a much heavier focus on survival. The main focus of the DLC is the titular "Breakdown" mode, an Endless Game mode, and introduced playable characters who used to be NPCs from the Storyline Mode.

The second DLC, Lifeline was announced in February 2014 and released on May 30th. It takes place in the city of Danforth just outside of Trumbull Valley and puts you in control of a small military unit called Greyhound One. In an inversion of several zombie tropes, in this DLC the military are well-meaning and not mindlessly gunning down people. Another inversion is that unlike the main game and Breakdown, you don't start with no resources and slowly become powerful — you start with several powerful items in the beginning of the DLC, but slowly they go away as it continues. It also added new achievements, both for itself and for Breakdown.

State of Decay contains examples of:

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     Main Game and General Tropes 
  • A.K.A.-47: Most of the guns in the game use fictional names to various degrees. For example, Remington's firearms in-game follow the format of "(Model Number) Outdoor Occupation" (eg. Maya's Remington 750 is referred to as the "750 Forester"). Most, if not all, of the Kalashnikov variants in the Assault Rifle category keep their names. Glocks are referred to as "G" then the number (G17 for the Glock 17, G19 for the Glock 19, etcetera).
  • Action Girl: Many of the female characters can be trained up to become this. Non-randomized examples are Maya and Sam.
  • Action Survivor: Most characters don't have the Soldier/Police background.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Hitting zombies with an edged weapon usually hacks off their arm, but doesn't necessarily make them less dangerous. Specializing in this weapon type eventually allows you to unlock a skill which will have a survivor slash both of a zombie's legs clean off, after which you can either immediately finish them off, or just leave them to die after a few seconds.
  • Anyone Can Die: Only applies to the playable characters. NPCs are usually unkillable, except in scripted events, such as Pastor Mulroney, who was infected and shot by Alan, who gets infected himself and has to be killed. Before their scripted deaths happen, they are all but invincible.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In spite of Final Death usually happening from characters getting killed, the game will give you a break if your character falls to their death accidentally while away from zombies - the screen will fade to black but you'll then be back playing the same character with the game's state being alike to when they took their fall.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The Logs tab is reminiscent of this. Also throughout the game you may find random pieces of paper in loot, ranging from diary pages, to notes left for loved ones, to the guy who claimed to have poisoned one of the canned foods you've just looted earlier.
  • Armies Are Evil: Zig-zagged. The Army comes into the valley, but they are more interested in quarantining the area and investigating the source of the disease. They don't explain the situation to anyone, threaten to shoot those that tries to escape the valley and "squatters" (i.e loot live in others' house, regardless of the former occupant has been zombified or not). As it turns out, most of them are soldiers who are Just Following Orders. Sergeant Erik Tan, over the course of the game, decides to assist a family surrounded by zombies, against orders to stand down, provides the player with helpful aids even when he and his troops are abandoned themselves by the higher-ups (who pack up and leave town without warning), and finally performs a Heroic Sacrifice to help everyone escape the valley.
    • Also given a lot of exploration in Lifeline where you are the army. Given that your orders are all about trying to find people who may be able to figure the zombie plague out, caring one way or the other about civilians is a distraction. You can go around saving them if you like, but you don't really get anything important for it. It definitely helps show why the military may have bigger concerns and need civilians to just stay out of the way.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • Light machine guns and grenade launchers, both of which can obliterate entire hordes of zombies with ease and both of which are nearly useless due to ammo scarcity. Light machine guns eat up powerful rifle rounds that would be better used for Assault Rifles or hunting rifles. Grenade launcher ammo is so rare that the player is lucky to have gathered 20 rounds after finishing the entire game. They always spawn with a full magazine, so players can have some fun with them, before putting them in the locker for good. Also be careful if community members grab a Grenade Launcher, since they can easily kill the player or cars with splash damage.
    • The .50 cal anti-materiel rifles (Mk. 15 and M107 CQ). They can shred multiple zombies with one shot, and can down [1] with merely 4 headshots. They are also Too Awesome to Use, due to the scarcity of .50 cal rounds, and in the case of the M107, also extremely loud and cannot be suppressed. It gets even worse in the Breakdown DLC, where their weight are increased to 20 lbs, which means they instantly encumbered normal survivors, draining their Stamina even faster when they sprint.
    • Revolvers and revolver rifles are inherently awesome, and some have highest damage per shot with the appropriate specialization, just behind Grenade Launcher and .50 cal rifles. However, their loudness (they cannot be suppressed) and limited ammo capacity make them very risky to use.
  • Big Entrance: You can shoulder in the door or jump through a window to enter a building. The former is the only way to get through locked doors for most of the game without a character with the Ninja Special Technique requiring maxed out Wits, which causes locks to not exist when they open a door.
  • Big Good: The player's group slowly evolves into this for all of Trumball Valley. After the Army is revealed to be useless and the Courthouse is overrun, the player will be the one helping out other survivor groups and confronting the Wilkersons over their criminal schemes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The remaining survivors are able to escape Trumbell County thanks to Tan's Heroic Sacrifice, but Lily has only months to live due to her lupus medicine becoming literally impossible to find, and the final scene heavily implies that Trumbull wasn't the only area to be infected with the Black Fever, as a city can be seen on the horizon.
    • The Lifeline DLC confirms the outbreak is not isolated to Trumbull Valley, but is global. Reports of outbreaks in Australia, Africa and Europe come in as the game progresses. Cities across the United States are also experiencing outbreaks, with the military being overwhelmed.
  • Boring but Practical: A few of your facilities can be considered this. The Kitchen has an option to temporarily increase your survivors' max Health and Stamina (only if one of your survivors is a good cook), as well as reduces the chance of food poisoning and/or spoilage. The Training Area gives a Stamina bonus and helps prevent injuries. The Infirmary helps characters heal faster and prevent a sick character from infecting healthy ones. They are nothing fancy to look at, but surviving without them is going to be REALLY hard.
    • Assault rifles when firing in single shot mode. They have a combination of high accuracy, damage and large magazine size. It's more "fun" to go full-auto, but considering the scarcity of ammunition, sticking to the "boring" single shots will make your supply last much longer. (However, on the XBOX controller, it's not that easy to consistently press the right trigger button lightly enough to shoot only one bullet at a time.)
    • Some of the more mundane melee weapons are this. Sure you could be creative and beat zombies to death with a sawed off table leg or gardening hoe, or a medieval Mace. However, a solid steel wrench or pipe-wrench weighs less and is far more durable.
    • Snacks. Nothing fancy, just your average "Get out of a tight spot free" card. Pop one to refill your stamina and keep fighting, or sprint as far as you can.
    • The Machine shop in conjunction with vehicles. It can't produce any of the explodable goodies that the Munition shop can, but it will keep your vehicles in working condition. It also can fix broken car doors and engine, something no other workshop can.
  • Breakable Weapons: All your melee weapons eventually become damaged, and further hits with a damaged weapon will break it altogether. Damaged weapons are automatically repaired daily in any home base that has a workshop while a weapon that breaks from overuse is immediately removed from your inventory.
  • Broken Bridge: Well, barricaded, but the trope still applies. Fairfield is inaccessible until certain main missions have been completed.
  • Bullet Time: Time briefly slows down when you dodge or are about to execute a zombie. Characters that have max Shooting level can choose the skill "Focus Aim" that slows down time for as long as their Stamina lasts.
  • Camp Unsafe Isn't Safe Anymore:
    • The Ranger Station is obviously not safe from the beginning - completely open from each side, with big windows covering every wall and not a single barricade build by NPCs. It's no wonder it is overrun when Marcus and Ed are searching for Maya. After witnessing what happened, she instantly decides to pack everything and run the hell out of there.
    • Not counting the court in Marshall, all enclaves held by NPCs are completely unsafe, but only after taking sizable beating - sometimes few sieges in a row - you can recruit their inhabitants into your community.
  • Car Fu: You are welcome to use any working vehicle you find to run down the undead, though they will take damage and eventually become inoperable unless repaired regularly at your home. It's useful for wiping out a horde or two if you have some way to repair it.
  • Cosmic Deadline: There is every indication that Undead Labs was forced to ship the game before finishing the third Act, such as the presence of a third town with no story sidequests or anything of particular interest, and the rushed feeling of the endgame quests.
  • Closed Circle: Mt. Tanner Lake, Spencer's Mill and Marshall are initially cut off from the rest of Trumbull Valley by quarantine walls erected onto the only bridges leading to Fairfield. After gaining access to Fairfield, yet another wall locks the survivors from the only way out into Danforth.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Both shotguns and revolvers have good stopping power, but share the same disadvantages: small ammo capacity, making a lot noise impossible to muffle, pitful accuracy and slow reload.
  • Critical Hit: With blunt and heavy weapons, these instantly crushes zombies' heads, while an edged weapon can decapitate. Specialization in each weapon type can increase critical chance.
  • Disaster Scavengers: This is what you do to survive.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: A somewhat indirect example. It could be a complete coincidence that the only police station in the game is directly adjacent to (or rather, attached to) a small donut shop. Could be.
  • Dying Declaration Of Hate: Survivors will sometimes scream curses at the zombies when all is lost and they are being devoured. Also, in Lifeline, you can nuke the city and leave any remaining survivors to die... Vienna Cho, the DJ who has been coordinating rescue for the normal civilians (whom the military has largely ignored in favor of VIP survivors) uses her last broadcast to tell you what an utter bastard you are for murdering the rest of them.
  • Elite Zombie: The Screamer and Bloated zombies can tilt the odds against you, while the SWAT zombie's armour makes him a pain to kill with guns. Of all of them, though, Feral zombies and Big Bastards are easily the deadliest. Ferals are fast and can easily tear a survivor apart at low health, while Big Bastards are immensely tough to kill and deal massive damage to any vehicle that tries to run them down.
  • Escort Mission: A random type of mission quite commonly encountered. You need to escort someone to carry a resource to trade for another, or "rescue" and escort someone home. Unlike most examples of this trope, these kinds of missions can be highly beneficial. Normally to get a survivor to accompany you, you need to spend 100 Influence, which is no small cost. When you get an Escort mission, however, you get a free zombie fodder that is quite capable at protecting themselves and protecting you, allowing you to clean houses, establish outposts and rack up kills to level up your stats and skills. That said, they can actually die on your watch if you're not careful.
  • Final Death: Yep. No character is the 'main' one, and everyone who dies stays dead. For what it's worth, should ALL of your playable characters get killed, the game just creates a new one and puts you back in action.
  • Finishing Move: You can do this to a knocked down zombie with a button combination. The animation is different depending on your weapon.
  • Gorn: The players can crush undead skull or liberate them from the zombie's neck with bladed weapons or one of the game's many firearms. In return, player characters can get ripped in half by zombies.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Juggernaut/Big Bastard and Feral can do this to a survivor at low health, as can the normal zombies. It's rather unsettling to watch two zombies fighting over your corpse end up pulling you apart at the waist.
  • Have a Nice Death: Every time the character that you control dies, you are treated to a lengthy scene of him/her getting clawed at, gnawed at, ripped in half and continued to be chewed on.
  • Heal Thyself: Played straight. Health items can restore you to 100% health. There's an exception, though - when you take too much damage (or get bitten by a Feral zombie), you become injured, meaning your maximum health is reduced and you'll need to rest in an Infirmary to recover from the injury.
  • The Hero: The player can play as any group member and are encouraged to switch between characters to utilize their individual skills. However, the starting character Marcus Campbell is one of the most effective survivors, especially early on, and tends to be viewed as the main protagonist.
  • Heroic Second Wind: When your health is depleted, the screen turn black and white and you get the prompt Press B to get up. Press it fast enough and your character will stand up in a dramatic fashion, knocking down all zombies around, with his/her health and stamina restored to maximum (though this maximum is lower than normal, which can only be recovered by resting in an infirmary), allowing you to fight back or escape. However, Feral Zombies and Juggernauts can straight up execute downed characters no matter how fast you press the B button, resulting in an instant death.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted. Even with one of the rare silencers in-game that hasn't been jury-rigged out of a machine shop the silencers in this game generally only do what they would in the real world, slightly reducing the noise and removing the sharp *Crack* of gunfire. A .22 rifle being silenced will almost sound like the distinctive movie fwip while suppressing an AK-47 will only result in a slightly softer BANG. The trope is played completely straight in actual gameplay, however. So long as the weapon you're firing has a silencer attached, zombies will not react to it, even if it's a full sized .50 caliber sniper rifle being fired directly behind them.
  • Honor Before Reason: At the start of the game, while heading to the Church, Ed will say they need to tell Lily her dad's dead. Marcus (or Maya, depending on who you're currently playing as) will then remind Ed that he was just bitten by a zombie, so if he wants to tell them before they heal him, the trio will likely be kicked out on their asses.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Unique example, but more or less in the spirit of the trope, having your character eat a Snack item will cause their stamina to temporarily regenerate very quickly.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Only averted with material rucksacks. Your weapons are seen when you use them, and disappear otherwise.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A subtle Meta example, so subtle that it seems unintentional. Alan Gunderson is presented by the game as a cold-hearted and ruthlessly practical survivor (he judges fellow survivors based on how useful they are with a weapon). Then many players picked up the habit of killing off useless survivors to save food and ammo, or make room for more "useful" ones.
  • The Juggernaut: Guess who.
  • Karma Meter: Come in three flavors, Influence (that are replacement for cash), Ally Trust (those who are "friends" become playable) and Neighbor Trust (items bought at their supply locker cost less and they can eventually join you when you raise their trust to full).
  • Kill It with Fire: Molotov Cocktail and Flame Fougasse are both effective against zombies. The latter makes fighting Juggernauts a lot safer.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: When the zombies are hit by cars or explosives.
  • Made of Plasticine: Zombie heads will burst every time you use an insta-kill attack on them. Doubly so when you use a car: just being lightly touched by an open car door can potentially gib a zombie.
  • More Dakka: There are 99 guns in the game. Each one looks differently, has its own stats. Stats that were painstakingly calculated from data taken from real world experience, police and military consultation, firearm reviews and magazines. Why only 99? "99 was the number we had done the day they told me to stop adding guns.". And in the Breakdown DLC, they added a few dozen more guns. And a few dozen more in Lifeline.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Subverted. While initially Marcus, Ed and Maya have no idea what's going on and hesitate to use the term, they are quite bluntly informed by Lily about Zombie Apocalypse raging for the past two weeks.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: A combination of the plague and flesh eating types, although they aren't the slow and limping type, they can run, tackle you, climb stairs, ladders and fences, bust through doors and windows, etc.
  • Perspective Flip: Both the main game and Breakdown occur from the perspective of the civilian survivors, while the military are couched as secondary antagonists. Lifeline occurs from the perspective of the military, whose orders are that civilian survivors, barring a few exceptions, are largely unimportant and the military's focus should be elsewhere.
  • Press X to Not Die: A few occasions where you need to shake off zombies or are near death.
  • Put Their Heads Together: Characters with the Powerhouse trait can choose the skill "Double Kill" which does exactly this.
  • Random Drops: Each type of container has a list of items that can spawn in. When the player searches, a number is "rolled" and determine what item (if any) they can find. The item list is specific to the kind of container in question. For example, a Rifle case in a Military Stash has a different item list than a Rifle case in a Police Station.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Ammo, food, construction supplies, weapons, etc.; anything and everything can run out if you're not careful (or if you stop playing for several days). You also have a limited amount of storage space for the things you find while scavenging, and bigger packs of supplies need to be carried back to a home base or broken apart for salvage. Vehicles can help alleviate some of these problems, but they too have limited space. Safehouses need to be kept supplied to be functional, as well as upgraded to fit your needs.
  • RPG Elements: Characters have base stats, and can upgrade their abilities through use and training.
  • Save Scumming: The game only has an auto-save feature, but it certainly doesn't stop someone from backing up and reloading the save file before searching. It is much more time consuming and tedious than with the usual quick-save/quick load, though.
  • Scavenger World: Scavenging is the primary means of getting new stuff.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Some of the shipping containers in Marshall bear these kinds of names: "Namkrik", "Inivas" and "Oremor".
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the game, a city can be seen on the horizon (and is also visible from the dam in the northern part of the game). It is possible future games or DLC will be set there.
    • Proved true with the Lifeline DLC, which is set in that very city. The Trumbull survivors are going to be unhappy when they learn just how easy they had it in there.
  • Shout-Out: Many, often poking fun at other zombie-related franchises. The game wiki has its own page for these.
    • The Walking Dead': There is a potential community site in Spencer's Mill (the first town) called the Kirkman Residence as well as shipping cointainer labled 'NAMKRIK', both references to Walking Dead'' creator Robert Kirkman. There also posters in Spencer's Mill that say "Richard Grimes for Sheriff", a reference to protagonist Rick Grimes.
    • Zombieland: The achievement "Rule #1" (unlocked when a playable character's Cardio stat reaches the maximum level) is a reference to "Rule #1: Cardio", an essential skill to avoiding zombie hordes. "Gotta Enjoy the Little Things" is earned by doing a Toyota Tripwire, a move Tallahassee loved doing in the film and the quote itself being his advice to Columbus. There's also an office building near the courthouse, a travel agency featuring posters advertising four specific cities — the aliases of the four leads.
    • Plants vs Zombies: A backyard in Spencer's Mill (near the church) features an arrangement of sunflowers, lawnmowers, and zombie corpses (including one with a traffic cone nearby, and another with a bucket similarly arranged).
    • Evil Dead: Outside the city of Marshall is a sign saying "Campbell's Used Autos", a reference to Bruce Campbell who portrayed Ash Williams in the Evil Dead series.
    • The achievement for self-sacrifice is called "Ya Always Were An Asshole, Gorman!", a direct quote from Aliens.
    • The Simpsons: "Everything's coming up Milhouse!"
    • Breaking Bad: If your safe house has a research room and an infirmary, you can update it to a medical lab and create "potent stims." When your mission control suggests this, she says: "...not that I intend to break bad on you, but I think it could help us."
      • Before even starting it, the description for the action is "Heisenberg would be proud".
      • A character in Breakdown is Walter. He also only wears a hazmat suit, similar to Walter White's cooking gear. Note that this hazmat suit cannot be damaged and makes you completely immune to Bloater gas and Screamer's shrieks.
    • Lily listing all the possibilities of where the zombies came from:
    Lily: Maybe it's some kind of messed up super-virus. Maybe it's radiation from outer space, or black magic or... or the Wrath of almighty God.
  • Sniper Rifle: As the game was designed as Third-Person Shooter with Xbox 360 in mind, all scoped weapons lack the actual scope when aiming. This makes sniper rifles one of the most useless weapons in the game, since there are no plus-sides of their extremely low fire rate and slow reload. Scoped pistols at least come with additional crosshair, making aiming easier, while retaining all the good properties of pistols.
  • Soft Glass: Played completely straight. If a quick escape from a building is necessary, characters can effortlessly throw themselves through a window and land outside with nary a scratch...or just when you don't want to over to the door. It does cause a lot of noise, however.
  • Spin Attack: Characters with Heavy Weapon specialization can choose this skill, which knocks down all zombies around.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jacob Ritter and Eli Wilkerson. Both their families disapprove of their relationship (though for different reasons). Then Eli gets killed by zombies. Poor Jacob can't catch a break.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Being able to move quietly is useful for lower level characters. Searching around for stuff can make noise, too, unless you take it slowly. You'll definitely need to crouch in bushes and whatnot to hide from roaming hordes.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors:
    • Alan is still wearing his uniform and is quite vocal as being "the only law enforcement officer on duty left in Spencer's Mill". Said uniform is of Department of Fish and Wildlife ranger.
    • Sheriff Carl and all his deputies are all wearing uniforms, but in their case they are still on active duty under Judge Lawton jurisdiction.
    • Sergeant Tan, after realising the military left him and his men to rot, is pretty much a deserter in combat gear acting on his own.
  • Taking You with Me: Companion characters that have lost all health (i.e before they get ripped in half like the player character) can pull a grenade or molotov from their Hyper Space Arsenal and blow themselves up. Player-controlled characters can do this too, if they have a grenade/molotov cocktail equipped. In fact, in Breakdown mode, dying like this is required to unlock a Hero character.
  • Timed Mission: Non-story missions are generated randomly and only last a given amount of time. Failing to complete them can cause you to lose trust among your community, fellow survivors to die, cause the (limited) number of recruitable NPC's to dwindle and die or cost you valuable resources.
  • Toyota Tripwire: Door hits are instant kills in return for taking very minimal damage to your vehicle.
  • Universal Ammunition: Due to memory limitation and game balancing, many types of ammo of similar calibers in real life are grouped into one. For example, the 7.62mm round in the game represents many different calibers such as .30-06, .300 Win Mag, 7.62x39mm and .308 Winchester/7.62x51mm NATO. This is pointed out in the description for the 7.62mm and 5.56mm, noting that they represent "caliber families". This is also the reason why some weapons don't use their proper chambering. For example, the Glock 20 10mm pistol is re-chambered in-game to use .45 ACP. The devs simply can't add any more ammo types. The game briefly handwaves this by describing each type of ammo as a "Family of calibers", not a single caliber.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can rescue survivors and integrate them into your community, build trust with other groups, and in general prove that you've retained your humanity even when most everyone else is no longer human.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: On the other hand, as noted in Jerkass Has a Point, players can be ruthlessly pragmatic, killing off survivors that won't aid their community.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Want to clear a house and scavenge for supplies? Clear a zombie infestation? Check out a rumor of survivors? Advance the main story? It's all good. However, given many activities are on a timer, there's a distinct disadvantage to carelessly goofing about and ignoring every mission request.
  • Zerg Rush: A favored tactic of the zombies, of course. Zombie hordes use this as a mechanic, being a cluster of zombies (at least eight) that travel as a pack.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Very heavily implied. The extent is unclear, but Trumbull Valley is completely overrun.
    • If the game's codename Class3 is anything to go by, then that's probably the extent of the apocalypse. The planned MMO is codenamed Class4.
      • Could be a reference to The Zombie Survival Guide. Class 3 outbreaks involve thousands of zombies across a state or region... Class 4 involve millions over a continent or planet.
  • Zombie Gait: Depends on the zombie. The weaker ones plod along and can be kept at bay just by walking. Tougher ones can sprint nearly as fast as a player character, and some (usually members of a horde) can outrun the player even at full sprint.
  • Zombie Infectee: Done non-conventionally. Zombie bites are survivable if treated soon enough, but if left untreated they do eventually result in death and reanimation (although it's not specified the extent to which the zombies are a specific disease, versus simply causing non-supernatural fatal infections due to being rotting corpses.)

     Breakdown DLC Tropes 
  • Endless Game: Where your survivors must locate and fix an RV in each level to escape the town (and reach a new level that looks exactly the same, but with resources refreshed and difficulty increased).
  • New Game+: The DLC Breakdown mode, in a sense. There is no longer a storyline, only the player's community trying to survive for as long as possible. The player must locate and RV somewhere and repair it. After that, the player can choose 6 characters to advance to the next level, where they keep their entire equipment, the entire map resets, all containers become lootable again, the zombies become more dangerous and vehicles gets fewer.
  • Promoted to Playable: Most, if not all of the {NPC}s from the main story can become playable, mostly gained through certain achievements.

     Lifeline DLC Tropes 
  • Actionized DLC: With the protagonists as military, it takes the concept of More Dakka Up to Eleven. Compared to the main game where ammo is scare and guns were uncommon at best. In Lifeline, your home locker at the beginning has access to small armory and enough ammo and explosives to kill everything within the city limits thrice over. Weapons are much more commonly found in loot and with the introduction of supply drops, you'll soon find yourself absolutely swimming in dakka. Aside from firearms, the radio now gives the players access to various forms of artillery strikes and drone support.
  • Apocalypse How: You get reports from throughout the Americas from as far afield as Toronto and Caracas and a Hawai'ian squad member comments that all contact with the islands has been lost. And if the other updates received from HQ is any indication, the entire world is in a really bad shape.
  • Black Guy Dies First: Dr. Thomas Horn offs himself first canonically, on the assumption that being bit, means death and reanimation.
  • Death from Above: Comes in various artillery and Attack Drone flavors. At the beginning, you have access all of them. Eventually the off-screen artillery team is lost to the zombie horde, but their abilities can be regained by occupying the field assets as outposts.
  • Deconstruction: Serves as one to the typical Armies Are Evil perspective in zombie stories. In Lifeline, from the Danforth survivors perspective, the Army is cowardly, cruel, and unhelpful. However from the view of the player, who controls the Army, they're simply having to deal with The Needs of the Many. Even the cruelest action of the DLC detonating the nuke, is done with the best of intentions for the rest of the country. Likewise, the various Army soldiers aren't portrayed in the usual hivemind fashion. Some want to save everyone, some want to save those that they can, some don't care about the civilians, and most just want to get out alive.
  • Downer Ending: You can choose to let Sasquatch complete his mission, which is to set off a nuclear bomb in Danforth, killing the zombies — and any civilians who remain. This is doubly sad when you take into account the survivors from the main game were heading into Danforth.... presumably just before this happens. So they made it only to die.
  • For Want of a Nail: The first VIP inadvertently sets Greyhound One's long, dangerous mission to secure other HVTs around Danforth after he blows his owns brains out on the assumption of being a Zombie Infectee.
  • Nuke 'em: The conclusion if Sgt Eldridge's sidequests are completed.
  • Mission Control: Greyhound One keeps in contact with surviving military leaders over the radio. The first is Colonel Peel, codenamed Doghouse Actual. After a while they lose contact with him and have to contact his superiors, codenamed Highroad Actual.
  • Multiple Endings: Unlike the main story, the fate of Danforth rests in your hands. The ending is usually a combination of several decisions made and influenced with the presence of certain characters, but mainly result in whether Danforth receives thermonuclear nuclear annihilation or not. Some of the major choices include:
    • Whether the main mission is completed or screwed up (if you let too many {VIP}s die).
    • Rejecting all civilian evacuations or rescuing enough to bring Vienna Cho to the FOB.
    • Assisting Sgt. Eldridge in his sidequests or if he dies during them.
    • Completing Sgt. Eldridge's research and then decide to let him nuke Danforth or helping Vienna Cho (if alive and present to) sabotage the signal to the primer.
  • Private Military Contractors: A fictional example named, 'Red Talon Executive Security'. Presumably they were under contract from the US Military to assist with evacuation efforts within Danforth. Their services can still be called upon should the player re-capture their abandoned facilities, providing sniper support and sending ground troops to your position (replacing Mickey Wilkerson and Sheriff Carl's radio support options in the original story).
  • Synthetic Plague: It's heavily implied that the zombie plague is not a naturally occurring event. During his various hunts Sasquatch points out that the various special zombies seem to be designed to function in a certain manner and that many of their abilities, such as the Juggernauts massive amounts of new muscle, defy the known laws of biology.
  • The Siege: A key gameplay element in Lifeline. Every half hour, your base comes under attack from dozens and dozens of zombies in two waves. Everybody in base, soldiers and civilians alike, must repel this attack. Worse, each of these attacks are stronger than the last ones, and includes many more special zombies. It can get out of hand very fast.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In Lifeline, the game gets in an unwinnable state if Sasquatch dies while doing his sample-hunting missions. Worse still, this is probable given the fact he's a weak NPC and his approach to battle is anything but elegant.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite their escape into Danforth, the Trumbull Valley survivors are not seen nor encountered by Greyhound. No mentioned of them has been made, but by the look of things, it isn't good no matter what kind of ending is achieved....
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Kicks off the main plot of Lifeline's campaign. Dr. Horn blows out his own brains after being bitten, assuming that he's become a Zombie Infectee. However, the main game establishes that, unlike most zombie fiction, being bitten isn't necessarily a death sentence provided you receive competent medical care. And this guy was supposed to be the world's greatest expert on the virus. One of your squadmates even lampshades this after several missions.