It's probably pointless bothering to be among the thousands of people in your playerbase to bring these things up over and over again. But so you guys at UnDead Labs understand. It's because you created something we are that passionate about. And under no circumstances wish to see fail!
You have an established franchise now that both amuses and shocks even the fans of other platforms. So with this next go around. Which will no doubt be for the next gen. You guys need to fully utilize the power of that zen2 8 core CPU and 2.4gb a sec ssd! As a fan that loved the original but stomached through the bugs and the lacklusterness of the 2nd. I more than ever want a reason to return!
So with that. These are the "7 things" I feel SoD3 needs to propel the game to the top of the XB charts and become the new good standard for zombie apocalyptic survival games...
1) A large map- something along the size of the one in Red Dead Redemption 2's map. Populated with decent sized towns and small communities. But above all else. At least 2 cities. 1 larger metropolitan area with buildings that are fully explorable. And one smaller city.
The next thing with this map is to finally break the tired cycle of seeing drab washed out brown Midwestern areas. Just as seen in the Juggernaut update. You guys can dabble in fresher environments. My suggestion for 3 is to base this map in a more southeastern region. Where there's still rural farming communities. But now there's lush green forests and even muddy swamps.
2) More Newer Freaks and Variants- I suggested before on here that SoD is in dire need of some newer threats to shake things up. Having the blood plague variants are a perfect addition. But now there room to beef up the roster with more. And with the new cpu of the series x. Add 8n some very interesting AI. Like zombies now being able to climb cars. Or like up on top of the other to scale walls. Like in World War Z!
Let's even add in allowing Zed's to react to the sight of your flashlight. Or vehicle lights! Or imagine a feral that climbs up the wall or fence of your base to get in!
Suggested newer freaks I'd throw in would be ones that are amphibious and airborne. Perhaps a few that borrow under the ground and tunnel after you when you make too much noise. Plus why not introduce zombified animals and freaks?
3) Treat Clothing and accessories as armour- I know folks love the cosmetic aspects of having clothing. It really has little to no value beyond that. To really push more reason for exploring everywhere. Why not allow clothing to affect various stats. Perhaps even give the character additional buffs/debuffs or a bonus skill. Even make it whereas getting a complete set of certain outfits grants major bonuses.
4) Allow bases and even camps to be built anywhere! As your fellow XBGS, Obsidian has shown 8n their upcoming game Grounded. There should be little excuse for a little more open ended to where a player can set up a home. So long as they have the materials. You can also hard limit the number of members they can gather and facilities they can have to ensure the player knows there's a trade-off to such freedom.
5) I stated this before that it makes no sense that there are no animals alive during this apocalypse! SoD3 would be a good time and chance to implement hunting along with the compound bow and arrows. Such as deer, rabbits, birds and even...rats. Include feral and stray animals that could be tamed to assist you.
6) Introduce bounty hunts in a way where you can solo or go in with up to 4 players to hunt and take down more powerful versions of freaks with high risks and reward mechanics. Like rare loot across the "hunting grounds" themselves. As well as whatever the bounty Brooker gives you.
Have more than one type of bounty Brooker. One from red talon who offers the most difficult bounties. These hunts can oastnlast more than 1 in-game day/night. and might have a set time limit. There could even be leaderboards showcasing the best times.
7) the last and final elephant in the room... WEATHER
You guys will be using the Unreal engine. There really shouldn't be any reason we don't get to see dynamic weather. Which can affect gameplay. I'd imagine rain would be good for filling your base's rain collectors. But lousy to get around in. As roads become too slippery for most vehicles. And it may affect your characters stamina. Some characters might have a rainy days buff/debuff. This could even apply to snow. And bring in survival mechanics for keeping body temperatures regulated. Especially for in-game heatwaves. Which can eat through your water supply and lower moral!
Need a good reference? Check out the game Outward.
Introduce muddy off-road parts of the map where the player could get bogged down even while on foot. A good reference for that would be the game Spintires
It's a bit much I will admit. But these are the things I see that can really push this franchise above many others 8n this genre without breaking the fun and rpg grinding aspects.