Ferals, a.k.a. Hunters or Stalkers, are one of the "freak" zombies encountered in State of Decay. Primarily an ambush hunter, the Feral is the most dangerous zombie a survivor can encounter. More so than any other single zombie, Ferals are easily capable of killing an unwary survivor and should always be considered the highest threat in the area.
Ferals are fast and vicious. They have a bulging, misshapen silhouette and move in jerks and bursts of speed. A Feral can be distinguished from other zombie types by its yellow-green skin, bulging muscles, heaving panting, and idle animation which is far more animalistic than anything else seen.
The Ferals are the only zombies agile enough to dodge a vehicle. They don't have eyes, only empty sockets where the eyes used to be; they rely on their remaining senses to hunt down the survivors. In state of decay 2, their eye sockets seem to glow during the night. In the DLC Lifeline, Sasquatch claims that this is the result of mutation.
Distribution and behaviorEdit
Ferals can be found just about at any location on the map, both indoors, outdoors, in urban and wilderness locations. There are no areas that are considered higher-risk; their appearance is random, although they seem to take a liking to urban places, being found along the sides of roads, as if waiting to ambush those approaching.
Ferals are ferocious fighters, attacking in a frenzy and making defense or escape difficult. Extremely fast and agile, Ferals gain the upper hand by striking first, then preventing the victim from gaining any distance or mounting a meaningful counter-attack.
When it spots a survivor, the Feral typically lets out a resonant roar which is instantly recognizable. Then, it quickly approaches a survivor by sprinting on all fours. If there is a door in its way, it can force it open with a single swipe, much faster than any normal zombie. Notably, a Feral seems incapable of climbing over a head-high wall.
The Feral's primary means of attack, the zombie will close in on the victim and unleash a devastating flurry of blows, clawing at the victim and dealing massive amounts of damage. A survivor with full health may be able to withstand two of these attacks; a third is typically fatal. Portable medical supplies, such as painkillers can help regain a little health between attacks, but the frequency of a Feral's assaults will prevent the medication from doing much good.
Spotting a FeralEdit
Obviously, it is much safer to identify and kill a Feral from a safe distance with firearms, but players aren't always this lucky. Most encounters with Feral begins with it initiating the attack. Thus, it is more important to learn to identify a Feral by sound than by sight. Its growl is usually the first warning the player receives. Then, when it quickly approaches, the sprinting and heavy panting sounds are also very distinctive. Familiarising themselves with these sounds gives players about 5 seconds to prepare before the attack.
While being a formidable foe in one-on-one fights, having one or more survivors at one's side makes fights with Ferals almost trivial, since the Feral cannot hold down any survivor for long, while continuous assaults from two or more survivors can quickly destroy it. Thus, this section mainly deals with one-on-one combat. While Ferals have more durability than the average zombie, they can be faced down in melee combat by a suitably trained and equipped survivor.
Using melee weaponsEdit
It is highly recommended that the player eats a snack right before engaging in a fight with a Feral.
Like most zombies, the most effective way to kill a Feral is knockdown-then-execute. However, a Feral has two traits that make this approach more difficult. First, it usually rolls away when knocked down on the ground, so players have to waste more time getting to it for the kill (just a fraction of a second, but still important due to the second trait). Second, it regains its footing much faster than a normal zombie, only staying in knockdown state for 1-2 seconds, leaving a very small window of vulnerability. A normal Dropkick can knock down the Feral, but this attack has high recovery time; thus, the Feral usually will have got back on its feet before the survivor can move in to kill it. To solve this, Dropkick it against a wall, so it bounces right back at the survivor, or at least does not have any room to roll away; then, instead of sprinting to it, roll towards it, so the collision cancels it "getting up" animation, leaving it vulnerable to a finishing move.
Besides the dropkick which is available to all character, the most effective knock-down attacks are the Uppercut (Blunt Weapons Special Attack) or Spin Kick (Utility Skill available for character with Reflexes). Either attack will knock down the Feral while the survivor can instantly move in (rolling is still recommended) to finish it off.
Another useful strategy is to start swinging a melee weapon just before the Feral while it's in the middle of its pounce (i.e in mid air). If the attack connects, the Feral's "pouncing" animation will be interupted, and it will stagger back, open for further attacks. Alternatively, rolling sideway at the moment the Feral is in mid-air (so it cannot change direction) will make the it miss and fall flat on its face, open for an execution kill. In order to set this up, it may help to run away from the Feral while keeping the camera pointed at it, so as to provide more predictable timing as the Feral closes in. This technique is risky, but can set up a quick kill if skillfully executed.
It should also be noted that Edged weapons, which swing at a faster rate than blunt or heavy weapons, are quite effective at keeping the Feral "stun-locked" by constantly interrupting its attack.
Ferals can withstand a few headshots from small caliber rounds, and their quick and jerky movements makes targeting difficult. A character with the Focus Aim special technique can "slow down" its movement enough for a kill shot, but not all characters have this luxury. Body shots from high caliber pistols/revolvers/rifles as well as shotguns all have high possibility of knocking the Feral down. Once the freak is down, quickly move in to finish it off. It is also possible to kill a Feral with a single shot (including body shots) from a .50 caliber firearm, a grenade launcher round or a single headshot form a .44 caliber firearm.
Under no circumstances should a survivor attempt to run away from a Feral on foot. Without a vehicle, a Feral will catch any survivor, first pouncing, then frenzying. Running away from an active Feral is suicide. Unlike most other zombies, a Feral will relentlessly pursue and attack, never losing interest in a fleeing survivor.
Destroying a Feral with a vehicle is relatively easy. Lure it out into the open using the car's horn (or, if driving a police car, the siren along with its horn, making it the best vehicle for luring purposes). Once outside, the Feral will attempt to attack the vehicle like any other zombie. As it runs towards the car, run it down; a Feral can dodge a moving vehicle by diving and rolling, so doing a "feint" with the car can take it down quicker. If the Feral is close behind the vehicle, apply the handbrake. The Feral should continue running, killing it on impact with the vehicle. Another tactic is to lure him to the left side of the car and when he tries to pounce, kill him by opening driver's door. Running over a Feral does not cause any more damage to the vehicle than an ordinary zombie.
State of Decay 2 Edit
Ferals in State of Decay 2 behave similarly to those in the original game keeping similar characteristics.
They remain highly mobile and can only be outrun in a vehicle. They are hard to spot since they move on all-fours and most engagements will start when the feral spots the player rather than the other way around. This leaves little time for the player to react. This also makes Ferals the most dangerous of the Freak class to engage in larger fights with multiple zeds. Screamers, Bloaters and even Juggernauts can be evaded relatively easily or kept at a safer distance however Ferals cannot and they should be the priority.
A Feral will not appear on the map unless it has seen you and will therefore probably be already charging towards survivors, however you may hear its roars in advance of this which gives the player the advantage if the Feral is quickly spotted.Running one down in a vehicle is the best option although they are capable of dodging this and may latch on to the vehicle. Once this happens they will quickly tear parts of the vehicle off and pull out survivors inside. It is best to either drive into a solid object to crush them or stop and engage them on foot.
On foot they are best defeated at range, preferably if you happen to spot them first, a single head-shot from any firearm will kill it.
However if alerted, a Feral is capable of dodging a player's aim. When a firearm is raised and the cross-hairs target the Feral they will jump to the side to avoid the shot. This is highly effective. To reduce the chances of this the player should minimise the time between aiming and firing the weapon. Do your best to centre the camera on the charging Feral before aiming and shooting. This 'snap-shooting' is the best way of landing a shot. This is best practised against other types of zeds first. Shotguns are particularly effective.
In melee they are tough, fast and harmful. They can pounce to knock a survivor down and attack in a frenzy which lands several heavy blows in a row and is likely to cause an injury. Expect to dodge several attacks throughout the confrontation and look for openings to strike back. Blunt weapons with high impact statistics are particularly effective as they can stun lock the Feral for a time allowing several blows to land consecutively. Once the feral goes to ground having sustained enough damage it should be executed to end the fight as quickly as possible.
- Upon killing a feral for the first time, the player is awarded concept art of a feral's face as a gamer picture. (Xbox 360 Only)
- Ferals seem to share similarities to Left 4 Dead's Hunter.