Anticipated annual shooter Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War has dropped its first look into Zombies, the third mode which features a signature brand of PvE survival with interconnected stories and easter eggs.
First introduced as a bonus mode in 2008’s Call of Duty World at War and 2010’s original Call of Duty Black Ops, Treyarch has since expanded it into a fully-blown narrative told across different DLC Zombies maps. The mode evolved over the Black Ops series and gameplay changed accordingly with its settings. It was also heavily focused on cooperative multiplayer as a team of four would fight and strategize to survive as many waves as possible.
Its reveal trailer features Black Ops character Grigori Weaver as an intelligence handler and assigns four operatives to investigate a derelict site to “contain the threat.” Of course, the players won’t be alone as waves of zombies begin to swarm players across its first map. Interestingly, the story cutscenes would connect the zombies directly into the Black Ops Cold War universe beyond the original story arc. This was where Tank, Richtofen, Nikolai and Takeo traveled through time and space to save the universe from an otherworldly entity. Black Ops Cold War reintroduces the fabled mode in a next-generation spotlight, starting with players working together in the dark to activate a power generator. The map’s power would unlock some Zombies staples, including the Pack-a-Punch machine for weapons and Perk-a-Colas which return to give players buffs. Some, including Deadshot Daquiri can be spotted in the trailer as players run around the map. This suggests signature perks like Quick Revive, Juggernog, Widow’s Wine and Speed Cola are back in Treyarch’s return.
The first Zombies map included for free in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War will give players a set of puzzles to solve, surrounding the mystery of a high-powered reactor in the middle of the base. The shrieking Treyarch-style zombies are back in drones, complete with unique soldier and researcher details which set the map’s unique atmosphere. Gameplay footage revealed some new Wonder-type weapons at the player’s disposal, including an energy sticky-mine which can be triggered by zombies. It’s suggested the next-generation hardware would bring even more zombies into the map at once without compromising performance and dozens were shown running in familiar mobs at players. This is where the map’s own minigun turrets can be bought periodically in rounds to slow the horde down.
New enemy types in Black Ops Cold War Zombies include one with a green aura and can split into two when near players. Certain levels will also spawn new hellhounds which can move at fast speeds towards players. They can also follow players topside as the first map features an underground and outdoor section which can be unlocked with points. It will also be hotspots for the Mystery Box, which unsurprisingly makes a return to give players random weapons for 950 points. These can also unlock superweapons like a new super cannon which hurls a big blue energy ball at zombies and disintegrates anything around it. Players looking for more extra firepower can now call some killstreaks, including a chopper which can rain fire down upon the zombie menace.
A new Elemental Pop could be replacing the gumdrop system from recent Black Ops titles, which is likely to give players added perks for a limited amount of time. This could also help buff players if they aren’t blasting away with the Ray Gun Mk. 1. The Black Ops Cold War Zombies reveal ends with one more enemy boss reveal, showing a huge zombie in a Hazmat suit that can hurl energy balls at players and move faster than zombies. Frank Woods was also teased as a playable operator in Zombies.
According to Zombies lead writer Craig Houston, the mode will be “starting fresh” with a new timeline in the Black Ops Cold War universe. Its first map, called DIE MASCHINE is centered around the aforementioned reactor in the center. Its interesting to note that Treyarch has also included iconic map NACHT DER UNTOTEN, the first-ever Zombies map back into the game as a starting section for players on the surface. But its new story connects to the original lore in how zombies continue to exist despite the sacrifices of the original four characters. This is also how another outbreak starts in the Black Ops Cold War universe, while the military create “Requiem” which is a “CIA-backed international response team” run by Grigori Weaver. Soviet-backed Omega Group is an organization looking to unlock the power of Element 115 again, accidentally reviving hordes of zombies at humanity’s doorstep.
It’s worth noting that Treyarch has unified progression across the Campaign, Multiplayer and Zombies modes for Black Ops Cold War. Players will be carrying their status, unlocks and other progression-based goodies over to fight the undead. This also helps players through the global ranks and weapons continue to level-up if they are bought and used in Zombies. It’s also how scorestreaks were able to come into the mode, with customization options letting players choose which ones to use.
One of the biggest changes includes no longer spawning into Zombies with a pistol. Players can now start the map with their own customized weapons and increase their gun’s power levels through Pack-a-Punch or levels. All guns also have the chance to become Uber weapons for maximum damage and elemental ammo. Before entering the match, players can access their loadouts in the Zombies lobby to change their Lethal, Tactical and Support slots to create equipment and add attachments to their weapons. Treyarch as also included a brand new Exfiltration system, where players can literally “get to da choppa” and end their Zombies session at any time without dying. They will also earn some rewards from a successful exfil, if players can handle a few more rounds as Zombies are buffed “up to 11.”
From current to next gen systems, Black Ops Cold War Zombies will feature crossplay between PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S with cross-progression keeping saves intact. It also connects with a Battle Pass, which will include post-launch Zombies content for players to unlock.
Zombies is coming as its third mode to Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War when it releases on November 13, 2020 for the aforementioned systems.