One of Call of Duty’s best features is its zombie mode, which features hordes of ex-humans attacking co-op players. Black Ops 2 sees the undead rise from the grave - again. We’ve been promised bigger levels, more players and copious amounts of zombies. But what else can Treyarch do to its zombie mode?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last decade or so, it’s that everything can be improved with the addition of zombies. Films, TV shows, classic literature and out-of-service shopping centres have all benefitted from a visit from the undead. And, of course, our beloved games have blossomed immensely by reanimating the no-longer-with-us.
Take Call of Duty. World at War’s single and multiplayer modes had a huge scope and some astonishing moments, but it was the zombie mode that truly captivated gamers. These weren’t just any zombies; they were Nazi zombies. Black Ops upped the bonkers brain bashing with JFK and Fidel Castro battling hordes in the Pentagon, and even an end-boss in the form of zombie movie legend George A. Romero.
Treyarch have made it clear that Black Ops 2 will include a zombies mode, with studio head Mark Lamia telling Official PlayStation Magazine that “we’ve actually put [zombies] inside of our multiplayer engine and it’s capable of doing twice as many zombies, twice as many co-op players.” So that means a massive amount of zombies, and eight-way co-op. But other than excited hyperbole, details are scant. Which means it’s time for a completely speculative list!
We already know that the majority of Black Ops 2’s singleplayer campaign, and the entirety of its multiplayer mode, are set in the year 2025. Unmanned aerial and terrestrial vehicles, both of which could easily be adapted to slaughter legions of the undead. Imagine being able to call in and control a remote airstrike to get your pals out of a tough spot. We could also see Terminator-style skeletal robots taking the place of the malnourished walking dead.
Previous zombie installments have used Call of Duty’s oh-so-serious backdrops as settings for ludicrous amounts of zombicide. Black Ops 2 will include sequences set during the proxy wars of the Cold War, which took place in Africa and Latin America. Resident Evil 5 has already shown that zombies work just as well in dusty daylit settings as they do in traditional murky mansions.
Strike Force zombies!
Black Ops 2 includes enticing “Strike Force” missions, which include RTS-style orders and perspectives, as well as branching non-linear storytelling. Put this into the zombie mode to up the ante considerably - one player could give orders and see where the hordes are coming from, while the rest spray themselves with the undead’s blood. The branching story could be integrated into the game, too, with group decisions affecting what happens next.
Call of Duty’s zombie modes have been presented in drips and drabs, with the cameo-laden Call of the Dead presented as a separate entity to the staccato multiplayer zombie maps. Treyarch could easily integrate the two into a flowing narrative, ala Left 4 Dead. There could even be a zombie take on the single and multiplayer campaigns.
Call of the Dead rendered Danny Trejo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund and Michael Rooker as combatants. They’re all famous for fictionally slaughtering or being undead, and we’d like to see some more cameos from horror actors. We’re hoping for Bruce Campbell, Kate Beckinsale, Cillian Murphy and Bill Murray. We’ll probably get Edward Furlong, Danny Dyer, John Leguizamo and Corey Feldman.
Horror film and game makers love zombies because they can do unspeakable things to them without attracting the wrath of the censors. Past zombie modes have included decapitations, dismemberment and combustion, but we want more. More! We want ludicrous traps that’ll kill hundreds of zombies at a time, or Dead Rising-style weapons shoddily constructed from powertools.
We know of two vehicular additions to Black Ops 2 - horses, and a dog-like tank known as CLAW. Add the former to the zombies mode for Red Dead Redemption-style slaughterfests, and the latter to crush zombies with your giant robo-paws. But why stop there? Carmageddon proved that zombie heads make excellent hood ornaments, and driving around in a minibus while your friends shoot out of the windows could cause untold amounts of manic mirth.
World at War’s original zombie maps were updated for Black Ops, so we don’t see why Black Ops’ can’t be updated for Black Ops 2. It would be an astounding amount of zombie content, and all the better if it included Black Ops 2’s new zombie features - whatever they are.