We Almost Didn’t Get The Beloved Zombies Mode in Call of Duty
The world is such a better place for us having gotten it, though.
One of the biggest surprises and most popular modes in Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War was the Zombies mode that unlocked once you beat the main campaign. Even though it made no narrative and thematic sense, and the playstyle it encouraged was a complete opposite of the playstyle encouraged by the rest of the game, it became an instant, raging success, and today, stands as the most beloved mode in the series.
But how did this happen? Well, it almost didn’t.
With Treyarch scrambling and racing to complete the game on time, for the holiday 2008 release (the year before, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare had been one of the largest hits in gaming history), a small team within the studio got creatively restless, and decided to just make a small zombies minigame. This work was unauthorized and off-brand- and when the studio head was called in to have work on it canceled, and direct these people to work as per schedule (especially with the game already in danger of missing its ship date), he… didn’t. In fact, he enjoyed it so much, they went ahead and finished the mode, and put it into World at War as a hidden, unadvertised bonus for finishing the game.
With the advent of YouTube and social media, the mode took off, so much that its success took Treyarch by surprise, as they were sent scrambling again to support it with more content post launch (the original mode was rather barebones). By the time Treyarch’s next Call of Duty game, Black Ops, was due, Zombies had become an expectation, and when Treyarch went ahead and included a full fledged zombies mode in the title, it officially became solidified as a mainstay in Treyarch developed Call of Duty games.
Which means we should all be really excited for the Zombies mode we will be getting with this year’s Call of Duty, which is being developed by Treyarch.