We Reportedly Almost Lost Round-Based Zombies Years Earlier than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, if not for Treyarch

Call of Duty was meant to pioneer the live-service space, if not for behind the scenes drama.

We Reportedly Almost Lost Round-Based Zombies Years Earlier than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, if not for Treyarch

SUMMARY

  • Former developer speaks about the ambitious live service Call of Duty: Zombies project.
  • Internal problems were key factors for the project's cancellation.
  • Activision preferred to keep Call of Duty away from any experimental or far-fetched ideas.
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was an underwhelming finale from Sledgehammer Games and Activision. Fans and critics alike were upset with the short campaign that came with a hefty price tag. Games like CoD need something extra like alternate game modes to keep the player count in check.

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Zombies were introduced to the franchise by Treyarch in the Black Ops trilogy, which was then integrated into later entries of the franchise including Modern Warfare 3.

Treyarch Fought For Zombies In Call Of Duty

Call of Duty players had a blast with earlier versions of Zombies.
Call of Duty players had a blast with earlier versions of Zombies.

New information about a standalone Zombies game has surfaced that barely made it into development stages before it could see the light of day almost a decade ago, but it didn’t pass beyond design documents. It would have been the first true battle royale game to include microtransactions and other live-service concepts.

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The franchise has been dipping its toes into uncharted waters and has become bold in terms of integrating game modes into the traditional gameplay of Call of Duty. More recent leaks suggest that the developers took inspiration from another video game called Ghostrunner, which shares the first-person perspective and encourages players to be quick and competitive.

Activision is well aware that its formula is not enough to keep the community interested, which is why it was prudent for the franchise to evolve and adapt to the times. Treyarch was onto something when it implemented Zombies and generated more ideas for the franchise to grow and expand, however, behind-the-scenes drama hampered the progression.

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Call Of Duty: Online Was The Original Battle Royale Game

The idea for Warzone was conceived many years ago.
The idea for Warzone was conceived many years ago.

Based on the interview, it appears Warzone was already in development for the last decade, unofficial, but the idea was there. Years ago, Activision gave free rein to a former developer who was working on an ambitious project that would have been the culmination of all the best parts of the franchise, zombies, multiplayer, and the introduction of the live-service format.

The concept was already laid out, but it seems like Activision was not interested in pivoting towards the direction of fiction, and wants the franchise to stay in a domain where it all seems realistic and relatable. Nevertheless, an open-world CoD-branded game with the promise of constant updates would have been an eye-catcher to fans of the undead genre and hardcore gamers.

Activision had the option to create a live service zombie-themed game instead of sticking to the traditional. However, taking the experimental route could have either damaged or benefited the brand. The developers at Treyarch were unsure if they wanted to continue working on Zombies, so the opportunity was given to fellow developer, Raven Software.

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Unfortunately, the hard work of the developers ended up being wasted and there was a hint of Treyarch wanting the concept back to avoid the division of focus from the community and competition internally.

Would you prefer a live service Call of Duty: Zombies game, or are you satisfied with what we got with Warzone? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Written by Rouvin Josef Quirimit

Articles Published: 520

Rouvin is deeply fascinated by pop culture media ranging from comics, movies, TV shows and especially video games with a rich narrative.