Canceled Call of Duty Zombies Almost Had a Mad Max Styled Gladiator Arena That Never Saw the Light of Day

Discover the untold story of Project Zed and how it was going to incorporate colosseum battles.

call of duty zombies


  • Call of Duty Zombies (Project Zed) was inspired by Mad Max's post-apocalyptic world.
  • The lead designer, Michael Gummelt, shed light on the canceled project.
  • It was the inspiration for other Call of Duty titles like Black Ops 2, 3, and 4 Zombies.
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Raven Software’s Call of Duty Zombies project was canceled without any official explanation regarding its content. However, during an interview with YouTuber Glitching Queen, the lead designer, Michael Gummelt, revealed that the game would have been a free-to-play live service where players engage in colosseum battles. 


The concept drew inspiration from Mad Max’s post-apocalyptic world and was supposed to be a multiplayer mode for four players where they need to exit the colosseum and collect rewards. The idea seemed fun and engaging, but it never saw the day of light as the project was cancelled. 

Canceled Call of Duty Zombies’ concepts 

Call of Duty Zombies
Call of Duty: MW3 also took some inspiration from the canceled project. | Activision

While talking to Youtuber Glitching Queen, Gummelt revealed that Project Zed aimed to merge the best elements from two popular Call of Duty franchises: Call of Duty Zombies and Call of Duty Online. The concept was ambitious, promising a blend of robust microtransactions and replayability that made Call of Duty Online successful. Regular updates and fresh game modes were also part of the plan to keep both existing and new players engaged.


However, the real excitement lay in the 4-player multiplayer mode within Project Zed. In this mode, players would step into the shoes of Gladiators, battling waves of zombies. The setting drew inspiration from the gritty, post-apocalyptic style of the Mad Max movies. After surviving several intense waves in the arena, players would have the opportunity to escape and explore an open-world environment—a tantalizing prospect for fans.

Despite Project Zed never seeing the light of day, the concept remains captivating. Perhaps someday, similar ideas will find their way into future Call of Duty titles, providing players with fresh and exhilarating experiences.

Why did Call of Duty Zombies get canceled?

Call of duty canceled the project zed due to internal competition.
Call of Duty tried to avoid internal competition (via Call of Duty” MW3) | Activision

The cancellation of the Call of Duty Zombies project remains shrouded in mystery, with no official statement clarifying the reasons. However, speculation suggests that the game’s potential as a direct competitor to their existing titles led to its demise—a move to avoid internal competition.


The issue of microtransactions has been a sore point for players. The relentless push for in-game purchases and the grind required to earn BP coins has left many feeling fatigued. Ultimately, players have questioned whether the effort and money invested are truly worthwhile.

Call of Duty Warzone has some microtransaction issues | Activision

On a positive note, the interview revealed a silver lining for fans: the inclusion of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, 3, and 4 Zombies. These titles drew inspiration from the canceled game’s concepts and provided players with a familiar experience. Meanwhile, the gaming landscape has shifted, with free-to-play live-service games dominating the genre, leaving traditional open-world zombies somewhat overrun.


Written by Shubham Chaurasia

Articles Published: 128

Shubham is a tryhard gamer who loves to play and write about games/news. At first, writing was just a hobby but now its his profession. If he is not online lurking in Valorant or trying his luck in gacha games, you can find him binging on some anime series.