Modern Warfare 3 was finally revealed on Thursday, August 17th. Fans were given a look at several of the game’s upcoming modes. Most surprisingly, Activision, Sledgehammer Games, and Treyarch -the creators of Call of Duty Zombies – gave fans a tease of the brand-new Modern Warfare Zombies. While some details had leaked earlier, which we reported here, the first official details were given on the Call of Duty Blog as part of the MW3 reveal.
While the blog only gave a general tease at the nature of the mode, several influencers were flown out to Sledgehammer’s studio and given a briefing on the mode. As details have come out, many fans are hyped about the potential of a new installment in the beloved mode. However, there are several major changes this time around that have proven controversial with some Hardcore, Old-School Fans.
What Is Modern Warfare Zombies?
From the leaks, Modern Warfare Zombies (MWZ) seemed to be a combination of Black Ops: Cold War‘s Zombies Outbreak mode and Modern Warfare 2/Warzone‘s DMZ. In an official press release, MWZ was described as “an open-world player versus enemy (PvE) extraction survival experience”. The blog post also informs players that they will load into “the largest Call of Duty Zombies map ever” with other squads present. Players will partake in missions, hunt for easter eggs, and engage with many of the core Zombies features they expect. Features like Pack-a-Punch, Perk-a-Colas, and Wonder Weapons.
DMZ has been a vastly popular mode since its launch on November 16th, 2022. It seems like Treyarch has taken heavy inspiration from it for their new Zombies mode. The core gameplay-loop has much more in common with DMZ than the traditional Round-Based Zombies fans are used to. Like DMZ, MWZ will see players load into the Warzone Map and complete missions. Similar to those assigned by DMZ‘s numerous Factions. Players will be racing against the clock as an aether storm engulfs the map 60 minutes into a match. Should they Exfil successfully, players will take gear with them out of and into future matches.
MWZ Story Explained
YouTuber MrDalekJD, saw a special presentation of MWZ at Sledgehammer Games and provided some key story details. In MW3, Zombies Mode exists within the larger Modern Warfare universe. Players will enter the mode as their favorite operators and take part in “Operation Deadbolt”. The purpose of this operation is two address two types of threats in the area: Zombies and a Mercenary Group called Terminus Outcomes.
Terminus Outcomes is seeking to harvest and weaponize Aetherium. Aetherium is an element with mystical powers that comes from a dimension known as the Dark Aether. When Terminus tried to escape the area after the zombie outbreak, they created what has been described as an “Incursion”. The Incursion must be contained, as it spreads a zombie outbreak and an aether storm which ravages the map.
Modern Warfare Zombies Gameplay Details
Mock-Up based on Modern Warfare Zombies Gameplay Details
MrDalekJD also learned about the gameplay of the new mode, and shared specifics on YouTube and Twitter. In the new mode, players will be fighting against zombies and special mini-bosses. Bosses such as the Mimic (pictured at the top of this article) and human enemies alike. Terminus Outcomes have setup strongholds within the portions of the map furthest from the Incursion. So, players can fight them as well as zombies. Squads of players will co-exist within a match online, with a limit of 6 players per squad and 24 players total within a match. MWZ is a PvE only mode, so squads cannot attack each other in PvP like they are currently able to DMZ.
In Black Ops: Cold War‘s Outbreak Mode, players went into maps with a main objective to complete before they were able to move on to the next one. In MWZ, players will have much more freedom to utilize their time in-game as they please. There are missions which players will select before the start of their matches, which are assigned by various handler characters. Once they are in a match, zombie fans can complete contracts, search for loot around the map, and hunt for easter eggs which will likely further the lore.
The best loot players can find are called Acquisitions. These items contain valuable loot like Juggernog Perk Cans, and the Iconic Ray Gun Wonder Weapon. When a player finds an acquisition, they can decide if they want to use the item inside in the current match. That, or they can try to Exfil with it in their inventory to use in a future match. Players can also unlock schematics, which allow them to craft Acquisitions to equip in their Loadout. Like DMZ‘s Insured weapon slots, these will be on a cool-down once they are used.
MrDalekJD confirmed that MWZ‘s more narrative focused components will occur within 3 acts. At the end of an act, players will be transported to a separate, smaller region to complete more focused objectives. These areas sound like they have much in common with the Easter Egg Main Quests in zombies experiences of old. They have been described as cinematic, with cutscenes that show important narrative beats.
Will Modern Warfare Zombies be Good?
While the prospect of an All-New Zombies Experience is certainly exciting, some members of the community have concerns. As MrTLexify – a popular Zombies YouTuber – tweeted, it is a very real possibility that MWZ could be monetized with light pay-to-win elements. Currently in DMZ, there are several bundles which include operator skins with perks that allow players to start a match with valuable equipment such as self-revives, UAVs, 2-Plate armor vests, and more. While adding in bundles with acquisition or schematic bonuses would give players a bit of an edge, since there are no player vs. player encounters in MWZ, their impact would be far less significant.
Modern Warfare Zombies is also missing the fan-favorite Round Based mode, which has many players disappointed. While I find MWZ to be an exciting offering, I can understand people’s frustration with such a radical departure. That being said, Call of Duty: Vanguard launched with a vastly undercooked objective mode. Fans essentially bullied Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games to reintroduce Round-Based Zombies. This led to the worst of both worlds. The Vanguard Round-Based Maps were missing the polish, content, and soul that made the mode so popular in the first place. This time around, I hope Treyarch commits to its vision and delivers an exciting new mode as we wait for the return of Black Ops Zombies in 2024.
Modern Warfare Zombies launches alongside Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III on November 10th for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.