Call of Duty is a juggernaut of the FPS genre. With the 20th installment coming out at the end of the year, the amount of gameplay options the series has is astounding. However, back in the days of the Xbox 360 and PS3, a new game mode emerged. Zombies mode. This mode puts players facing waves of AI undead. Now, it’s considered a series staple. However, not all games in the franchise include their own undead-themed spinoff. So, which COD games include a Zombies Mode? Keep reading to find out.
Which Call of Duty Games Have Zombies?
World at War – Treyarch
The first Call of Duty to include Zombies. While it was originally a secret found after completing the campaign, it was so well received that it became its own mode. The so-called “Nazi Zombies” would go on to get four new maps in the DLC map packs. The new maps introduced perks, upgrading weapons, and a new storyline.
Black Ops – Treyarch
Moving into a new game, Treyarch expanded on the Zombies gameplay, introducing new perks, more elaborate Easter eggs, and a final DLC which ported all the World at War maps and introduced a finale to the storyline.
Black Ops 2 – Treyarch
This was the first time that Zombies was negatively received. While Black Ops 2‘s zombies mode Tranzit was ambitious, it was too much for consoles. However, Black Ops 2 won the favor of players with Mob of the Dead, and Origins continuing on into Black Ops 3.
Advanced Warfare – Sledgehammer Games
This would be the first time that a proper Zombies mode was made by another developer. Sledgehammer took Advanced Warfare‘s new movement mechanics, and attempted to spice up the undead-slaying mode. However, this game didn’t sit well with fans, as they thought that it deviated too far from the original design laid out by Treyarch. Alongside the fact that the first map was part of the First DLC Map pack, many players didn’t enjoy Zombies due to its later maps including forced missions that ended the game if failed.
Black Ops 3 – Treyarch
After Sledgehammer’s take, the creators of the now third pillar of Call of Duty stepped up. Continuing the story starting from World At War, and onto Black Ops 1 and 2, Treyarch concluded their story in Black Ops 3. This is considered to be the best iteration of the Zombies mode. This was also followed by a surprise DLC called Zombies Chronicles which included eight fan favorite maps from previous titles, eventually becoming the highest-grossing DLC in the Call of Duty franchise to date.
Infinite Warfare – Infinity Ward
This release marks the third year in a row that Call of Duty shipped with a Zombies mode. Infinity Ward, which is known for skipping out on the undead, decided to shake things up. This new mode was more lighthearted compared to Treyarch’s and Sledgehammer’s take. Infinite Warfare was a perfect blend of the Treyarch formula and Infinity Ward’s new ideas for the game. While it was originally ill-received, and was overshadowed by the release of Zombies Chronicles, fans have come around to this game’s fresh new spin on the mode.
Call of Duty: WWII – Sledgehammer Games
Now the fourth year for Zombies to be included, many players started to feel burnt out on the game mode. However, Sledgehammer wanted to bring the whole experience back to its horror roots. Unfortunately, Sledgehammer’s attempts to make the game mode more campaign-like only deterred Zombies fans who wanted a more traditional experience.
Black Ops 4 – Treyarch
Heading into the fifth straight year of a Zombies mode, Treyarch was up to bat. However, Black Ops 4‘s fundamental changes to the core gameplay loop of Zombies set its demise. Favor of Black Ops 4‘s take was mostly negative, due to fan favorite perks being removed from the game as well as the introduction of overly similar Easter eggs for every map.
Black Ops Cold War – Treyarch
After a year without Zombies, players were happy to learn that Treyarch was bringing it back again. Gameplay now included the original perks, and weapons that come in tiers of damage, much like a battle royale. While it’s not what players were expecting, they were happy with a return to form.
Cold War would go on to reuse campaign assets for their mainline maps and introduce a new mode called Outbreak, which favored mission-based objectives, completely forgoing rounds.
Call of Duty: Vanguard – Sledgehammer Games
With Sledgehammer picking up the next game for Call of Duty, they brought in Treyarch to help develop the Zombies mode as well as tie it into the story started in Cold War. However, their main map, Der Anfang, did the unthinkable. Zombies fans were disappointed to hear that the main gameplay loop from outbreak would be the only option for maps in this installment. It wasn’t until a few months later, that proper rounds would be added to the game. However, it was too late, as the undead horde had become all but abandoned by fans.
With Modern Warfare 2 releasing this year, and the next Call of Duty coming out in 2024, Zombies will be taking a backseat for the time being. Only time will tell what’s going to happen to the fan-favorite mode in the future.