Cross-play and Battle Pass Progression are finally coming to Call of Duty’s Zombies mode with the launch of November’s Black Ops: Cold War, meaning playing the popular mode will be less of a departure from the rest of the Call of Duty experience. That was the stand-out detail from today’s reveal video and trailer, which followed a week-long Easter egg hunt and some teasers.
Black Ops: Cold War’s Zombies will carry on the tradition of being a four-player cooperative survival mode, but Treyarch has hit the refresh button on the narrative.Cold War’s Zombies will feature a new story and a somewhat new cast of characters, though Treyarch says it’ll all be part of the same canon. Some older characters will return. Cold War’s crew will be a CIA-backed team led by Grigori Weaver from the original Black Ops game.
The most positive part of today’s reveal is that Zombies players might actually feel some love this year with the announcement of Cold War’s cross-play features and the Battle Pass progression. As they can with Cold War’s multiplayer and Warzone, players will be able to party up no matter what platform and generation they’re playing on. And they’ll be able to advance their progress in the game’s overall Battle Pass reward system, too.
One of my big criticisms of Call of Duty’s most recent Zombies mode was that Black Ops 4 really made the Zombies community feel like an afterthought with lack of rewards and zero Battle pass progression. As a fan of Zombies, I often had to decide between either spending my evening trying to complete complex Zombies Easter eggs, or playing multiplayer or battle royale modes to level up my Battle Pass tiers. I’m so glad to see Zombies get included with Black Ops: Cold War.
The mode was revealed in a video released by the developers at Treyarch and publisher Activision. The new Zombies’ first map, “Die Maschine,” will feature parts of Call of Duty’s very first Zombies map, “Nacht der Untoten,” from 2008’s Call of Duty: World at War. That map tethered players to the inside of a small World War II bunker, but it will be updated to a 1980s aesthetic with a funkier color palette.“Die Maschine” expands the original setting of Nacht der Untoten. There is a huge underground area to explore beneath the original building, plus room to roam outside the facility as well.
The iconic “Pack-a-Punch” weapon upgrade will also return to Zombies, but Black Ops: Cold War will introduce the new addition of weapon rarities. Now all weapons will have rarity associated with them, and as expected, the higher the rarity, the greater the damage dealt and the more attachments will be equipped. Treyarch says this is an attempt to make more weapons viable in later rounds, as previously those late Zombies rounds would require the use of special “wonder weapons” or a select few overpowered guns. Cold War Zombies will also allow players the option to create a loadout for weapons crafted using the same Gunsmith weapon customization feature found in multiplayer. Level progression and gun unlocks will carry over from multiplayer and Warzone, so it’s nice to finally see everything connected here. It looks like we’ll also see some surprising multiplayer killstreaks become available within Zombies, as the new trailer showed a chopper gunner sweeping in to assist players with the horde.
Classic Zombies perks are also returning. The list includes the fan favorite “Juggernog” health perk and Speed Cola for faster reload, both of which were missing from Zombies in Black Ops 4. Treyarch also revealed that there will be no limit to how many perk drinks can be consumed, assuming you have earned enough points in the match to pay for them.
The announcement also touched on a new feature coming to Zombies called Exfil, which will give players the choice to extract from the map via helicopter. In other words, Zombies no longer has to be a high-round mode that ends in certain death. There was not a lot mentioned here, but rewards are mentioned for those able to complete the difficult Exfils.
I’m interested to see what’s in store for Cold War. Black Ops 4’s Zombies preview brought such promise, but ultimately didn’t deliver on the features or hype. However, Treyarch seems prepared to seek redemption with the launch of Black Ops: Cold War.