In Battlegrounds, players engage in a battle royale where they must scavenge weapons and gear, sneaking around to kill each other until only one of them is left standing. A new community-created game mode, popular with streamers, pits one squad against countless ravenous zombies for that turns the tactical shooter into a full- blown horror game.
In “Zombie mode,” four players team up to fight an entire server that’s completely unified against them. Everyone else pretends to be a raving zombie, often , armed with nothing but crowbars, machetes, frying pans, and their fists. Zombies do not sneak, like a normal player would: they rush down on the squad by the dozens in a frenzy. Squads, meanwhile, arm themselves with whatever scavenged goods they find in an attempt to fend off the horde. The result is a terrifying bloodbath, as you can see in this video by jackfrags.
Jackfrags is not alone in showcasing the new mode. Streamers like StoneMountain and PsiSyn has also managed to pull off massive zombie hunts. The sheer spectacle of a zombie match initially seems at odds with Battlegrounds’ overall tone. The game tends to eschew constant streams of violence for a process of extended downtime. This is particularly true in free-for-all matches and duos, where players are often stealthily scavenging from point to point. Matches typically start explosively, as players rush to arm themselves before slowing down until the last few survivors stand in the game’s shrinking play space.
Zombies goes in another direction that nevertheless makes sense. Recalling mods like DayZ, the match turns into an extended chase as the numerous zombies bear down. It puts everything into the extreme as on-the fly communication becomes even more crucial, as does picking the right place to dig in and fight. It is Battlegrounds with the dial cranked up to eleven.
While it might be difficult to properly coordinate a zombies match, it is always full of surprises. A barricaded last stand or desperate sprint across expansive fields takes on a new dimension when facing off against a constant stream of baddies.
If we’re lucky, an official version will come to Battlegrounds and we’ll get to enjoy all the excitement of running around naked with a legion of frying pan toting buddies and beating the shit out of some very foolish squads.