The Zombies side mode was initially introduced to Call of Duty 15 years ago in World at War and has become a staple of the franchise in the time since. Throughout the history of zombies, calls from fans for a standalone game haven’t been uncommon. For one reason or another, however, those calls were always largely ignored by Treyarch and Activision. With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 nearly at players’ fingertips along with the first MW zombies mode, though, it’s time for a pure Call of Duty zombies game to be considered.
The Argument for a Call of Duty: Zombies Game
The fanbase for Zombies and the fanbase of a Call of Duty game has always been a Venn diagram, with some having no interest in the undead Nazi-shooting mode and some being primarily interested in purchasing the game just for that experience.
With that in mind, it’s a little strange that Treyarch and Activision haven’t ever put the effort in to make a Zombies game that can stand on its own. Although there is some logic to it, the idea is that CoD is a package deal, and the entire deal needs to be purchased even if the player only intends to put significant time into one or two modes.
Not long ago, however, Activision demonstrated this opposing idea that maybe having separate but intertwined games is a better strategy when Warzone split off from the Modern Warfare games to become its own free-to-play title. Activision understood that, especially in a genre where the most heated competition is free-to-play shooters like Fortnite and Apex Legends, it wouldn’t be possible to gain a foothold maintaining the same strategies as the past.
So a significant reason why Zombies has yet to separate from the main Call of Duty series is likely due to that lack of competition. Call of Duty: Zombies stands nearly alone in triple-AAA titles with round-based survival shooting gameplay, with the Killing Floor series being the only remotely close second place. With Treyarch capitalizing on the supply, it can continue bundling Zombies with the main series CoD titles, and fans must play along. There is potential for so much more, though.
Extra Development and Resources
As a side mode, Call of Duty: Zombies effectively falls into the same cycle every time it’s bundled with a new game. It begins with one or two maps and some new features and gets around four new maps throughout the game’s life cycle before the next title comes out, and everyone moves on. However, A standalone game could lean more towards the route of its main competition, the Killing Floor series, by consistently adding new maps, weapons, and cosmetics. A strategy that would closely mirror Warzone after it split off as its own game.
Call of Duty: Zombies is very splintered at the moment. With every five or six maps being separated across games spanning over a decade and a half, players wanting to experience their favorite maps sequentially may have to jump back and forth between three or four different games. A standalone title could centralize much of that separation with locations, wonder weapons, characters, and many other Zombies essentials all meeting in one place. The diehard fans would go for it, with a recent Reddit poll by u/WineGutter asking how many players buy CoD purely for Zombies, and the vast majority answering some variation of yes. It’s just a matter of when Activision decides to jump on board.