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Infinity Ward's new take on Call of Duty's zombies won't have the shadow of Treyarch looming over it

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'It's entirely our project, but Treyarch is there if we need them'

Zombies in an Infinity Ward game? I was skeptical.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare had one of the worst reveals in recent history, but it's only gone up from there. People seemed to be jazzed about the unveiling of the multiplayer element yesterday at the XP event, and having played the new "Zombies in Spaceland" mode, I was pleasantly surprised.

I also got the chance to speak to Infinity Ward's lead zombie designer Lee Ross about what makes this subfranchise tick, and how much input Treyarch (the creator of zombies) has in their project.

The thing is, Infinity Ward has had some experience with zombies already (kinda) with Ghost's (great) Extinction mode -- it just subs out aliens instead of the walking dead. As it turns out Ross was actually the creator of that gametype, and used that bit of knowledge to lead into the revelation that they have a lot of autonomy on their take on zombies. "This is all being done on our own," he said. "We certainly appreciate Treyarch's legacy and we can talk to them whenever we want, but we wanted to figure this out on our own terms."

From there I dived into a lot of the unique elements I noticed that backed up that claim, from the weird melees (a slap, a punch, breaking a beer bottle) to the actual zombie models themselves, and Ross was able to shed a little light on why they decided to go in a different direction. "This is entirely a community driven mode," he stated. "We didn't leave any idea off the table, and our core concept was 'how can we make this fun while still turning the idea of zombies on its head' and went from there. In the end, we were most inspired by films like Shaun of the Dead...media that took something as dire like a zombie apocalypse but spliced in more levity as well."

The one concept that the team kept coming back to was a theme park like Disneyland. They actually took multiple reference trips to parks, as well as haunted remodel variants last fall. Ross says they "knew they wanted to travel through time," and eventually settled on the 1980's because of how revolutionary it was. He states, "you know, you have such a rich cultural revolution going on. You have guys wearing makeup, you have the colorful clothing, pop culture movies that endure to this day. We had to be a part of that." That commitment to the period is exemplified in none other than David Hasselhoff, who will be playing a version of himself, trapped inside of the park and providing hints to the player while attempting to escape.

In case you were worried, Ross claims that there will be "more Easter eggs than ever" strewn about Zombies in Spaceland. I was able to find and assemble the challenge robot that periodically spits out new objectives to complete during my playthrough, but Ross also teased the return of Pack-a-Punch, a way to "reach a weapon's true potential," a token system with "souvenir" equipment rewards, and the ticketing mechanic that you can exchange for ultra weapons.

I also had a chance to express my disappointment with the fact that a similarly amazing cast was introduced in Black Ops III's initial zombie level, and was subsequently abandoned for the original World at War crew -- asking if this new Spaceland collective would suffer the same fate. Ross only stated "the fans will have to dictate that." Well, I think I can read between the lines, but at the very least we'll have one awesome adventure in Spaceland come November.

[Disclaimer: Travel was provided to the event by Activision.]

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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 


 


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