Call of Duty has been including zombie modes in their games for the last several iterations, but with the upcoming World War 2 game, the over the top insanity has been dialed back slightly. The new mode, Nazi Zombies, is much darker and more serious than previous zombie modes that went for over the top laughs. Co-Lead Michael Condrey says the reason for this is because it became necessary due to the challenge of creating a zombie mode in a game whose setting actually happened, where real people lost their lives. I was in attendance at the Nazi Zombies panel at San Diego Comic-Con where the team discussed this major issue.According to Condrey...
One of the biggest challenges that we wrestled with throughout development this entire game was how do we honor and support the sacrifice and the cause and at the same time provide a piece of entertainment that's fun and engaging. From everything from the inclusion of hate symbols like the swastikas, real life atrocity references, it's been a tough battle We were trying to deliver a fine line in that. I think you'll see inspiration in locations and references to what was really happening, but in no way are we trying to glorify or point to very specific parts of the Third Reich.
While Call of Duty got their start making games based on World War II, the vast majority of titles in the last few years have been either modern or futuristic, telling stories that were entirely fictional. This has obviously given the developers freedom to have fun with the gameplay, the most recent zombie mode, part of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, was without question an over the top experience, including hilarious playable characters and even celebrity cameos.
Clearly, there was an understanding that wasn't going to work with the zombie mode for Call of Duty: World War II. The event was real and treating it with too much humor could be seen as being insensitive. To that end, it's clear that the decision to make Nazi Zombies a more serious horror affair was done to help deal with this issue of tone. While the story is still fantastical and utterly fictional. It deals with a time period where actual horrors took place, thus making the game's tone fit.
At least one aspect of Nazi Zombies plot will be based on actual events. At least some of the characters will be part of the MFAA, the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives organization who were tasked were recovering major pieces of historical significance. The group was previously the subject of the film The Monuments Men.
Having said that, fans of previous zombie modes in Call of Duty need not worry. The developers confirmed that things that have been part of previous games, like the perk system and wonder weapons will be back. They did not go into detail so we don't know much beyond their existence.
Call of Duty: WW2 will be available this November.