The internet is awash - swarming, you might say - with chatter about the future of Call of Duty Zombies.
The speculation is centered around a single tweet - a prophecy in the shape of a simple undead emoji, tied to a year: 2023. Let’s put aside, for a moment, the fact that the Twitter account in question has a track record of leaks that have run both hot and cold, and focus on the idea itself. Is a COD Zombies release next year feasible? Is it likely?
From the off, the thought appears to contradict a report published by respected Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier earlier this week - which claimed that Activision will delay next year’s Treyarch-developed Call of Duty entry, leaving 2023 without a mainline release for the first time in almost two decades. The move is reportedly a response to the underperformance of last year’s Vanguard, which led executives to believe that a bit of breathing room would do the series good.
Soon after that report, Activision contacted outlets including GamesRadar with a statement: “We have an exciting slate of premium and free-to-play Call of Duty experiences for this year, next year and beyond. Reports of anything otherwise are incorrect. We look forward to sharing more details when the time is right.”
Schreier’s report and Activision’s statement don’t necessarily counteract each other, however. In fact, Schreier mentions a “free-to-play online title” scheduled for next year, developed with help from Zombies originator Treyarch.
The obvious candidate for that free-to-play game is Warzone 2, the now-confirmed follow-up to Activision’s world-eating battle royale. But Warzone’s lead developers have been Infinity Ward and Raven, not Treyarch. It’s possible the latter is onboard to build a dedicated Zombies component, which would be new to COD’s free-to-play offering. The undead have shown up in Verdansk in the past, but only in time-limited events.
That interpretation would track with Treyarch’s role in previous COD games. While the studio headlines its own mainline entries, it has been known to contribute Zombies modes to other games in between - as it did for Vanguard. There, Treyarch’s work featured alongside a campaign and multiplayer suite from sister studio Sledgehammer.
With this year’s Modern Warfare sequel said to include an Escape From Tarkov-style experiment as its third mode, Treyarch’s team would in theory be freed up to contribute to a free-to-play version of COD Zombies planned for next year.
In conclusion, to quote the meme about the European couple on vacation who want to swing:
When you meet a European couple on vacation who wants to swing and you're like, shit maybe pic.twitter.com/mN73uZ5wV3July 24, 2016
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