How to beat Call of Duty: WW2 Zombies - tips direct from Sledgehammer

Call of Duty: WW2 brings a new Zombies mode with it this year, and I've spoken to developer Sledgehammer for tips to help you defeat the undead. (Call of Duty: WW2 campaign and multiplayer tips are here)

As well as playing through the mode I've spoken to Jon Horsley, the senior director of development for zombies and if anyone can help you, he can. So let's start with his top three tips: 

1. The zombies are like a bank. You’re withdrawing Jolts from killing them them (the in-game currency) when you need it to unlock stuff. 

2. Make sure your guns are upgraded over time so you can stay ahead of the zombies. 

3. Pay attention to the various perks and upgrades you can use, and make sure you have complimentary loadouts as a group. 

Those are the top line tips, but let's dive a little deeper. This is what Jon told me (edited for clarity) about what you should and shouldn't be doing if you want to live to see morning. 

1. Kill just enough zombies, but not too many

Zombies get faster, tougher and more varied with every wave. If you’re trying to do things and you’ve got a lot of zombies it makes things harder. You want to kill just enough zombies to make progress through the map, but not too much. You are there to kill zombies, but the main point is to get enough Jolts to progress.

2. Make sure you upgrade your guns to keep up with the zombies

When you’re unlocking the map you always want to maintain a balance of gun strength with zombie strength. You always want to have a slightly better gun against the zombies you’re facing. If you get behind the curve then a pistol doesn’t become a very effective weapon, so then you get a rifle or a submachine gun. And then that doesn’t work and that means you got to get a Pack-A-Punch unlocked and upgrade your weapons. And then even that’s not effective, so we have perk machines that will enable you to reload faster and fire faster, do more damage... So you’re balancing your map unlocks with your gun upgrades. 

3. There is an optimal path (but it's not the only way)

Serious players are probably debating at what point is the best time to unlock the Pack-A-Punch machines, purchase certain upgrades, and what route is best to unlock some of the objectives. So there is a path, an optimal path, and the hints that we provide give guidance about that, [although] we don’t really include Pack-A-Punch in the quest lines. But there are little hints we put out [and] it’s a pretty good path. 

4. Have a plan...

Get with a group of friends and plan out your approach. At what wave might you want to get your guns upgraded? What wave do you want to achieve certain objectives? Be as efficient as possible. 

5. ...and be prepared for trade offs

Every time you defeat one wave the next gets harder. So depending on what you do first, the things you do later will get harder. That means you need to decide what you want to be easy, and what you want to be hard. Making a beeline for the Pack-A-Punch machine for example might get you better guns quicker, but leave you with tougher waves to do the stuff you ignored to get there. 

6. Mix the classes

There are four classes with different abilities, and you really need to mix them up to succeed. It’s no good having everyone geared up for offense if they all need reviving. 

Here are the options and their key perk. To succeed you really need one of each: 

Offense - can activate unlimited ammo for a short period of time. 

Control - able to emit a burst of energy that stuns, pins and damages all zombies within range.

Support - can activate an ability that attracts all zombie to them but also lets them deal double damage while active.

Medic - has a camouflage ability that makes them invisible to zombies. Super useful when reviving surrounded team mates. 

7. Kite the zombies

It’s a well used tactic but keep one zombie alive and leave one player to draw them around while the rest of the team explore, try to figure the next step or stock up and find useful items. There are a few zombies that are slower as well that’ll make the job easier, and one of the classes even has an ability to attract zombies to them.

8. Look out for ‘treasure zombies’

There are all kind of hidden 'treasure zombies' that have certain secrets and they’re running away from the player. So hunt those guys down. We call them treasure zombies internally and they get spawned every once in a while. They are a slightly different zombie and you have to keep an eye out for them. You may not notice them, they’re subtle, but there’s a whole lot of layers in there you might not see under pressure.

Whenever possible, play as David Tennant

Okay, this has nothing to do with Jon or Sledgehammer. It's just that David Tennant hams up his natural Scottish accent to brilliant effect here. I loved hearing him shout and swear at the zombies more than any other character.

Looking for more help? Here's everything you can do in Call of Duty: WW2’s Headquarters.

Leon Hurley
Senior Guides Co-ordinator

I'm GamesRadar's Senior Guides Co-ordinator, which means I run GamesRadar's guides and tips content. I also write reviews, previews and features, largely about horror, action adventure, FPS and open world games. I previously worked on Kotaku, and the Official PlayStation Magazine and website.