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Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies will be a "prologue of the Black Ops Cold War zombie story"

call of duty Vanguard
(Image credit: Activision)

Call of Duty: Vanguard Zombies mode will act as a prequel to the storyline currently playing out in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. 

Activision revealed the news during a press event for Call of Duty: Vanguard, as well as confirming that Black Ops Cold War developer Treyarch is leading the development on this zombies origin story. 

"We couldn't be more thrilled to announce here today that Treyarch is leading development on zombies," said Aaron Halen, studio head at Sledgehammer Games, which is developing Call of Duty: Vanguard. 

"This is like Call of Duty franchise's first crossover, telling the prologue of the Black Ops Cold War zombie story. And it kind of makes sense, right, being set in World War 2 that we're telling this origin story. 

"And, of course, while our historians were less helpful with this part of Vanguard, Treyarch has covered providing continuity with some lore while innovating on core gameplay, and we can't wait to share more about zombies in the weeks and months to come."

The presentation also stated that the mode would provide continuity with the zombie lore "while innovating on core gameplay."

Call of Duty: Vanguard will be released in November 2021, and focuses on World War 2 for its narrative. Sledgehammer promises a new take on the conflict, looking at the stories of different nations during the war and the birth of Special Forces. You'll get to play through the game swapping between the perspectives of four pivotal characters, like Soviet sniper Paulina Petrova and British paratrooper Arthur Kingsley. You can read more about it in our extensive Call of Duty: Vanguard preview.

Our first look at the now-iconic Zombies mode came with Treyarch's Call of Duty: World at War in 2008, and the mode has been a fan favorite ever since, developing its own lore and timeline. Most recently, the infamous undead made an appearance in Call of Duty: Warzone. It's exciting to hear Treyarch is back on the project and to see what this new origin story can add to the ever-expanding tome of COD zombie lore. For more, check out our Call of Duty: Vanguard preview.

The Call of Duty: Vanguard official reveal comes in a time of turmoil for the game's publisher as the Activision Blizzard lawsuit, filed against the company by the California DEFH, alleges a "frat boy" culture of harassment and discrimination.

Rachel Weber

Between Official PlayStation Magazine, GamesIndustry.biz and Rolling Stone I've picked up a wide range of experience, from how to handle the madness of E3 to making easy conversation with CEOs and executives of game companies over seafood buffets. At GamesRadar+ I'm proud of the impact I've had on the way we write news, and now - as managing editor in the US - the huge traffic successes we're seeing. Most of all I'm proud of my team, who have continued to kick ass through the uncertainty of 2020 and into 2021, and are what makes GamesRadar+ so special.