For a game that has not yet been officially revealed, gamers know a fair bit about the next Call of Duty title. Leaks and rumors have suggested that the game will be made by Sledgehammer Games, return to the World War 2 era, and take a gritty approach to war. Skill-based matchmaking systems are apparently in place, while the game is rumored to use the IW8 engine and have Call of Duty: Warzone integration. Despite all these rumors, though, nothing has come about regarding a Zombies mode for the game.
Call of Duty 2021 lacking Zombies is not impossible, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 skipped out on the co-op survival mode. At the same time, it is hard to deny the mode’s popularity, as several attempts have been made in the past to replicate Treyarch’s success. As such, it is hard to tell if a Zombies mode will be included in the game, though if it does come, players should not be expecting something like Treyarch Zombies from the experience.
At this moment, it seems unlikely that Sledgehammer's Call of Duty game will have a Zombies mode. With the sheer number of rumors about the game’s setting and mechanics, it seems likely that something would have been said about the mode by now. However, nothing has been said whatsoever, and this lack of discussion automatically implies that such a mode is not in the works. Considering that the next game is reportedly struggling to meet the Call of Duty standard, focusing purely on multiplayer and campaign content may be a wise idea.
Succeeding without a Zombies mode is possible, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 thrived despite having a lackluster spec ops mode in its place. While official concept art has shown that some kind of a Zombies was planned for the latest Modern Warfare game, scrapping it may have been the right idea. After all, the attempts at making a Zombies mode on par with Treyarch’s own round-based survival have consistently come up short. On three separate occasions, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer have tried Zombies modes, with all having differing degrees of success.
2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare saw the introduction of Exo Zombies, and the mode never really took off. Featuring a rough Pack-A-Punch system that saw players needing to level up their guns 25 times, with each upgrade being a marginal increase to damage, the mode was never able to thrive. While it featured some decent ideas and easter egg steps, its maps were all forgettable, as were all its characters apart from Oz. In 2016, Infinity Ward attempted to win fans over with Infinite Warfare Zombies, with the mode featuring a cartoony style and clunkier gameplay than Treyarch’s mode. While it had its strengths, like decent maps and an awesome “super easter egg” that rewarded players for beating every main quest, its Wonder Weapons were lacking, and the characters were uninspired.
2017’s Call of Duty WW2 was Sledgehammer Games’ last Call of Duty game, and intriguingly, it was the best attempt at copying Treyarch’s formula. Bringing back the Nazi Zombies title, the mode’s horror roots made it stand out, with grotesque creatures seen in every new release. While the story was not for everyone, and the maps were hit and miss, this mode did a lot right. A bonus survival map could be unlocked on release, easier versions of easter eggs were added for casual players, and an armor system much like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War could be seen here. While experiments like Tortured Path did not work out, it was a solid mode — even if it could not compare to the original.
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