What was the canceled ‘campy and experimental’ Call of Duty: Zombies spin-off?


A former developer at Raven Software, Michael Gummelt, has recently shed light on a canceled ‘campy and experimental’ Call of Duty: Zombies spin-off project that he worked on between Nov 2011 and June 2012.

The game, codenamed “Project Zed,” was envisioned as a free-to-play live service experience that would have taken the beloved Zombies mode in a new direction.

How Would Be the Gameplay?

According to Gummelt’s interview with YouTuber Glitching Queen, the game would have had several innovative features:

  • Gladiator Arena Battles: 1 to 4 Players would have started off as gladiators, fighting zombie hordes in a Mad Max-inspired post-apocalyptic arena setting. This would have been the initial gameplay loop.
  • Open World Exploration: After staging an escape from the arena, players would have been able to explore an open world filled with zombies, traveling to different locations and earning rewards.
  • Seasonal Theme Shifts: The game was designed to have a “fun, campy, and experimental” tone, with seasonal theme changes to keep the experience fresh.
  • Microtransactions and Live Service Model: As a free-to-play title, Project Zed would have relied on cosmetic microtransactions and a live service model with regular content updates.

Also Read: Call of Duty Embracing Open-World Campaigns for Next Iteration

Why Was the Project Cancelled?

According to Gummelt’s account, the project was canceled in June 2012, likely due to internal transitions and shifts within the Call of Duty development teams.

He noted that during this period, Treyarch, the primary Zombies mode developer in other COD games, was looking to regain control of the IP, potentially wanting to avoid competition from Raven Software’s ambitious spin-off.

While the cancelation of this experimental Zombies project was disappointing, Gummelt acknowledged that it ultimately paved the way for the highly successful Zombies modes that were later developed by Treyarch for Black Ops 2, 3, and 4.

Also Read: Hogwarts Legacy Poised to Break Call of Duty and Rockstar’s Decade-Long Sales Reign

Extra Dose:

Currently, these CoD games have Zombies Mode

  • World at War (2008) – The first game to introduce the Zombies game mode
  • Black Ops (2010)
  • Black Ops II (2012)
  • Advanced Warfare (2014) – New Exo Zombies mode, featuring an all-star cast of voice actors
  • Black Ops III (2015) – Said to be the best Zombies mode
  • Infinite Warfare (2016) – Set in a 1980s-themed amusement park
  • WWII (2017)
  • Black Ops 4 (2018) – Multiple Zombies experiences, including a battle royale-style mode called Blackout
  • Black Ops Cold War (2020)
  • Vanguard (2021) – Set during World War II
  • Modern Warfare 2 (2022)
  • Modern Warfare 3 (2023) – Operation Deadbolt

Every zombies modes are different from each other but some are the continuation of the storyline of the previous iteration.

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