Call of Duty Delivers an Undead Package

Call of Duty Delivers an Undead Package at SDCC
by R.C. Murphy

Developers sat down for a panel at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss what pushed them to venture into the WWII era for the next zombie game tied to the popular series. Their main focus? Michael Condrey, co-studio head for Sledgehammer, had a burning desire to terrify gamers in ways we’ve only really felt from gold-standard horror films—save perhaps one or two game titles, one of which Condrey himself directed. They really dug into their research to ground the game in reality, which developers feel will add to the scares once the undead hit the screen.

The animation shown during the trailer is all cut scenes, but still beautifully detailed. If you can call burned, armless zombies beautiful, that is. There’s blood and gore everywhere in the short clip. Several kinds of undead are featured, with more variations to come as promised by the development team. What cinches the creep factor in the trailer is Udo Kitter’s voiceover as uber creep Dr. Peter Straub.

We only get a small taste of the full story through the trailer. It’s just your standard mad German scientist premise, really. Things don’t get interesting until the playable characters are brought into the plot. The development team didn’t want a bunch of super confident soldiers at the helm, that’s overdone and tired. Instead they reached into history and plucked out the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program to find the game’s everyday-Joe heroes. There’s four playable characters—Olivia Durant (Elodie Young), Marie Fischer (Katheryn Winnick), Drostan Hynd (David Tennant), and Jeff Potts (Ving Rhames). All are members in the program sent in to recover works of art stolen by the Nazis in their attempt to claim literally everything for the fatherland. Winnick’s character brings another layer to the story, which fans can catch up on via the viral advertising campaign for the game. While the MFAA team is looking for art and fighting the undead, Marie has a more pressing mission to find her brother. It adds welcomed depth to what could be “just another zombie game.”

The voiceover cast was in attendance during the panel, except Rhames. He sent in a special video for fans to introduce them to his character. And then he was maybe, probably, eaten by zombies off-screen. Much to the audience’s delight. Udo was, well, Udo during his first visit to SDCC and proceeded to creep out everyone by reciting parts of Straub’s speech from the trailer. Young and Winnick elaborated on how involved they were in the character-creating process. Winnick also took a moment at the end of the panel to celebrate the women gamers in the audience. Tennant gave some insight on how character dialog evolved for this project, namely it involved him channeling a non-existent drunk Scottish uncle to get the appropriate level of profanity. Did I mention this will not be a kid’s game? Yeah, no.

Call of Duty: WWII Nazi Zombies is slated for wide release on November 3rd. However, if fans pre-order the game now, they get beta access starting August 25th on Playstation 4—dates for beta on other devices were not available as of the SDCC panel.

Here’s the trailer. I don’t suggest snacking while watching.


Who is Being Called to Duty?

From the desk of RC Murphy


Video gaming industry insiders gathered Monday to kick off the four-day Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles to give the public a sneak peak at what they plan to release console and game-wise during the next year. And like any good geek, yours truly happened to catch some of the news between writing up ZSC mission reports…

Only to set those reports aside and start writing this one.

The game play footage for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is amazing, loud, bloody, and full of so much action that I couldn’t soak it all up in my first viewing. In the game, the main cast of characters struggles to escort the President of the United States safely through Los Angeles, which is under siege from futuristic, unmanned war machines and more enemy soldiers than you can shake a stick at.

But all that wasn’t what made me pause. A familiar voice came out of the television’s speakers during the game’s video package. A singular voice I heard just a few weeks ago in Dallas, Texas.

We have been unable to confirm if our Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker is indeed the voice I noted in Black Ops 2. He is on a top-secret mission and currently unavailable through normal lines of communication. As soon as we’re given word, we will let you know.

The game will be a great at-home training exercise for developing strategy and survival skills—and if it is indeed, as we suspect, Michael Rooker driving the game play, ZSC members and gamers can look forward to some intense sessions with our Special Forces head.

In the meantime, check out the game play footage and decide for yourself: