Black Ops Part 4
Photo Credit: Kienan Lafferty

Black Ops 4 vs Twitch Part IV: Call of Duty Survival

Lastly, in this series about Black Ops 4 and how it could make an influence on Twitch and the gaming community as a whole, we’ll be talking about what majority of the Black Ops community consider as the best game mode in the franchise: Zombies.

Zombies are one of the earliest oversaturated genres in video games ever since the huge influence brought in by Capcom’s phenomenal survival horror game Resident Evil back in the mid-90s. The undead supernatural creatures popped up in almost every video game especially during the late 2000s, specifically 2008 when Left4Dead was a popular hit thanks to Valve. Ever since then, the cooperative multiplayer survival genre was full of zombies with different archetypes, appearing in different categories of video games from horror, action to platformers.

In the same year of 2008, Treyarch released Call of Duty: World at War—the successor to the smash hit Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. This time, they went back to the classic WWII shooter that they were always known for. However, unlike their previous games, WaW was the “dirtiest” of them all: excessive gore, unfiltered strong language, horrific war acts and the moral lesson that there are really no good guys in war—just men trying to survive against the opposition.

The multiplayer was a hit too as it felt more of an add-on to the already-great multiplayer of CoD4 but what really surprised everyone was the sudden appearance of “Nazi Zombies” in which you get to play after you finish the credits. It was honestly horrifying when you experience it for the first time because it was the exclusive Call of Duty game that put fear into the players. “Nacht der un Toten” was the very first map in a sea of different zombie game varieties as years go by with Call of Duty, especially when it comes to the Black Ops series.

CoD Zombies was a unique twist to the usual run-and-gun against hundreds and waves of zombies: this had you surviving waves of the undead while trying to uncover the mysteries and stories behind the maps. One game had you going through a Frankenstein-like castle while another brought you to the moon where you shoot space zombies and the undead astronauts.

Horde mode games became a trend ever since the success of both CoD Zombies and Gears of War 2 and 3. It even adapted into crafting & survival games like Minecraft and Terraria, where they even have their own survival against hordes of zombies.

Such mode even became a genre to look forward to on Twitch. The only time Call of Duty had the most viewers is when players stream Zombies mode. In here, viewers get to check out strategies on how to survive longer with or without friends and the best weapons to equip especially when the waves of zombies become overwhelming.

I remember I even had to watch a stream back in 2012 just so I knew how to discover all the secret stuff found in Black Ops 2’s Mob of the Dead. There were around 5,000 viewers if I am not mistaken.

Now, Call of Duty Black Ops 4 has 3 confirmed free game modes for Zombies: IX, Voyage of Despair and Blood of the Dead. All of them will still uphold the traditional 4-player co-op survival.

IX—set in the Roman times that has you fighting zombies in a gladiator arena

Voyage of Despair—a Titanic-inspired plotline that has you surviving against zombies than the iceberg

Blood of the Dead—basically Mob of the Dead part 2, which is going to be set in Alcatraz again

The campaign may be gone, but at least Activision didn’t flay out the fan-favorite zombies. Activision has also promised that the survival mode will have chunks of crafting as well as lots of defense placements. We’ve seen this style from Treyarch before but they are promising that there will be more stories to unfold as well as crafting to master.

If they’re going for Terraria-style survival and crafting, then maybe Call of Duty really is trying to be different this time. I know we talked in the previous articles about how they’re not innovating but rather imitating, but in this case of Zombies, maybe they’re actually really doing something different and more original with some elements brought in by survival games. Come on, zombies in a gladiator battle—why hasn’t anyone thought of this?

If Call of Duty manages to pull this off, then it could influence Twitch streamers as well, given that the new modes will offer more tactics and strategies than the previous maps. Maybe we’ll finally get to see the return of Syndicate in his consistent CoD Zombies live stream roots.