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MW3 Zombies might be culprit for canned COD Zombies standalone game

COD players' wishes may have been fulfilled if not for MW3 Zombies, as a standalone Call of Duty Zombies multiplayer game was canceled.

call of duty zombies canceled live service game

With so many iconic maps and weapons in the vault, it is surprising that a standalone Call of Duty Zombies game hasn’t happened yet. There’s no doubt that it would be a lucrative opportunity for Activision, like many COD players, we’d be there from day one to give it a shot. Sadly, those dreams are dashed for the foreseeable future, and the build-up to MW3 Zombies may have been the final nail in the coffin.

According to the banks of experience that former Raven Software developer Michael Gummelt displays on social media, his page confirms that a Call of Duty Zombie live-service title was developed between 2011 and 2012. That’s hot off the back of the first Black Ops entry, which debuted fan-favorite maps like Kino Der Toten, Ascension, and Call of the Dead. At the time, live-service titans like Destiny were still a few years away, and map packs were still all the rage for many of the best FPS games.

Gummelt, the lead designer on the project, explains that he worked on “an ambitious new Call of Duty Zombies live-service project. Canceled when the Activision studio that ‘owned’ the IP wanted it back.” Though Gummelt doesn’t specify what studio this is, we assume this is none other than Treyarch – who originated COD Zombies in 2008’s World at War. The next iteration of Zombies from Treyarch would come in the form of Black Ops 2, with other interpretations of the mode coming in Advanced Warfare, Infinite Warfare, and COD WW2.

Call of Duty Zombies live service game michael gummelt

However, none of those would take on the guise of an evolving multiplayer game like the mode’s current format in MW3 Zombies. The Modern Warfare 3 version is billed as the first open-world Zombies mode, using the groundwork for the game’s spin-off battle royale Warzone to operate within. Despite the standalone game’s cancellation, it is evident that the idea has flown around within Activision in other forms. Namely, 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot almost included a mode akin to MW3 Zombies, according to former Infinity Ward developer Brian Bright.

In a social media post from November last year, Bright expresses that “we had hundreds of non-fully fleshed out zombie AI in the beginnings of MW 2019. The mode we planned was similar to what they [Treyarch] have now. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the bosses that we could have zombies fit vibe-wise in an MW game.”

MW3 Zombies: A tweet from Brian Bright of Infinity Ward

Modern Warfare Zombies was initially met with hesitation before the launch of MW3 but has since garnered a positive reception for its meaningful evolution upon Black Ops Cold War‘s Outbreak mode. The content cycle for MW3 Zombies is still ongoing, and Treyarch is rumored to be bringing traditional round-based Zombies back with COD 2025. Could it all be enough to get Activision to reconsider? We hope so, as it has the potential to be one of the best multiplayer games out there.