It’s now come to light that Raven Software was making a live service Call of Duty Zombies game.
As reported by Eurogamer, former Raven employee Michael Gummelt revealed this information on his LinkedIn page. Gummelt’s LinkedIn had previously revealed that they dipped back in to work on one of Raven Software’s classic games, which may have been either Hexen or Heretic.
Gummelt describes this live service Call of Duty Zombies game as “ambitious.” Unfortunately, the project was cancelled when the Activision studio that ‘owned’ that Call of Duty IP wanted it back. While Gummelt does not name the studio, it’s public knowledge that Treyarch introduced Call of Duty Zombies in the 2008 game Call of Duty: World At War.
Gummelt was lead designer on this live service Call of Duty Zombies game from 2011 to 2012. Today, he is an executive director at Zenimax Online Studios. Yes, as curious as it has turned out, his colleagues at Raven Software and Activision are his colleagues again, under Microsoft Gaming.
Call of Duty Zombies is one of those hugely popular modes in the franchise. Just like the main narrative campaign and the main multiplayer modes, Activision’s studios iterated on Zombies, which meant that its quality could change between titles. But that also means that its worth playing it every time it comes up.
For its latest return, as part of last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, Call of Duty Zombies is tied up to DMZ, which Activision recently decided to shut down. Hopefully, Activision goes back into reexploring Call of Duty Zombies in the future.
As for the prospects of Call of Duty Zombies being a successful live service game, that’s a huge maybe? It certainly sounds like that would be a framework for an extraction shooter. Of course, the problem with that is that DMZ was precisely that kind of extraction shooter in Call of Duty, and Activision just closed it as they have decided that it wasn’t working out.
So, here’s a possibility, that may not be to everyone’s satisfaction, but seems to tie up the loose ends of this story. It’s possible that Activision greenlit Raven Software’s live action Call of Duty Zombies, thinking they would make a giant extraction shooter. When the project was cancelled, Activision then decided to put its teams to work to make DMZ, because they were still interested in it, and just decided to give it a rest.
Hopefully Activision under Microsoft Gaming will be more discriminating, and maybe we’ll see Call of Duty Zombies back even bigger than ever.