Rob Hendry, studio head of Ideaworks, has said the success of its Call of Duty: Zombies series on iOS would not have been possible without the support of Treyarch head Mark Lamia.
Speaking with Gamasutra, Hendry said due to the support received from Lamia along with that of Activision producer Jason Harris, Ideaworks was able to build its latest iOS games, Black Ops: Zombies from the ground up instead of porting the mode from the original game.
“The engine and game logic are entirely created at Ideaworks, building on our Marmalade SDK and our higher level game tech libraries,” he explained. “The mobile-optimized game assets are created by hand, using the originals as reference. The game design is original work, created for mobile after studying and learning the game inside-out, in order to make decisions about where to simplify, adapt or diverge.
“Of course, a lot of mechanics are similar in the end, but everything has to be rebalanced for mobile. It can be surprising how much has to change in order to make something feel like the original.”
The team, which also developed Call of Duty: World at War Zombies for iOS, also worked on enhancing multiplayer features, voice chat, and device accessibility, as well as improving the collision system, path-finding, and AI for Black Ops.
“We saw, from anonymous usage stats in World at War Zombies, that there was a large segment of devoted gamers who really want to get involved but don’t have the latest hardware,” said Hendry. “Seeing this, we avoided the temptation to focus on the latest device generations and tried to deliver a smooth and high-quality experience across all the GLES2-compatible devices, right back to the 3GS and iPad.”
Hendry said the “sustained level of interest and goodwill” towards World at War: Zombies “surprised and humbled” the team and ultimately helped turn the development of Black Ops Zombies into a successful endeavor.
WaW: Zombies was released on iOS in November 2009, and Black Ops: Zombies was released on December 1, 2011.