It wouldn't be a Call of Duty game without a Zombies mode, and that is exactly what Vanguard is getting courtesy of Treyarch.
The four-person co-op mode continues and expands on the Dark Aether story first experienced in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Set in World War 2 in the ruins of Stalingrad, Vanguard’s Zombies experience finds mortals bonding with Dark Aether entities to gain power.
According to the storyline, it all started with the opening of the Dark Aether gateway at Projekt Endstation where a Nazi experiment went wrong and caused a hole to form in the dimensional veil.
In Vanguard, the Special Forces operatives are now stranded in a graveyard of Stalingrad, with no backup and no means of communication, held in by the dark magic of Kortifex the Deathless. Kortifex is one of five Dark Aether entities bonded with mortals via otherworldly artifacts. The other four, Saraxis the Shadow, Norticus the Conqueror, Inviktor the Destroyer, and Bellekar the Warlock, are in revolt against Kortifex.
Titled Der Anfang, or The Beginning, the new Zombies experience will introduce you to these Dark Aether entities via their artifacts, which were plundered by Oberfuhrer Wolfram Von List. The officer was in command of the Die Wahrheit battalion in search of mystical antiquities to help turn the tide of the war in the Nazis’ favor.
Now bonded with Kortifex, Von List has gained the power to raise the dead and uses the mass graves of Stalingrad to bring the Zombies to life.
In order to stop him, the operatives will enlist help from Professor Gabriel Krafft. The professor is a demonologist who was forced by Von List to uncover the five artifacts, and who sent out the initial distress call that caused the operatives stuck to become stuck there in the first place. With his and the four entities fighting against Kortifex’s help, you will gain special powers which may help break the containment spell and keep the undead from running all over Europe.
In the experience, you will be battling the undead on the rooftops of the Hotel Royal, in the swamps of Shi No Numa, and will travel to the operating base in Stalingrad to access upgrades such as Perks, weapon upgrades, and the Pack-a-Punch.
The experience also introduces new upgrades such as the powerful Altar of Covenants. Here, if you offer the new Sacrificial Heart loot item, you can choose from a variety of upgrades that randomize each time you return from an objective. For example, you can pick Ammo Gremlin to reload non-equipped weapons over time, Brain Rot to turn zombies into allies, or Unholy Ground to hold down chokepoints and objectives.
When paired with other weapons and abilities, these randomized upgrades can create unique gameplay builds to help you fight new enemies like the MG-wielding Sturmkrieger and the explosive Boom Schreiers.
Just as in multiplayer, Zombies players can gather across platforms and generations to team up, and you will be able to make use of the unified Battle Pass and Player Progression between multiplayer, Warzone, and Zombies, plus your player level is shared between the modes.
Developed by Sledgehammer, Call of Duty: Vanguard is out November 5 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
It doesn't seem as though the goings-on at Activision Blizzard of late have affected development, despite the state of California suing the company over alleged discrimination, bullying, and workplace sexism. Since everything came to light, the company has pushed high-profile executives out and refreshed the HR department.
Most recently, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued a formal objection to a proposed settlement between Activision Blizzard and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, stating the settlement could cause "irreparable harm" to its ongoing legal proceedings.