We exclusively interviewed those responsible for the Outbreak mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, the next chapter of Zombies in Season 2.
World at War is far away. Ever since Treyarch opted for an extension of the Call of Duty experience away from the classic competitive elements, the Zombies have become an indivisible part not only of the studio, but of the very sub-saga that catapulted him to fame. To the duo formed by Die Maschine and Firebase Z, the two chapters of Black Ops Cold War so far, a game mode unpublished to date is added as a third part: Outbreak.
On the occasion of its launch, at FreeGameTips we sat down in front of three Treyarch managers to see first-hand their game concept and what precedent it sets in the next chapters of the Zombies mode. Craig Houston, Lead Writer; Kevin Drew, expert game designer; and Corky Lehmkuhl, creative director of the studio, are in charge of sharing their thoughts on the great content of Season 2.
The Outbreak maps are surrounded by Dark Aether.
Requiem: continuity during the current and next season
The plot events of Outbreak follow in the wake of the events experienced during the main mission of Firebase Z. After killing Orda, that famous giant entity that played the role of final boss, Samantha Maxis and company set course for the Montes Urales following the clues that they had managed to collect in this military base. “Here the Requiem team travels to investigate these Outbreak areas where they conduct some kinds of scientific experiments that will help them catch up with the Omega group, who are much further advanced in this Cold War arms race,” explains Craig. Houston.
Thus, Brote is “the new frontier of the Cold War arms race.” Weaver, Straus, Dr. Gray… they all want to understand and harness the hidden potential of the Dark Aether. “This mode has a lot more intelligence documents that can be found around the map that reveal more data about the story,” says Houston. They will continue to add “more pieces as the season progresses.” The Ural Mountains, where Brote is located, are part of “the advance in the evolution of everything we have seen and a momentum in world-building.” “This is directly the next chapter,” assures the writer.
Throughout the map you will find secondary missions that will reward you with equipment.
One of the key points of the conversation falls on the main mission or Easter egg, as it is often called. Houston assures that this portion of content will arrive at Outbreak, but not at launch. “When Season 3 arrives we will introduce the main mission as we would have it in traditional zombies by rounds, but that will come later.” At this moment, Corky Lehmkuhl intervenes, who underlines the message that Treyarch wants to convey: “As in all our maps, you find the main mission within the easter eggs. Bud will not have it launch until Season 3 begins. ” Until the month of April we will not really know what the next step is at this crossroads.
Easter eggs, difficulty or accessibility?
Data leads the way. As much as the community can raise its voice on certain decisions, it is the players who demonstrate what is useful, what is played and what changes must be made. That the Easter eggs of Black Ops Cold War are easier than in previous installments is due to the audience niche that ended them in the past. “It was a conscious decision to make easter eggs more accessible in this project versus Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4,” shares Lehmkuhl.
The main objectives will take you to all kinds of places.
The motivation behind the decision is “very simple”, as the director anticipates: “It is a relationship between the cost of doing these things for the production and the number of people who are going to see it.” The data speaks for itself. “Less than 2% of players have completed the Easter eggs for Black Ops 3 and Black Ops 4. We spent months working on them.” The present and future objective goes through another type of content. “Our goal is that more and more people can experience them, that they are fun, cool, that they feel part of the story.”
The journey to another type of zombie experience is far from over. Die Maschine and Firebase Z have been the anticipation of the new trends that they want to design around the cooperative facet. “We are still looking for the balance between challenge and accessibility.”
The new rules of combat in Outbreak
Those scientific experiments to which we alluded earlier paragraphs are presented in the form of a main objective. There are five types of missions that are chosen randomly when commenting on an Outbreak match. Therefore, we speak that the starting point is radically opposite to the one found so far. “The objectives change the root of the playable formula. When we are based on rounds, you can simply rotate around the threats on the entire map. Nothing of the sort happens here when you start the objective: either you are victorious or you fail. You need to be there, within a time limit, defend it safely, you cannot just run around and run away from the conflict because all the zombies will continue to attack the console. So there’s a lot more pressure, ”says Kevin Drew.
You can use vehicles or jump platforms to reach the objectives faster.
And the truth is that it is so. An objective will ask us, for example, to escort a small tractor along a route in which enemies will constantly reappear. Another will transport us to the world of Dark Aether to defend ourselves against waves in a closed enclosure more typical of Nacht Der Untoten. Completing them will allow us to choose the future of the game. Do we want to continue chaining objectives or request extraction? If we do the first, we will travel to another world to which more difficulty will be added, and so on until you want to finish.
The team does not believe that the rules of combat have changed, the formula “remains the same” after all. “We’ve changed the comebacks to be consistent,” Drew shares, though there are new ones. When you activate the main objective, the zombie waves will not stop around us. We return to the example from before: during the escort we will see Aether portals appear incessantly across the stage, from which multitudes of enemies emerge.
Outbreak, now available in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
Outbreak is already part of the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War offering. As always, it can be played with friends or through cross-platform matchmaking. More locations will be coming to the maps of the mode in the coming months. So far we have found three: Ruka, Alpine and Golova, the latter unpublished.
Click on this link to know all the contents that have come along with Season 2.