Call of Duty – Infinite Warfare Interview: Producer Talks About the Wacky Zombies in Spaceland Mode
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be the first non-Treyarch COD title to have a zombie mode. To get an idea of how it’ll all work, DualShockers recently had a chat with Senior Producer Lee Ross, who is one of the men at the helm of Zombies in Spaceland.
Giuseppe Nelva: Zombies in Spaceland is the first zombie mode on a Call of Duty title not created by Treyarch. Do you feel any pressure?
Lee Ross: No, we feel the excitement, though. It’s been really fun working on Zombies. Zombies in Spaceland has given us a lot of room for creativity. As you saw in the trailer, we really pushed the boundaries of fun, doing some interesting things with the theme park, with the weaponry, breakdancing zombies and things like that.
G: The theme gave me almost a Dead Rising vibe, was there any inspiration?
L: No, I think for us the inspiration came from the time period. Looking back at the 1980’s there are really some great classic things that we could really find our flavor from: great movies, great music, great music videos like Thriller… It really allowed us to explore a very creative time period and make a very diverse experience for our fans.
G: Is there any kind of contamination between the main game and the zombie mode, or they’re completely separate experiences?
L: In Infinite Warfare our story is actually completely separate for the main campaign, although we do share some similarities, so there will be weaponry from the single player campaign and from multiplayer that you’ll see in Zombies, but there will also be weapons in Zombies that you won’t see in other modes.
G: Definitely (laughs). What kind of super-weird weapons can we expect in Zombies?
L: Really, really super-weird ones. We have one called the Forge Freeze, which you have seen in the trailer, which allows you to freeze zombies and then shatter them into pieces. We also have one called the Face Melter, which you can shoot zombies with, and they turn into a rocket, blast off and explode into fireworks.
G: Ok, those are quite weird. So, what is the rule? If it’s weird, it works? Or can we have some more serious weapons as well, and just have fun shooting zombies?
L: You can actually have serious weapons. You can play the wave-based experience, which is just survive for as long as you possibly can, or you can dive in and try solve the mystery of our story, as you press through and uncover Easter Eggs.
G: Was the plan to completely depart for the main game something that came up naturally, or maybe you had internal debates on whether to have a zombie experience closer to the main game or not?
L: Initially, the idea of being like the campaign is what people thought, but for our team that was the easy way out. We wanted to challenge ourselves to bring a new and rich experience to fans. Allowing us to step into this different time period, and really jump into this wacky setting, when you go from campaign to Zombies, you really feel like you have stepped into a completely different game.
I think it was really important for us to drive that home. We want fans to experience Zombies in Spaceland and immediately say “wow, I was not expecting that!”
G: So we could say that it’s basically two games in one?
L: Oh, if you throw in multiplayer, it’s like three games in one.
G: Can we expect Zombies to be expanded after launch like the main game, or it’s something that will remain as it is.
L: Right now we’re just focusing on Zombies in Spaceland. We want to make the experience as rich and exciting as we possibly can. The team at home is crunching away to finish this thing off. We’re super-close, and we’re very confident that when people get their hands on it, this is going to be something very special.
G: Is there some kind of friendly competition between the team that works on Zombies and the team that works on the main game?
L: I definitely think there is. I think there is a friendly competitive nature among all of us. What that does is that it drives us to make the best possible game that we can. We wanna see the campaign be this awesome experience, we wanna see multiplayer be this awesome experience, and I think those teams want us to push just as hard as we push against them, so yeah, I think there is that friendly competition. It’s sort of seeking out to make the best Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare that we possibly can.
G: What is the weirdest, wackiest thing that we can expect to really surprise us when the game comes out?
L: Well, I don’t wanna talk about anything that we haven’t revealed yet, but what I can tell you is that what I definitely think people weren’t expecting was breakdancing zombies.
G: Now, please imagine someone who hasn’t been very interested in the zombie modes in previous Call of Duty games, and is just in for the traditional boots-on-the-ground COD experience. How would you sell Zombies in Spaceland to that person?
L: Well, we definitely want that person to come in and try Zombies. We have actually built a couple of experiences for these people specifically. Zombies has grown from a really small Easter Egg in World at War, into this really complex and big experience with its own Easter Eggs and a really deep and rich story.
So we built a tutorial mode, so when players step into Zombies in Spaceland, they have the option of sort of starting from the first floor, and learn the various systems that are a little more intricate than many realize. One example is that zombies gain more health with every wave that you go through, and that’s not necessarily something that you pick up right away.
So you play a tutorial mode, and there will be pop-ups that walk you through how weapons work, and how zombies work, and what it means to board up windows, and how it adds to your defense.
G: So, now for the most important question of them all: can we have a Jackal in Zombies in Spaceland?
L: There’s no Jackal in the zombie mode.
G: Argh! That would have been nice!
L: But who’s to say that in the future we won’t put it in?