Space may be the final frontier but it’s made in a Hollywood basement with this year’s entry in the Call of Duty franchise. But as for that other mode, featuring brain-hungry shamblers of the undead variety? That’s going back to the 1980s. An age of Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana or there was U2 and Blondie and music was still on MTV.
It’s a decade we look back on fondly these days, for being a fashion crime against humanity and convincing us that greed was good. In Call of Duty: Zombies in Spaceland, players have to deal with two of the biggest icons of that era: David Hasslehoff and Paul Reubens, as the undead rage all around you. “We wanted to time travel [but] we weren’t exactly sure how we were going to get there,” associate project director at Infinity Ward Lee Ross said to Wired.
In our story, we have players getting pulled into this film which takes place in a theme park. For us, it was about trying to explore the 80s and all of its pop culture, and bring that back into this experience as best as we could.
The four players include your stereotypical 1980s teenagers: Poindexter the nerd, Sally the Valley Girl Cheerleader, AJ the jerkass jock and Andre the token black friend, while the Hoff and the man who was and still is Peewee Herman watch over the mayhem. “We knew since we were going to the 80s, we wanted to bring in some very strong 80s icons, and those guys are some of the biggest, right? They are the 80s,” Ross said.
They were really excited to be involved [and] bring their own personality and character to the table. Although we had envisioned what these characters might be like on our own, once Paul stepped in and took the voice of Willard Wyler and became that character, he really made us feel like it was real. The same thing with David – once that DJ’s voice comes in and he starts becoming the voice of the park, it brings the whole experience to life.
Say what you like about Call of Duty, but any game in the series that has featured Zombies, has usually used that mode to create a trinity of features: The weekend single-player, the year-long multiplayer for the diehards and the cult favourite undead blasting that has earned itself a fan following over the years. Many people don’t focus on the multiplayer once they’ve had their popcorn and single-player, opting instead to focus on the Zombies. Hell, it’s what I do when I get my hands on a COD game.
And Activision is well aware of that fact, with Ross explaining that the Zombies mode this year has been significantly buffed to be a beefier experience. “I think there are some players who are Zombie-centric players – they boot up the game, it’s the first thing they jump into,” Ross said.
I can certainly see players going in a specific direction, but the whole package this year, there’s just so much to play, so much to see – the campaign is absolutely fantastic, the multiplayer is just out of this world, and zombies is really fun.
Beefiness aside, just don’t expect Activision to spin this feature off into its own title. “This is it’s own experience. It’s very different from the campaign, it’s very different from the multiplayer” Ross said.
When you step into this 1980s world, into this theme park, you really feel like you’re playing a different game, like it is a separate experience. I think it’s about the whole package. I don’t think one part of the game can define the whole experience, so the culmination of all three of these modes coming together is what really makes this feel unique and special.
Expect to hear more about it and the multiplayer from Gav, as he’s off to COD XP this week to convince people to “not be doff, but to listen to the Hoff”. He’s a Knight Rider fanatic, so expect him to pop up there with a perm and attempt to convince people that he’s communicating with a badass Pontiac Trans-Am outside.
Last Updated: August 29, 2016