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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Zombies mode takes you on a trip through time

A campaign against the undead

The first Zombies map, IX.
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Zombies mode will uphold the series’ tradition: four-player co-op combat against waves of the undead, along with a weird sci-fi story underneath it all, developer Treyarch announced today during a live reveal event for the game.

Black Ops 4’s Zombies component will unfurl across three different maps: IX, which is set in a gladiatorial arena; Voyage of Despair, which plays out on a certain doomed trans-Atlantic cruise ship; and Blood of the Dead, which takes place in a prison. (It’s inspired by Mob of the Dead, a fan-favorite Zombies map from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 that was set on Alcatraz.) Players will be able to go solo with AI buddies if they can’t team up with human partners.

The overarching storyline — which is separate from the past decade of Zombies experiences — focuses on “an ancient order hell-bent on transforming the world to fulfill their nefarious agenda,” said Zombies director Jason Blundell during the event. That makes sense in the context of the cryptic teaser that Treyarch tweeted earlier this month. The four playable characters are named Scarlet, Bruno, Diego and Shaw, and they’ll travel through time in an effort to secure an artifact so they can put a stop to the Illuminati-esque organization and its hordes of zombies.

Treyarch is introducing a feature it refers to as Callings, a suite of post-launch updates that will include limited-time challenges, seasonal content and some surprises. Another new element is the custom mutation system, which offers about 100 different options allowing players to tweak their Zombies experience, like the ability to adjust zombie speed and player damage. In addition, the studio is bringing back the ability to choose difficulty settings. And the last big piece of Zombies is a new mode called Zombie Rush, which simplifies things for newcomers.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is set for release Oct. 12 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. You can see the trailer for Voyage of Despair below, along with 10 screenshots from Black Ops 4 and its Zombies mode.

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