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How to play solo in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies

Here’s how to disable squads in MW3 Zombies

A player goes up against a giant squad of zombies in Modern Warfare 3 Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Modern Warfare 3 Zombies defaults to matchmade squads, rather than solo play. The first mode of its exact kind, Modern Warfare 3 Zombies drops you into an open-world map alongside a large group of other survivors — some of whom will be randomly placed in a three-person squad with you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play Modern Warfare 3 Zombies solo.

That’s right, not everyone wants to be a social butterfly and stick together in the apocalypse. If you want to disable squads and drop in solo to kill some classic Call of Duty zombies, we’ve got you covered. In this Modern Warfare 3 guide, we’ll show you how to turn off squads and how play Modern Warfare 3 Zombies solo or duo.

How to play MW3 Zombies solo or as a duo

Image: Sledgehammer Games/Activision via Polygon

If you just try and load up a new game of Zombies in Modern Warfare 3, the game will automatically place you (or you and your duo partner if you’re playing with a friend) into a squad of three. There’s nothing really stopping you from splitting off and abandoning your squad. However, it is a bit rude, as the mode is much harder solo and is designed for players to stick together.

Freeing yourself from that social pressure is, thankfully, very easy. In the main Zombies lobby, before you hit Start, look in the bottom left of the screen for a button that says “Squad Fill.” Toggle it off. You can do this by clicking on it or pressing 1 on Windows PC, Left Trigger on Xbox consoles, or L2 on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5.

With Squad Fill toggled off, you’ll only drop into the game with your current party — which means you’ll drop in by solo if you’re alone. Just make sure you toggle on third-person so you can watch your own back next time.

Can you play MW3 Zombies on a private server?

Even if you drop into a game of Zombies alone or with a buddy, you’ll still bump into other people doing missions, fighting zombies, and attempting to escape the world via exfil. You unfortunately can’t toggle this off in Modern Warfare 3 Zombies. The game mode is designed to be an online, multiplayer adventure — a major departure from most other Call of Duty Zombies experiences — and isn’t likely to change for that reason.

For more Modern Warfare 3 guides, see how to switch to Tactical Stance, and check our guides on the best SVA 545 loadout, best Striker loadout, best MCW loadout, and best AMR9 loadout.

If you’re jumping into the campaign, find all of the items and weapons in “Precious Cargo” and “Reactor,” see how to earn the Back in the Field trophy and the A Shot Blocked achievement, or check out our walkthrough for “Deep Cover.”

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