Call of Duty – Open-World Zombie Mayhem in new Outbreak Mode


Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is getting quite the update, and its zombie fixation is about to grow! The new mode coming to Cold War is officially called Outbreak, which will introduce large-scale zombie-slaying antics with your squad. Loot. Fight. Survive. That’s what the COD trailer states, but how exactly will the new mode work? Here are some details to satisfy your curiosity and, honestly, mine.

Call of Duty – Outbreak Mode

Activation shared a blog post talking about the upcoming mode.

“As Requiem continues to fall behind in the arms race against Omega Group, various regions in the Ural Mountains have recently become Dark Aether outbreak sites. With new opportunities to research the Dark Aether and advance Requiem’s agenda, it’s up to you and three fellow agents to complete the deadly experiments that few have survived.

Continuing the Dark Aether story, Outbreak takes place across massive play spaces throughout the Ural Mountains, packed with new enemies, team objectives, player rewards, and intel to discover on foot, in vehicles, or by jump pads. Whether its hunting down elite enemies using a satellite tracker, escorting a Rover that detects dimensional portals, or holding out against zombies in a confined Dark Aether zone, agents of Requiem will need to complete these investigations before they can Exfil… or risk entering a Dark Aether portal to a new region for even more rewards.”

Call of Duty - Outbreak

That’s all Greek to me because I’ve been concerned about the possible damage Cold War has inflicted on some Series X consoles. So, I can’t comment about the Dark Aether storyline. Instead, let me talk solely about the mode. Treyarch has not revealed much and will release details over the coming days. However, the concept has me thinking about the layout and the presentation.

What could Outbreak entail?

Let’s hop on the speculation train for a moment. I initially thought Outbreak was a Battle Royale mode with zombies peppered in for some extra spice, for starters. I am seemingly wrong in my assumption. Although the map is expanding for an open-world approach, Outbreak seems to be leaning toward four-player cooperative play. When it comes to taking down zombies, I believe it is best done with four people in any multiplayer game. Look at Left 4 Dead as a prime example.

Treyarch hasn’t yet revealed the size of the open-world maps, but the fact that there will be vehicles is telling. We will not enter medium-sized arenas where we must hoof it to escape zombies or complete team objectives. The scale of Outbreak should nearly match the Battle Royale – that’s my hope, anyhow.

Call of Duty - Zombies

What I look forward to most is team communication. It’s a staple in any game, but we know communication can be difficult between ‘randoms.’ Strategizing in a game of zombies was always part of the fun. To take that concept to a much larger scale will prove very entertaining with the right group of gamers.

Outbreak mode brings new upgrades

Outbreak mode will introduce a new field upgrade called Frenzied Guard. Utilizing Frenzied Guard will distract zombie enemies. There’s also a new ammo mod called Shatter Blast. Explosive rounds are in our future! Finally, there are new refined and flawless Aetherium Crystal types that will let players upgrade their skills to tier four and five.

Call of Duty’s Aether Portals – New Regions?

Treyarch’s quote tries to spell it out for us, so I’ll provide some clarity or make an obvious observation. Once a squad completes the experiments, they have the option to extract from the map. If players want to risk themselves for extra rewards, they can take a Dark Aether portal to head to a new region and continue the fight. My question is this: Is that a new ‘region’ within the map we started in, or is it an entirely new map?

Call of Duty - Aether Portal

I expect every ‘new region’ to be another large, open-world section of the Ural Mountains. That flies in the face of my original thought that we would have multiple, gigantic open world maps to shift between. We may, but it sounds like none of the other zones will be outside of Ural. Depending on how much care they put into each region of Ural, players will not have many complaints.

Official announcements from Treyarch are on the way

Outbreak sounds like a breath of fresh air, one that I’d like to experience some time. It won’t take long for us to learn concrete details about Outbreak. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Season 2 begins on February 25, 2021. Between now and then, I imagine we will know most of the details.