The Zombies panel packed the house with undead fanatics, eager to hear the behind the scenes story of the hit cult classic game mode. Some of the top talent behind the game mode offered to tell us the story.
Panel: Collin Ayers (Sound Designer), Reza Elghazi (Zombies Producer), Kevin Sherwood (Zombies Music Composer), Brian Tuey (Audio Director), Jimmy Zielinski (ZombiesCreative Director)
Moderator: Major Nelson
As passionate as the community that helped make Zombies what it is today, the development team shared a lot of insight behind the process. They have full creative control behind each map, presenting both a great challenge and great opportunity.
Bigger and Better
Every map needs to be bigger and better than the last. They test every idea against fan expectations and feedback, and rarely throw one away before at least prototyping it to see how things play out. It’s important that the map and story fit well together, and they always stick to the core Zombies playstyle and rulebook that fans have come to know and love.
Giving Characters Life
When it comes to the hilarious, and often times disturbing one-liners, the team splits off from each other for a weekend, puts together an entire list of the funniest dialogue they can think of, and then has to perform it in front of a crowd. If a line’s met with laughter, it’s good to go, otherwise it’s cut. This process continues until each character has 400-500 lines of dialogue per map!
The Easter Egg Bet
When asked about the Easter Egg side quests, the team revealed their personal running bet for how much time it would take the community to complete the riddle. When Ascension first released in the Black Ops First Strike DLC, it took the community two and a half days to discover every step. When Moon released, the riddle was solved within six hours, with the whole community teaming together to unravel the mystery in record time.
Thanks to the Fans
Lastly, community involvement and feedback is absolutely integral to the design of each map. For example, Samantha was originally created due to a fan’s interpretation of a zombie screaming what sounded like “SAM!” at certain swipes, inspiring them to give that character the name Samantha. For Wonder Weapons, they want to make something fun for players that kills zombies in the most satisfying of methods.
Will They Return?
And perhaps the most pressing question on the community’s mind - will we be seeing more Zombies in the future? Can our heroes really be finished after their escapade on the Moon (which, by the way, started out as a level in Paris)?
To which the replay was, “Do you think there’ll be more Zombies?”