What kind of monster do we love? Zombies! Why do we love them? Well, that is a little more complicated. Perhaps it is because we are fighting death personified, something most people fear? Maybe it is the opportunity to face a more feral and lethal version of ourselves? It could be that we just like the thought of testing ourselves against an opponent that could possess a fraction of our intelligence and unexpected strengths. Or, zombies may just be that cool. Whatever the reason, they are great, and it often seems like their presence makes our games better.
One of the biggest examples of what a difference zombies can make comes from Rainbow Six Siege. Now, this is an incredible game on its own. It has developed a huge following and does not seem to be slowing down. But its Operation Chimera update was absolutely huge. It brought droves of players back to this 2015 game. Why? Because they wanted to fight zombie aliens. This cooperative mode has three people going through three missions in amazing maps. It is incredibly cool stuff, with zombie aliens that are unique and each have their own special abilities. It is no wonder people came running back. The alien zombies allow people an opportunity to work together in a new way, which is always a welcome prospect, and face off against the sorts of enemies we would never otherwise see in Rainbow Six Siege.
Metal Gear Survive is another game where zombies may have enhanced things. While there are uneven segments in the single-player, with some parts making it tempting to pay actual money, the multiplayer is pretty great. It is a typical zombie horde mode, with varying enemy types and objectives to work around as you attempt to protect a drill and stay alive. These zombies may look different than the ones we have grown accustomed to, but they definitely get the point across. By adding these zombies, we have a more active goal and reason to work together. We can build up things and use this defensive operation to think about Metal Gear gameplay in a new way.
But no game acts as a better example of this than Call of Duty’s Zombies mode. This mode, which pits our soldiers against the undead, originally debuted in Call of Duty: World at War in 2008 and revolutionized things. It might not be a stretch to say it including these ghouls helped kick off the trend of shoving zombies in shooters whenever possible. Zombies has become a Call of Duty staple, with these specialized campaigns getting as much attention and detail as the standard story segments. After all, in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare the Zombies in Spaceland campaign seemed like it received more attention and love from fans and developers alike. After all, it had actors like David Hasselhoff, Jay Pharoah, Seth Green, and Paul Reubens. Here, zombies inject a bit of levity into an otherwise serious game. It may also provide a purely cooperative experience for one where we usually get quite competitive.
And after all, these zombies can lead to extraordinary things. It is no secret that Red Dead Redemption’s Undead Nightmare is perhaps Rockstar Games’ best add-on. It is also full and rich. It gives people a full single-player campaign and two multiplayer modes. There are all new enemies. It pays homage to zombie B-movies, while also having a bit of gravity since we are trying to save John Marston’s wife and son from the infection. It completely changes our view of the game and story. This is a huge update that might even feel like a different game to some, even though the gameplay does not really change, because there is this massive shift in focus.
There is even the sense of renewed interest even the hint of zombies can bring. In one of the most recent Battlefield 1 videos promoting the They Shall Not Pass add-on, there is a guttural noise that sounds like a zombie’s cry. Immediately, people latched onto this. Rumors abounded of some sort of zombie map. Fans were excited about the prospect. The hype was palpable, all over the sound of a possible zombie.
Zombies are becoming a gaming tradition. We love it when developers make the most of the undead. And in games like Call of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege, Red Dead Redemption, and even Metal Gear Survive, we have seen companies put them to good use. And when they do, you can guarantee we will be there to support them.