It fires a blizzard of ice that affects Zombies. After a predetermined amount of hits (it takes more on later rounds, and it takes less with the Pack-a-Punched version), a zombie begins to show signs of freezing such as water vapor in the air and slowing down. The shot also causes some damage to the zombie. If the zombie is hit again while slowed, it is stopped in its tracks and is encased in an ice cube. When frozen, the zombie is immediately killed. If left for a few seconds, shot, or walked into, the ice cube will shatter. However, when it reaches around mid twenty, then the Winter's Howl becomes extremely inefficient in killing zombies, requiring multiple shots to freeze.
In Black Ops, the normal version of the Winter's Howl holds six rounds and has 24 spare rounds. It is possible for two players to have a Winter's Howl through a Fire Sale. Neither the Winter's Howl nor its Pack-a-Punched counterpart will freeze the Pentagon Thief; he will only be slowed down and take damage.
When Pack-a-Punched in either game, it becomes Winter's Fury, and gains nine rounds per magazine with 36 spare rounds, with a longer freeze time and more power.
The Winter's Howl, and the Winter's Fury are best used as support or emergency weapons. The range is very long, but there is a small delay before the shot reaches its target, similar to the Ray Gun and explosive weapons. The effect is also vision-blocking, and can be detrimental to the aim of teammates. As rounds progress it takes more shots to freeze zombies. By Round 50, it can take up to two magazines to completely freeze one zombie.
Winter's Howl vs. Winter's Fury
Rate of fire
Higher damage, larger magazine, freezes more zombies, first shot slows affected zombies' movement speed, second shot encases affected zombies in a block of ice.
Blueprint of the Winter's Howl from the map Classified in Black Ops 4
There is an unusable Winter's Howl sitting on one of the desks in the basement of "Five".
The Winter's Howl has enough recoil to push the player back when fired.
According to the Zombies Chronicles timeline, the Pentagon worked on their own version of the Winter's Howl. This implies there was a prior version to the gun, possibly a version made by Group 935, as a lot of the research of the Pentagon is based on information scavenged in the Der Riese massacre (Examples include Maxis' MTD prototype and the Wunderwaffe DG-2).
On the left side of the gun, the casing is removed, exposing circuitry. This implies that it is still in development, and that the usable Winter's Howl is a prototype.
This is confirmed in Classified, with the weapon being known as the "Project Skadi" prototype.
The name "Project Skadi" is a reference to Skaði, the Norse goddess of winter.
Takeo Masaki is seen wielding the Winter's Howl in the poster for Ascension; it cannot be obtained in the map, however.
It can be fired through the glass windows in "Five" without shattering the windows, but still damaging the zombies.
The crosshairs expand as the player turns.
The Black Ops 4 Winter's Howl features several visual differences from the Black Ops Winter's Howl, namely exposed wiring, a different switch placement, and a bigger barrel.