- "The Führer had asked for something exceptional from my staff. A soldier who does not rest. A soldier who does not fear. And a soldier who does not shy away from the shadow of death. I have found that soldier. Or perhaps, it is better to say that I have birthed him."
- — Peter Straub, Call of Duty: WWII
Zombies are deceased humans that have been reanimated by various means and serve as the primary antagonistic force of the Zombies, Exo Zombies, Infinite Warfare Zombies and Nazi Zombies game modes. They also appear in the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gametype Exo Survival as a bonus wave on the map Riot. In the original Zombies mode, they are created by Element 115; in Exo Zombies, they are the product of an Atlas program gone wrong, and in Infinite Warfare Zombies, they are used by Willard Wyler with the intention of killing four actors for a snuff film. They also appear in the Call of Duty: Black Ops III campaign level "Demon Within", and in Nightmares mode, controlled by the Demigod Deimos.
Black Ops ZombiesEdit
Though the origin of the zombies remains mostly unclear, various incidents leading up to the creation of the zombies can be found via radio messages found in various maps. It was caused by Element 115 an element found in meteors that can reanimate dead cells. A meteor containing Element 115 is shown in the map Shi No Numa outside in the storage hut area. Meteor fragments can be seen on Kino der Toten, Call of the Dead, Shangri-La, Origins, Der Eisendrache, Zetsubou No Shima, and Revelations. Meteors can also be seen on the Moon whenever it is visible.
The earliest sighting of zombies was in France, during the First World War, sometimes between 1917 and 1918, where the Germans first uncovered Element 115. However, zombies have existed since the Middle Ages, as seen by both the Crusader Zombies and the Templar Zombies found in France.
While working with Element 115 to power new weapons and the teleporters, Dr. Ludvig Maxis, a German scientist, discovered it could also reanimate dead cells and created an undead army. Unfortunately, this army could not be controlled as the zombies would always go berserk when tested. Edward Richtofen, Maxis' assistant, believed Maxis was not acting quick enough and decided to betray him to further the research.
One day, Maxis used his daughter Samantha's dog, Fluffy (who was pregnant), as a test subject for his teleporter. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong and Fluffy transformed into the first Hellhound. After this event, his assistant, Richtofen, set his plan into motion when he locked Maxis and Samantha in the teleporter room with the mutated Fluffy.
In Ascension, it is revealed that some Soviet monkeys that were sent to the moon came into contact with Element 115 and were zombified in the process.
After the discovery of Prima Materia, a group only known as "the Nine" created the Sentinel Artifacts to harness and contain the powers of Prima Materia. These Sentinel Artifacts, upon activation, will create a Trial to prove an individual "worthy", transforming people into Zombies and various other undead creatures as enemies to fight within their Trial.
In Exo Zombies, the Atlas Corporation deployed massive amounts of Manticore bio-weapon, intending to end the prison riot in New Baghdad. Instead, the deceased rioters were reanimated into mindless creatures, Zombies.
Doctor Peter Straub was requested by the Führer Adolf Hitler to create a type of soldier that does not rest, fear or shy from the shadow of death. He joined Heinrich Himmler's Ahnenerbe and was informed by Klaus Fischer that the hilt of a legendary sword belonged to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa was discovered within a mining town of Mittelburg, Bavaria. Straub and Heinz Richter's men investigated in the town and acknowledged that the hilt is protected by a magnetic force. Straub and his men siphoned the energy from the hilt. Two guards were killed by the force during an experiment and soon were reanimated. The dead guards attempted to kill Straub before more guards to arrive. Straub named the new energy "Geistkraft" and used it to conduct through the human nervous system, which activates the most primitive parts of the human cerebellum. Straub augmented the reanimated corpses' strength and speed, thus he created Zombies.
Black Ops ZombiesEdit
In House, Overlook and Facility, the zombies are of unknown nationality. Their eyes glow red, similarly to the zombies in Dead Ops Arcade, Mob of the Dead and Gorod Krovi. It features the return of Hellhounds, although they look less hairy and are not on fire. They also don't appear on their own round; they come with normal zombies. The player must open the first door for them to start coming.
In Temple, the zombies are Vietnamese soldiers. They act the same as the ones from the other Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS) maps. They retain the red eyes like the zombies from the other maps, too. Unlike the other Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS) maps, it does not have Hellhounds.
In Green Run, Nuketown Zombies, Die Rise, and Buried, the zombies have now gotten more numerous and now have blue eyes due to Richtofen's control (Richtofen switches souls with Samantha and becomes demonic announcer at the beginning of round 25 in Nuketown Zombies). In Die Rise some zombies have armor that gives them a small amount of extra health. This extra health is only really noticeable on rounds 1 and 4; it takes two knife slashes to kill a zombie on round 1, and 4 slashes on round 4.
In Mob of the Dead, the zombies now have red eyes due to the map taking place in Purgatory, meaning the "zombies" in the map could be more demonic in nature.
In Buried, zombies are now dressed in American western attire, such as cowboys, prospectors and barmaids. The traditional blue eyes return, as the map is set during Richtofen's control, however should the player choose to follow Maxis in all three Easter Eggs the eyes will glow orange, as Maxis gains control of them.
In Origins, the zombies return to the classic yellow eyes, as it is explained in-map that Samantha is once more in control of them (through whether it is the same Samantha that talks to the players or a younger version is not fully explained). However, the Crusader Zombies have white or purple eyes, with the most popular and accepted theory being that they do not listen to any Demonic Announcer and simply act on primitive survival instincts. This would make sense, seeing as they would have been zombified long before the ancient ruins were discovered.
In Exo Zombies the eye color of a zombie indicates the type of zombie rather than its "master" or one in control, and they all appear together at the same time. Yellow eyes indicate a regular zombie. Blue eyes would indicate that a zombie has EMP or teleporting abilities. Red eyes would indicate a fast moving Charger or spiked zombie. Green eyes indicate an explosive or host zombie. White eyes indicate a zombie with tactical armor.
Infinite Warfare ZombiesEdit
Zombies in Infinite Warfare have different clothing depending on the time a zombie's map takes place. For example, zombies in Zombies in Spaceland have 80s style clothing, while zombies in Attack of the Radioactive Thing have 50's style clothing. The Zombies' eyes usually glow yellow unless the player is downed, in which case the player sees zombies with red eyes along with a horizontal lens flare.
In Nazi Zombies, all zombies wear Wehrmacht uniforms covered with bloodstains. They have dislocated jaws and their body parts are ripped apart, exposing the skeleton and organs of their body, such as intestines.
While zombies exhibit a variety of features and behaviors depending on their location, some formerly-human undead prove to be an almost entirely different monster. There are even some that were not human to begin with.
The zombie variants include:
- Crawler Zombies
- Prisoner Zombies
- Engineer Zombies
- Cosmic Silverback
- Space Monkeys
- Electrified Zombies
- George A. Romero
- Zombie Monkeys
- Napalm Zombies
- Shrieker Zombies
- Astronaut Zombies
- Jumping Jacks
- Edward Richtofen
- Crusader Zombies
- Templar Zombies
- Panzer Soldats
- Red & Deads
- Cyber Silverback
- Giant Thrasher
- Russian Mangler Soldiers
- Crimson Nosferatus
- Jolting Jacks
- Nova 6 Bombers
- Lightning Hounds
- Main article: Hellhound
Hellhounds are dogs that appear in ever one of Treyarch's games with a Zombies games and their mobile spinoffs. They are a vicious and murderous type of enemy that appears on Shi No Numa and Der Riese on Call of Duty: World at War as well as appearing on Call of Duty: Black Ops in Kino der Toten, Dead Ops Arcade, Moon, on Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS) in House, Facility, Overlook, Call of Duty: Black Ops II in Green Run maps, but only in customization of a private match, Call of Duty: Black Ops III in The Giant and Der Eisendrache, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in Blood of the Dead, Classified and Tag der Toten. A rumble of thunder and an ominous guitar note will be heard at the start of a Hellhound round, as well as the Demonic Announcer saying "Fetch me their souls!" at the start of the round on Call of Duty: Black Ops, and after the first Hellhound spawns in Call of Duty: World at War.
On these rounds, the arena becomes foggy. They are the puppies of Fluffy, Samantha's pet dog who Richtofen and Maxis turned into the "Original Hellhound". They possess the ability to teleport (but only use it to appear on the map), and they appear with a bolt of lightning marking where they spawned at. The ground rumbles when a Hellhound has spawned nearby. They are weaker in terms of attack power and health than normal zombies, but are also much faster and may spawn anywhere on the map, rather than fixed positions.
After round 16 on Der Riese, Hellhounds spawn at the same time as the regular zombies, but also still get separate rounds where they appear alone. When the last Hellhound of the round is killed, it will drop a Max Ammo power-up. When a Hellhound round ends in Der Riese and Kino der Toten, "Beauty of Annihilation" is heard. The same goes for Pentagon Thief rounds in "Five" and Space Monkey rounds in Ascension. "Five" and Kino der Toten, both from Call of Duty: Black Ops, feature a new kind of zombie called Crawler Zombies. The Crawler Zombies is a zombie that crawls on all fours (hands and feet). It emits an "aura" of Nova Gas upon death, unless it is killed by a Ray Gun, Thundergun, explosives or melee weapons. Apparently, the Crawler Zombies were a failed experiment by Maxis, according to Richtofen.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS), Hellhounds look less fluffy and are not on fire, but still look badly burnt. They do not come on their own round; they come in with other zombies after opening the first door on the map.
- Main article: Space Monkey
Ascension features its own exclusive "special round" enemy, the Space Monkeys. In-game, they appear in the same manner as the Hellhounds that they replaced. There is a misconception that in order for them to be able to appear, the player would have to have the power turned on and that one player has to have a perk. When a Space Monkey round begins, the map turns into a yellowish-color for a moment, then the map turns dark-orange, with an alarm buzzer being heard, and the cosmodrome's announcer saying "Warning, re-entry detected. All security personnel on high alert." Space Monkeys will appear and try to steal the player's perks by jumping onto and attacking the Perk-a-Cola machines. If the player is too close to a monkey, it will jump, and upon landing, releasing gas that impairs vision and movement. They can also damage the player directly. If they are all killed before they can even touch a perk machine, they will drop a Max Ammo and the Random Perk Bottle power-up, which gives the player a free perk.
- Main article: George Romero
In Call of the Dead, George A. Romero appears as a "special guest" boss zombie that follows the players around. He will continually follow players until he is killed. He is very difficult to kill due to his extremely high health, and when he is shot (or he hits a player) he will go into a "berserk" state and sprint after players when he is hit, although the water areas can be used to calm him down by running into them. Insta-Kill and Nuke power-ups are completely useless against him, and he will simply laugh when hit by a Nuke. He can also emit a special yell that causes all zombies in the vicinity to go into a very fast sprint, a feature not seen since Verrückt. Nearby zombies can absorb the electricity emitted from the stage light that he carries around as a weapon, and use it to stun the player upon contact. When he dies, he will drop the Death Machine and the Random Perk Bottle power-ups. If the player that killed him has performed the Original Characters Trapped Easter egg, he will instead drop a Lightning Bolt power-up, which when grabbed, is actually the Wunderwaffe DG-2. However, he is not permanently dead, and he spawns again after two rounds (including the round when he was killed).
- Main article: Zombie Monkey
In Shangri-La, Zombie Monkeys appear for the first time. They can be seen around the edges of the map, but only enter the map when a power-up appears. They then take the power-up and randomize it on their back. They must be killed before they leave the map or the player will lose the power-up. If the player takes the power-up when the monkey is going for it, the monkey will chase and hit them before leaving
- Main article: Napalm Zombie
The Napalm Zombie walks extremely slow and will kill zombies in his path to reach the player. When he reaches a player or is killed, he explodes and leaves a patch of Napalm where he was.
- Main article: Shrieker Zombie
Shrieker Zombies run extremely fast and will try to blind the player when they reach them. If they're killed while screeching, all of the surrounding zombies will be killed along with it.
- Main article: Astronaut Zombie
Astronaut Zombies appear for the first time in Moon. They have high health and special abilities. When they reach a player, they will teleport them and steal a random perk. When killed, they explode and push the players backwards.
The zombies have varying speeds and movements, and some are exclusive to certain maps. These speeds are:
- A slow stumble with arms by their sides.
- In Shi No Numa, zombies might stumble around in a sort of sideways manner with arms by their sides and with their shoulder tilted towards the player.
- The Nazi zombies on Verrückt, Der Riese and Kino der Toten may occasionally Goose Step march when walking up to a barricade.
- A normal walk with their arms waving in the air and their faces glancing upward at the sky.
- A jog with arms straight out, like a stereotypical zombie.
- A fast run. Their arms move back and forth, similar to a human.
- A sprint, with one arm in front of them pointing down and the other behind them in the air.
- In Verrückt (Call of Duty: World at War only), Call of the Dead, Moon, Origins, and Black Ops III maps, some zombies have a human sprint-like speed with their shoulders forward and arms moving as a person would while running (although to less of an extent). These are considerably faster than any other speed, and run at roughly the same speed that the player does with a high-mobility weapon (without sprinting). The sprinting zombies on Call of the Dead are running more human-like than sprinting zombies from Verrückt. Any gun class other than a high-mobility weapon will require the player to sprint in order to not get caught by them. In Call of the Dead, zombies are brought to this speed by a special yell from George A. Romero, but in Verrückt, they will merely spawn sprinting. In Moon, however, they will begin to sprint after the player once they are launched by the Gravity Lifts. This also causes crawlers to quickly scramble towards the player on its hands and knees (even when both legs are missing). They will also sprint if the player stays in No Man's Land for a long period of time. In Origins, zombies are brought to this speed by running after the Tank in a similar fashion to the bus in Green Run. However, the animation for running is the same as the Call of the Dead and Moon sprinting zombies. Note that if a zombie catches up to a player on the tank, they will continue sprinting, which may be frustrating to most players, especially ones who do not have the Juggernog perk. In Black Ops III, some zombies will spawn sprinting in later round just like in Verruckt but the animation is reused from Call of the Dead and Moon.
- Since Der Riese (including the World at War version), beginning with Round 4 the last zombie of a round will start sprinting. In Call of Duty: Black Ops, it initially goes with its normal speed until aggravated while in the other games it starts sprinting as soon as the second to last zombie is killed. In Shadows of Evil and Der Eisendrache, if the player leaves the last zombie alive for a long period of time, it will start sprinting at any round.
- In Ascension (Call of Duty Black Ops only), zombies sometimes crouch down and perform a roll towards the player, or maybe even sidestep to avoid getting hit. When they sidestep they appear to lose their balance and slow down to a slow walk before they finish sidestepping.
- In Moon, when outside on the surface, zombies float around a lot due to the gravity.
- In the Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS) maps, they walk with their arms out for the first few rounds, then start to sprint with their arms to their sides, like the zombies in Zombie Verrückt.
- In Green Run, zombies that are chasing the bus will sprint extremely quick, faster than in any previous map.
- Zombies inside or on top of the bus in Green Run will slowly stumble to the left and right towards the player due to losing their balance while the bus is moving. Oddly, even when the bus is not moving, they still walk sluggishly in the same fashion as if it were still moving.
- After about round 10, zombies on Shadows of Evil tend to stumble and falter, catching themselves on their hands to stand back up again.
Zombies will only attack a player through melee attacks; they do not use weapons. Zombies can be gibbed, but will continue to attack the player even after having lost half of their limbs. Note that in-game, it is impossible to destroy a zombie's legs so that it will be forced to crawl if it is already missing an arm. Zombies will not continue to attack players who have been downed, instead continuing onwards to the next player as if the one who has been downed is not there.
Zombies typically chase after the closest player, and can be distracted by either approaching or attacking them. Alternatively, a Monkey Bomb and Lil'Arnie or a human who has been "turned" by the V-R11 will serve to divert their attention for a short time. Also, the Pack-a-Punched Crossbow, the Awful Lawton, the Pack-a-Punched Acid Gat, the Vitriolic Withering, and the Boom Box acts as a distraction weapon.
In both Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty: Black Ops, zombies retain some vestiges of human behavior and intelligence. They are capable of limited speech, including shouting the words "Sam" when attacking the player, or "Monkey" when presented with a Monkey Bomb. Also slower moving Nazi zombies will at times appear to march. And in Ascension, zombified Spetsnaz soldiers will sometimes roll or sidestep to avoid being shot, a battle maneuver used by the group.
According to George Barkley, humans who are in the process of becoming a zombie suffer from short-term memory loss, psychosis, delusion, and paranoia.
According to the Classified intro cutscene and various reels, when not under the control of an entity within the MPD or APD, zombies are mindless and uncoordinated. However, when under the control of an entity within the MPD or APD, zombies act as a hivemind and can be effectively controlled and given orders.
The health of zombies increases with every round. Zombies start with 150 health on Round 1, and gain 100 health every round until round 9. Upon reaching round 10, their health is given a 1.1 multiplier every round.
For example, a zombie has 550 health on Round 5, 1045 on Round 10, 2710 on Round 20, 47295 on Round 50 and 5552108 on Round 100.
With any weapon, damage is applied to zombies. A head or neck attack will multiply weapon damage by 2.0, a chest or torso attack will multiply weapon damage by 1.5, and a limb or groin attack will multiply weapon damage by 1.0. It's recommended to use a LMG or other good high damaging/amount of ammo clip weapons and to use them when training zombies
Zombies in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are different than the zombies of Treyarch's Zombies mode. Their first appearance is in the final wave of Exo Survival on Riot. The player is notified of a Manticore launch and the map becomes covered in fallout waste, and then zombies begin to attack the player. These zombies are fast but have low melee damage compared to the ones in Treyarch's Zombies mode. They can be killed with a few shots from any weapon. Some zombies wear Exoskeletons and can use the boost ability. The players must survive until extracted by a Warbird. Completion of this wave rewards the player with a zombie character and armor for multiplayer.
Zombies also appear in the game mode Exo Zombies. They look and act more like the zombies from Treyarch's Zombies mode than the zombies in Riot. Some differences, however, include that they do lower damage, some have special powers, and more parts can be gibbed off at once. Furthermore, zombies wearing exoskeletons are capable of lunging, and may also dodge shots.
The Exo Zombie variants include:
- Security Dogs
- Goliath Exo Zombies
- Teleporting Zombies
In Nightmares mode, the zombies were created for use by the Demigod Deimos to destroy mankind.
The zombies in this mode are different from in Zombies mode in that they have much less health, sometimes only taking one shot to kill even from the MR6; however, health between zombies vary throughout missions. There are also several different versions, such as ones that are on fire and explode when killed, an EMZ-like electrified variant, and another electrified one with armor on.
Infinite Warfare ZombiesEdit
The zombies in Infinite Warfare inhabit the maps played in-game, horror movies created by Willard Wyler that the four playable characters are sucked into. Wyler supposedly controls the zombies since he is heard as the announcer in-game. It is thought Wyler sold his soul to Mephistopheles (servant of The Devil) to make good films, which is supported by a cipher in the Pack-A-Punch room on Zombies in Spaceland, and would explain how he controls the zombies.
The Infinite Warfare Zombie variants include:
Zombies appear in Call of Duty: WWII's Nazi Zombies game mode. As opposed to earlier interpretations, the zombies here are the corpses of fallen soldiers in combat that were later, experimented and supposedly used as military weapons created by a new source of energy known as Geistkraft through the scientific research of German physics. The energy empowering these zombies supports their nervous system by the mechanical augmentations attached to them providing life even to the most gruesome and heavily repurposed monstrosities. According to the description for "The Final Reich" and Marie Fischer, the reason why these "weapons" intended to push back the allies were released into German territory is that the Germans themselves had no idea what they were dealing with. They will occasionally growl or yell out in a heavily distorted German voice, hinting that their brain is still active enough for basic intelligence. They have a very mangled appearance as most zombies appear to have dislocated jaws, jagged teeth, milky white eyes, and some in varying stages of decomposition, such as the Pest for an extreme example. This gives them a macabre and sickening appearance. Some of which probably appear out of nowhere terrifying its victim.
These zombies move fast, attack with moderate melee damage and are deadlier in groups. They can be killed with a few shots but some powerful weapons can overwhelm them with fewer shots. Special Zombies are equipped with hazards and weapons and have their own behavioral patterns.
The Nazi Zombie variants include:
- Treasure Zombie
- The player can equip the melee weapon the zombies use (appropriately named "BRAAAINS...") using the console commands in World at War and Black Ops. In Black Ops II, the weapon is directly available in Turned.
- Sometimes a headless zombie will keep walking and continue to take damage every second until they die, upon which the full 100 points for the headshot is awarded. Furthermore, it may take several more hits to finally die, depending on current round and amount of time it's been headless.
- If a zombie cannot hit a player in a certain amount of time, the zombie dies, allowing another zombie to spawn.
- Zombies' heads will explode upon the end of the match. The same can occur to a zombie if it cannot hit the player after a certain amount of time.
- A few of the zombies' voice clips were used as a sound effect for a Halloween decoration called "Possessed Wall Hanger".
- If a grenade is thrown at a zombie that is about to come out of the ground, it will go into a crouching stance.
- On the Nintendo Wii version, the zombies' voices are higher in pitch.
- Shangri-la was the first Call of Duty: Zombies map to feature female zombie models.
- In Call of Duty: Black Ops (DS), sometimes when knifing a zombie, there will be a delay before it dies.
- A zombie can be seen on top of a balcony in the non-canonical ending of the campaign, while everyone is dancing.
- Walking zombies appear even during higher rounds, though they become less common.
- This is not the case in Origins, however.
- In Riot, the zombies are very agile. They also make animal-like shrieks, and lack the glowing eyes of those in Exo Zombies.
- In Riot, a zombie may boost jump even if it lacks an exoskeleton.
- If the player looks closely at a zombie in Riot after it jumps and lands, it will briefly pose as though it was holding a weapon. This is more noticeable on the ones with exoskeletons.
- Zombies sometimes minimally flinch when shot at, or melee attacked, unlike in Treyarch's Zombies mode.
- Zombies seen in Shadows of Evil seem to sometimes fall down before getting back up again.
- In The Final Reich, a zombie can perform a "jumpscare" sequence by breaking the glass while a player is using the valve.
- Judging by the steam trading card depicting them, zombies are referred to as "Wicht" (Wretches) by their creators.
- Zombies appear in the Specialist HQ mission for Recon as enemies, with a Blightfather spawning in as well.
- Zombies appear as enemies in Blackout in Zombies-themed areas. When killed, they drop various loot.
- Within the Chaos Story maps, Zombies are commonly referred to as "Ghouls" by the playable characters.