Sometime in 1929, Arthur Arlington created a conception of how to bring the executed prisoners from Electric Chairs back to life, by fusing an element with a mixture, he showed it to the Warden, who was already being paid by Ludvig Maxis to create the formula for such zombies. The Warden then was payed for the formula of creating the Zombies after experimenting and demonstrating how it works, and than moving on to control the Prison, but the element drove him mad and eventually he made schemes, schismatics, and all other things to create a zombie army for the defense of the prison. The Warden ended up in failure, and the prison was shut into Lockdown mode, and San Francisco was evacuated.
Sometime after 1929 and before 1932, Arthur Arlington led a uprising to support the zombies, and had ways to transform his followers into such. Before 1932 he was captured by whatever guards were left and put back into the prison, where only few other prisoners remained.
In 1932, Arlington's followers planned to assault the Prison using zombies, Arlington learned of this and talked amongst former friends to create an escape for himself. Reluctant to know, his followers failed to contain their new zombie army, and quickly assaulted what was left of the small human sector of the prison. This made his escape difficult, and his plane was unable to leave the city and crashed into the Golden Gate Bridge, on the Bridge, his colleagues discovered he ran such events, and Arlington quickly turned on his friends. Eventually, his friends managed to kill him, ending the first of the three creators of zombies.
After 1932, Ludvig Maxis must have heard of the events, and discovered that if Prisoners were able to build an army yet did not how to control it, he could change this.
Dr. Ludvig Maxis and his scientist team, Group 935, were tasked with creating an army of super soldiers and new technology for the government project christened "Der Riese" or "The Giant". In his experiments, Maxis used Element 115 to duplicate the zombies. The zombies, however, couldn't be controlled and would always be killed when they went berserk.
While this was going on, Dr. Edward Richtofen was testing 115 on living test subjects to create his super soldiers at a Siberian facility. In his experiments, Richtofen used Takeo Masaki, Nikolai Belinski, and an unknown Mexican. When Richtofen accidentally killed the Mexican, he replaced him with Tank Dempsey. Dempsey had recently been captured when he went to spy on the asylum to rescue Dr. Peter McCain, an OSS spy sent to infiltrate Group 935. After being captured, a Marine Recon team was sent in after him to the abandoned asylum. Richtofen, however, already suspected Peter McCain (along with Harvey Yena), and the team was killed. The testing affected each of the subjects' minds, making Dempsey extremely aggressive, quieting Takeo into only reciting Japanese proverbs, and making Nikolai functionless without vodka. It also had the side effect of erasing their recent memories, making them forget how Richtofen captured them and what he did to them.
Maxis also invented 115-powered teleporters, but they would always destroy anything sent through them. All of these experiments were done with his assistant, Dr. Richtofen. Without Maxis, Richtofen and Schuster would complete the first successful teleportation with a walnut using a very small amount of 115. When Maxis found out about this, he criticized Richtofen for not working on his project and that teleporting a walnut wasn't a big deal. Maxis then told Richtofen that he was going to make a deal with the Nazi party for money and equipment in exchange for weapons. These new weapons Group 935 created were also powered by 115. Maxis created the Ray Gun based on plans received from Shi No Numa. Richtofen created the Monkey Bomb and Wunderwaffe DG-2 from 115. Maxis promised to mass-produce the DG-2 to his superiors, but his growing infatuation with Sophia slowed his progress and infuriated Richtofen, who was secretly plotting to overthrow him and take control of Group 935. Richtofen continued his teleporter tests with Schuster behind Maxis' back. Richtofen was the first human test subject and was first sent to the M.P.D., which he believed to be of alien origin. When he touched it, he felt static and started hearing whispering. He was then teleported to a jungle. Dr. Scheuster got worried and planned to scrap the teleporter when Richtofen had been gone for a few days, but he returned as Schuster was talking about it and told him that there was work to be done. Richtofen sounded much crazier and Scheuster noticed this change.
Two Group 935 scientists, Dr. Groph and Dr. Schuster, were stationed at the Moon base and were trying to figure out how to work the M.P.D.. When Schuster killed a rat, its soul was absorbed by a glass vial protruding from the machine. The pair then proceeded to kill many people until the device was filled with souls. The bodies were buried on the moon, leaving them open to zombification. When they finished, they contacted Richtofen who told them that he was finally going to get rid of the Maxises, indicating that the two scientists were aware of his scheme.
Unbeknownst to Maxis, Richtofen had already mastered teleportation while Maxis was still trying to master it. Maxis was getting frustrated that he could not send a subject to the mainframe Maxis and then used his daughter Samantha's dog, Fluffy, as a teleporter test subject but once again failed. The dog was teleported, but instead of being destroyed like past test subjects, she was zombified (the first hellhound). When Samantha came running in and started questioning her dad about what happened to her dog, Maxis tried to stop her and get out of the room. Richtofen then followed through with his previously-planned betrayal by locking Maxis and his daughter in the room with the hellhound, he then activated the teleporter which he then thought killed Samantha and Maxis.
Little did Richtofen know that Maxis' teleporter actually worked and sent Samantha to the Moon base. In her fear, she ran into the M.P.D. and became the one to control the zombies. When Richtofen was informed of what had occurred he warned the pair of scientists about the hellhound and then told them to find a way to get Maxis. When Maxis was found, they let him approach his daughter to calm her down. After apologizing for his actions, Maxis told Samantha to kill all of the Group 935 members for betraying him and was subsequently shot. Samantha then proceeded to fulfill her father's request by unleashing the zombies.
Richtofen retreated with his super-soldiers to Shi No Numa to think things through. When the zombies attacked Richtofen he realized that Samantha will stop at nothing to seek revenge. Richtofen planned to recover all of the equipment to take control of the zombies. Richtofen then took the group to Der Riese, which had been abandoned since the zombie takeover. The group used the Wunderwaffe DG-2's 115 to overcharge the Teleporter, making it capable of time travel. Richtofen was apparently unaware of this possibility until he tried it. He seemed unconcerned that he and his partners have been teleported to an abandoned theater in Germany in an unknown year. Although he didn't know what year it was, Richtofen knew about the theater as it was the place Maxis would unveil the Teleporter to the German high command. Since Maxis was killed, the theater was abandoned.
Sometime prior the characters' arrival at the Soviet Cosmodrome, Yuri Kravcheski was transferred to work on sending monkeys into space, much to his dismay. His transfer was caused by his superior, Gersch, who he holds a grudge against. As the radio messages progress, Yuri notices the teddy bear and the Matryoshka Dolls and wonders how a child could be let into the station. A child then slowly drives Yuri insane. Yuri, in his state of insanity, finishes the Gersch Device and has Gersch activate it, letting in the zombies and trapping Gersch. Yuri soon realizes his mistake and is heard screaming at the end of the last recording.
After the events of Kino der Toten, the main characters somehow reach an abandoned Soviet Cosmodrome. The characters then hear Gersch, who tells them that the mechanism must be repaired. He is referring to the Kassimir Mechanism, which must be repaired by completing different tasks. After all of the tasks are completed and the mechanism is repaired, Gersch is freed.
While the events of Ascension are occurring in Russia, the events of "Five" are also unfolding in the Pentagon. A piece of Intel reveals that all Wunderwaffe materials were to be moved to American-controlled installations. As a mainframe is visible behind one of the windows in "Five", it is apparent that it was moved there as per this order. While John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Fidel Castro, and Richard Nixon are negotiating, zombies break into the Pentagon with only the four of them left to fight them. While fighting, they call Dempsey, Takeo, Nikolai, and Richtofen using three red telephones spread across the Pentagon. Their calls show that they're running out of ammo and will soon be defeated.
As they continue fighting, the three super-soldier test subjects slowly regain their memories. Takeo is the first to remember, and remarks to himself that some day when the group is finished fighting zombies Richtofen will get what he deserves. He also shows his observations of the other two. He believes Nikolai drinks vodka because he wishes to forget the past and can't function when he remembers it, perhaps meaning Nikolai is beyond hope. Tank, on the other hand, is slowly making progress, as he remembers that he'd seen Richtofen before the fight at Shi No Numa. Takeo notes his shifting memories and believes Tank is finally remembering what Richtofen did to him.
Sometime in the present, George A. Romero stumbled upon Group 935's research while making a WWII film. He and the cast took a ship out to an abandoned lab in Siberia. After he and the ship's crew were zombified, only the cast, made up of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo, and Michael Rooker, remained. This set the stage for Call of the Dead. After the Kassimir Mechanism was completed in Ascension, it overloaded the teleporter and sent the original characters to a Group 935 facility in Siberia, where they were trapped behind a locked door. The celebrities then proceeded to help them escape to Paradise. Richtofen then asked the celebrities to help him obtain the Golden Rod, which they did. Richtofen thanks the group by giving them the DG-2 to help them fight the zombies. In reality, the group could've escaped after the security system was disabled. It is unknown what became of the celebrities after helping the group escape.
Shangri-La, however, does not live up to its name, as its inhabitants have all been zombified before the group's arrival. Richtofen now states that this the last step to controlling the world before he is teleported there. The temple houses a mining facility filled with Element 115, explaining the inhabitants' zombification.
Prior to the group's arrival to Shangri-La, two explorers, Brock and Gary went on an expedition to prove their theories on Argatha. Brock later figures out that the temple wasn't built by an ancient civilization, but by people in the modern era interpreting it. After investigating the temple, the pair accidentally activated the temple's time travel and died in the resulting Zombie attack. The group travels back in time and helps the pair survive. The pair's changing fate is illustrated by the radio that changes message and location as the group helps them. When the group finally create the Focusing Stone, it lands on an altar with Richtofen's name on it, meaning the temple was in fact another Group 935 facility and explaining Richtofen's knowledge of its location. The two explorers are then sent back to the moment they discovered the temple, indicating that they're stuck in a never-ending loop.
Now in possession of both the Golden Rod and the Focusing Stone, Richtofen believes he can now control the zombies. The group then travels to Area 51 so they can get to the moon via a teleporter to a top-secret Moon facility named Griffin Station. When the group reaches Area 51, it is already overrun. Due to the Element 115 on the moon, astronauts and scientists sent there have been zombified before the group's arrival. The people killed by Groph and Schuster contributed even more to the zombie horde.
Richtofen then has the group complete the M.P.D.. When the device is completed, it opens up to reveal Samantha Maxis suspended in the air. As it turns out, the device acts like a prison and keeps her cryogenically frozen so she can be used to control the zombies. Richtofen goes to a terminal to power up the Golden Rod (or V Device) and the Focusing Stone, which he fuses together. However, he encounters Dr. Maxis inside the terminal, who tries to stop him. Richtofen switches souls with Samantha to gain control of the zombies. Richtofen finally thinks everything has gone his way, until Takeo, Tank, and Nikolai decide to stop him. Dr. Maxis, sensing Richtofen's betrayal, prepared a backup plan in case Richtofen got this far. The group then fires the missiles located on the Moon, which destroys the Earth's atmosphere in the hopes that this will lessen the size of Richtofen's zombie army.
While this was occurring on the moon, CIA and CDC agents are sent to investigate Nuketown and encounter zombies.