MWZ is Call of Duty’s first venture into a zombies-based extraction mode, but according to a former Infinity Ward developer, it almost came as part of Modern Warfare (2019).
In recent years, the first-person shooter series has delved into the extraction mode genre, with MW2 introducing DMZ as the first iteration.
Building on this foundation, MW3 brought zombies into the mix, earning a positive response from players. However, if all had gone to plan, CoD fans could have played something similar to MWZ earlier in the Call of Duty universe.
Developer Says MWZ Style Mode Almost Came Earlier
Infinity Ward bosses shelved a mode similar to MWZ in Modern Warfare (2019) because they felt that a Zombies mode did not fit within the context of an MW game.
This is according to the former Project Director for Call of Duty Infinite Warfare Zombies, Brian Bright. The developer posted this information on his X account.
Speaking to content creator MrDalekJD, Brian Bright also says that development on the mode even got as far as having hundreds of models for zombie AI in the game. Unfortunately for Zombies fans, this mode would never come to fruition.
We had hundreds of non fully fleshed out zombie AI in the beginnings of MW2019. The mode we planned was similar to what they have now. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the bosses that we could have zombies fit vibe wise in an MW game. Good for Treyarch that its liked!— Brian Bright (@BrianBright) November 28, 2023
Additionally, concept art was even drawn up for this potential mode. At the time, Aaron Beck, a concept designer working for Infinity Ward, posted some of the art he drew for the game.
This included a post featuring a soldier, a couple of robots, and zombies. To clarify this image, content creator Glitching Queen emailed him to ask about a Zombies mode.
The designer said it “was just a fun idea” and not an “official concept for any game mode.”
As a reminder, mw19 had concept art posted by Aaron Beck. In an email to @GirlGlitcher, he confirmed it was just a fun idea he had that wasnt any official artwork for a mode he was working on.https://t.co/o6Fd0xgUdG pic.twitter.com/bdRHuIOtcc— COD: Zombies News (@MargwaNetwork) November 29, 2023
Though this information may not hold much relevance for us now, being four years after the release of MW 2019, it highlights that the developers, despite being the game’s creators, do not hold the final say.
Brian Bright undeniably had a brilliant concept, as shown by the praise for MWZ. However, the decision-makers above would deem it unnecessary, resulting in the mode never arriving.
Perhaps this is a valid showcase that publishers should trust the people making the game and allow them to do what they feel is best for its fanbase.
Four years later, a Modern Warfare game does feature a Zombies mode. This shows that there was an apparent change of thinking. But imagine if this mode was put into the hands of gamers a lot sooner.