A new trailer and info dump from Call of Duty studio Treyarch reveals a significant reworking for Black Ops II's us-against-the-world fan favorite mode Zombies.
The latest reworking of Call of Duty's popular Zombies mode, as found within upcoming November release Black Ops II, is heading off several new directions at once, thanks to two variations on its classic team survival mode: Tranzit and Grief.
In its typical form, which has been renamed Survival for Black Ops II, Zombie mode challenges up to four players to repel increasingly formidable waves of living dead -- hammering blockades together and replenishing stocks during breaks in the action -- the sort of scenes one might expect to see in a particularly frantic and involving zombie horror movie.
The Treyarch studio, which introduced Zombies mode to the Call of Duty series as a bonus unlockable by finishing 2008's World at War, may have been taking notes from the Left 4 Dead series.
That's no slight to either brand -- Call of Duty is well known for borrowing from or building on the best of other games or genres, as its use of role-playing game elements in its online multiplayer has proven with phenomenal success.
And while the Horde Mode concept might have been popularized by Gears of War 2, its series' subsequent entry, the recent Halo and Uncharted games among others, any attempt to diversify is an opportunity to reinvigorate a concept in danger of becoming beyond stale.
For where the Left 4 Dead games were built around a clever multiplayer narrative and ingenious dynamic pacing, with its survival mode added at a later date, Call of Duty is going the other way, with a connected co-op zombies campaign designed for Zombies' new Tranzit mode.
Tranzit is larger than previous offerings, and players can explore the more expansive map by bus if they want to speed up the dangerous trudge between action points.
The second new mode is Grief -- "griefing" being slang for spoiling other players' fun -- where two teams of four both face off against the zombie horde, but have opportunities to make life much harder for each other along the way, and that's a neat idea seen in another online shooter by the name of Section 8: Prejudice.