Treyarch Boss: Call Of Duty Zombies Shouldn't Exist

Treyarch Boss: Call Of Duty Zombies Shouldn't Exist

Call Of Duty: World At War's zombies mode has turned out to be a hit of the fans. Interestingly enough, this part was nearly scrapped off before launch.

Fact is, Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia believed that "Call Of Duty Zombies shouldn't exist."

Lamia confessed to the DICE Summit audience that World At War development team came up with the idea and worked on secretly before he knew about it and tried to shut it down.

"It was a really turbulent time in the studio's history, as we were evolving and changing our identity and our cultures were clashing and blending on an incredibly short and demanding Call Of Duty development cycle," he said.

"World At War would be our first shot at a two year development cycle in the franchise and up until this point I think it's safe to say we were still struggling to find our voice and establish our identity inside the franchise, despite the experience on the team it's fair to say we still lacked a bit of confidence."

When Lamia found out about the Zombie section, the team was already behind schedule and crunching to finish the main game on time. Obviously, the responsible thing to do was cancel the unplanned feature.

"We've got a tough development, the team is working with new technology, we're behind schedule, the team is crunched, late stage innovation, unapproved, unplanned, unscheduled, definitely un-greenlit work," he pondered. "As a studio head I was ultimately responsible for delivering to our publishing and our business partners. The classic management, the right thing, the reasonable thing to do would have to just insist that the team stop getting distracted, focus of delivering what we were already signed up for and what we were already behind on delivering."

"And there were some inside the leadership of the studio felt that I needed to make that decision right then or totally jeopardize the development. I almost did, in what would have certainly been one of the biggest mistakes of my career."

Fortunately, Lamia noticed that most of the team members were passionate about the Zombie shoot out. Even after several 14 hours working days, team members chose to stay at office a couple more hours to fight off those Zombies. And that's when Lamia realized that players should enjoy it as well.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Treyarch and Activision higher-ups couldn't believe that a Zombie shootout should exist in a modern realistic triple-A shooter such as Call Of Duty. "Some people in the franchise leadership were totally opposed to zombies and a zombies mode, and they thought it would be a disgrace to the franchise."

In the end, Lamia and the team reached a compromise with management: the Zombies mode was to be made an Easter egg that can be accessed only after finishing the main campaign. This arrangement was later reversed after fans lobbied for the Zombies mode to be accessible right off the bat. This time around, it was upper management who asked Lamia and his team to enable it.