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Treyarch has revealed the first look and history of its Call of Duty: Vanguard – Zombies mode for the latest title coming on November 5th.
Sledgehammer Games takes us back to World War II with the advent of special forces in its Call of Duty: Vanguard premium game and multiplayer combat. On top of that, Activision will send the Treyarch-developed Zombies mode for release with Vanguard on the consoles and the PC at the launch of Vanguard.
In a video today, Treyarch leaders Craig Houston, Tony Bedard and Gavin Locke answered some of the pressing fan questions about “Der Anfang”, the next chapter in the Dark Aether case that has driven Zombies. This kind of gameplay is sticky for Call of Duty fans, and it’s the kind of thing that prevents them from spending too much time in rival games like Halo: Infinite and Battlefield 2042.
In the video released today, Professor Gabriel Krafft said Stalingrad had a problem when the Nazis found a way to win the war using the Dark Aether unit in the service of the Third Reich.
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In zombies, special forces need all the help they can get to survive the undead.
The story of Vanguard Zombies
Vanguard Zombies reveals that devices from the Dark Aether dimension had contact with humans dating back centuries. Players find out what happened in Dark Aether before the events at Project Endstation changed everything. In fact, the cyclotron event at Endstation is what creates the events of Vanguard Zombies. The dimensional fracture activates long-lasting artifacts collected by the Nazis, giving SS Commander Wolfram Von List an opportunity to bond with a lord of Dark Aether and on his own win World War II for the Third Reich.
Only a small band of Allied special forces who have attached a similar band to their own Dark Aether units stand in his way. So the new characters are in a different setting than last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War Zombies, but they still have the same level of high stakes with global consequences.
The new main villain is Oberführer Von List, commander of the SS battalion Die Wahrheit. His soldiers have plundered the globe for mysterious objects, and their search paid off with an artifact that symbiotically linked Von List to a former lord of the dark eater, Kortifex the Dead. Kortifex shares its power to resurrect the dead, and now the world is in danger of being overrun by an army of Nazi zombies.
Other Dark Aether devices include Norticus the Conqueror, who once led Kortifex’s armies in Dark Aether – now they are sworn enemies. Saraxis the Shadow is a witty, evil trickster who sees people as toys. Inviktor the Destroyer is the ultimate frontline fighter who is at home in battle fighting and is always looking for blood. Bellekar the Warlock is a master of Dark Aether rune magic, fascinated by humans and their warlike ways. Players will learn more about these devices and their rebellion against Kortifex as they delve deeper into the game.
When a human interacts with one of the artifacts, they form a connection with its corresponding Dark Aether device. Each of them gives access to a different ability. Take Invictor’s sword and get his Ring of Fire attack. The Mask of Bellekar gives her Aether Shroud power, Norticus Horn gives Frost Blast, and Dragon of Saraxis gives Energy Mine.
Vanguard Special Forces has arrived in Stalingrad in response to an emergency call sent by Professor Krafft, a demonologist blackmailed into Von List’s service. Players may have already discovered some pages from Kraft’s diary during Black Ops Cold War Zombies, if they looked in the right places.
The soldiers are trapped inside an enclosure conjured up by Kortifex. Cut off from their superiors, they must fight against overwhelmingly undead forces, with Krafft guiding them over radios while their Dark Aether “partners” speak telepathically to them. It all retains a very World War II military feel, but with a unique fantasy / horror edge.
The fighting with zombies takes place in the ruins of Stalingrad, the war-torn farms of Merville, the rooftops of Nazi-occupied Paris and the Japanese army camp at Shi No Numa. All of these sites trapped within Kortifex’s barrier form have dark, disturbing visual touches. You will find piles of exhumed corpses in Stalingrad, shrines and sacrifices on top of the Hotel Royal and skulls and runes everywhere you look.
A typical match starts in the center of Stalingrad. In a small launch area, you can fight zombies, access multiple upgrade machines, see the first three object portals, and encounter a few other surprises. The player’s first major decision is which objective portal to interact with. On day one, the player will have three goals available: Blitz, Transmit and Harvest.
For shorter matches, players will pick and choose the goals and placements they feel they will have the best chance of succeeding at or focus on opening the part of the card that contains the benefits they prefer. For longer play sessions, players need to plan more thoughtfully to open even more of the map and aim for personal records.
Goal completion is the core of the gameplay loop, with Essence and Salvage awarded, which return as two crucial currencies in the game. In addition, and more importantly, players can receive a sacrificial heart, which can provide buffs for the new covenant.
Mystery Box will also increase in power over time, giving players a random chance to truly increase their power. New Perk fountains will be available when the map opens. After completing the fourth goal, players are given the opportunity to start the optional Exfil event so that they can successfully complete the match at their own pace.
Most matches can end with a successful exfiltration of about 20 minutes. This means completing four objectives and then surviving the Exfil event.
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