Black Ops Cold War's latest Zombies offering, 'Firebase Z', is set to release on February 4. The new map will take our Requiem Team to the jungles of Vietnam, taking on Omega Group, rescuing Samantha Maxis, and slaying the undead with everything you'd expect from a Call of Duty Zombies experience.
The Call of Duty Zombies co-op survival mode has accrued a massive die-hard fan base over the years. While the mode was initially conceived as a small bonus mode in World at War (2008), — at which point the mode was developed by a small team of developers in their spare time, using leftover assets from the other modes — it has grown into a much bigger, more expansive experience in the years since.
Black Ops Cold War arrived in November to mixed reception in regard to the newest interpretation of the Zombies survival mode. Most agreed, it provided huge amounts of fun innovation, while returning to the standard mechanics fans love and expect. However, Treyarch only offered one map for players to experience on release, 'Die Maschine', a particular disappointment after Black Ops 4 had set a new high in 2018 with four maps on day one.
Despite this, popular YouTubers, TheGamingRevolution and DKDynamite, shared reports from reliable insiders, confirming that there was a second map initially planned for release, which sadly didn't make the cut, Firebase Z. Months later this map is finally set to release on February 4 and this week saw the release of the first trailer.
The trailer was packed with little details about the map. The footage was showcased at a very fast pace, meaning there are plenty of little nuggets even die-hard fans may have missed. Here's a list of some of the coolest details I spotted that hint towards this being more than just another Zombies experience.
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT SAMANTHA...
Samantha Maxis is one of the most intriguing characters in Black Ops Cold War's new Dark Aether storyline, which acts as a sequel to the original Aether storyline that ran from World at War to Black Ops 4. Through the original storyline, Samantha was a young German girl with a deep connection to the Aether, a force that gave her a mysterious set of powers. Until the ending of Black Ops 4's final Zombies DLC, 'Tag der Toten', that destroyed the Aether with the rest of the multiverse, banishing all evil to the Dark Aether, and creating one cohesive evil-free universe with only Samantha and her friend Eddie remaining from the original timeline.
Fast-forward to Black Ops Cold War, Samantha is now grown up, during the Cold War in this new universe evil is beginning to return, spilling out of the Dark Aether. Samantha is now working for Requiem — the CIA division handling the undead outbreaks — while investigating Omega group, the Russian counterpart to Requiem.
In the trailer for 'Firebase Z', fans learn Samantha has gone missing while investigating Omega in Vietnam, and a team of Requiem personnel has been sent to rescue her, this seems to be the central plot of the map's main Easter egg quest.
However, it seems there will be more to her role in the map, as the promotional poster, released by Treyarch, showcases both the normal version of Samantha and what appears to be an Aether-powered version. This seems to imply her connection to the Aether remains and her destructive powers may return in some capacity within the new map, which will likely have substantial consequences going forward.
WHERE IN VIETNAM?
While it's been clear for a long time that 'Firebase Z' will take place somewhere in Vietnam, it's not been clear until now exactly where in the South-East Asian country the map would be setting itself.
The map will be split across two major sections, the first being a Vietnamese village, a location that will be oddly familiar to those who have experienced Black Ops Cold War's amazing campaign. The trailer opens with the team exploring this village, before hopping through a portal to Omega group Outpost 25 — a base used to conduct Russian experiments with the Dark Aether — this seemingly implies this will be the starting location for players in the map.
The shots shown of this village bare a strong resemblance to the one explored for Soviet Intel in the 'Fractured Jaw' mission. It seems Treyarch have re-used this environment from the campaign for the new Zombies map — a move which is fairly standard for the Zombies team to save on development time, especially when the ongoing pandemic has created more developmental problems than ever.
Based on the village's layout in the campaign, this area will likely be relatively small and close quarters, filled with tight streets, small buildings, and rooftop pathways to connect them.
'Firebase Z' seems to be a much larger map than 'Die Maschine'. Based on what the trailer shows, it seems as if Outpost 25 will be significantly bigger than the village and will likely make up the majority of the map.
Through the trailer, we are shown a number of large, open spaces, a satellite dish, as well as a variety of large and tighter buildings. We can also spot a player using the flashlight mechanic from 'Die Maschine' in a dark building which seems to confirm, much like that map, some buildings will be pitch black until the power is turned on.
IS THAT 'ARRAY'?
One of the locations on the new map seems to bare a striking resemblance to something fans have seen before. The satellite dish building seen on the Omega Outpost is almost identical to the one seen in the 'Array' multiplayer map from the original Black Ops, even some buildings surrounding it look similar to those seen on the original map.
Treyarch already remastered 'Array' in their last title, Black Ops 4, as a POI location within the 'Blackout Battle Royale' map, so it would fit the tradition of Zombies for them to have ported that over into their new map, naturally with a small graphical update for next-gen platforms.
BOSSES - NEW & OLD
The trailer highlights a whole suite of bosses that will be featured with 'Firebase Z'. The first being a brand-new unnamed boss, who will likely be classed as the new Elite Zombie for the map, meaning they'll pop up every few rounds to cause some hassle just like the Megatons on 'Die Maschine'.
Alternatively, the trailer doesn't seem to showcase any kind of new dog round enemy — which traditionally happen roughly every five rounds, mixing up the standard gameplay - so it's possible these new fast running bosses may be used in that capacity.
It's not just new bosses seen in the trailer. This guy might be familiar to the classic Zombies fans out there as the Mangler, a Russian zombie boss, last seen in Black Ops 3's 'Gorod Krovi' — in the World War 2 ruined city of Stalingrad.
As we previously discussed, all the zombies and evil of the original timeline were banished to the Dark Aether as that story came to a close, now that the undead are beginning to spill out from there, this is likely the first of many classic zombies that will return throughout the Black Ops Cold War season. With the Mangler being a Russian zombie, and with 'Firebase Z' taking place on a Russian base, this seems like a perfect fit.
Those who have spent a lot of time on 'Die Maschine' ought to be familiar with the Hulking Summoner. This is the giant monster who is can be seen walking by the map around round 40. The monster, known as an Elder God played a huge role in the map as a part of various side Easter eggs to get free power-ups and upgrades.
Now, for the first time, the Elder God can be seen attacking our characters on the new map with a giant eye laser. It's unclear exactly when in the flow of the map this giant is going to show up, but it's likely it will be as a part of the main Easter egg quest, as they traditionally tend to conclude with a grand scale boss fight.
One of the most mysterious elements of the trailer is this mystical glowing object. Past teasers for the map have suggested this is some kind of Dark Aether power source that Omega Group is investigating.
It's unclear exactly what gameplay purpose it will fulfill; however, a player looks to be killing zombies around it in the trailer to charge it up, so possibly this could be how the power is turned on in this map. This would make for a fun alternative to the traditional power switch system which does tend to become boring and repetitive.
It wouldn't be a new Zombies map without a new supernatural wonder weapon to slay zombies with, and 'Firebase Z' is no exception.
As of now, the new weapon is unnamed; however, it looks to be a Dark Aether powered AK styled assault rifle which seems to showcase two firing modes - a fully automatic laser rifle, and a grenade launcher type blast. In traditional Zombies fashion, this weapon will likely be accompanied by a suite of various upgrades to switch it up, making it even more overpowered for slaying into the high rounds.
A character is seen at one point in the teaser using a machine, launching himself into the sky from one part of the map to another. Those who are familiar with Treyarch's recent Zombies installments ought to be accustomed to jump-pads, a feature that has appeared on several maps over recent years. In the past, this has usually been indicative of a large map as it provides a faster way to get between locations.
As was previously promised, the release of 'Firebase Z' will bring with it the return of a classic Zombies perk, 'Tombstone Soda'. This perk hasn't appeared since 'Tranzit' in Black Ops 2; however, when it returns next week it's going to be accompanied by some major changes.
Unlike past games, Black Ops Cold War allows players to use Aetherium crystals to upgrade their perks, making them even more powerful and unlocking new abilities. The new take on Tombstone will also incorporate elements of another Black Ops 2 perk, 'Who's Who'.
'Tombstone' will give players the ability to turn into a shadow after death, giving them a shot at reviving themselves. The three upgrade tiers to the perk will allow players to: regenerate health as the shadow, double the bleed-out time while down, allowing teammates more time to revive you, and lastly spawn a drop after death which can be collected on respawning in order to reacquire your lost items.
At one point in the trailer, a bombing run is seen raining down upon Outpost 25. This appears to be one of the new support streak abilities — purchasable from a buildable table using the salvage currency — that will be added with the new update, these being the Artillery and Napalm strikes.
The current suite of support streaks in the Zombies mode is relatively limited, so expanding upon that arsenal with new ways to kill zombies will make for a fun way to add more variety to the gameplay.
Lastly, throughout the trailer players are introduced to the character of Ravenov — a brand-new character entering the storyline with the map. Ravenov is an Omega Group soldier, working on the Outpost 25 base, who has turned on them, helping Requiem by leaking information to Samantha.
While Ravenov spends most of the trailer in a chair communicating with the team, the trailer ends with him standing up, appearing ready to enter the action. This could suggest he may become more involved in the map in some capacity, or potentially arrive as a playable operator in the near future.
Treyarch managed to pack a lot of content into a relatively short two-minute trailer and provided an amazing look at what is sure to be the treat zombies fans have been waiting for.
'Firebase Z' launches free for all Black Ops Cold War players on February 4. Black Ops Cold War is available now on PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.