*BOOM* and the Earth wad gone. Blown up. The ultimate cliffhanger to end Black Ops I Zombies. "What's next?" the fans thought. "Yeah, what's next?" the developers might have thought too...
After 2 years, in 2012, we were given TranZit and the rest of Black Ops II, and whenever you like it or not, you have to admit that there is something odd with it. Something not right. I don't know what exactly, but the entire thing of BO2. Take the main menu for example: Green Run has several maps, names and game modes, while all the others have only 1, or sometimes 2 game modes. "Borough", Turned and Grief in Buried, was added last-minute. Or take Die Rise: You have the whole Earth, see "Great Leap Forward" somewhere on the map, zoom in and you'll see the word "skyscraper", select it and you'll see the name "Die Rise", and then, eventually, you enter the game lobby. It just feels odd. It's like every DLC was supposed to be like Green Run, with many selectable maps and game modes. Or perhaps Green Run should have been the main item in Zombies Mode, with all DLC's surrounding it as nice little side-maps, what Downloadable Content actually should be. BO2 Zombies feels weird. Maybe even out of place sometimes. There must be something behind it, shouldn't it?
Yes there it. Recently, in a interview of YT folks with Blundell (yes...again. Treyarch why don't you give an interview on our forums for one time?), Blundell has explained quite some stuff about the early development of BO2: The development of TranZit. And it actually makes pretty some sense.
So Earth was blown up. Lava, dust and zombies everywhere: A perfect apocalyptic setting. Treyarch could just have continued with the story of Ultimis, and create what Zombies always was: Building barriers, kill zombies, turn on the power, reach the Pack a Punch and do the Easter Egg. Basically the same formula World at War to Black Ops III have. Treyarch can go on forever with this. But the developing team of Black Ops II, which were already with few people (around 30, if I remember correctly), led by the one and only Jimmy Zielinski, thought outside the box. They wanted to do something new. Something revolutionary.
Since WaW, Zombies Mode has grew from a bonus mode to something almost equal to Multiplayer Mode. At the end of BO1, the Zombies Mode fans had grew to a height like never before. Therefore, the developers tried to make Zombies Mode more than 1 map and 4 DLC maps. Like Multiplayer has, Zombies Mode could have different game modes. And the developers were actually working on all these different game modes! "Survival" mode would be casual zombie killing, like in WaW and BO1, comparable to the "Team Deathmatch" of Multiplayer. But instead of "Gun game", "Domination", "Capture the flag" and "Sticks and Stones", BO2 Zombie Mode wanted to provide the game modes "Race", "Grief", "Meat", "Turned", "Returned", "No Man's Land" and possibly even more. A ranking-system. Buildables. Maybe the developers even had thought of a "Create a Class" system, similar to that what BO3 Zombies has. All these gamemodes take place in the post-apocaliptic wastelands, playing as some survivors. It might be because of that that all the current smaller maps have basically no backstory: It should go about the gamemode, not the story. Just a bunch of random survivors who "play" these gamemodes, trying to stay alive in the Apokalypse. It should become absolutely ambitious.
Let's take the game more "Meat" for example. The game starts with two teams, separated from each other by some kind of fence. The whole game is about, how surprising, a piece of meat. The players of one team have to throw the meat via several barriers within the fence to the other site of the map, to the other team. The site where the meat lays is the site that will be attacked by zombies. So the players of the other team have to pick up the meat and throw it as quick as possible to the other side, before the zombies kill their team. It's some kind of volleyball, and the tactic is to throw the meat to harder accisable places (like on the upper floor of the bar in town). Pretty neat game mode, ja?
But there was even one gamemode/map that had a bus driving you through several of the maps of the other gamemodes. This was TranZit: The canon/story map of Green Run. In this map all the smaller maps appeared parts of one big US-military scientific station, the real existing Hanford Site. The map originally had a day/night cycle (the mysterious beams and lazers are most likely a remnant of that). A second bus and bus route. And dang, this map even reintroduced a beloved character of the previous Zombie maps: Doctor Richthofen!
But TranZit was not the map it all should be about. It might become the biggest map and the only map continuing the story, Green Run (and BO2 as a whole) should be about the diversity of abilities. All the gamemodes and mini games is what it all is about. It's about the whole. You could maybe even compare it with Zombies in Spaceland: It's not only about surviving and the Easter egg. It is about all those neat mini games, the rollercoaster and arcade for example, too.
All in all sounds very ambitious, but things changed. Having a team of 30 people thinking, developing, drawing, animating, programming and creating this in lesser than 2 years turned out to be impossible. It was not achievable. Zielinski kept faith in his project for too long, and refused to give it up for too long. At the time he saw the inconvenient truth and admitted that his vision of BO2 was impossible, it was already too late. There was no time anymore, Black Ops II would be released soon. The developers had to throw away all the stuff that was half done and not entirely done yet, and the map TranZit had some significant changes too. Only a survival bus depot, town and farm, and a grief town and farm had survived it, together with the modified TranZit. Green Run had shrunken like it was hit by a 31-79 JGb215, in both size as capabilities.
The game was released, and many players found TranZit a glitchy and empty map. They felt like something was missing and TranZit was condemned to the "worst zombie map ever". Die Rise, Mob of the Dead, Buried and Origins followed, like normal survival maps as we know it. Black Ops III followed, with normal maps as we know it. The casual Zombies-formula. Green Run could have been the flipping point, the map that changed zombie mode enormous. If the developers had succeed, Zombies would have look alot different today. It might look very similar to Multiplayer. Better or worse than Zombies is like today, I leave that to you.....