About the Zombies Library ~
Welcome to the Call of Duty: Zombies Library.
Have you ever wanted to know everything about COD: Zombies?
Have you ever wanted to find it all in 1 place?
Within these threads you will find almost everything about this great game called Call of Duty: Zombies.
From Map Trailer Video’s, Blog Intel, Wall Writing’s, Pictures, Characters, Perks-a-Cola, Wunder Weapons, Easter Eggs, Side Quest information, Secret Songs through to Character Quotes. I have tried to include everything that would be of interest to help us understand, figure out & explain this complicated game of Run, Shoot & fend for your life!
Most sections and header titles will include links to the original source, as-well as links to possible references for which I think the in-game article draws from. I have tried to limit my theorizing as I want all of the information in here to be as accurate & factual as possible. Let’s try to figure out & explain as much content as we can.
Topics are contained in spoiler tabs to limit major scrolling.
I hope you enjoy our Call of Duty: Zombies Library
World at War: Zombies Index ~
From the Creators – InterviewsSpoiler
From the Creators
- Jesse Snyder - Nazi Zombies, Ray Guns and Magic Chests
- Jimmy Zielinski Interviews
- Brian Tuey Interviews
- Kevin Sherwood Interviews
- Elena Siegman Interviews
- Josh Olin Interviews
- Adam Gascoine Interviews
- Discovering – Call of Duty: Zombies
Nacht Der UntotenSpoiler
- Video Trailers
- Loading Screens
- Playable Characters
- Zombie Characters
- Chalk Outlines
- Power Ups
- The Magic Chest
- The Ray Gun
- Sniper Case
- Wall Writing
- Ammo Crate
- Crashed Plane
- Radio Tower
- Red Antennas
- Video Trailers
- Loading Screens
- Origin of Verrückt Sketch
- Playable Characters
- Zombie Characters
- Power Switch
- Wall Writing
- Datenbediensteter Samples
- Character Quotes
Shi No NumaSpoiler
- Video Trailers
- Loading Screens
- Character Profiles
- Zombie Characters
- Wunderwaffe DG-2
- The Zipline
- The Hanging Man
- Wall Writing
- Pictures, Notes & Posters
- The Meteor
- Mysterious Sounds
- Radio Transmissions
- IOS Easter Eggs
- Character Quotes
- Video Trailers
- Loading Screens
- Playable Characters
- Zombie Characters
- Bowie Knife
- Monkey Bomb
- 1:15 Clock
- Wall Writing
- Die Glocke
- The Flytrap
- Hidden Notes
- Hanging Man
- Dr Maxis’ Office
- Group 935 Field Ops Manual
- Der Riese Datenbediensteter Samples
- Radio Transmissions
- Character Quotes
Interviews from the Creators ~
Jesse Snyder ~ Zombies: Game Mode CreatorSpoiler
Early in the development of Call of Duty: World at War, myself and the Lead Level Designer at the time, Jason McCord, were trying to come up with cool “extras” for the game. For example, CoD 4 had the airplane level at the very end of the game which arguably IW could have shipped without. At the time, we didn’t have anything planned besides “competitive co-op,” which is a lot like arcade mode in CoD4, just co-opified.
We had kicked and idea for an end sequence in CoD:WaW where you’d be placed in a bunker which you couldn’t leave. To your right would be a German officer screaming at you to get on some MGs, and to your left would be those MGs mounted on a window over looking a beach. It was then the player was supposed to realize that you were on the beaches of Normandy from the German perspective, and you had to mow down allies as they came up the beach. Eventually, towards the end of the credits, as the pace got to be too heavy and there were so many guys that eventually they broke through the beach head, you’d hear banging on the door to the bunker. A few seconds later, an explosion would rip through the bunker, knock you unconscious, and you’d be on the ground, facing up. An American squad would light up the place and a bad-ass US soldier would stop over you, slowly aim his gun at you and fire. Fade to black. Finish rolling the credits.
Hmm, actually, that still sounds pretty cool. Unfortunately, there was a lot of resistance against playing as a German, even though the players gets owned at the end and the Americans still win. What could have been a cool cinematic and interactive ending to the game never was.
Later in the project, we added some AI to the level “Little Resistance” (second level in the game) which had Japanese soldiers looking dazed after a rocket strike on their defensive line. These guys sort of stumbled around and every time someone saw those animations, they mentioned how they looked like zombies.
So months passed. One of our producers, Dan Bunting comes in and says “We want to do some extra content for the game, what should we do?” I still really liked the concept of being over run and not really being able to win. One thing that is common in most Call of Duty games is the feeling that you’re invincible, that when things go wrong you’ll be okay, and that everyone lives to see the next day. I think IW did a good job in twisting that safeness with two of their levels in particular. The level where you’re being led through the streets of a Middle Eastern city in the back of a beat up car and eventually shot in the face by one of the antagonists, and the level where you survive a nuclear explosion and eventually die anyway. Bonus points for making them crucial to the story.
Anyway, the first thing I asked Dan was if he’d ever played any “Tower Defense” games. He hadn’t, so I explained how the mechanics are pretty simple (guys come in, at the end of each round you use the points you’ve accumulated to buy various objects / abilities that will help you survive to the next round, repeat until dead) and we could do one fairly easily. Because tower defense games had been proved in Flash form time and time again doing our own version of tower defense could be a pretty big hit.
The model for the extra content I really wanted to follow was that of Geometry Wars. As you might know, Geometry Wars was a game that started as a mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2. Eventually, the game became so popular that Bizarre split Geometry Wars out into a separate game, available on Xbox Live. This model for extra game content is ingenious for two major reasons: one, players get a really fun bit of extra content with a high replay value, and two, the development team can use this opportunity to explore and test new ideas and projects. If everything works out, the fans are happy and you have a prototype for another game.
A few hours after talking to Dan about doing the extra content, I was taking to one of our designers, Sean Slayback, about tower defense games and the proposal to make one. He mentioned a game called “The Last Stand“, which is a flash game where you play as a survivor fighting off zombies. Zombies run towards you and start tearing at a large barricade that is protecting your area. If they break through, you’re pretty much toast, so you move around in your little section of the screen shooting various guns to try to keep them from breaking in. The rules are pretty standard for a tower defense game but with some cool twists. After every round, you get some points which you can spend on building back your barricade, looking for survivors, and looking for new weapons. So depending on how you play, you might choose to get a new weapon, or more people to help you defend, or simply build up your defenses.
So, I played a few rounds and had a huge epiphany. “Zombie Nazis!” I thought to myself. You could do a lot of the same stuff here, but make it more interactive and more intense in the first person. What you you could actually buy barricades in real time? What if you actually could find and buy weapons in the level? What if you could unlock new areas that changed the strategy of the game and the flow of the enemies? Plus you could play in co-op! We have zombie-like animations already (the dazed guys), this is a no-brainier prototype! The engine supported all these ideas and I could immediately see how they could be implemented.
I immediately rushed over to Dan’s office. “Hey, so I have this idea, I think it’s going to be awesome. Let’s do a tower defense game where zombies are attacking a building you’re holed up in!” You could tell that he wasn’t sold on the idea. I gave him my pitch anyway but he wasn’t terribly impressed, even after showing him “The Last Stand”. He told me we wouldn’t have enough time to make it, doing such a game mode would require all new assets, it’d be a huge risk, the mode didn’t fit the theme of the game at all plus it would be too campy. However, when I started pitching the idea to others on the team, they seemed to love it, especially some guys that had played a lot of WarCraft or StarCraft and knew a lot about tower defense games (those blizzard game were where the Tower Defense craze got really popular).
I sat on the idea for a while. Later, I learned that Dan had grabbed a scripter and a programmer to implement his concept of what a tower defense game should be. It was named “Bunker Defense” and basically included sections of levels from the single player campaign. As you ran through the levels, guys would spawn in waves, eventually you’d encounter a flame guy, maybe some dogs. The problem though was that it was missing all the fundamentals of what makes a good tower defense game. You need to be able to buy stuff, rebuild, change your strategies, but most of all you have to defend. In Bunker Defense you were running and progressing through the level. In tower defense games you’re defending a particular area and you need to strategize.
Every week that went by more work went into Bunker Defense and every week was another week I said “We should drop this and do Zombie Nazis instead.” I always got the same lines. “Too risky,” “Too much work,” and so on.
After a few months, I decided to go off and prototype “Zombie Nazis” (originally Nazi and Zombie were flipped) over a weekend. I took one of the scary looking buildings from the Russian campaign, put boards all over the outside and made some contrast-y lighting. At first, I just used the dazed guy animations for locomotion, and had them “melee” through the boards to get into the building. I had doors you had to “buy” to open which unlocked the flamethrower, a couch you could “buy” to get up stairs, weapons on the walls you could purchase to get you into further rounds. All the core elements were there. It was rough but it got the idea across.
I showed off the prototype to a few people. The initial reaction was far better than I had hoped for. Other people could immediately see the potential, even with basically temp animations and limited geometry and script work. The prototype was immediately fun and got a range of positive reactions from people, so I knew we had a hit. The Creative Director, Corky Lehmkuhl, gave me the go-ahead to continue work on it. Dan, who had people working on Bunker Defense wanted to have both his concept and mine in production at the same time. After about a week though, Bunker Defense ended up being cut since it just wasn’t working out and there was only one programmer, Austin Krauss, assigned to making it work anyway.
Unfortunately, Austin and I were asked to work on Nazi Zombies in our spare time and on weekends since we were already in full crunch for the main game. We ended up doing just that. There were some features that were far from being complete. For example, in the prototype I had planned on being able to buy back boards but never got around to it. So once they were torn down that was it. At one stage Austin made it so you could buy them all back in one shot, and later he had it so you buy them back individually. I knew the board buying mechanic was a key part of the game play though, so I’m glad he got that working early on.
Our Lead Animator, Jimmy Zielinski, finally got around to playing the prototype and his head gibbed with excitement. “If you need any animations for this, just let me know.” I whipped up a wish list of animations and send them his way. The animators had a mo-cap session coming up soon, so he told me he was just going to get a bunch of zombie animations on the side.
One of my favorite parts of the “Nazi Zombie” saga is that, purely by chance, the day that the mo-cap session happened, one of the actors we had for the day actually plays a zombie at Universal CityWalk. So, here we are, working on this total side project, and as luck would have it we have one of the best actors possible for zombie animations. As a result, our prototype just got a million times better.
So, the animations looked awesome, which took Nazi Zombies to a whole new level. One of the artists, Cameron Petty, wanted to get involved and wanted to make special characters for Nazi Zombies. So, he zombied up the SS Honor Guard characters, made glowy eyes for them, and so on. We had a gibbing system set up from the main game, so we got special gibs made just for the zombies. Plus, we randomly burned some zombies in script so you’d get this mix of regular zombie guys and ultra-dirty, rotting looking guys.
Eventually we hacked in head gibbing. We didn’t have this feature in the main game (exploding U.S. Marine heads is offensive to a lot of people), but I figured out a way we could do it all in script. One bug we ran into was that a Zombie would run around with their head off and attack you every now and then. We actually thought it was awesome, and it stayed in, although we modified it so that guys eventually drop after a few seconds.
By this time I had moved the level away from the small house prototype and into one of the bunkers from the Pacific campaign. However, our Lead Multiplayer Designer, Chris Dionne, fixed up a bunch of geometry issues with it and made it not suck so much. I went in and adjusted all the doors and windows so that it fit with the game play better.
A few more weeks had passed, and Austin and I were still trying to put everything together on Saturdays and Sundays, even through we were working 12+ hours days Monday through Friday in addition to working on stuff for the main game on the weekends as well. I hate crunching, but we were super motivated to work on this.
I had the idea for the “Magic Chest” (people just starting calling it that, I used to call it the Mario Kart box) when we were still in the prototype phase, but never quite got around to implementing it. It wasn’t until we moved the prototype into the new map I started creating new interactive objects like the rifle cabinet, the treasure box (which was influenced from Mario Kart and a trip to Las Vegas) and so on. I knew that to keep the game interesting, there needed to be some randomness as well as some strategy to the game play. People simply loved going to the box and seeing what weapon they’d get so I knew it was a keeper.
The chalk outlines (where you can purchase weapons) didn’t come until much later, although you could always buy weapons even in the early prototype. I always wanted chalk outlines since day one. I sort of imaged it like the Hitman series, where there are outlines of weapons on the wall of your hideout, and as you progress they start showing up. Once our Lead Artist, Brian Anderson, starting playing some Zombies, he whipped up the chalk outlines, re-did the lighting and generally made it look pretty. He also fixed up the box with question marks on it, which was a nice polish touch.
So, in our spare time, we had this really awesome prototype going. Actually, by this time it was beyond a prototype. It was fully functional and fun, with rounds, boards you can buy back, actual zombie animations, near complete geomerty and lighting, a prototyped introscreen and so on.
However, at this point the thing is still buggy as hell still unbalanced (the first round would last like for like 30 zombies, it was just too slow) and Austin and I haven’t had a day off for months. We were at the point where we couldn’t actually work on it anymore, since the main game was requiring so much attention. There were plenty of points at which I was sure Nazi Zombies was going to be cut due to lack of man power. At one point Austin was pulled of to fight fires elsewhere on the project, so I thought for sure it was over.
Luckily, the upper management had the good sense to put our Lead Scripter, Mike Denny, as fully dedicated on “Nazi Zombies”, which it was now called officially. This basically brought the mode back from the dead (ha-ha). He fixed up a lot of remaining issues, polished the hell out of the various features (for example the couch was still just something you’d just buy and it’d go away, so he got had to idea to make it go up to the ceiling with FX) and generally just made it shine. We went back and fourth a lot with our Jimmy and another animator, Phillip Lozano, and played the hell out of it every night while doing tons of balancing on the fly to made sure Nazi Zombies played right. Early on you could get to like level 35 and beyond with ease. We wanted 10 to be the tipping point, with 20 being the point at which if anyone makes a mistake the game ends.
With only like a week or two before submission, I was satisfied with the game play but there was something still missing. Power-ups! I was heavily advised against it, but I added the four power-ups in a day of mad scripting. At first I just grabbed whatever models I could find that were kooky enough to be a power-up model. The original point doubler was a tea kettle. The first Insta-Kill was a crow model. Max Ammo was a rat, and the bomb was… well, a bomb.
Some people hated the drops at first. They had been playing a lot of Nazi Zombies, and thought it took away from the “survival horror aspect” of the game. But, that’s not what we were going for. Really, the most fun part about Nazi Zombies is playing with friends and seeing how long you can hold out. While the atmosphere is somewhat freaky, the game isn’t meant to be a serious survival horror game. It’s meant to be more arcadey and fun.
So the power-up went in, and all around the office you’d hear “GET THE BIRD, OH TEA KETTLE DOUBLE POINTS!” It was an awesome feeling. In fact, by this point in the project the team was mainly bug fixing and content locked (haha!) so everywhere you went in the office you’d see people playing Nazi Zombies. You could hear them across the office, yelling at each other for revives, talking trash about what levels they got to and how far, what strategies they used to get as far as they did, and so on. Nazi Zombies was the buzz of the office. People especially loved the Ray Gun.
The Ray Gun is another awesome, semi-accident that fit perfectly with Nazi Zombies. One of our weapon artists, Max Porter, did the Ray Gun as a total fun, side project for himself. One day he walked by and was like “Hey, want to see something cool?” That was pretty unlike him, so he brings me over to his desk shows me the the Ray Gun model in first person (it looked pretty finished minus the animations).
You should understand that we basically only see guys in olive drab carrying mp40s, thompsons, and garands all day, so this shit looked amazing. I knew then that we had to get animations, sounds and particles to make the Ray Gun shine. So, I went and grabbed our Audio Director, Brian Tuey, who was also amazed, and said he’d do sound for it. Our Particle FX Lead, Barry Whitney, said he’d do custom particles. Jimmy said he’d do animations for the gun. So, when it was all done, we had something that was just perfect as the ultimate Nazi Zombie killer. Once again, the stars aligned.
Meanwhile, Denny was still working full time on Nazi Zombies and adding a ton of polish to the power-ups as well, such as making the guys gib heads on insta-kill, guys catch on fire and gib when the bomb goes off and so on. Our Brian eventually gave us the new, shiny gold models you see today, which look much cooler. I must admit I miss the crow though.
I could tell this was going to be an even bigger hit when everyone in the office is playing it and starting competitions. You’d hear screams all over the office when someone would get a bomb on level 16, or a max ammo when people are running low on ray gun ammo. It was a great way to pass the time when waiting for huge bugs or a disc to be burned. Competitive email chains starting going out with screenshots of the current Nazi Zombie score leader’s screen. One of our programmers hooked up the leader boards as a result. Another programmer and I hooked up the zombie crawls when their legs get blown out. Denny still plugged away, fixing all kinds of usability issues. I can’t stress enough how much more awesome Nazi Zombies became when he starting working on it.
Right up until the end we were finding little exploits. For example, people starting dying (on purpose) with the Ray Gun as you were given 160 bullets in the clip (full ammo) every time you were downed. So, people would sit at the bottom of some stairs, die, blast zombies, get revived and repeat. The tactic was cheesy as hell, but I’m glad people started using it so we could fix the exploit before it went out the door.
So, that’s it. A simple design with a cool theme, lots of luck, passion, and hard work from various team members who went out of their way to try something different. Sure, we didn’t get everything we wanted in there, but I’m fairly sure there will be more Nazi Zombies in the upcoming months. I really couldn’t be happier with the way Nazi Zombies turned out, all things considered.
- Jesse Snyder
Jimmy Zielinski ~ Lead AnimatorSpoiler
Back at HQ, we were lucky enough to sit down and chat with another one of the many talented members of the Treyarch team. Jimmy Zielinski was generous enough to chat with us about Call of Duty: World at War as well as other topics circling the video game industry. Jimmy is a Lead Animator at Treyarch whose responsibilities include maintaining the animation quality, overseeing the concept of behaviors for the AI, and working with scripters, designers, artists, and level builders to make sure that all the animations hold up. Basically, it's his job to make sure that the animation quality is high and that it is able to impact the gameplay in a big way. Jimmy has been in the industry for a while now and has plenty of stories and insight to share with the community.
Are there one or two big challenges in the World at War development that you can remember?
Yeah sure, one in particular would be the flamethrower. So we have this new concept of AI running around with flamethrowers or even the player running around with flamethrowers and what's the implication there? Well, right off the bat what it means is a lot of new animations added to a set that's already pushing the limits of how much animation we can get in the game. So we had to come up with efficient ways to supplement the AI with ways that show him holding the flamethrower and running around with the flamethrower. We had to limit what he could do to make sure that he wouldn't go into cover where a flamethrower might be stuck in a wall or things like that. At the same time, while we consider the quality aspect, we have to maintain the gameplay aspect of the flamethrower and not make it too slow or too heavy or something that would make it not fun to use. There is also the aspect of what the player does with the flamethrower. So now he's burning everything and the AI have to burn, and they have to have animations that aren't "shot with a bullet" death animations, but "burned with a flamethrower" animations. So it's just a matter of really connecting all the dots to that behavior so we can make the animations that make it look appropriate and make it stand out.
What do you love about working at Treyarch and working on the Call of Duty franchise?
One of the things is the fanbase; they are just really passionate. It's really a challenge to live up to their expectations and that is what we really strive to do. At the end of the day, we just want to make a great game. We know there is a fanbase that loves this game and we want to try to push it and come out with new things. That is a huge challenge for me as a developer, to have a built in audience that is just ready to receive it and give me a lot of good feedback.
How long have you been working at Treyarch?
I've been here a little over five years, but I've been on the Call of Duty franchise longer than I've been here. I worked at a company previously that did Call of Duty: Finest Hour. So, my history in games goes back further with Call of Duty than it does with Treyarch. I was always a big World War II buff and I loved the history of it and the lesson to be learned as humans, that kind of emotional side of it. Now that we're pushing that emotional side, I'm really happy that the franchise is going in that direction.
That brings up an interesting question. In terms of the emotional aspect, how do you think games have progressed into the realm of storytelling?
I think the way we finished World War II with our last game, really was the first time that any game, personally, showed war the way that it is supposed to be. You know, it's gruesome and it's horrific. We didn't want to push it so far that we were on a soapbox saying how tragic war is, because at the end of the day we are making a game. So we really wanted to find a balance of making this fun while at the same time showing the player and letting them experience that side of war. It gives us that contrast of sweet and sour. We have the sweet gameplay and the fun experience and we have that sour contrast of this really horrible stuff that is still going on in wars today as well as back then.
On a lighter note, can you remember any funny moment or experience that happened during World at War's development?
Oh, definitely, on a daily basis. I mean we all take our jobs seriously and we want to respect the art and the craft of all things. But really, when you break it down, we're a bunch of kids making games. We still have toys and Nerf guns and all that kind of stuff going on around me that just makes it a really great environment to work in. Funny thing, going back to my first experience with Call of Duty, me and one of the lead engineers at the time, we scripted in some temp dancing Nazis that he then put in a secret room. We put even more Easter eggs like that into the game. When we saw that go out on the community, it was like the funniest thing in the world.
Do you have a favorite mission from World at War?
Not really a mission, but the ending with the Berlin stuff, with the visuals was just really…, we had never seen Berlin done that way in a game before. I think the scale was captured, the end of the war was captured, the way everything was destroyed, and that was just a really good-looking level. Gameplay wise I think it offered some unique challenges with the follow-sniper kind of stuff. The whole level was just orchestrated from moment to moment of just really intense, really severe, diving under flamethrowers, being chased by dogs, running up ladders, running across scaffolding, it all just really had an epic feel. I think that the whole ending of the Berlin level really did it for me.
So what was your story for getting into the game industry?
So it was kind of an accident, to some degree. I started out as a fine artist, sketching and oil painting and stuff. I started getting older, had a kid and decided that I needed to make some money, because you don't make much money painting pictures, or at least I couldn't figure out how. So then I got into something a little more digital. I got into web design and HTML and even writing various low level scripts. From that I realized that I still wanted to do art, so I got into 3D modeling. I realized I wanted to make my previously 2D static art come to life and move. I really kind of evolved over this path where I wanted to be the next guy that animates the next Jurassic Park. That was all I wanted to do, was make my dinosaur. I spent a lot of years refining my dinosaur, all the way from building it, rigging it, skinning it, lighting it, animating it, and I just made it all the way. Now that it was done, I was going to ship my stuff off to Dreamworks or ILM or somebody whose going to do some big production with dinosaurs. So I got a call from this guy who said he saw my resume and reel online and he thinks I would really fit with this company whose doing this title as a kind of technical/artist or animator where I would do scripting of scenes within video games. So, I thought that might be cool and I took them up on it and the rest is really history. I jumped on Finest Hour. I helped script and animate some scenes of the game and realized, this is it. I can do art and bring it to life and people can actually play it. Right then, I realized that there was another dimension to art and that now people can actually experience and make things happen themselves. So, I left the film side behind me and went in that direction.
For people looking to get into the game industry, do you have some general advice for them to follow?
Well, there is always that question of where to start. There's school, but I'm also very self-taught. I went on the Internet and found tutorials and whatever I needed for that moment to learn how to get me to that next step, get me to whatever I was doing personally. So, I always recommend that people just learn constantly and get a really good expertise in what they are doing and you know its never too early to start shopping around and putting your resume and reels online. You never know when you are going to get a break or not and the earlier you start putting yourself out there, even if you feel like your animation or art might not live up to whatever the standard is for the industry, you are still going to get that feedback from people online. So, by putting your stuff out there, you are going to find ways to get better. Get yourself out there and just start knocking on doors.
On a different note, what are your top three games of all time?
Well directly, and as of recent history, I think Nazi Zombies is easily in that top three. I can't say enough about it. I was there from the beginning and I really have a place in my heart for that game and I think it is just so much fun. To be franticly chased by zombies and have your friends try to help you and keep you alive, while you keep them alive, we just did a solid job with that and I am really happy with it. I don't think you could go into the studio today and not find 10 or 15 people who are waiting to jump into that game. I would also probably have to go back to the archives and say, even though it's cliché, Pong. As far as a game goes, you can't get more fun than a little glowing square going back and forth. So, that's probably on my list. Lastly, maybe I'll go with a game I played a long time ago, a game called Parasite Eve. I think that game still resonates for me today. I still draw up that game for ideas. When people are coming up with new features, I say, "well there was this thing in Parasite Eve…," and I just always find myself doing that. It just tells me that I really had a connection with that game, whether it was the music, the cinematics, and the animation, all of it. I really just think they did a great job with that game. You find little treasures, there's the whole sci-fi element, the monsters, and I just had a good time with that game.
Speaking of top games, do you have any genres, outside of shooters, that you are a big fan of?
Totally, I am huge fan of chess. Whether online or video chess, I also have a real chess board that is 4-way chess. It's really fun and I actually pull it out at work when we are having a social day or barbeque or something. The animators will all play a game of 4-way chess. I also love music games, I mean in my heart, aren't we all rock stars? Playing Guitar Hero and stuff I get to live out those dreams and still be a father of two.
Going back to the Map Packs and Zombie mode, are there any great Easter eggs that you know about?
I know that in the new one, Der Reise, there are an overwhelming amount of Easter eggs and I am pretty sure that not everything has been discovered yet.
So for the last question, are there any big trends you see coming up in the industry?
In terms of bringing our industry in line with cinema and film and what qualities we can reach, we are always pushing the boundaries. Especially this year, we've been making significant upgrades in our engine, animation tools, and art quality that are going to get us a lot closer to that cinematic feel. So there are definitely some cinematic-esque features that will make it into our future projects.
Any last things you would like to say to the Call of Duty community?
Yeah, just keep playing the game and the more you play it and the more we hear from you, the more we know what direction to take the game in. We definitely listen, we definitely hear the comments, and in fact a lot of the things that went into the Map Packs were based on feedback from the community. So, that's all I can say, just keep voicing your opinions.
Brian Tuey ~ Audio DirectorSpoiler
It’s time for all troops to rally around and meet the talented men and women that helped bring this game to life. We are going to kick off our ongoing series of developer interviews with Call of Duty: WaW’s audio director, Brian Tuey.
Keep an eye out for more upcoming posts in the Community Blog, including exclusive Map Pack 2 intel, detailed weapon breakdowns, and more developer interviews.
Nazi Zombies…mainly because there is so much creative energy around this…everything is stylized, so there is a lot of freedom to create (even if the deadlines are really tight). It’s also pretty challenging since everything has to be built from the ground up, especially on the sound side.
What do you love about working with Treyarch and Call of Duty: WaW specifically?
Treyarch rocks! There are lots of really talented, passionate people in every department. Communication is great, our team has great drive, and we care about our games and our fans. I’m excited not only about this map pack, but what the future holds for us.
COD rocks because it has become such an epic franchise. The intensity level while playing is through the roof --- it’s great to contribute to that. This is what you get into games to work on. The best of the best.
How did you get into the gaming industry?
I joined the industry in 1999 as a Jr. Game Designer working on kid’s titles. I got the job by replying to a seven month old ad on some random website. Luckily, they were still hiring. Unluckily, it was to work on a Barbie game. Oh well, gotta start somewhere.
Fun/interesting experiences in development of CoD: WaW?
We were recording my dog in our internal VO booth during development for our dog sounds. He’s a giant pit-bull named Brutus (he clocks in at about 90 pounds). He’s really smart and can do all kinds of tricks if I coax him enough. So, we were trying to get little whiny sounds recorded for “pain” sounds. Obviously, I’m not about to hurt my dog, but I discovered not long ago that if I hold up a treat and ask him to “meow”, he’ll whine a lot. Usually.
So, I’m in the voice booth on my hands and knees, begging my 90-pound monster of a Pit Bull to “meow”. I turned around and staring at me through the glass were about 20 cameras and lots of peering faces. Yeah, it was time to do the audio interviews with the worldwide press. So much for first impressions.
Are there any Easter eggs in Map Pack 2 you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?
Music. You had to flush the toilet 3 times in Verruckt to get the full version of the Nacht der Untoten death song (Lullaby of a Dead Man). If I had to guess, there’s probably another track in Shi No Numa if you look around hard enough. And if I really had to guess, I might even say that it may be based on the Death song from Verruckt. If I were one for conspiracy theories, I might see a pattern there.
Kevin Sherwood ~ Sound DesignerSpoiler
So here it is. If you have questions for Kevin, just ask below. The Elena Interview follows the same format...and should be ready 'soon'.
1. How long have you be writing music?
Well I've been playing guitar since I was 10 but I'd say I've been writing actual music for about 10 years. Before that I was writing crap. Haha Writing music is a very strange process in which you have to balance objectivity with personal connection. I used to write small riffs but I could never turn it into song and then at some point when I was at Berklee I made the connection between melody driven harmony and harmony driven melody. Once I made this revelation I was able to take anything and have it tell me how the song should go. Letting go of the need to impose your will on the song is the hardest and most important thing you can do in songwriting.
2. What kinds of things inspire you?
I listen to lots of different kinds of music. If I were to hear samples of different songs I wouldn't prefer one over another based on genre. I instead listen for something, I don't really have a word for it, that just invokes a sense of inspiration. It could be the synergy between the drums and guitars, it could be the melody of the voice landing on a 9th in a minor key, or maybe just a breakdown after the bridge. I just know it when I hear and think to myself, "This is awesome!"
The biggest influence lately has probably been Sean Murray who did the score for World at War. I was able to make guitar arrangements out of some of the level compositions and just by studying what he was doing I realized he has a grasp of composition that is unparalleled.
3. How did you come up with the lyrics for Lullaby and what do they mean?
Haha Well I don't want to give too much of an explanation because there are clues within the lyrics that may lead to something. I will say that it is about someone who is reflecting on life but also lamenting what has become of it.
4. How about The One?
The one lyrics are from the point of view of someone who has retained enough of their humanity to understand that they have cravings but has not retained enough to have any moral polarity concerning their actions.
5. Have you performed on stage?
Yes indeed. I haven't performed any of the call of duty songs live yet but who knows....
6. What were the most challenging aspects of creating this music?
Time frame. Hahaha Well the hardest part of any song is just starting it. You start questioning things like, "What the hell is this going to be about?", "What key am I going to write this in?" Once I had a riff or a melody the song starts taking shape. I have a tendency to question myself a little too much and get frustrated too. If I hear my own song over and over everyday I start wondering if its even good anymore. I think this happens with all song writers though.
7. Are you doing anything musically in the future?
I will always be writing, recording, and performing. I've been a musician all my life and I love it.
8. Where can I buy your album?
Good question. I'll let you know as soon as I make it.
9. You guys should come up with a band name for the zombie music! Thoughts?
Oh God I'm terrible at band names. I'll let Elena handle that one. Or maybe the people reading this have an idea or two.
10. Kevin do you prefer sound design or music composition?
I can't say that I prefer one over the other because they have so many similarities. You could argue that they are the same thing. They are both compositions except one is of a musical nature whereas the other is more based on frequency and placement.
11. Which song is your favorite?
Oh man I don't think I can choose. I love the minor major seveny/dorianesque flavor of Lullaby but I the sharp 11s in "The One" are great too.
12. Who are you favorite artists?
A few eclectic examples that I have found some useful musical tools from would be Meshuggah, Arc Enemy, Beethoven, Evanescence, Shostakovich, Dimmu Borgir and on and on...
I've also analyzed some really cool stuff from game composers. One in particular that blew my mind when I heard it was the sound track to an old smurfs game from the 80's haha. The composers name is Alberto Gonzalez. When I analyzed it I realized that his use of minor major 7th tonics and the dorian mode was pure genius. The compositions for the cinematics in Diablo II are also treasure troves of chromatic harmony.
13. So let me get this straight...you based one of your songs off of a Smurfs soundtrack written by a guy named Alberto Gonzales?
14. Haha..well, that must have been some album! Anyway, What kind of gear are you using to produce the music?
I'm using a custom Halo 8string Octavia, Fender P-bass, Line 6 podfarm, BFD2, and Pro-tools HD.
15. Anything else you'd like to say?
I've had a great time writing and recording these tunes and I've seen many positive responses on youtube among other sites. I wanted to thank everybody who was involved in the process of getting these songs made (Oscar Zambrano for mastering the songs, Corey Redgrift for playing the keys on Lullaby, Collin Ayers for running the tracking sessions, and Brian Tuey for making it so that I could even do this), thanks to Treyarch and Activision for letting us have some fun, and thank the fans for all the positive feedback.
Elena Siegman ~ VocalistSpoiler
1. How long have you be writing music?
I’ve been singing, honestly, since I can remember, but I started writing songs and playing the guitar at about the same time, when I was about fifteen or sixteen. This is probably more of a question for Kevin, though, since I didn’t do a lick of writing for Lullaby or for The One!
2. What kinds of things inspire you?
For these songs in particular, I was really inspired by the vision and the focus that Kevin had. By the time the songs got to me, they were nearly complete, and he had a very clear idea of what he wanted to do.
When he’d give the songs to me, with lyrics and a guide track, I’d listen just a few times and suddenly would be REALLY eager to just get in the booth and start singing it.
Singing someone else’s song requires a totally different form of inspiration than songwriting does. I just won’t be able to do a very capable job of it if I am not excited about the song or am having a hard time understanding what the songwriter wants to hear. For these two songs, all I had to do was listen to the music and imagine the vocal track a few times before I was completely excited. I’m sure Kevin could tell you about how I’d listen, go over it with him once or twice and then leap up and go “OH MY GOD THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!” and run toward the recording booth.
5. Have you performed on stage?
Does Karaoke count? Ha, just kidding.
Sure have. When I was younger it would be at open mics with my acoustic guitar, and then gigs where I’d play my own songs to a room full of about 40 people max.
When I moved to Boston, I joined an all-girl punk band called Vagiant, in which I was not the singer, but the “lead guitarist”. I put that in quotes because I want everybody to understand that I am a pretty terrible guitar player. We played a bunch of shows, to some pretty decent-sized audiences in my mind (nothing special in the scheme of things, probably).
Kevin and I haven’t performed these songs live, that would be interesting. It would be hard enough for me to sing all of the parts at once, but I have no idea how Kevin will play all of the instruments at the same time. I am pretty certain that I will never be able to hit the high note at the end of “The One” again. That was a miracle recorded on tape.
6. Haha! Vagiant, eh? That sounds like a pretty hard core chick band right there. So, what were the most challenging aspects of creating this music?
It was a little bit of a challenge for me because these songs are so different, stylistically, from what I normally sing. “The One” in particular was difficult for a couple of reasons. When I first heard what Kevin wanted to do, with the whispering/growling of the verses, my first thought was, “Is he crazy? He does realize that I am a giant dork and I will never be able to make this sound cool, right?”
However, he had such a clear idea of what he wanted to hear, and is really so good at giving direction and suggesting different ways of doing things, that it didn’t take many tries for us to eventually get it right. The end product is something I’d never be able to pull of on my own, in a blazillion years. So the big challenge there, I think, is in being brave and trusting that I can try some things I’ve never tried before, and maybe it will work out!
7. Nice, a little self degradation! You were also a singer on some of the Perks-a-Cola jingles…how does singing on those differ from performing songs like “The One”?
Jingles are fun and easy – all you have to do is imitate what you’ve heard on the radio, or in television or movies, a million times over. You can be campy and silly, in fact, the more over the top the better. I am kind of a giant dork, as mentioned above, so I feel really comfortable doing that.
However, too much imitation in a song like “The One” and you’re going to ruin the song. My instinct was to do that at first with both of those songs, because it’s not a style I’m particularly well-versed with, but again, Kevin directed me really well. Pretty much all of my instinct for the first takes of those songs was totally wrong.
8. Are you doing anything musically in the future?
In fact! I’m currently working on my own album, which is ridiculously different from these songs. I don’t want to say too much about it stylistically because it’s still evolving, but I can tell you it is really, really different!
I’m also currently in a band started by another fella at Treyarch, Gary Spinrad, called Elviss Simmons and The Memphis Strutters. There are 11 people in this band – including a four-person horn section and a stand-up bass player. I am one of three female backup singers. We should start playing around town this summer.
Yeah I can’t wait for the Elviss Simmons project to go live. Gary is an amazing guy. (We’ll probably get him doing one of these, too one of these days).
9. So, where can I buy your album(s)?
Well, the where I can’t answer at all yet. My EP is currently in progress and should be done by the fall.
As far as Kevin’s album goes, well – I think he needs to make one. And stat!
10. You guys should come up with a band name for the zombie music! Thoughts?
Well, I ran this through a band name generator with the seed word “Zombie” and this is what I got:
• Zombie Of The Keen Dolphin
• Zombie Service
• Through Zombie
• Zombie Of The Pygmy Puff
• Zombie Puddle
• Tacky Zombie
• Decently Zombie
• Zombie Inside Fear
• Shooting Scarlet
• Change Canadian
• Kink Of The Zombie Breed
• Zombie Underwear
I kind of love “Zombe of The Pygmy Puff”, “Zombie Puddle” and “Zombie Underwear”.
Lol! That’s a brilliant idea. Maybe it’s because I’m a Miami Dolphin fan, but I think I like Zombie of the Keen Dolphin best!
12. Elena, game producing or singing?
That is a hard question! Don’t make me choose!
Honestly, up until very recently I have always thought of myself as a video game producer who makes music on the side. Right now I’m focusing on music full time, so it’s a bit of an adjustment. I love making video games and can’t wait to get back to it when I’m ready.
The other thing is, too, when you are a producer, when you are on a project, you are ON THAT PROJECT. You can’t go on tour, you can’t really leave early to go to band practice, etc. You really dedicate your life to the game you are producing. I don’t mind that at all, but when you do several projects back to back, your music can start to suffer. It’s still possible, though. The entire time I worked on Guitar Hero 2, I was in a band and we played several shows and practiced weekly. So I will never choose a favorite! Never!!
13. Which song is your favorite?
I think “The One” is my favorite. “Lullaby” is really fun, but it was our first time out of the gate, so I had just no idea what was going to happen. When we finished “Lullaby” and listened to it, I know I was really surprised at how great it turned out, I think Kevin was as well, and so when we went to work on “The One”, I think we both wanted to see just how far we could take it.
When “The One” was totally done and mastered and I listened to it the first time, I could not believe it. I still can’t listen to it without thinking, “wow, is that really me?!”
14. Who are you favorite artists?
Ok, we’ll be here all day. I am really, really passionate about the music I listen to. I love metal (in particular, Metallica, Megadeth, Mastodon and Iron Maiden), and I love punk (particularly hardcore, rockabilly and garage punk, too many bands to list), and country music (I’m serious. Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Porter Wagoner), and I love pop music (Prince and.. um, Kelly Clarkson, and I mean it) and I love rock music (Zeppelin, AC/DC, Queens of The Stone Age) and Hip Hop (Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Public Enemy) – I have a LOT of favorites.
15. Anything else you'd like to say?
Ok, well first and foremost, I just want to give mad props to Kevin for being a musical genius and writing some incredible songs on insane deadlines, performing all of the instrumentation himself, and producing and directing these songs to pure awesomeness. I can’t say enough about his talent and how much I respect him, and also how grateful I am for getting the chance to be part of it!
Also, Collin Ayers, who is the best engineer ever, and Brian Tuey, of course, for making it all happen, and the entire COD team for making such an incredibly fun mode (it really is amazingly fun – I feel extremely lucky to be part of it at all!).
Wait, is this the part where I plant an unexpected kiss on Halle Berry?
YES! Haha! Thanks Elena.
Josh Olin ~ Community ManagerSpoiler
DLC 1 ~ Verrückt – Interview
DLC 3 ~ Der Riese – Interview
Adam Gascoine ~ DesignerSpoiler
DLC 1 ~ Verrückt – Interview
Discovering – Call of Duty: Zombies
This is the final mission for Call of Duty: World at War called "Downfall".
After you complete the mission & watch the 15 minute credits roll, accompanied by the awesome soundtrack to World at War,
a hidden game mode is unlocked called - "Nazi Zombies".