Call of Duty: Vanguard is finally here, and Zombies players are incredibly upset with the absence of the series’ staple round-based maps. Typically, Zombies maps force players to survive in a wide-open area as they attempt to complete a complicated main quest or simply try to upgrade their arsenal and keep going for as long as possible. This year, the formula has been changed significantly.
The only Zombies map available at launch is Der Anfang, which takes place in a repurposed multiplayer map. The main area of the map acts as a hub, and players have to enter portals to complete objectives in smaller areas in order to progress to the next round. This is a huge deviation from what Zombies players are used to, and the reception is largely negative.
Vanguard Zombies is currently unplayable rn like this is not even a joke, its the truth.
— Lex 🇺🇦 (@MrTLexify) November 4, 2021
Why Doesn’t Vanguard Have Round-Based Zombies Maps?
It doesn’t look like Vanguard will get traditional round-based maps in the future, either. At least not in the way that fans are used to. In an interview with GameSpot, some Treyarch developers shared some insight on what seems to be the studio’s new design philosophy when it comes to Zombies.
“I think we stripped down the round-based experience,” says Gavin Locke, associate director of design at Treyarch. “The ever-increasing challenge and choosing how you want to play and unlocking the map, we wanted to incorporate those elements, and then we used the objectives to be the gate.”
“If Outbreak is one extreme and RBZ [round-based Zombies] is one, very directed versus very open, we’ve taken the ingredients from both and mashed them together. So, you can get in the action faster, but there’s still player agency like Outbreak gives you. We’re trying to offer a little something new from the best of both worlds,” adds creative specialist Miles Leslie.
Call of Duty Vanguard Zombies is an absolute L that has been handed to the community.
— Tom (@Syndicate) November 4, 2021
Treyarch experimented heavily with the Zombies formula in Black Ops Cold War, introducing new modes like Outbreak to the series for the first time. Traditional round-based maps still existed in Cold War, though. With Vanguard, the studio seems to be doubling down on the changes made in Cold War. That doesn’t mean traditional Zombies won’t return down the line, however.
Are Round-Based Zombies Maps Coming to Vanguard Post-Launch?
Treyarch hasn’t explicitly denied the chance that round-based Zombies maps could come to Call of Duty: Vanguard post-launch, but it doesn’t seem likely. Creative director Miles Leslie says “round-based as you know might get worked into some other mechanics.”
“We’re not forgetting the RBZ fans,” Leslie continues. “They are going to be satisfied [with] some upcoming stuff that will be pretty cool, I think.” This doesn’t mean round-based maps are coming back, but it also doesn’t mean that they’re gone for good either. With the strong reactions to Der Anfang from Zombies fans, though, Treyarch could modify its plans for post-launch content and deliver on things that will make traditional Zombies fans happy.
Black Ops Cold War received a ton of post-launch support from Treyarch, and while the studio is no doubt hard at work on its next mainline Call of Duty title, Vanguard Zombies will still receive updates and new seasonal content just like multiplayer and Warzone. Der Anfang could potentially evolve into something that stays true to Treyarch’s vision while finding a way to appease traditional Zombies fans, or a new map could be released that stays true to the round-based formula. As it stands now though, this is what we’re stuck with.
In our Call of Duty: Vanguard review, we were lukewarm on this new iteration of Zombies, saying “Overall, it’s hard to tell how Zombies will pan out from here. Der Anfang is a strong beginning for Treyarch’s new Zombies vision, but with only one map at launch and only a handful of portal zones, it feels like Black Ops Cold War’s launch all over again. There’s no doubt that Vanguard Zombies will eventually evolve into a mode packed with content, but as it stands, there’s not a lot to do.”
Call of Duty: Vanguard is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.