The fan-favourite Call of Duty Zombies map Mob of the Dead is getting remastered treatment for Black Ops 4 and the Zombies community is losing their collective mind.
The Black Ops 4 reveal on 17 May showed a brief teaser for a visually enhanced Mob of the Dead map, now titled Blood of the Dead, and it took no time at all for YouTube to become saturated with hyped-up trailer reaction videos. This catharsis was a long time coming: When the massive Zombies Chronicles DLC was first teased for Black Ops III back in 2017 the community was so sure that Mob of the Dead would return. Many became severely disappointed when the fan-favourite map was missing from the remastered Zombies collection.
Mob of the Dead was originally released in 2013 as part of the Uprising DLC map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and quickly became a beloved part of Treyarch’s Zombies mode. It’s been five years, but I still remembered it being a personal favourite of mine as well. So I decided to venture back to Blacks Ops II to remember what made this map so special.
Mob of the Dead takes place on Alcatraz Island, putting players in the shoes of an intriguing cast of characters. You wear prison blues as you control one of four organised-crime types (using the voices and likenesses of well-known movie mobsters Ray Liotta, Chazz Palminteri, Joe Pantoliano, and Michael Madsen) locked up on the Rock during the Prohibition era. Of course, this is a twisted Zombies story, so it turns out that these characters are already dead and reliving the nightmare of prison on a loop. Their purgatory is also filled with tonnes of undead, obviously.
This is probably the best Zombies map ever in terms of storytelling and visuals, with great bits of character detail and cinematics. Plus, the atmosphere is fully complete once you complete the quick steps to activate the Easter egg that plays the Johnny Cash song “Rusty Cage.”
The prison’s narrow cell-block pathways can feel claustrophobic and frustrating at first, but the map has a really great layout once you get all the areas unlocked. The cafeteria, rooftop, and docks can be great locations to train the zombies when trying to survive for high rounds. Plus, there’s just something about grimy, old prison cells and hanging bodies that really set a great atmosphere for Zombies mode.
I didn’t get far into my revisit before realising I’d forgotten how to turn on the power to the prison, which is a main objective when starting a game of Zombies. I quickly remembered that Mob of the Dead introduced a new game mechanic called Afterlife Mode. Afterlife lets you temporarily leave your body to access out-of-reach areas and zap electrical devices, and that’s what I needed to locate and juice up the power switches. This mode can be purposely activated by interacting with high-voltage boxes or by getting unlucky with a horde of hungry zombies.
Afterlife makes you feel less guilty about going into the downed state during early rounds because you can make death useful. Like a total noob, I got lost in a confusion of underground corridors and downed myself pretty early on in my solo match, but then I quickly used that time to power up a few switches needed to explore more of the prison and power up a perk machine.
Building and obtaining special “wonder weapons” can also help make for a satisfying Zombies experience, and Mob of the Dead has some of the most powerful choices for fun zombie slayage. The Blundergat is like a shotgun-minigun hybrid, there’s a mystical tomahawk known as Hell’s Retriever, and there’s even a golden spork. The popular two-in-one eating utensil is a powerful one-hit kill until about round 34.
The Zombies community craves complex Easter eggs, and Mob of the Dead really delivers a rewarding questline to end the mobsters’ afterlife cycle. This is also the only Zombies map where completing the main Easter egg can actually end the game. Normally Zombies matches just go on forever or until you die, but Mob of the Dead changes the game here. This is also the only map where you can kill one of your four playable characters.
However, the return to Alcatraz in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will likely feel different this time. Unlike the previous remastered Zombies maps, Mob of the Dead isn’t just a visual update. One major difference noted in the Blood of the Dead teaser trailer is the character reveal. The main cast of Treyarch’s ongoing Zombies storyline (Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski, Takeo Masaki, and Edward Richtofen) are featured in Alcatraz instead of the mobsters, so we’ll likely see a completely new vibe as Treyarch continues to weave a complex storyline that ties the mobsters to the main storyline characters. Blood of the Dead will be available at Black Ops 4’s launch on 12 October, and I can’t wait to tear into it.