You could see it as you parachuted in: a cloud that crackled with electricity, and a dark tanker headed straight for the shores of Verdansk. On board, a horde of the undead clamoured to escape. Call Of Duty: Warzone Season 6 approached and it promised a zombie invasion; one which I'd been pretty excited about.
Then the tanker beached and we got a new location, Shipwreck! And the zombies stayed within its confines, hmmm. A week elapsed. They moved! But disappeared from their original spot. Hmmm. Another week went by, and the same thing happened again. Then it became clear that this was it - this was the invasion. And just like that, I'd lost all interest.
It's still ongoing, this Warzone zombie 'outbreak'. These zombies have skipped from location to location over the last few weeks, like a circus troupe or a small cluster of hermit crabs. I saw some pictures the other day of a Call Of Duty influencer who'd been sent promo materials from Activision; a blue shopping bag with a note that hinted at the zombies' arrival in Superstore. "Oh, the zombies have shuffled over to that Supermarket have they?" I thought to myself, as a ball of dust rolled across my desk, and a tectonic plate shifted by a millimetre.
I told myself that I was being too harsh on Warzone, that at least the devs were doing something to sprinkle a bit of seasoning on a stale Verdansk. Then I saw a machine buried in a missile silo which measured the 'contagion' to be at around 5%, and long-repressed memories of Sombra's reveal in Overwatch resurfaced. Perhaps I was being too kind.
"I'd say these zombies aren't contagious at all, they're actually quite bashful and definitely sterile."
Blizzard teased Overwatch's resident hacker through an alternate reality game (ARG) for months. You'd tune into this website that would update with cryptic messages at a glacial pace. In-game clues hinted at her existence. Fans sparked theories. And just when you thought she'd arrive, another transmission would drop: "v.126.96.36.199.324??". Translated: "Sit back down lads, it's a while off yet." It's safe to say they didn't tread this path again.
Don't get me wrong. I adore Warzone, I mean, I've dropped into Verdansk practically every day for god knows how many months. But this Warzone zombie outbreak is agonisingly drawn out. I get that there are limits to how much you can mess with the map server wise, or code wise, or whatever, but it feels like they're lightyears behind other battle royale games.
As a reminder, this is meant to be a zombie outbreak, a plague, a contagion. I'd say these zombies aren't contagious at all, they're actually quite bashful and definitely sterile. If anything they resemble tourists and we are the idiots with guns ruining their holiday. I expected zombies to roam free all across Verdansk, but instead I've totally forgotten they're even there.
"Ed this is just the build up, though. If you care about the new map, then you'd care about these zombies." Sure, but I can't force anything. Even if these zombies are reportedly going to spell the nuking of Verdansk into a 1980's themed future (technically the past?), I'm struggling to see this as anything but an overreaction. Why do we need missile silos and atomic explosions to reshape the map and incinerate this plague, when they're no more present than a floater in your eye. A quick blink and suddenly it's as if they're not even there.
I imagine as the clock ticks closer to the next Season and this rumoured new map, we'll see these zombies ironically start livening up a little. Maybe we'll get treated to an in-game live event, where we'll have to run from zombies as missiles plummet into the earth. Just the thought of this gets me excited, but at this rate it'll be a transition born from relief, not a conclusion. Or perhaps, I'll actually feel a little sorry for these zombies who just wanted to see the sights.