Prior to its launch, Modern Warfare 2019 underwent several changes that affected how the CoD franchise worked from then on. Now, a former dev has claimed that the game originally had a Zombies mode which was later scrapped.
Modern Warfare 2019 was the title that gave life to the reboot trilogy of the MW saga, with MW2 and MW3 following in the years since. This game featured an extensive campaign, a revamped multiplayer experience, and the classic Special Ops.
However, the third mode underwent a large number of changes both before and after its launch. Among them, it seems that a Zombies mode was being developed for the game, bringing the living dead for the first time in a MW game.
Modern Warfare 3 finally added a Zombies mode to the MW saga, which caused some mixed reactions within the CoD community. During a social media discussion on November 29, a former developer shed light on why the mode didn’t make it to the 2019 game.
We had hundreds of non fully fleshed out zombie AI in the beginnings of MW2019. The mode we planned was similar to what they have now. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the bosses that we could have zombies fit vibe wise in an MW game. Good for Treyarch that its liked!
— Brian Bright (@BrianBright) November 28, 2023
In a post, Brian Bright, former IW Zombies Project Director, shared that the team “had hundreds of non fully fleshed out zombie AI in the beginnings of MW2019,” and the mode they initially were developing was “similar to what they [Treyarch] have now.”
Then they followed up by stating they were “unable to persuade the bosses that [they] could have zombies fit vibe wise in an MW game.” However, they complemented the current MW3 Zombies dev team for their work and the positive reception: “Good for Treyarch that its liked!”
MW 2019 ultimately included the traditional Modern Warfare Spec Ops mode instead of Zombies.
In 2020, an Infinity Ward artist shared concept art of the potential Zombies mode. In the image there was “some sort of Russian special forces soldier and his duo of quadruped robots, holding captive zombiefied soldiers by leashes around their necks,” as described by the artist in their post.
Back in 2019, the Infinity Ward team stated they were “trying to create an authentic, realistic feeling world,” and didn’t have the “flexibility to do something like put zombies in the game.” As that would have compromised the “feeling of playing in a world that feels realistic and authentic…”
Luckily for Zombies fans, the long wait has paid off, as Modern Warfare 3 finally managed to incorporate the first version of the undead mode into the Modern Warfare universe with a open-world PvE experience.