Treyarch’s Studio Head Mark Lamia spoke today at the D.I.C.E keynote in Las Vegas about the development process behind Call of Duty’s now-famous zombies mode. Lamia says that zombies mode shouldn’t exist because of development timing/planning.

“Call Of Duty Zombies shouldn’t exist,” he said, describing that the team had come up with the project, secretly, right when Treyarch needed to be focused on Call Of Duty: World At War.

“It was a really turbulent time in the studio’s history, as we were evolving and changing our identity and our cultures were clashing and blending on an incredibly short and demanding Call Of Duty development cycle. World At War would be our first shot at a two year development cycle in the franchise and up until this point I think it’s safe to to say we were still struggling to find our voice and establish our identity inside the franchise, despite the experience on the team it’s fair to say we still lacked a bit of confidence.”

Lamia talked about how the team was behind schedule on World at War, that he had the responsibility, as Studio Head, of making sure he had to deliver to Activision and business partners. He also states that the zombies project was not green lit by higher ups, and that some people thought it wasn’t a good idea.

“We’ve got a tough development, the team is working with new technology, we’re behind schedule, the team is crunched, late stage innovation, unapproved, unplanned, unscheduled, definitely un-greenlit work,” he summarized.

“Some people in the franchise leadership were totally opposed to zombies and a zombies mode, and they thought it would be a disgrace to the franchise.”

He, however, concludes that he did make the call to let it happen, and see where it would go – and now it’s staple to Call of Duty.

“As a studio head I was ultimately responsible for delivering to our publishing and our business partners. The classic management, the right thing, the reasonable thing to do would have to just insist that the team stop getting distracted, focus of delivering what we were already signed up for and what we were already behind on delivering.”

“And there were some inside the leadership of the studio felt that I needed to make that decision right then or totally jeopardize the development. I almost did, in what would have certainly been one of the biggest mistakes of my career.”

“We made the right choice to follow the fun, follow the passion and bet on a dedicated team.”

SOURCE: D.I.C.E Presentation via GiBiz

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