Trapped in a zombie-infested theme park? Frankie says “relax.” Activision’s first look at Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s zombie mode takes players back in time to a 1980s-style playground full of Day-Glo, big hair and a whole lot of tributes to the era like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Revenge of the Nerds, parachute pants and track suit-wearing rap stars.
To promote the new game, Activision is taking advantage of Snapchat’s zombie filter with “zombie karaoke.” The new sponsored lens morphs users into zombies wearing a headband and holding a microphone. Fans were able to record a video of themselves singing “Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood with the undead overlay and share it with their friends. Available initially in the US, the lens went live internationally on Friday—marking the first time a gaming company has purchased an international lens.
Zombies in Spaceland is a separate storyline in the usual Call of Duty: Zombies series, and follows four aspiring actors who come upon a mysterious movie theater for an audition. They’ve been invited by director Willard Wyler, portrayed with voice and likeness by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), who was once the shining star of the horror genre. Unbeknownst to the actors, they will be transformed into characters and transported straight into Wyler’s film to fight against waves of zombies in a space-themed amusement park set in the 1980s.
The four actors will meet none other than David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider, Baywatch), who plays a DJ in the theme park in voice and in likeness. Players will get to choose from a cast of four 1980s archetypes—the Valley girl, the jock, the rapper or the nerd.
Zombies in Spaceland aims to attract both hardcore and new Call of Duty zombie slayers, while creating nostalgia with pop culture references. “It’s accessible for new players,” explained Brian Bright, project director at Infinity Ward in a press release. “But [it] also has a deep layer of progression, brimming with easter eggs and various game features that will be a blast for hardcore zombies fans. We can’t wait for fans to go hands-on this fall.”
Nostalgia plays a large part in marketing, and studies show economic decision to be 70 percent emotional and 30 percent rational. Netflix’s break-out hit, Stranger Things pays tribute to the 80s, and movie-goers are experiencing reboots at a staggering rate. At the end of the day (or video game session), however, success comes down to quality content to match said nostalgia. Time will tell if crimping irons and Valley girl speak will be enough to bring back memories for players as they slay zombies in the new Call of Duty game, but the undead wearing parachute pants is sure to induce a few chuckles.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare launches November 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Those who pre-order any version of the game will receive bonus in-game digital items.