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Jeff Goldblum, Heather Graham, and Ron Perlman lead Black Ops 3’s Lovecraft Noir Zombie mode

Call of Duty may still be barreling forward into the dystopian future with Black Ops III, but don’t expect more cybernetically-enhanced exo-zombies as in Advanced Warfare. Call of Duty: Black Ops III‘s zombie mode, Shadows of Evil, is taking a u-turn into the past with 1940s paranormal horror that seems to take more than a few cues from the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Developer Treyarch revealed the debut trailer at San Diego Comic Con, promising “the deepest Zombies experience to date.”

Shadow of Evil casts up to four players as classic film noir archtypes — the Magician, the Femme Fatale, the Cop, and the Boxer — who are pulled into strange and terrible circumstances by a mysterious figure known as the Shadow Man. Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic ParkThe Fly), Heather Graham (The Hangover I-III, Boogie Nights), Neil McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger, Band of Brothers), Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Pacific Rim), and Robert Picardo (Star Trek: VoyagerThe Wonder Years) lend their voices and likenesses to the characters.

A cooperative survival zombie mode has been a regular feature in Call of Duty games since Nazi Zombies was added as an Easter egg in Call of Duty: World at War. That initial mode was a relatively simple exercise in surviving for as many waves as possible, but subsequent iterations have grown increasingly complex in terms of gameplay and narrative.

“The development team has packed Shadows of Evil with more gameplay and fun than any other experience before it,” explains Treyarch and Activision’s press release, “and has an appropriately twisted and deep narrative, performed by fantastic acting talent, that will keep our fans spinning.”

Just because it’s gone back into the past, don’t expect merely prosaic tommy guns. The trailer offers glimpses of a few gadgets, including a rocket-propelled shield, and also shows off a number of paranormal abilities that the players will be able to access from some sort of magical gumball machine. One of these turns the player temporarily into a ravaging tentacle monster. And those will come in handy because there are more than just zombies to contend with this time around. You’ll also be dealing with monstrous, Lovecraftian creatures.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III, including Shadows of Evil, is scheduled to launch worldwide on November 6, 2015 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. Pre-ordering on PS4 will earn you entry into the multiplayer beta, which launches on August 19, according to a tweet from the developer.

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Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
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