The Radio Times logo

CoD Outbreak event: Can you play the new Zombies mode for free?

The Warzone version of Outbreak is ending today.

Yes, CoD Outbreak features armoured zombies
Published: Thursday, 11th March 2021 at 12:35 pm

Zombies have long been associated with the Call of Duty video game franchise, and CoD fans have been hoping for a new undead experience in Activision's iconic shooter series. Now that wish has come true, with a special zombie-filled event called Outbreak.


As part of the Season 2 crossover event between the free Call of Duty: Warzone game and its full-price big brother Call Of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War, the Outbreak: Zombies experience went live in late February.

Players of Warzone got to experience a special Outbreak event in their usual stomping ground of Verdansk, while players of Black Ops - Cold War owners got to experience a far bigger Outbreak game mode.

As Activision explained to us in a big email full of Black Ops - Cold War details, "The objective based [Oubreak] game is set across multiple regions in the Ural Mountains of Russia and encourages exploration and risk-taking to maximise the spoils of these zombie-infested territories, with teamwork and coordination being essential to completing missions."

But what exactly do you need to know before jumping in, and can you play Outbreak for free? Keep on reading and we'll explain everything.

The Outbreak has begun for CoD fans.
The Outbreak has begun for CoD fans. Activision

What is CoD Zombies Outbreak?

The second season of content linking together Warzone and Black Ops - Cold War, Outbreak is described as "a brand-new way to experience Zombies on a massive scale". You can expect guns, guts and opportunities for glory. Outbreak-themed content was added to Warzone's Verdansk map, while Black Ops - Cold War got a bigger makeover.

Activision explains that the main Outbreak content in Black Ops - Cold War "will task squads of up to four Operators with aiding Requiem in their biggest undertaking yet: Operation Threshold. [...] A typical Outbreak mission begins with a Requiem strike team entering via helicopter, armed with a custom starting weapon and Field Upgrade. A waypoint in the overworld, which also appears on the main map and mini-map, marks the location of Requiem’s primary objective with a star."

What are the mission types in CoD Zombies Outbreak?

Activision tells us there are five main mission types that you could come up against while playing Outbreak. Some of the objectives will be fairly familiar to hardened fans of the franchise, but of course there's a zombie-stuffed twist.

  • In Defend missions, your task is to claim a fully intact scientific sample, place it in a device to study, and defend the machine while it uploads data.
  • In Escort missions, you'll have to protect a rover vehicle (which contains a zombie specimen) on its way to a dimensional portal.
  • In Retrieve missions, the goal is to locate Aetherium Canisters and carry them to rockets for extraction.
  • In Eliminate missions, players will have to locate and take out high-value targets and elite enemies.
  • In Holdout missions, the goal is to survive as long as the on-screen timer states, while zombies flow into a confined space.

Is there a trailer for CoD Zombies Outbreak?

Yes, there is a trailer for Call Of Duty's brand new Outbreak event. Take a look at the Season Two Gameplay Trailer below.

Can you play CoD Zombies Outbreak for free?

Warzone is free and Black Ops - Cold War is a full-price game, so you might be wondering whether you need to pay for Outbreak. The answer to that question is a slightly convoluted one: the Outbreak content in Warzone was always free, but the Outbreak content in Black Ops - Cold War was free for a week before it went behind a paywall.

The Free Access Week for the full Outbreak experience, in Black Ops - Cold War, ran from 25th February to 4th March. As you might have noticed, that end date is now in the past. The Free Access Week is over, so you won't be able to play Zombies: Outbreak anymore unless you pay.

Do you need to buy Cold War to play Outbreak?

Now that the Free Access Week is over, you will need to buy Black Ops - Cold War if you want to keep playing the main chunk of CoD's Zombies: Outbreak content. The free access was fun while it lasted, but it was always meant to end on 4th March.

Outbreak is the long-awaited return of zombies to CoD.
Outbreak is the long-awaited return of zombies to CoD. Activision

When was the CoD Zombies Outbreak release date and time?

Outbreak launched into the world on 25th February, with players being able to jump into the action from 10am PT. Although the game seemed to encounter some day-one problems with reports of the servers going down, those issues now seem to be resolved.

When is the Warzone version of Outbreak ending?

Activision has confirmed that the Warzone Outbreak Challenge event will wrap up its run on 11th March at 6pm GMT, when a big Call of Duty update will drop into the world. Rumour has it that there could be nukes going off in Verdansk and some major map changes, but only time will tell if those rumours are true.

CoD Cold War Outbreak Easter egg

Whenever new content drops, Call of Duty fans always go on the hunt for Easter eggs, and a fun one was already been found in the Outbreak event. It involves a Dragon Relic which will look very familiar to longterm fans of CoD and its zombie events.

As you can see in the YouTube video below, machines housing dragons are dotted around the map during Outbreak, harking back to the zombie-eating dragons found in Call of Duty Black Ops 3's Zombies mode. If you pay to activate the machine, a ring of fire will appear around your character, and your new dragon friend will eat any of the zombies you defeat within that ring of fire. Once you've fed the dragon to its satisfaction, it will fly off, leaving you with a chest of precious loot.

Check out our video game release schedule for all upcoming games on consoles. Visit our hubs for more gaming and technology news.


Looking for the full set of TV listings? Check out our TV Guide


Sponsored content