As the series goes on, Nazi Zombies ends up pulling at our heartstrings quite a bit.
All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
World at War season
- We hear a message detailing that Maxis, in a major Kick the Dog moment, decided to use his daughter's pregnant dog Fluffy as a teleportation test subject. The poor animal naturally suffers a horrible fate as Samantha looks on in horror... and she and her litter come back as the raging hellhounds.
Black Ops season
- In Ascension, Takeo believes Nikolai drinks to forget his past, implying he is beyond hope of recovery from his brainwashing. Gorod Krovi more or less confirms this, albeit in a different context.
- In Shangri-La, hearing Brock and Gary die countless times over. Particularly the first one in which we hear Gary's final testament on his tape recorder, that Brock has starved to death and he soon will as well. At the end of the map, the heroes leave them in an endless cycle.
- Maxis being killed in front of his own daughter, and later he's helpless to protect her from Richtofen during "Moon". Then in Black Ops II we see he's been driven mad and he's willing to destroy the Earth and humanity to save his daughter. Even worse? He failed, as Samantha realized he had been corrupted by the Dark Aether and left the Ultimis dimension, so Maxis destroyed it all for nothing.
Black Ops II season
- The Black Ops II menu for the game mode is pretty depressing to look at. The Earth is now a hellish, lava-filled wasteland, its oceans and vegetation lost, and the surrounding space is littered with debris from the rockets' impact. And it's partly because of your actions at the end of Black Ops.
- The radios of TranZit and Die Rise show just how horrific the apocalypse is for the few survivors of the world. They're succumbing to paranoia, fear, and the constant stress of avoiding zombies that can run and easily chase them down, and as Die Rise illustrates, a new airborne strain of 115. Even worse, Maxis and Richtofen are making things even worse for survivors in Washington, Shanghai, and Angola, as they both try to court followers to their side.
- One radio in TranZit details how Jackass Flats, a survivor settlement in Washington with plentiful food and supplies, eventually fell into anarchy and to a zombie horde, since war broke out between survivors who followed Maxis and zombie-eating survivors who followed Richtofen. A man mentions that any neutrals are hunted down and forced to join a side. Another man is heard trying desperately to reach Maxis, who wasn't punctual with his replies due to electronic interference, and bitterly curses him since he doesn't know how to proceed.
- A woman in a Die Rise radio is heard weeping uncontrollably since she hasn't heard Richtofen's voice in a long time, and she's unable to figure out how to proceed with his instructions.
- Mob of the Dead has the mobsters deliver soliloquies whenever they're downed. Sal bemoans the pains of running a mafia and how he's deluding himself into thinking he can resume his old life once he gets out of Alcatraz. Finn bemoans how his wife betrayed him to the police when he refused to divorce her, and Weasel laments being hated by the other mobsters and never having any sort of respect from anyone.
- At the climax of Mob of the Dead, the mobsters learn that they are in a hellish form of Purgatory, and that they actually are all dead in the real world; Sal, Finn, and Billy were executed for killing Weasel during their attempted escape. The group is shaken to the core.
- Misty makes a comment in the opening of Buried that she feels that, despite all their troubles, the Earth will never really be saved. And regardless of whether you help Richtofen or Maxis, you'll find that she's right...at least until Black Ops III.
- The fate of Arthur, the big guy from Buried. The timeline reveals that he followed his master, the Wolf King, loyally until his death. After enduring that, he was temporally displaced to Resolution 1295, and for an unknown amount of time, he was trapped in the jail cell without food or water. While it doesn't seem like he needs it regularly if he was able to survive a prolonged amount of time down there, it's still upsetting to see him trapped and afraid. What's worse? Even though Primis Richtofen eventually rescues Victis from the destruction of the Earth, Arthur is not with them, presumably meaning he eventually died alone.
- In Buried, there are no radios to be found. While it's hard to get a radio in an abandoned western town that was temporally displaced beneath the Angola mining facility, it's not hard to imagine it's also because there's virtually no one left in the world to record the radios. It has been ten years since the missiles hit, after all.
- A deleted conversation from Buried is actually rather upsetting. Samuel makes a plea for the others to listen to him and Richtofen, but the other three harshly rebuke him, one by one, and order him to shut up. Even his sole true friend, Russman, goes off on him. Samuel may not be the most pleasant person but it's still upsetting to hear how even during the apocalypse and when most of the group has become Fire-Forged Friends, everyone else still hates his guts. Worse, this hatred ends up leading Victis to side with Maxis and allows him to destroy the Earth.
- When doing Richtofen's Easter egg in Buried, a step involves you venturing to the future to find the bodies of Misty, Marlton, Samuel and Russman. Richtofen even admits it's upsetting.
- A step in both sides of the Easter egg has you follow a wisp, allegedly the last remnants of consciousness from all the poor souls who died previously attempting to aid Richtofen and Maxis. Just how many poor souls have died in the name of their quests for power, desperately hoping to save the Earth?
- The canonical ending of the map is that Victis helps Maxis take control of the Aether, only for him to announce that he played them and will now destroy the Earth. The characters don't have any specific reactions to this development, but you can easily misinterpret it as silent horror at what they've done.
Black Ops III season
- The ending of the Der Eisendrache easter egg, in which the Origins Dempsey is forced to kill the WWII Dempsey, and the line that comes right before it: "It's good to see ya, Tank."
- The ending of Zetsubou No Shima's Easter Egg, where WW2 Takeo accept his fate after a brief discussion with his younger self and choose to commit seppuku. "None of us choose the means by which mercy will find us, but I am at peace."
- The ending of Gorod Krovi, Nikolai try to talk to his older self, tell him that he empathizes with him since they both went through the same ordeal (namely, the loss of their wife in an air raid). Nikolai 1.0 does not want to listen, drops any semblance of goofiness, and tries to kill his younger self. This results in Nikolai 2.0 having to fire his shotgun in response.Nikolai 1.0: Some things are forgotten for A REASON!!! *Shoots his younger self*
- The entire premise behind Revelations. They were safe, after all they had been through their journey was finally over, their adventure ended and they were free to live in peace... But they still have to fight, one last time.
- Maxis and S.O.P.H.I.A. are forced to merge and sacrifice their souls to seal away the Apothicons forever.
- In the new timeline, Sophia was infected by Subject 26, and Maxis learns of it, and covertly poisons her and converts her into a digital entity, much like how his original incarnation ended up. S.O.P.H.I.A. is horrified and distressed once she discovers her new form.
- Revelations also reveals that the casts of Call of the Dead and "Five" both perished in one fractured timeline. We hear a last message from McNamara, who curses himself for failing to save Kennedy. The official timeline later confirmed the survival of the Ultimis "Five" cast, but also strongly implied the Call of the Dead cast and crew were never found.
- The ending of Revelations in which Monty very nearly erases the crew from existence. It's not out of malice, he says its to protect his new Apothicon-free world, but its still upsetting to see the gang we've come to love fade away and look at themselves helplessly.
Black Ops IV season
- It seems that Treyarch put a lot of the spare time from a lack of a campaign into Zombies. From the four maps given on launch, it's clear that this DLC season is going to be depressing.
- Primis arrives in the lab beneath Alcatraz, and Nikolai observes Misty and the rest of Victis, still in the stasis pods. He only gives a sad look at the young woman in suspended animation, and demands to know why Richtofen has them in there.
- The Blood of the Dead cinematic trailer really emphasizes that the ever-heroic, ever stalwart Primis crew are succumbing to the despair of Alcatraz's hell. Whereas it failed to truly break the Mobsters, Primis themselves, who we know will defeat the ultimate evil of the Aether multiverse twice, are on the verge of giving up. Dempsey appears to be contemplating suicide by revolver, Nikolai bashes a crawler's head in a violent rage, Takeo screams after being drenched in blood, and Richtofen is for the first time lost and doesn't know what to do. We also see the Weasel's hat and a page from his failed comic book, which are cast aside and burned by Dempsey and Richtofen.
- The ending of Blood of the Dead: after Primis Richtofen sacrifices himself to help defeat Brutus and release the souls of Alcatraz, a post-Revelations Richtofen leads the group on a plot to kill Dr. Monty, who the rest of Primis don't know yet. However, Primis Richtofen is still trapped in the Warden's machine, slowly being drained of blood. He has a small Hope Spot when he believes the Revelations Richtofen came back for him, but the Revelations Richtofen reveals that the cycle Primis is in is broken and thus the vials, which Primis Richtofen worked so hard to get to let Primis cheat the universe reset at Revelations, are not needed. Unapologetic, he takes the Summoning Key and leaves the Primis Richtofen to die watching as he is left behind by his friends who are either oblivious to him there, or decided that this was their opportunity to abandon the person they all hated. With a steadily weakening voice he pleads to let him keep going and not let his all his efforts and hard work, all the trials, miracles, and horrors he's experienced be forgotten and made obsolete. His last words being that the Primis crew won't even remember him, regardless of how nice he was, as tears run down his paling, sweating face while the portals they left through disappear. The last shot is of him slumped in his restraints before the machine powers down and the world fades into a dull, silent monochrome. Primis Richtofen dies as the last person, dead or alive, in this entire dimension, forever forgotten with but his propped up corpse as all that remains that nobody will ever see as the dimension collapses.Richtofen:"I wanted to keep going... This me. I was the nicest one... And you won't even remember.".
- Also, the achievement you get for completing the Easter egg? It's called "Most Escape Alive."
- For the most part, Classified is a very goofy map, a throwback to the Black Ops era of Zombies maps. Then you finish the Punch Cards easter egg, and reveal the true fate of Ultimis post-Moon; they were sent back in time, ending up in the Pentagon, and captured for further Element 115 experimentation. A tragic fate for characters people genuinely liked.
"Can't sleep...can't think straight...damn German. Damn little girl."*chuckle* "Know what we did? We told 'em! Don't believe us, they won't listen. We blew it up...the whole damn planet! Blew up the whole thing!""She warned us...got voices in his head. He used us! He used all of us! Fucking Sauerkraut...""We're not finished. Gotta...gotta break free! Gotta get outta here! Fucked it all up...we can still fix it!"*deranged chuckle* "Oorah, Juggergirl!" *whistles the Moon loading screen song*
- And then you find a few more radios in Groom Lake; it's Post-Moon Dempsey, rotting in a warehouse somewhere and slowly losing his marbles. Remember that this is Ultimis!Dempsey, a man who yearns for war and violence like no other. To hear him sound so damn broken is surprisingly sobering. Thankfully the Easter Egg cutscene shows them being rescued (like it helps conisdering Tag Der Toten), but still;
- The ending of Dead of the Night, Godfrey, who was hypnotized by the Order, horrifically kills the other three guests. Scarlett does manage to avenge them by shooting him when his back is turned, but then The Order escapes with Alistair Rhodes in tow. Once again, we're left with a Downer Ending.
- Towards the climax of Ancient Evil, Order-possessed Bruno turns on and violently kills Shaw. The latter doesn't understand what's going on, and begs and pleads for his life from his good friend. Bruno himself is having an internal battle as he tries to stop himself, but ultimately goes through with it, and converts Shaw into the Order.
- Worse still, the entire Chaos story ends on a Downer Ending cliffhanger; Bruno and Shaw converted, Scarlet unconscious, Alistair turned to stone, Medusa about to win, and Diego the only one left to fight her. What makes it awful is the meta; Black Ops 4 was one of the lesser-recieved Zombies modes owing to a lot of bad mechanics and wonky writing note , making it so that Treyarch abandoned the Chaos story and hard rebooted the just-ended Aether with the admittedly well-recieved Dark Aether arc. Chaos' story may never be concluded, all for reasons beyond their control.
- In Alpha Omega, the remaining Primis members have lost a chunk of their memories from Alcatraz, meaning that Primis Richtofen's last words came true - they really didn't remember him. The grouchier, Took a Level in Jerkass Great War Richtofen outright replaced him and no-one cared or even knew. Harsh.
- In the intro cutscene of Alpha Omega, Nikolai, having read the Kronorium, now admits that he pities the mental torment that Richtofen went through as their leader, now that he knows of all the horrors of the universe that Richtofen gave everything trying to stop. He also laments how their story has brought so much pain and suffering to literally the entire universe, and during a montage, we see Misty and Samuel, and we get a stern reminder that Victis got a very raw end of the deal in their story, even when they weren't that important overall.
- In the end cutscene, Samantha once again is Forced to Watch the death of her father. This time, however, it's not from suicide - Monty brutally murders Maxis in cold blood as she and Teddy watch in horror.
- The last cutscene of the entirety of Black Ops Zombies, in the final Aether map "Tag Der Toten" is this. What with it being the true ending of the storyline, it will make you cry.
- Nikolai, being forced to poison the entirety of Ultimis and Primis crew to achieve his end goal. To exterminate their presence, past and present.
- Nikolai performs all of these deeds in an act of regret, and because he views the two crews as more then just his brothers in arms. They're true Fire Forged Friends to the end.
- Everyone's final wishes, from the hilarious requests of the Ultimis crew, to the more serious requests from the Primis crew. It really brings a tear to your eyes.