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Nuketown: The Iconic Comeback & Easter Egg

Nuketown has made a comeback—again—in this year’s Call Of Duty Black Ops Cold War. That’s right, the most widely beloved Call of Duty map of all time returned to the franchise for the 5th time in its history. Nuketown 84 was Treyarch’s fresh take on the old classic map. It’s set in the Nevada desert and gives off a unique 80s aesthetic with its vibrant and energetic color pallet. 

The history of Nuketown dates back all the way to November 2010 when the original Black Ops was released. The game, as you probably remember, came stacked with a solid 14-map roster, of which, Nuketown was by far the standout and most memorable. It had the look of a residential neighborhood in the 50s with the added twist of the entire town being completely fake and populated by mannequins. As the name would suggest the premise of Nuketown is that it’s a live testing zone for nuclear bomb detonations. This premise gave the map an atmosphere of intrigue and suspense, which is a huge part of what made it such an instant classic in the original game. Since then, Nuketown has been widely recognized as the best COD map ever made, hence all the remakes and re-imaginings of the map throughout the years. In fact, Nuketown has appeared in every single Black Ops game released to date.

Black Ops 2 Nuketown in 2025

The first remake of the classic map came with the release of COD Black Ops 2. The thinking here seemed to be ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’; the map featured the exact same layout and dimensions, meaning that the only changes made were cosmetic ones. This version of Nuketown is set in the year 2025 and manages to blend futuristic visuals with the same 50s, retro-esque, vibe of the original. The result is surprisingly imaginative and resembles something out of a Fallout game. 

Black Ops 3 Nuk3town 

The next iteration of Nuketown came in Black Ops 3 as a preorder bonus and turned free to play for everyone. This time around they made some very minor tweaks and changes to the layout of the map to accommodate Black Ops 3’s breakneck pace and wall-running mechanics. All in all, this was poorly received by most COD fans as they wanted the map to be functionally identical to the Nuketown of old. This re-skin of Nuketown—cleverly renamed Nuk3town—is set even further in the future and really nails the science-fiction simulation look it goes for. 

Black Ops Cold War Soviet Nuketown

The next and final piece of Nuketown history comes from Black Ops 4. This time around Treyarch listened to their fans and gave everyone exactly what they’d been asking for, which was a simple remix of the exact Nuketown map layout. They opted for a Cold war era Soviet Union theme to the map. Overall this map was decently well received by most COD fans despite the fact that it was packaged in one of the most lackluster Black Ops iterations to date.  

With Black Ops Cold War, Nuketown returns to the desert with a more run-down and rural look to it than the original. The walls are all decorated with bright and colorful graffiti to give off an 80s vibe. The map once again plays exactly the same as always. This should make it comfortable for old COD fans to hop in and join the action. But beware, expect heavy camping and a lot of spawn kill, after all, this is Nuketown.

Now with the holiday season right around the corner, Treyarch has released a new update for the Nuketown 84 map. This simple re-skin of the map gives it a festive aesthetic with lights decorating the houses and presents scattered around every corner. Instead of taking place during the day, this Christmas-themed map takes place at night and features a new and more vibrant color palette than the original. Play it today as part of Black Ops Cold War's Season 1 DLC drop.

Easter Egg in Nuketown 84 Map

Given Treyarch and their longstanding history of putting small Easter eggs in every one of the Nuketown maps, it’s really no surprise that Nuketown 84 also come with a hidden secret of its own. Before anything else, you will probably need a friend or two because it can be pretty hard to trigger Nuketown 84's Easter egg while playing alone. Once you’ve assembled a squad join a private lobby without bots and get ready to start. To activate Nuketown 84’s Easter egg you will need to go around shooting the heads off of every single mannequin in the map. Do this within 1 and a half minutes of the match starting or else it won’t work. The mannequins spawn in different locations every time, and if you have more players, there will consequently be more mannequins, which is why I advise just doing it with one or two other people. If you complete it, the map will suddenly get one of two filters applied to it. The first is a neon green and black filter reminiscent of an 80s arcade game. And the second has a deep blue and bright red color palette to it, which bears resemblance to games like Far Cry Blood Dragon. The visuals are accompanied by a stellar original soundtrack that has something of a techno and retro touch to it.

This Easter egg is truly a neat addition from Treyarch and makes it feel even more like a traditional Nuketown map.

Nuketown is a Classic

Nuketown is one of those maps that’s just internationally recognizable—even by non-COD fans. It is genuinely a phenomenon in every sense of the word. Its introduction in the original Black Ops helped establish the COD identity. Nuketown came at a time when it was becoming unclear what COD offered that was better than, say, Battlefield and their expansive, 64vs64 warfare. With this iconic map, COD cemented its place as the top dog of first-person shooters, and one decade later, nothing changed.

About the author

Adan Cabal

I’ve cultivated my writing skills and learned to marry my interests by working as a gaming journalist here at Game Champions. This is a perfect way to talk about the things I’ve always loved and share my thoughts with a wider audience.

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