'Night of Living Dead' Helmer George A. Romero to Go Virtual in New 'Black Ops' Game

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Sarah Michelle Gellar and Danny Trejo will also appear in a new undead level of the "Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation" expansion pack.

Director George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead) knows a thing or two about zombies. So it’s no surprise that Activision Publishing enlisted the horror director to appear as himself in the new Call of the Dead zombie level that gamers can download on Xbox Live starting May 3.

Actors Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge), Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and Danny Trejo (Machete) have joined Romero in the new undead level, which is part of the Call of Duty: Black Ops Escalation expansion pack.

The zombie story line was inspired by Romero, according to Mark Lamia, studio head of Treyarch. He said his Santa Monica-based team set out to create an exciting new zombie experience for fans of the genre that takes the gameplay to an “insane new level.”

The story focuses on a shipwrecked crew of fearless explorers who are hopelessly stranded in a remote abandoned Siberian outpost. Their dream of discovering the true origins of the mysterious Element 115 unravels into a hellish nightmare hosted by hordes of ravenous zombies.

“This is Treyarch's tribute to the legendary George Romero, who truly defined the zombie genre and whose incredible work has been such an inspiration to our team." says Dave Anthony, director of Call of Duty: Black Ops. “It was an absolute honor to work with such an amazing and talented cast whose passion and energy brought their characters instantly to life. Fans are going to love this.”

The global phenomenon that is Call of Duty: Black Ops, which has set video game and entertainment records by generating over $1 billion worldwide, has become an online gaming juggernaut. Gamers have logged more than 2 billion hours playing the game online.

The game's debut content pack, First Strike, shattered Xbox Live launch records upon its release in February when it surpassed 1.4 million downloads in the first 24 hours. The follow-up content pack, Escalation, will launch first on Xbox Live before moving to PlayStation Network. The second expansion pack includes four all-new multi-player maps.

"In crafting the Escalation multi-player maps -- Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile -- the team developed them to be distinct experiences in their own right, giving players the variety they crave in both setting and gameplay," said Lamia.

Treyarch worked with writer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight) on Call of Duty: Black Ops, which featured voice acting from Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises) who played Russian Red Army squad leader Viktor Reznov, and Ed Harris (The Rock), who played CIA operative Jason Hudson.