In a not-that-surprising-when-you-think-about-it move, Activision has just announced the existence of Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies for iOS, and its launch date: tomorrow (Activision wouldn’t confirm pricing, but it’s already available on New Zealand’s iTunes Store for $9.99 NZD, or $6.99 USD). Like its predecessor Call of Duty: World at War Zombies, this is a pretty straightforward port from Ideaworks Game Studio of the various maps, modes, and assets from its console brethren.

New additions to this version include: Voice Chat (it can use either the iPhone’s headphones or a Bluetooth headset), four-player co-op via local Wi-fi or online network matchmaking, point multipliers (and online ranking, which will provide a motivation to use said multipliers) and a revamped interface. Now there are three control schemes: an accelerometer-based one where you use one thumb to move, one to shoot, and move the unit around to look-and-aim; a traditional dual-thumb scheme where one moves while the other looks-and-aims; and the “control touch” where you use one thumb to move, but you use the right side of your device for looking and shooting (I’m told, “treat the right side of the screen like a mouse”). A welcome gameplay tweak is the fact that you can just tap once on a barricade to build it; as long as you’re still in front of it, you can defend yourself without having to turn and tap on it rapidly. It has been optimized down to the third generation of iOS devices — essentially, any hardware that can run iOS 4 and upward can play Black Ops Zombies.

Click the image above to check out all Call of Duty Black Ops Zombies screens.

Black Ops Zombies iOS will initially launch with the “Kino der Toten” and “Dead Ops Arcade” levels — the next Zombies map for free download will be “Ascension.” Activision personnel commented that the publisher has learned its lesson on pricing — how pricing the base app and new maps individually didn’t gain much traction, but once they bundled some maps together and cut the price, sales shot up. They didn’t detail any more (such as launch price or exact plan beyond having Ascension as a free map update soon after launch), but we wouldn’t be surprised if, like in Activision’s experiment with World at War Zombies, that map packs go live with a five-dollar price tag.

What’s interesting is that so far, only the Zombies mode has made the jump from console to mobile when it comes to Call of Duty. It will be interesting to see if Activision continues this trend (assuming that the 2012 COD title is from Treyarch, and that they bring a new zombies mode), or if other modes like Spec Ops Survival from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will also be coming to the platform.

By Thierry Nguyen