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August 23, 2012 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Fans of flora versus undead violence rejoice! Plants versus Zombies 2 has been announced for Spring 2013. However all is not well at PopCap games, with a recent layoff of 50 employees, or 10% of its staff, citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games. Somewhat stickily amongst those reported laid off was Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan.
posted by Artw (27 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I better get Peggle 3!
posted by codacorolla at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


2010 interview with George Fan
posted by Artw at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2012


PopCap Confirms Layoffs as the Billion-Dollar Payoff From EA Becomes Less Likely

“The decision to reorganize was 100 percent made by us, with no pressure from EA,” said Vechey. “If we didn’t have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse.”

Vechey adds that a lot of the cuts have to do with the evolution of the industry, and how things are shifting from paid games to free-to-play.

But the cuts also likely have to do with PopCap receiving the rest of its earn-out, which, counting additional payments down the road, could soar to as much as $1.3 billion.

posted by Artw at 5:51 PM on August 23, 2012


YAY FOR FUTURE TIMESUCK
posted by Kitteh at 5:54 PM on August 23, 2012


I'm not enthusiastic about the likelihood of the sequel not being overladen with free-to-play/pay-to-win cruft. Total groundless speculation, but I could easily imagine a universe in which the reason they got rid of the creator is because he didn't want to go along with something like that.
posted by juv3nal at 6:11 PM on August 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Pure speculation: George loudly protested against PVZ2 turning some kind of Farmville-like cash-grubbing nightmare. (On preview, juv3nal has it.)
posted by naju at 6:16 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right now I'm in a huff with Rovio as my daughter figured out how to buy a bunch of bullshit in game power ups for Angry Birds.
posted by Artw at 6:20 PM on August 23, 2012


Yeah no, the shitty FTP titles are not the source of your problems. This is bad business management. 350 employees and you can push out games just a bit faster?
posted by Brocktoon at 6:21 PM on August 23, 2012


Of course, with George Fan out of the picture for PvZ2, that means we definitely won't have a viral-riffic Laura Shigihara theme song either. Because they apparently live together, and it would be awkward.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:23 PM on August 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


What does it say about the economy when the creator of Plants Vs Zombies can't keep a fuckin' job?
posted by hellojed at 6:29 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow 500 people on staff?
posted by smackfu at 6:30 PM on August 23, 2012


Why couldn't popcap stay a small indie company making great, casual, non-exploitive games with a small budget and staff? They could have done well for themselves for decades that way.
posted by empath at 6:43 PM on August 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


I've never heard of this game before, but I immediately thought that it didn't sound terribly fun.

"I am zombie! Roar! Want brains."
*shrug* "I'm a plant, dude. You're out of luck."

So....??????
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Plants vs Zombies is a spin on Tower Defense - you have a lawn that is a grid, and the zombies walk from right to left. You place plants that do various wacky things like shoot peas and explode to stop the zombies getting into your house (at the far left).

The reason it's good is that every single aspect of it is brilliant. The writing is properly hilarious, the pacing is perfect, the levels last just long enough, the graphics are beautiful.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:57 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


@jenfullmoon, the genetically modified anthromorphized killer plants defend you in your house, duh.
posted by Bwithh at 6:57 PM on August 23, 2012


citing the increased popularity of Free-to-play, social and mobile games.

If only they'd been bought out by Zynga!! *sarcasm*
posted by Bwithh at 6:58 PM on August 23, 2012


Zynga may well be their dark future...
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on August 23, 2012


Bejeweled is one of the few games I actually play and the idea of Zynga infecting it gave me a lurch.
posted by immlass at 7:27 PM on August 23, 2012


Why couldn't popcap stay a small indie company making great, casual, non-exploitive games with a small budget and staff? They could have done well for themselves for decades that way.

Because they were not smart like mathowie!
posted by rtha at 7:37 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Has Popcap falenl under the spell-doom of the Gruaniad curse?!!?!?!?

UK Guardian, August 8, 2012:
"Popcap: the 10 secrets of casual game design
How did a studio started in a Seattle garage become one of the biggest casual game developers in the world? Here are the secrets behind Popcap's success"

posted by Bwithh at 7:42 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have replayed Plants VS Zombies more than any other videogame ever. There's just something so instantly soothing about wanton destruction in Vase Breaker whenever I'm having a rough day.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:43 PM on August 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


Today's "social games" aren't that social and hardly games. I think the industry has reached the end of that road. Hopefully the industry meltdown will take it back to its roots: make fun, non-extortion titles with great gameplay. Some of the alternative and hobbyist titles I'm seeing are giving me great hope.
posted by Triplanetary at 7:43 PM on August 23, 2012


Plants vs. Zombies' working title was Lawn of the Dead, which makes you wonder whether the name came first, and the game followed.

Also, seconding nicebookrack that it's one of the best and most replayable games ever. Per Jane McGonnigal, it puts you in a flow state where you feel like you are being challenged, developing skills, and using skills to overcome obstacles.
posted by subdee at 7:59 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why couldn't popcap stay a small indie company making great, casual, non-exploitive games with a small budget and staff? They could have done well for themselves for decades that way.

I can name 750 million reasons.
posted by bpm140 at 8:00 PM on August 23, 2012


PvZ is the only game I play with the sound on. I love that game. I'm kind of excited about a sequel and kind of not, what if it sucks? I loathe the free-to-play/pay-to-win cruft, so it is possible it will suck.
posted by shelleycat at 2:52 AM on August 24, 2012


EA poisons everything it touches. You can be quite sure the game will suck.

I bet juv3nal and naju's speculations that he was axed because he didn't want his game to be turned to monetized garbage is accurate.
posted by Malor at 5:07 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Fall of Angry Birds
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on August 25, 2012


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