Bejeweled 3 announced! PopCap Week begins!

Graham Smith at

BEJ3_thumb

PopCap have just announced Bejeweled 3, the first proper sequel to the gem-swapping match-three juggernaut since 2004. It has new gems! Also, some kind of "Quest" mode, a "Zen" mode where you can customise the game with "ambient sounds and binaural beats" to help you relax and, if the trailer is anything to go by, a ton of other weird looking stuff. If you're somebody's mum, you are probably so excited right now. In fact, sod it - I'm excited too. It has explosions, and it's due out on December 7th.

This also marks the start of PopCap week here at PCGamer.com. Check below for more details of Bejeweled 3 - including the first trailer and screens - and what we've got in store for the rest of the week.

For the rest of the week, we'll be posting interviews with the founders and designers of PopCap, beginning today with co-founder John Vechey about the making of Bejeweled and the meteoric success of the company. We'll also be giving away free copies of Bejeweled 2 to PCGamer.com registered users who are subscribed to our newsletter, so sign up now and look out for that tomorrow.

According to the release, new and expanded features in Bejeweled 3 will include:

  • Classic: Play the most popular puzzle game of the century, with powerful new
    gems and new ultra-smooth gameplay
  • Quest: Journey through 40 magical puzzles in this multifaceted Bejeweled
    challenge!
  • Zen: Personalize your experience with ambient sounds and binaural beats — a
    revolutionary new way to relax!
  • Lightning: Charge up with a heart-pounding, beat-the-clock bout of gem-blasting
    fun!
  • Secret Games: Unlock 4 all-new games including Butterflies and Ice Storm
  • Badges: Earn up to 65 badges to prove your skills
  • High-definition graphics and high-fidelity audio: Bejeweled is now more dazzling than ever before!
  • Ultra-smooth gameplay: Make multiple matches while new gems fall into place.

The Zen mode seems especially interesting. When I was at Casual Connect earlier this year, I attended a "live focus group," where five mothers of different ages answered audience questions about their gameplaying habits. Some played World of WarCraft, some played on King.com, some playing on Pogo.com, and some via Facebook, but the one constant was that they all played games to relax, and they all played Bejeweled.

Now check out the screens. They have gems in! And some sort of poker mode?