Plants vs Zombies

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Battlefield 3 and Plants vs. Zombies are "On the House" at Origin

Andy Chalk at

Today is the day you get Battlefield 3! Why, you ask? Because today is the day you can pick it up at absolutely zero cost—that is to say, free—as the second game in Origin's "On the House" program.


Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time will be released sometime in July

Katie Williams at

"Hell, it's about time," I imagine a spacesuited sunflower grunting, a cigar dangling between its happy-mouthed lips. Is that the image Plants vs Zombies 2 intended to invoke with its new tagline? Will zergling-zombies make a surprise appearance in the sequel? It's hard to say with this new teaser trailer, but if there's one thing it can teach us, it's that despite the far-ranging diversity of PvZ's audience, all of these hilarious stereotypes are united in their desire for more garden-themed tower defensing—and that they'll finally have a reason to stop complaining come July.


SimCity sells over 1.1M units, free game offer includes Dead Space 3, Battlefield 3, SimCity 4

Tyler Wilde at

On the week of SimCity's ill-fated launch, during which a lot more people wanted to play SimCity than SimCity's servers could handle, Maxis SVP Lucy Bradshaw promised us each a free EA game for our troubles. Today, EA announced that SimCity sold over 1.1 million units in its first two weeks (well, there's your problem), and Maxis announced the list of apology games for SimCity owners to choose from.


Valve rumoured to be opening San Francisco office, headed by former PopCap devs

Phil Savage at

Update: Valve's Doug Lombardi told Joystiq: "As a point of clarification, this is probably better categorized as Valve hiring two new employees instead of an acquisition of a company or opening of a Valve SF office."

Original:Valve Time are reporting that the two-man operation Star Filled Studios have been bought by Valve, and will be heading up a new office based in San Francisco.

PopCap co-founder: Company leadership are "only ones culpable" for layoffs

Omri Petitte at

Today's "say it ain't so" news involves PopCap releasing about 50 employees at its Seattle offices and investigating the shaky future of its Dublin, Ireland branch. Now, PopCap co-founder John Vechey took to the keyboard with an official blog post explaining the decision with unusual clarity.


Plants vs. Zombies 2 announced: "hordes of new plant and zombie types"

Tom Senior at

Did you enjoy Plants vs. Zombies? We did, very much. It was a dark drama about sunflowers plopping out light beads in the shadow of hordes of hungry undead, some of them wearing speedos. Expect more strangeness spring next year when the zombies return with new strategies designed to undo your home grown garden defences. There are no real details yet, but unlike most of EA's other games at the moment, it doesn't seem to be made in the Frostbite engine, as far as we know. Hooray! The screenshot above is from Plants vs. Zombies 1.

“Spring is crullestcurlie ungood time, and plantz grow dull roots,” a zombie told PopCap's press department. “So, we are meating you for brainz at yore house. No worry to skeduleschedlue plan… we're freee anytime. We'll find you.” What a polite young zombie.


What Diablo 3 classes are game developers playing as?

Evan Lahti at

The PC Gamer Word Dungeon hasn't stopped echoing the phrase "What Diablo class are you playing?" for months. It's a constant inquiry. We talked about it at length at the end of last week's podcast. A few of us still haven't made up our minds. With precious time left to make a decision (and hopefully helping you to relieve the same burden), we bugged some developers. We asked Notch, Runic Games, Blizzard themselves, and others: what're you rollin'?


PopCap release Plants vs. Zombies Christmas single called "Wabby Wabbo." No, really

Tom Senior at

PopCap are going head to head with the X-Factor this Christmas. Crazy Dave aka. Cray-Z is the talent behind Wabby Wabbo. It's available to buy through iTunes now. Purchases registered between December 18 and December 24 will count towards Wabby Wabbo's Christmas chart rankings. PopCap mention that "approximately 55p of each 79p purchase" will go to the Concern Worldwide charity.

PopCap point out that Wabby Wabbo "is believed to be the first hip-hop single ever released to feature a yodelling solo by a Yeti zombie." It may also be the first hip-hop single ever released to contain just five real words ("heeey, gonna eat your braains"), and is probably the first to be performed by an animated character wearing a saucepan on his head. The official music video is above, which means you've probably heard it by now. What do you think?


Smart Casual - How PopCap conquered casual gaming

Graham Smith at

Following the news that PopCap has been purchased by EA. We've decided to bring you a feature on the mammoth casual games developer that originally ran in PC Gamer UK issue 220.

Sitting on the floor of Benaroya Hall in Seattle, I’m depressed as hell. I’ve come to the Casual Connect Conference 2010 to hear the makers of casual and social games share their ideas, but in three days of lectures I haven’t heard a single idea about games.

Instead they’re talking about how designers don’t matter. They’re talking about how psychological tricks can turn their audience into zombies. They’re talking about how to use metrics to better monetise your mum. This isn’t just the industry’s business men and women talking, either; these are the people who actually make the games. At a point in history when a new and huge mainstream audience is trying computer games for the first time, our ambassadors aren’t interested in talking about how to make something fun.

PopCap for sale? EA rumoured to be making a $1 billion offer

Tom Senior at

There are strong rumours flying around suggesting that EA are in the late stages of negotiating a deal to buy up PopCap for a massive ONE BILLION dollars. Edge picked up a report from TechCrunch, who have been approached by two unnamed sources who say that Electronic Arts are about to spend 13% of its stock market value to buy up the casual games developer.


Plants vs. Zombiesville? China gets exclusive adaptation from Popcap

Owen Hill at

Popcap have revealed a "Social Edition" of the superb Plants vs. Zombies. The adaptation was handled by Popcap's Shanghai studio, and is launching on Chinese networking site Renren.com. There's no news of an English translation yet, sadly.

Read on for screens and the details.


Massive PopCap sale, all games half price

Tom Senior at

PopCap are holding a Thanksgiving winter sale, with all of their games selling for half price. That means a chance to scoop Plants vs Zombies, Peggle and Bejeweled 2 for almost $10 each.

The sale is set to run until November 29th over on the PopCap site. For an insight into inception and development of these games check out our interviews with George Fan on the making of Plants vs. Zombies, and Jason Kapalka on the inception on development of PopCap's most addictive opus, Peggle.

Yeah, we did just call Peggle an opus. Eat it, unicorn haters.


The best gardens from our Plants vs Zombies swag giveaway

Tom Francis at

Over the weekend we ran a competition to take a screenshot of the coolest Plants vs Zombies garden you'd made, Zen or otherwise, with a massive haul of PvZ swag for the winner. Here are the best gardens we got, starting with the overall winner.


Show us your garden, win a gargantuan pack of Plants vs Zombies swag

Tom Francis at

A huge wave of zombie loot is approaching! To round out PopCap week, we'd like to give away a few more awesome prizes. If you like Plants vs Zombies as much as we do, take a screenshot of the coolest or most interesting garden you've made and post it on our forums. Our favourite will win this mega-pack of awesome loot, including one of the best gaming T-shirts ever, a zombie figurine, and a goddamn apron. Here's what else you get.


The Making of Peggle

Graham Smith at

PopCap Games are the creators of Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, each of them one of the biggest and most lovable games on PC. When casual and social games are reaching ever larger audiences and their developers are getting a bad reputation for poor design practices, how have PopCap managed to find fans amongst gamers and grannies alike? To find out, I visited the studio and interviewed everyone I could find. We're running those interviews each day this week and calling it PopCap Week.

Today I'm speaking to PopCap co-founder Jason Kapalka and the designer of Peggle, Sukhbir Sidhub. It's only now when looking back at the transcript that I realise there are long periods when I don't ask any questions. Jason and Sukhbir have worked together for years, and it shows. They talk away without my intervention, revealing details of PopCap's forgotten first release, a strip poker game called Foxy Poker, and follow it up by going into detail about the many variants of Peggle, including a Thor-themed version called Thunderball, and what would have happened if co-founder John Vechey's mum had been PopCap's accountant.


George Fan and his cat on the making of Plants vs. Zombies

Graham Smith at

PopCap Games are the creators of Bejeweled, Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, each of them one of the biggest and most lovable games on PC. When casual and social games are reaching ever larger audiences and their developers are getting a bad reputation for poor design practices, how have PopCap managed to find fans amongst gamers and grannies alike? To find out, I visited the studio and interviewed everyone I could find. We're running those interviews each day this week and calling it PopCap Week.

Today I'm speaking to George Fan, the designer of Plants vs. Zombies. Alongside a ton of incredibly early sketches from the game's development, George talks about his time working for Blizzard and PopCap simultaneously, PvZ's origins as a double-decker fish tank, and why he dressed as a zombie for the director of Dawn of the Dead. Also, a few words from his cat.


Win Half-Life 2: Episode 29!

PC Gamer at

Attention PC gamers! We’ve got a giveaway so momentous that it stands to eclipse epochal moments in history going all the way back to the discovery of fire by an unfortunate troglodyte in a lightning storm about one and a half million years ago. In fact, it’s so spectacularly massive that it may create a singularity unimagined by even Stephen Hawking at his most fanciful after a fifth of bourbon. What could be so huge? How about this: a magical Steam code that will grant you free, permanent access to Valve’s entire catalog—which includes some of the finest PC games ever made—and every game Valve ever will make. That’s right: you can win Portal 2, Dota 2 and even Half-Life 2: Episode 3.* It’s the prize that keeps on giving, year after year!

But wait, that’s not all! Click through to see what else, and how to win it!

Update: Winners have been drawn, and notifications are going out. We'll post the list of winners soon!

Update 2: Winners posted!


You can play Plants vs. Zombies in WoW: Cataclysm

Tom Senior at

Blizzard have unveiled the latest move in their incessant quest to make sure PC Gamer does as little work as possible. They're putting a Plants vs. Zombies mingame into World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Video below.


Plants vs Zombies update added a secret surprise

Tom Francis at

If you have Plants vs Zombies on Steam, you might have noticed it was recently 'upgraded' to the Game of the Year edition. It stores your savegames online, lets you create custom zombies to put into the game, and adds a new achievements screen that has a little secret. Here's a video.


Guard plays Plants vs Zombies, inmates escape

Jaz McDougall at

Five prisoners escaped a police precinct in Cagayan de Oro in the Phillipines by stealing the duty officer's keys. That's not PC gaming news! But they only managed to steal the keys because the guard was engrossed in PopCap's casual garden-defense game Plants vs Zombies, likely installed on an office computer. We feel your pain, sir or madam.