Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare update adds new map and mode

Shaun Prescott at

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare may no longer be the most whimsical shooter of 2014 (see Lovely Planet) but one thing is for sure: it still exists. To support its ongoing existence developer PopCap has announced it will roll out a new free update later this week (Tuesday in the Northern Hemisphere, Wednesday in Australia). Titled Suburbination, the updateadds a new map in the form of 'Crash Course', a new 'Suburbination' game mode, a new character and a new customisation kit.

Peggle is now free on Origin

Phil Savage at

EA have revealed the next game in their ongoing 'On The House' promotion series. First, they gave away Dead Space. Then, it was Battlefield 3 and Plants vs. Zombies. Now, it's Peggle—making this either the best or worst of their free-game offers, depending on your fondness for unicorns, rainbows, and an impossibly compelling series of block-smashing levels.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare PC version dated for June 24

Emanuel Maiberg at

So far we’ve only been able to watch Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare from afar. PopCap’s biggest, shootiest game yet was released on Xbox One and Xbox 360 earlier this year, and people who’ve played it on those platform seem to enjoy it quite a bit. Today, we finally got a PC release date to look forward to.

PvZ: Garden Warfare's Gardens and Graveyards mode is the cutest Battlefield ever

Emanuel Maiberg at

When we last heard about Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare at E3 2013, PopCap described it as a combination of tower defense and third person shooters. That description, along with the E3 reveal trailer made it sound like other tower defense—shooter hybrids (Double Fine's Iron Brigade and Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die! come to mind).

Peggle 2 and Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare won't be on PC at launch

Phil Savage at

As expected, Microsoft's Gamescom conference held little for personal computer fans (by which I mean people, not heat sinks and stuff). The electro-megacorp have been been quietly dialling back their haphazard PC support over the last week, so they were hardly going to give us a mention now - lest they offend the potentially self-aware Xbone megalith. But nestled amongst their pre-order bonuses and launch exclusives, there was some PC news. Bad PC news: Popcap's Peggle 2 will be spending some time trapped in the Xbox exclusivity prison.

Peggle 2 announced—here's what we want

Tyler Wilde at

EA really dropped the ball at its E3 press conference earlier today—it announced Peggle 2, that is. The sequel to PopCap's pachinko-like hit is coming on [date] later this year to [platforms], and those are the hard facts. Alright, we don't even have a screenshot, but we do have extreme fever dreams of what we hope Peggle 2 is all about.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare combines tower defense and third person shooters

Ben Kim at

We may not be sure if Plants vs. Zombies 2 is coming to PC, but we do know that PopCap has just announced Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare for the PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360. PopCap is mixing things up by making a game that combines tower defense and third person shooters.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 release date announced, PopCap hints at PC release

Perry Vandell at

It’s been a long four years since the original Plants vs. Zombies defended our lawns from the undead horde, but PopCap’s sequel to the beloved tower-defense franchise finally has a release date—for iOS devices. We already knew PvZ 2 would come out in July, but the iOS exclusivity comes as a bit of a shock. We asked PopCap if and when it would release the undead-slaying, botany simulator for the PC.

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.

Origin launches limited Mac alpha client, gives free copy of Bookworm to testers

Phil Savage at

EA are planning to bring Mac support to Origin, and are accepting testers to help trial their client. As an incentive, they're offering a free copy of Popcap's Bookworm to anyone who takes part. Applicants had better really like Bookworm, though, because the Origin store isn't due to go live on Mac until the client's official release.

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.

PopCap and Wooga abandon Google+

Tom Senior at

Google+ was designed to bring down Facebook. Thanks to backing from the likes of Wooga and PopCap, it even launched with its own suite of games to challenge Facebook giants like Farmville. Things haven't quite turned out that way, though. Gamasutra report that PopCap and Wooga are taking their games off the service less than a year after it launched. Ouch.

Gamasutra realised that something was up when they approached the two companies asking for Google+ success stories. A PopCap rep responded by saying "we're not really up for a conversation on that topic, I'm afraid." Ouch.

PopCap releases Solitaire Blitz. It's predictably addictive

Owen Hill at

Masters of the moreish, PopCap games have just launched Solitaire Blitz. It's a Facebook game, but a jolly good one which you should probably check out.

Blitz is a time-based affair, similar to the Facebook/iOS take on Bejewelled: Bejewelled Blitz. You'll gather treasures as you match cards in sequences to make runs. I know that sounds incredibly boring, but remember - this is PopCap we're talking about. They've sprinkled their magic dust all over this thing, forcing you to balance moments of extreme panic with those of careful planning. I also find the sound effect when you click the cards extremely satisfying.

I've embedded the trailer below. Watch that if you're the cautious-type, or just visit Solitaire Blitz on Facebook.

GDC 2012 has just kicked off. We're live on the show floor

Owen Hill at

The Games Developers Conference has just begun in San Francisco. Devs from every corner of the industry are congregating to talk about their craft. It’s a very exciting time.

GDC is less console iteration and booth babe than E3. It's more about quiet announcements and candid industry chatter. That said, this year’s show is already shaping up nicely, especially for us PC gamers. We have men on the ground, sniffing out scoops in real-time.

Will Valve open the Pandora’s box that is the Steam Box? What’s the mystery game that EA are due to announce on Tuesday? What will Sid Meier have to say in his keynote speech? Are Hitman Absolution’s crowds extremely good or a bit good? Read on for the highlights.

PopCap killing off Baking Life, not offering refunds or exchanges for customers' money

Owen Hill at

Are you one of the 100,000 daily users who enjoy creating recipes, baking goods, hiring your friends, and serving customers each day?

Probably not, but that's not the point. PopCap are closing down Baking Life at the end of January, and any "Zip Cash" bought with real-life money will be erased from existence.

I've never baked a virtual cake via the Baking Life app, but that PopCap aren't offering any exchange or refund option sets an ugly precedent for the value of microtransactions and gamer's rights. As pointed out in the screenshot below, PopCap seem keen to redirect players to alternative Facebook titles, but don't seem so keen on converting player's funds.

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?

EA in charge of your PopCap info from January. Wall-nut and Warren seem happy

Owen Hill at

EA are going to be in charge of your PopCap -related info from January 2, 2012. The Peggle/Plants Vs Zombies/Bejewelled-creating developers were recently bought by EA for $750 million.

You'll need to accept EA's terms and conditions by that date or you'll lose access to any PopCap currency you might have lingering in your account. That would be sad.

It's not my choice of image up there - that's how PopCap chose to illustrate the news. The entire PopCap family appear to be delighted with the changes. But they always look happy. Suspiciously happy.

Read on for the full terms and conditions.

Dev Man Talking: PopCap's Jeff Green on the little things in game development

PC Gamer at

Each Month, Dev Man Talking invites a prominent developer to share their thoughts on a particular aspect of the games industry they're passionate about. This month Jeff Green, PopCap's Director of Editorial and Social Media, explains how tiny mistakes can massively change the course of game development and how great developers know what their game is and isn't. Want more Green? He can be found ranting on Twitter as @Greenspeak.