PopCap have announced the launch of 4th & Battery, a new experimental indie label for "smaller, simpler and sometimes edgier games." The label will be dedicated to releasing experimental PC, Facebook and iPhone games that are free of the long development times of PopCap's highly polished major titles like Plants vs. Zombies. The new label will also feature games for more mature audiences. The co-founder and CCO of PopCap, Jason Kapalka tells us to "expect weirdness."
4th & Battery is named after the address of PopCap's Washington studio, and will act as an outlet for the studio's most off-the-wall ideas. Ed Allard, Executive Vice President of Studios at PopCap explains the need for the new label.
“4th & Battery is a pressure valve intended to keep our heads from exploding. The PopCap brand has become closely associated with ultra-high quality, polish and attention to detail — which is a great thing. But our standard game development process is therefore long and involved, and doesn't really accommodate all of the creativity pumping through our collective veins. 4th & Battery gives us a way to quickly try really strange or marginal ideas, and to give our designers a safe area to hone their chops.”
Sadly, 4th & Battery's first release, Unpleasant Horse, is for the iPhone, but we can expect some interesting experimental PC titles in future. Kapalka says “4th & Battery is a purely experimental, creative label with none of the typical concerns like schedules, profitability, or even target audience. It's kind of the video game equivalent of B-sides or short films,”
The 4th & Battery site is live now. Under the section marked "US" it ominously reads "You Will Learn. Oh, yes. You. Will. Learn."
For an insight into PopCap's long, iterative design process, and the story of the studio's formation, check out our feature on The Making of Peggle .
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Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.