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Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition

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Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
The Plants vs Zombies merchandising train continues onward. After a failed attempt at making a board game, PopCap has done the next best thing: give the license to someone else to play with.

RISK: Plants vs Zombies is a "completely customized" take on the classic board game. Featuring a double-sided game board, the game features three ways to play: Tower Defense, Mission Objective, and Total Domination.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Updated with details from PopCap Games.

Plants vs Zombies 2 is not, as feared, a first-person shooter. But that doesn't mean the oft-rumored multiplayer take on PopCap's popular strategy game isn't real.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare can be seen plastered all over Los Angeles Convention Center's South Hall, where many of this year's E3 festivities will take place. This name, if you recall, was spotted long ago when EA registered domain names for it.

Rumblings of a PvZ multiplayer shooter were first heard when internet super sleuth Superannation discovered job listings from EA Canada looking for multiplayer designers with console experience. Undoubtedly, EA will officially announce the game at their press conference tomorrow.

Update: A cached version of PopCap's official website (discovered by Superannuation) gives a few more details on the "PC and console game" which is apparently powered by Battlefield's Frostbite engine.:

Plants vs. Zombies is digging into the trenches with an explosive new action experience. Blast zombies, plants and new characters across a mine-blowing PvZ world. Take on Co-op and Multiplayer action with your friends and sow the seeds of victory!

Kotaku says we can expect the game to be "in the vein of Team Fortress 2."

Shacknews - John Keefer

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is coming to iOS on July 18, with Crazy Dave returning with a new mixture of plants and levels to keep the dreaded zombies at bay. Of course, this time, it appears that time travel may be involved.

"It’s about time!" Allen Murray, senior producer for Plants vs. Zombies 2, said in a release. "We're confident that players will see the love and attention we've put into this game. We've created wild new ways to experience the plants and zombies you know and love as well as packing the game with tons of completely new content, and we're still hard at work coming up with even more cool stuff that will keep Plants vs. Zombies 2 fresh and evolving in the months and years following launch."

The release mentions past and future times with the new levels for the free-to-play "live service," and also reveals new power up that will "supercharge" plants. Check out the new trailer for a hint at things to come for the iPhone and iPad.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time will be released sometime in July">Plants vs Zombies 2

"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.

Social misfits with webcams, hipster dudes in a creative start-up, angry granddads, PC Gamer writers typing from their living room couch—oh yeah, everyone wants a piece of that pea-hurling action. This asparagus enthusiast is hoping that the "Aspearagus" makes it into PvZ2—what sort of veggies are you hoping to see?

Shacknews - Andrew Yoon

Plants vs Zombies 2 now has a subtitle. Oh, and something resembling a release date. Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time is coming this July, PopCap Games announced on Facebook. It will be available this July.

We're assuming that the title serves a double purpose, going beyond just the frustrated demands of fans that have been expecting a sequel ever since the original game debuted in 2009. Time manipulation mechanics in a PvZ title would be cool--assuming it's not actually a first-person shooter, of course.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

PopCap announced a few new Plants vs Zombies revelations today, including a release window for the full sequel and the closed beta launch of a Facebook version. Plants vs Zombies 2 will launch in early summer, according to the company. In the meantime, you could check out Plants vs Zombies Adventures, a new social PvZ game.

PvZ Adventures is only in closed beta for now, with plans to expand to more users this spring. It focuses on "road trips" as you travel the country to stop zombies in a variety of settings. You'll be able to send hordes to invade your friends, and the game will boast new zombie and plant types, new defense methods, and leaderboards. You can check out the Facebook page for a chance at getting into the beta, which for now is limited and region-based.

A look at Adventures from Indie Social Games seems to indicate it's a tower defense title, as zombies take a variety of paths to reach a motor home and you're given a limited number of plants to place at the start of each round. New plants include the melee-focused Beat and the Aspearagus, while new zombies include a barrel-wearing charger and an armored Mad Hatter.

"Plants vs. Zombies Adventures is a highly accessible, zombie-zapping adaptation of the original game designed specifically for Facebook," said PopCap San Francisco head Curt Bererton. "The game not only offers up exclusive new plants and zombies along with old favorites, it features all-new forms of zombie combat that will open PvZ to a whole new world. We like to think we’re creating a brand new twist on the classic Plants vs. Zombies that is the most social, shareable and expansive Plants vs. Zombies experience ever."

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to SimCity sells over 1.1M units, free game offer includes Dead Space 3, Battlefield 3, SimCity 4">simcity4

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:

Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)

Bejeweled 3

Dead Space 3 (Standard Edition)

Mass Effect 3 (Standard Edition)

Medal of Honor Warfighter (Standard Edition)

Need For Speed Most Wanted (Standard Edition)

Plants vs. Zombies

SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition

The free game will be acquired through a "redemption portal" which will be rolled out in the Origin client later this week. To take part in the offer, you must register your copy of SimCity on Origin by March 25, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT and redeem the free game by March 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. E-mails with instructions will start going out to owners today—I just received an update and on-message apology which opens:

"Our SimCity Mayors are incredibly important to the team at Maxis. We know we messed up and want to sincerely thank you for staying with us. The good news is we have solved most of the major issues and players are really enjoying the game. We're getting great feedback from our fans and know that many of you are having fun and are exploring this whole new expression of SimCity."

Despite the controversy surrounding and criticism of SimCity's always-online requirement, mixed messages about the decision, and much-discussed simulation flaws, EA says the 1.1 million unit figure makes SimCity the franchise's biggest launch of all time.
Shacknews - Steve Watts

This week's PlayStation Plus update will add another game to the Vita's Instant Game Collection. Sony has announced that the PopCap hit lawn-defense game Plants vs. Zombies will be added to the Plus line-up tomorrow, along with a few discounts and a Vita anniversary sale.

The PlayStation Blog announced that PvZ will shamble up to Plus this week. Retro/Grade is also getting a heavy discount, down from $9.99 in the Store to $2.44 for Plus subscribers.

The update will also bring about the Vita Anniversary sale, bringing steep discounts to 13 games in the Vita library. As previously reported, tomorrow's store update will pack discounts on the winners of the Gamers Choice Awards as well. The sale will be store-wide, but Plus members get deeper price cuts, so you'll have no excuse left not to buy Journey.

PC Gamer
title="Permanent Link to Valve rumoured to be opening San Francisco office, headed by former PopCap devs">Valve

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.

According to the LinkedIn profile of Star Filled's Tod Semple, a former programmer for PopCap, "my recent startup was acquired by Valve and we are opening a new office on the San Francisco peninsula."

Star Filled Studios is comprised of Tod, who has previously worked at Blizzard and LucasArts, and Jeff Gates, who did work on Maxis' Spore and Blizzard's Diablo 3. Both then worked together at PopCap.

Valve's plans for the company are still a mystery. While Star Filled Studios never announced what they were working on, their website states, "our games are made to be playable by everyone and available on iPhone, Steam and many different platforms."

The last company acquired by Valve was Turtle Rock Studios, who made Left 4 Dead before being rolled into Valve's Bellevue HQ. Turtle Rock have since reopened, now independent of Valve.

Thanks CVG.
Shacknews - Steve Watts

Update - Doug Lombardi of Valve confirmed that Semple and Gates have been hired, but offered a 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 Story - An indie start-up composed of former PopCap developers has been acquired by Valve. The developer Star Filled Studios was just composed of two men: Jeff Gates and Tod Semple, both of whom formerly worked at PopCap. Semple says they're opening a new office in San Francisco.

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed the acquisition, telling Edge: "The guys who did PvZ, down in the Bay Area, we're helping them set up a Valve subsidiary there."

The studio site also references work on high-profile titles at Maxis, LucasArts, and Blizzard. The two were working at PopCap's San Carlos office until they were made redundant in August by the company layoffs. They went on to form SFS in September.

Valve's last acquisition was in 2008, when it took on Turtle Rock Studios. That led to the company getting behind Left 4 Dead and then closing the studio before it reopened as independent in 2009. Valve didn't give word on what Star Filled Studios will be working on.


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