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Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition

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Shacknews - Robert Workman
EA has updated with another free offering on Origin. This time it's the first-person shooter Battlefield 3 on-tap for a limited time.
Shacknews - Andrew Yoon
Last month, EA gave away free copies of Battlefield 1942 on Origin. Today, they've made the original Plants vs Zombies free. Like before, there's no catch. Simply add the game to your cart and checkout, and it'll be added to your digital library forever.
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.

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."

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.

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.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

The Frostbite 2 engine gained a strong reputation for realism after it was used in Battlefield 3, and started branching into other genres, such as EA's racing titles. But we might see what it does with a completely different art style too, under the care of PopCap.

A job listing dug up by Superannuation asks for a software engineer with Frostbite 2 experience to work at PopCap. The project is called a "AAA console title" and specifically mentions experience working on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Signs point to this being related to the unconfirmed Plants vs Zombies shooter that we heard about in August. It makes sense for EA to use its proprietary engine and show off its flexibility to boot, but Frostbite 2 wouldn't have been our first guess for the backbone of a cartoon art style.

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