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Report: Plants vs Zombies creator laid off from PopCap

There was a surprising casualty in yesterday's PopCap layoffs: George Fan, creator of Plants vs Zombies.

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There was a surprising casualty in yesterday's PopCap layoffs. George Fan is best known as the creator of one of PopCap's most endearing games: Plants vs Zombies. And although the company is moving ahead with a sequel to the game, according to a report by 1UP, Fan was part of yesterday's layoffs. (His LinkedIn page has not been updated, however.)

If Fan is no longer involved with Plants vs Zombies, it may explain the curious rumor that surfaced earlier--that the next iteration of the franchise would turn into a multiplayer shooter. While the original game was heralded for its simplicity, a look at Fan's GDC talk reveals how much design work and iteration was necessary to make the game as accessible as it is.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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  • reply
    August 22, 2012 10:30 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Plants vs Zombies creator laid off from PopCap.

    There was a surprising casualty in yesterday's PopCap layoffs: George Fan, creator of Plants vs Zombies.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 10:33 AM

      The fucking fuck EA.

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      August 22, 2012 10:37 AM

      Didn't they just announce PvZ 2?

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        August 22, 2012 11:27 AM

        Wait, they announced it??!??!?

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      August 22, 2012 10:37 AM

      Multiplayer shooter? What the hell???

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        August 22, 2012 3:10 PM

        Plants vs Zombies 2 : Modern Warfighter

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      August 22, 2012 10:39 AM

      Incoming EA Spouse 2 (or are we to 3 or 4 by now?)

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      August 22, 2012 10:45 AM

      What the hell is wrong with EA? Seriously that's a load of garbage.

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        August 22, 2012 10:50 AM

        I mean that pretty much puts a nail in the coffin for me supporting PvZ from here on out. What a bone headed decision.

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      August 22, 2012 10:49 AM

      [deleted]

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        August 22, 2012 10:53 AM

        The outrage at EA over this will last longer, surely.

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      August 22, 2012 10:51 AM

      Haha that multiplayer shooter rumor is crazy enough to sound truthful

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      August 22, 2012 10:53 AM

      Zombie Medal of Plant Honorfield 3 =(

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      August 22, 2012 10:59 AM

      the next iteration of the franchise would turn into a multiplayer shooter

      One more step closer to CoD. Yes.

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      August 22, 2012 11:01 AM

      Welcome to what happens when you succeed in the games industry. Anyone still want to get into it?

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        August 22, 2012 11:05 AM

        what if we are all wrong and it was him that was spearheading the FPS PvZ game and EA could only put up with his crap for so long. I wonder what the story behind the FPS really is..

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        August 22, 2012 12:21 PM

        The mass of people wanting to get into the industry is part of why shit like this happens. Why pay this guy a higher salary when they might be able to pay the next big guy half that to create a mass hit?

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          August 22, 2012 1:11 PM

          One could argue that about any job then. Why are game industry types doormatts? Why are they accepting union-less jobs for no pay and no job security? Why in the hell would anyone do these jobs?

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            August 22, 2012 2:22 PM

            Because video games, man! VID EE OH fuckin' games. FUCK YEAH!

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      August 22, 2012 11:05 AM

      George Fan also designed Insaniquarium. Very different mechanics from PvZ but the core design and reward systems are surprisingly close to what is in PvZ.

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        August 22, 2012 11:29 AM

        That game was fun, but damn did it promote Carpal Tunnel Syndrome! haha. Loved it tho.

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        August 22, 2012 12:07 PM

        Huh, that sort of explains the Zen Garden.

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      August 22, 2012 11:07 AM

      These serious of events are so incredibly fucking retarded.

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      August 22, 2012 11:08 AM

      LOL did you dummies maybe stop to think that maybe HE is the reason PvZ2 is taking so long? and why PvZ1 took so long to make too? LOL

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        August 22, 2012 11:41 AM

        on the other hand, ea

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          August 22, 2012 12:06 PM

          yeah because EA really wants to slow down and wait a while bfore they can get PvZ2 money

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            August 22, 2012 12:19 PM

            Because EA doesn't have a history of interfering with successful studios and driving them into the ground.

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              August 22, 2012 1:31 PM

              while they do, it seems to me they are more likely to rush stuff out the door than to delay it.

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                August 22, 2012 3:28 PM

                Plants vs. Zombies multiplayer. EA.

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        August 22, 2012 12:00 PM

        how long did pve take to make? I never heard of it until it was released. and then 1000 versions spawned from it

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        August 22, 2012 12:04 PM

        Yeah they should have rushed PvZ, it would have been a better game in the end right?

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          August 22, 2012 12:18 PM

          according to wikipedia it took 3 years to make. now its been 3 years since the first was released. a game like that shouldnt take 3 years to make, and a sequel certainly shouldnt take that long either, unless there is some drama happening. if they fired him, there was probably some drama

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            August 22, 2012 1:14 PM

            I bet the mobile ports didn't take long and were nearly 100% profit. So one could argue his 3 years work benefited them quite a bit. But who gives a shit once he's done his job right?

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              August 22, 2012 1:23 PM

              not exactly..i mean i am all for giving creators enough time to do their work, but there comes a point where a game is given too much time for what it is, case in point, DNF and The Last Gaurdian. 7 years is a lot of money spent developing what is going to be a niche title for Sony, I honestly don't blame them for getting antsy on TLG.

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              August 22, 2012 3:29 PM

              I wouldn't say 100% profit, but 300,000 sold on iphone alone is a nice chunk of change depending on developmer size.

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                August 22, 2012 3:31 PM

                not when you bought the company for $1,200,000,000. seriously. 1.2 billion

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                  August 22, 2012 4:02 PM

                  I'm not understanding this. Between normal sales and mobile sales (even if it's only iphone sales), it seems like they've made enough money to cover the costs of development over 3 years.

                  What does buying a company have to do with anything? Why does plants vs zombie, a single game, have to make enough money to cover the cost of buying an entire company?

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                    August 22, 2012 6:21 PM

                    popcap was gonna be EA's savior in the social gaming space. making small profits on a non-social game is not what you want your billion dollar acquisition to do. the profits you just described, a social game hit can make that in like a month or two

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            August 22, 2012 2:48 PM

            that's actually not terribly unusual development times for popcap in general, from what I understand.

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              August 22, 2012 2:56 PM

              and so, that given, if that's the reason why they're firing him, it's still pretty dumb since that's the way pop cap has operated for a while, now.

              every EA acquisition seems to end in an inevitable culture clash, as the overall culture of "EA" tries to assimilate developers into the mainstream EA culture and way of doing things (which tends to produce bad results just as often, if not more often, than good results). The problem is almost definitely EA. They are a shitty company.

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                August 22, 2012 3:15 PM

                but EA needs popcap to be more like zynga now which is a different thing than they used to be

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            August 23, 2012 10:15 AM

            How many 'casual' games are pumped out on a daily basis? How many are multimillion unit sellers with critical, widespread, mainstream success? Tetris, Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies,...Bejeweled maybe?

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      August 22, 2012 11:18 AM

      Here's hoping Fan & co make a new studio for casual games like that.

      (Hint, I would back a kickstarter by them).

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      August 22, 2012 11:23 AM

      [deleted]

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      August 22, 2012 2:04 PM

      F2P Generals and this? Wow, EA is going to town!

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      August 22, 2012 4:25 PM

      PopCap is still hiring, though.

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      August 22, 2012 8:10 PM

      Isn't PvZ's music composer married to George Fan, also?

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      August 22, 2012 10:03 PM

      This is why you gotta work for yourself and own the stuff you create.

      Move on and start over.

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      August 23, 2012 5:42 AM

      This just made r/games, finally a link from reddit going to the shack instead of the other way around!

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      August 23, 2012 8:28 AM

      Why keep 1 well paid employee when you can let him go and hire 3 cheap college recruits willing to work 90 hour 7 day work weeks?

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        August 27, 2012 1:19 PM

        That might work if all you want to do is rehash the same game 20 times. If you want create a new IP you need quality people for that.

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