257: The Sunny Side of the Zombiepocalypse

The Sunny Side of the Zombiepocalypse

Blending genre elements from many sources, PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies succeeds because its compelling art style unifies it under the company's "casual" banner. Russ Pitts spoke to Lead Artist Rich Werner and asked him how they pulled it off.

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Would you believe I still haven't played this game? I've always wanted to but just haven't yet. Makes me ashamed to call myself an Escapist. Great article by the way.

I have played the demo of PlantsvsZombies and heart-warmingly want it since. Its quite something, its original in nearly every way possible, and is definately worth more than the $9.99 they offer it for you.

Great arty Russ, but you completely sidestepped what I see as one of the greater reasons to PvZ's success, namely The Song.

It would have been enough that the game is just the right level of addictive, cartoony but not childish, and simplistic yet challenging. There is enough to the game all on its own that sells itself well. But most of that requires the gamer to actually buy or try the game before they are hooked. The music video preview however, sold people on PvZ long before they could download the demo. Lets face it, the song roots itself in your brain so deep you end up singing it for days, and the video portion showed just enough to make even the most hardcore gamer interested.

The music video did more to sell the game than anything else, at least I think so.

Khell_Sennet:
Great arty Russ, but you completely sidestepped what I see as one of the greater reasons to PvZ's success, namely The Song.

It would have been enough that the game is just the right level of addictive, cartoony but not childish, and simplistic yet challenging. There is enough to the game all on its own that sells itself well. But most of that requires the gamer to actually buy or try the game before they are hooked. The music video preview however, sold people on PvZ long before they could download the demo. Lets face it, the song roots itself in your brain so deep you end up singing it for days, and the video portion showed just enough to make even the most hardcore gamer interested.

The music video did more to sell the game than anything else, at least I think so.

All true, but this is the Art and Animation issue, so...the song is a wee bit out of place, no?

Susan Arendt:
All true, but this is the Art and Animation issue, so...the song is a wee bit out of place, no?

No.

I call it "The Song" but I was referring to the entire music video, which itself was artfully animated. The musical portion was part of it, but as I mentioned, the visual part of the music video sells the game. It shows the characters in all their absurdity, while (rare to see) never lying to the viewer and showing a bunch of stuff that will never be seen in-game. Every visual item in the video was something that you WILL find in game, staged on the actual levels, using the actual in-game graphics.

Too many "previews" show pretty cutscenes and cinematics, but nothing of the game itself. PvZ's promotional music video does just the opposite, showing things as they are, and using a song that will actually be in the game. It's honest. So little of advertising ever is.

not only is it a great game but they also priced it just right, at 10 bucks they priced it so that people would impulse buy it just from hearing from a friend that it was good

I feel bad about having downloaded this game for free. As soon as I have enough money to spare, I'm buying it. Absolutely fantastic.

AvsJoe:
Would you believe I still haven't played this game? I've always wanted to but just haven't yet. Makes me ashamed to call myself an Escapist. Great article by the way.

I have played the demo, but for some reason I never got around to buying it. Then again, I have a long list of games I still have to buy and/or finish. It breaks my heart, but Plants vs. Zombies will have to wait its turn.

Oh man, I love this game. Its just so damn adorable, and very fun to play. Plus the low price is a big win.

As well as the insanely cute song.

Isn't that just the cutest dang thing you've ever seen?

AvsJoe:
Would you believe I still haven't played this game?

*tuts* :)

Go buy it - it's only 7 on Steam...or just get the demo. It's an awesome game.

Yeah I love PvZ. the ending song is cool as well.

Irridium:

Isn't that just the cutest dang thing you've ever seen?

Yes. It most certainly is. The "Me power.." line is even cuter again.

I love this game....

Once more, I praise the Escapist for bringing this game to my attention. Love it.

Absolutely adored this game... bought the moment it was available on steam. :)

Very good review there, but I found one thing troubling. The mention of the Walnut's "crying" being removed before the final release? They do that when they get eaten enough. Was a major selling point for most people that watched me play it. ;P

Hopefully the sequel won't make me play through the campaign twice to get a secret zombie.

AvsJoe:
Would you believe I still haven't played this game? I've always wanted to but just haven't yet. Makes me ashamed to call myself an Escapist. Great article by the way.

If you have some issue with paying online (no credit card or paypal account, privacy issues, etc.), I'm pretty sure you can play a free version at the popcap.com. If you do have the means to buy it, do so! It's so much quality for such a cheap price!

ScottocS:
Absolutely adored this game... bought the moment it was available on steam. :)

Very good review there, but I found one thing troubling. The mention of the Walnut's "crying" being removed before the final release? They do that when they get eaten enough. Was a major selling point for most people that watched me play it. ;P

I was a little confused about that point too, before I realized that it was the Tall-nut that cries, not the Wall-nut. So I'm guessing that the Wall-nut used to have a crying animation too but they removed it.

I got PvZ about a month ago after seeing a friend play it (I got it during finals which probably wasn't a smart idea) and I really loved it. Not only is the gameplay terrific, the music catchy, and the characters cute and memorable, but the game slowly threw in new items and features to keep you interested; I never wanted to stop playing because I always wanted to see what the next plant did. I am eagerly awaiting PvZ 2 and will certainly get it the day of its release.

I never played PvZ on my PC, but got it for my iPhone and it creates a massive black hole that absorbs me for on hour or 2 at a time.

Or until my battery is dead!

 

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