Michael Jackson Estate Forces Removal of Plant-Eating Zombie

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It could've easily went unnoticed by the Jackson Estate for this long but they are a bit weird about Thriller. Michael was actually given disapproval by his church, Jehovah Witnesses, for the Thriller video for apparently promoting the occult. So it could be that the church is still holding somewhat of a grudge over the whole thing.

They'll just replace it with a John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever zombie, and then he'll get mad, and the cycle will continue. :-P

I wonder if MJ's estate asked them to remove it out of respect (ya know, MJ now being dead and all, the image of him coming back as a zombie seems somewhat distasteful) or out of trademark/copyright/likeness BS. If the former, I'd say it's a stretch (after all, it's meant as a reference to Thriller, not to the fact that he's dead), but it's nice that PopCap is respecting their wishes. If it's just about money, then IP protection really has gone too far.

Oh God...I hate to be mean on the Internet but do they really think this will change how people remember Michael Jackson? They think this will upset Jackson fans.

Frankly of all the things Michael was illegally in, this is the most dignified.

Pun intended.

I remember when PvZ first came out and I saw the character ; I thought to myself " Wow ... an MJ parody that isn't making fun of him". If there was "little children" zombies following him or doing his bidding , etc I could see the removal ... but this is what it is ... a homage to MJ ... does no harm ... they should leave it be :/

Yeah. It was nice for a change to have him appear in something where it fits perfectly and references something good he did. The first time one of the dancing zombies appeared while I was playing is probably one of the most memorable things that's happened in it, because it's so perfectly fitting. Next thing you know they're going to make them remove the dancing zombies doing Thriller in the credits of Typing of the Dead.

This is really retarded

Susan Arendt:
This is both hella and lame. I am disappoint, Jackson Estate. VERY DISAPPOINT.

Lawyerball, a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Susan Arendt:
This is both hella and lame. I am disappoint, Jackson Estate. VERY DISAPPOINT.

Just what I was going to say, though not in the exact same words of course.

Very very poor show on behalf of the Jackson Estate.

There have been Eminem videos (well, there's one I can think of) that have been less than favourable in "paying homage" to Michael Jackson...

I can understand why they want the memory of Micheal left alone but i dont see why Popcap couldnt have asked for permission.

I bet you if Michael was still alive he wouldn't have cared.

... that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson.

Uh guys...

I mean...

Is this gonna be Unicorn meat all over again?

Was this update applied to Steam too? I just loaded up PvZ and my dancing Zombie is still the same. I'm guessing though it just means for the console/live arcade version.

I wanted MJ in a good game for once
why couldn't he be with the plants

Ah, jeez. At some point, making money just becomes some superficial game about increasing numbers. Of course, at the cost of other parties

One of the signs that society is moving in the wrong direction is that people lose the ability to laugh at themselves. Honestly, Jackson Estate, I bet Michael would have loved is game.

Oh no. I smell another Lars Ulrich coming. Making a Michael Jackson parody/homage, is like making a Star Wars reference. Everyone does it. So is the "Jackson Estate" gonna shit all over everything that has a resemblance to Michael?

Actually the Michael Jackson zombie thing has been used before in other media I'm pretty sure. I seem to remember there was a bit on that in "Return Of The Living Dead Pt. 2" (I think) where the zombie hits an electric fence and starts jerking around break-dance style, and yes it looks like Michael Jackson.

I think law suits and such are an increasing problem if they prevent homages like this one, even if it never went to the court phase.

I liked Michel Jackson's early work when I was growing up, despite what he turned into. On a lot of levels I suspect this is a sign things are getting more mercenary/draconian after his demise than they were when he was alive. Sort of like how Elvis arguably became a bigger business after his death than when he was alive due to the way the estate merchandised his image and intellectual properties and such...

Even if he was a child molester, he didn't seem to be that uptight or especially touchy when it came to his work and people making homages or parodies and such. At least in this respect he'll be missed, because I think that's an attitude towards your work and doing business you just don't see much anymore.

I don't think it's "too soon" anymore haha...and considering that this game has been out for how long now?

haha...that, or more likely the MJ Estate just wants royalties (since money is all they want it seems)

Christ... stuff like this makes me sad to be an MJ fan. Next they'll re-release "Space channel 5" and remove MJ out of "respect"

This is pretty stupid, if they think a Micheal Jackson zombie is offensive then why can we still watch Thriller on Youtube? It's the same thing really, only difference is they own Thriller, oh wait I just answered my own question didn't I. =/

If this is applied to the Steam versions retroactively, I may buy a physical copy. I can understand PopCap respecting the wishes of the family (assuming this isn't just a money-grab), but altering my game without my permission is unethical. Supporting quality game developers vs. supporting unethical business practices? I'm so confused...

Susan Arendt:
This is both hella and lame. I am disappoint, Jackson Estate. VERY DISAPPOINT.

You ain't the only one woman! >:(

I'm very sad at this news. This makes the game a bit less fun and happy for me. So I'm guess the 360 version will be Jacksonless? Sad Face.

Popcap did give an homage to Michael Jackson, in a parodic sense. I had thought that parodies were generally allowed. I am amazed that the Jackson estate would be offended by something that is clearly not offensive in any way. If anything it's better publicity than MJ ever received while being alive. Popcap tried to do something in the way of bringing MJ's memory to life, in much the same way that Elvis is portrayed today. I suppose it's just better for Popcap to have removed it, all the Jackson Estate has accomplished is the removal of an homage to MJ. I wonder if they would do that to the MJ fans who dress up as MJ from the thriller album.

I always thought the dancing zombie was Elvis. (apparently, so did my mother)

Susan Arendt:
This is both hella and lame. I am disappoint, Jackson Estate. VERY DISAPPOINT.

I play plants vs zombies with my son (age 3) he never got to see MJ in his thriller glory and the dancing zombie brought a smile and a few giggles to him. I guess the almighty dollar is more important to the family than bringing Michael and his legacy to a new generation

Thanks, Escapist, for stealing my PvZ screen cap from imgur: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/8vs15/i_cant_decide_if_plants_vs_zombies_is_now/

I can tell it's my image because it is both poorly cropped and in JPEG format (it was before I discovered the wonders of PNG).

If you are looking for a more nicely cropped version with fewer artifacts, I suggest you check over here: http://daryltay.net/2009/10/music-mondays-xlvi-plants-vs-zombies-thriller-by-michael-jackson/

I guess a dancing zombie homage to a guy who was an awsome performer and did a music video where he was a zombie is only funny until they guy actually dies... I think it's the actually being a zombie that makes it more bothersome, the 100s of elvis homages don't seem to catch much flak but most of them couldn't really be distorted into a joke about him being dead or dying. This probably has more to do with money than respect for the family or thier grief. But I guess if one of my loved ones died, I wouldnt want to see thier zombie equivilant in anything really.

Dear Jackson Estate,

Piss off.

Yours, Sextus.

Really? Is this honestly neccessary? The guy's dead, but putting him in PvZ is a way of letting him live forever! Through gaming culture...


Susan Arendt:

Dan Shive:
Popcap would likely win in court, but not before a lot of time and money was spent.

And PopCap is, despite appearances, a very, very small company. My guess is the Estate wanted some money to use MJ's likeness, and PopCap couldn't afford to pay up (or simply didn't want to, for which I don't blame them a bit).

It was fun while it lasted but I agree with you. PopCap couldn't be asked to pay the family or fight it in court over something so unimportant.[1]

The Disco Zombie is okay, I guess. We can still enjoy it outside of the game, using google!


[1] To the company that is!

I can see both sides. MJ is still talked about, so I'm sure for his family it's been near impossible to just move on like most of us can when someone we love dies. On the other hand, I think if anyone would have had a fair sense of humor about this, it would probably have been MJ, since this seems more like a tribute than a mockery.


And I was going to buy a copy of the game this evening. I've played a lot of tower defense games, and one of the huge selling points of this one was the sense of humor.

But if they are willing to patch out that same humor, well...

God, lets hope no one shows them Stubbs the zombie, there's a thriller-like dance scene obviously inspired by Micheal, they might wanna sue cause of that too...

Like others have said, Micheal loved the good parodies of him, and who can't love "Eat it" or "I'm Fat?"? Just like who couldn't love the dancing zombie reference to Thriller.

PopCap did the right thing but I too am a little bummed out. Oh well, the world will continue without this goofy Michael Jackson parody.

I'm guessing that the depiction of that shambling, boggle-eyed creature missing most of its face hit just a bit too close to home.

They are just riding the fame of PvZ... Those jerks!

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