The devil of PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies is in the details of its excellent art.
It seems like a bad idea. A casual game powerhouse releasing a real-time strategy game that features lumbering undead and anthropomorphic plants. But Plants Vs. Zombies succeeds because of the amazing art and animation supplied by creator George Fan and lead artst Rich Werner. Whether it's the big emotive eyes of the Wall-nut plant or the zombie holding a newspaper like he just got off the toilet, each element is funny and displays so many interesting details that it's hard to forget that the game is more akin to a hardcore RTS format like Defense of the Ancients than Bejeweled or Bookworm. Russ Pitts was able to get inside the head of Rich Wener, the lead artist of PvZ for issue 257 of The Escapist Magazine:
As a player, it's easy to isolate a single element of almost every character in Plants Vs. Zombies as the one thing that "sells it." The heart-print boxers. The Wall-nut's eyes. The pat of butter on the Cob Cannon. The sequined socks on the Thriller zombie. The dolphin. It's the presence of each of these minute, yet perfect, details which, in total, make Plants Vs. Zombies such a compelling and unique experience.
"I think if you can have an amazing mechanic with stellar art, it's like Wonder Twin Powers," says Werner. He credits the game's unique art design to not only Fan's "spot-on" original concepts and the incredible work of the team at PopCap, but also to his own unique and varied influences as an artist.
Check out the rest of Russ Pitts' interview with Rich Werner from PopCap in The Sunny Side of the Zombiepocalypse.