Before Plants vs. Zombies found its way to your desktop or iPad, it looked a little bit like this.
It's no secret that we here at The Escapist absolutely love PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies. Like, we love it a whole huggy bunch - in fact, we love it so much that we devoted an entire article to the game's growth and development in this week's issue.
PopCap was gracious enough to send along several pieces of concept art from the mind (and pen) of Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan, with whom we spoke last year. In these, we can see many of the plants that made it into the final game - and many that didn't, like a hard-rockin' carrot or a Mr. Peanut knockoff - as well as sketches for the initial idea of the game, Plants vs. Aliens.
Make sure that you click on the thumbnails - not only are they just small portions of the big, wonderful images, you can actually catch some of their development notes on the full-sized pictures!
George Fan: "This sketch was an important one. It marked the biggest gameplay change during development, which was the change from traditional tower defense paths to the 5-lane linear gameplay you see in the finished product. It also marked the transition of the game's adversary from aliens to zombies, as evidenced by the multiple alien references and the zombie in the lower left. I believe it is also the first appearnance of the all-important sunflower plant and the idea of sun as a resource. That seed-shooting tomato on the right eventually became the peashooter."
Fan: "The sunflower, jalapeno, blover, threepeater and cabbage-pult made it to the final version pretty much intact. The chomper, hypno-shroom, garlic, pumpkin, and cherry-bomb all had a different look by the end. I liked the face of the diverting potato so much that I gave it to the wall-nut."
Fan: "Eggplants in video games rule, so it's a shame that we couldn't get one in. Here was the original garlic I drew. I like Rich's goofy looking garlic a lot more. The happy tomato looks happy."
Fan: "The peanut with the monocle probably would've taken us too far into infringement-land. I do like the carrot that's rocking out, even though I'm not sure what game-purpose he would serve. It would've been nice to get jolly-mushtache-potato-man into the game."
Fan: "I think the guy on the left was supposed to be a guerilla/commando bean, complete with bean-bandolier. I have no idea what's going on with the jester-looking guy on the right. I'm glad that goofball didn't make it in. I think he was supposed to be some kind of sprinkler plant."
Fan: "Secret agent corn?? Really? I like that the husk is his trenchcoat and his sunglasses are 2 dark kernels of corn. The game's grumpy squash is a lot better than this jolly squash here. You can see where I first gave the pumpkin the jack-o-lantern face."
Fan: "Nerdy strawberries is where it's at. A few concepts of peas in a pod. I'm not a fan of the cyclops banana though."
Fan: "That is one awesome pickle."
Fan: "Here's a sketch from when it was still going to be Plants vs. Aliens. The guy on the left is sort of a locust-alien. The guys on the right are kinda cool looking."
Fan: "Here we have some evolutions of some of the aliens in Insaniquarium. You can see Psychosquid making a return, this time in a 'tank on a tank'. I had a couple of ideas for aliens that would burrow underground."
There really are some awesome ideas in those early scribbles that I'm sad never made it into the final version. A Beandito? Secret Agent Corn? Those are awesome!
I guess there's always DLC, right?
To read more about the behind-the-scenes development of the awesome Plants vs. Zombies, check out our feature story in Issue 257 of The Escapist!