Plants vs. Zombies is perhaps my favorite casual game of all time. When going through a “game drought” of more flashy titles, I often found myself drawn back into the game for a few more hours of fun. I was understandably excited to hear that PopCap had announced a sequel to be released this summer that was until I remembered that EA had purchased PopCap back in 2011. So while the original title wasn’t effect by EA’s online only microtransaction mantra the second one surely will, and if anyone’s been paying attention that hasn’t been all that great, at least if you’re a consumer. Maybe PvZ will be the exception to their new business model, but as sales of SimCity were still good despite all the flak, I’ll wager that we’re all about to witness the total dismantling of another truly great franchise.
Plants vs. Zombies is barely a franchise. It would have been for sure, but with an EA backed sequel it may just be the end of what could have been a franchise. Maybe I’m just being negative and I’m really worrying for no reason, but at least I’m not the only one. After what happened with SimCity there’s really no avoiding asking these sorts of questions when it comes to PvZ – Will there be microtransactions? What about online only? Will the game actually have fewer features than the previous iteration? See what you’ve done EA? Now I can’t trust anything you say.
Speaking of EA releasing new titles, there’s a new gameplay trailer out for Battlefield 4 which does look a lot more warlike than its predecessor. It’s odd to me that they would show-off 17 minutes of single player footage for a game that is almost always played online, especially considering how much EA is all about the online, the one game no one cared about seeing single player for is the one game they showed it off for, but I digress. There’s still that lovely/horrible lens flare that has pretty much become a staple in the Battlefield series, but other than that it actually looks like they’ve made a lot of progress in developing a world that actually blows-up and breaks in a realistic manner. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for some actual multiplayer footage, but at least this looks promising.
Gamasutra is running a piece this week which outlines every little detail you would ever want to know about how a free-to-play title makes its money. It’s pretty obvious that it has something to do with microtransactions, but past that there’s a lot behind the scenes that makes these games tick. It’s more economics than game design which explain why some are so good at it while others seem to be woefully behind in how it works. It’s an interesting read for anyone interested in these kinds of games (like me), but also for players just wondering how it all works.
Its official, DC is officially hoping to get into the MOBA business with their upcoming Infinite Crisis. So far it’s just a teaser featuring themes and characters from the DC universe, but I expect that to change as we get closer to its release. It’s hard to tell if the game will be good or not but the short trailer, but I’ve played Arkham Imposters and have to admit that it was a third person shooter done right. There are already some naysayers regarding this MOBA, but until I see a demo or some gameplay I’m willing to give it a chance, there’s always room for another F2P MOBA as long as it’s a good one. Check out Michael’s more detailed write-up here.
The last word today is from Zero Punctuation who has put together the best explanation of the SimCity debacle to date. With this I can finally stop talking about it as everything that needed to be said has been. I actually felt better after watching all of this because he finally put into words everything I didn’t like about the game and its tumultuous release, and even a few things I didn’t think of to be honest. I can think of no one better to make a closing argument for consumers.