Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare producer Brian Lindley reveals all
PopCap's Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare blew my socks last year by being genuinely decent, rather than the fragile husk of a cash-in I'd unfairly classed it as off the back of E3. New to the subject? Garden Warfare is a class- and team-based shooter in which corpses hurtle around on power drills while cacti spit icicles at helicopters made of skulls. Stupid? Yes. Ultimately familiar? Probably. Enjoyable? Certainly.
It's all the more impressive an effort when you consider that the original Plants vs Zombies are 2D top-down tower defence titles. Having thrown grenades at smiling vegetables for a solid half-hour, I spoke to producer Brian Lindley about how one turns one kind of game into another without rupturing the fabric of space-time. Here are his answers in calculatedly chopped-up form.
1. Know the rules of the universe
"You have to make sure that you have clear tenets and pillars to build around. There are some very clear rules around what you should and shouldn't do with Plants vs. Zombies, but there aren't a lot of them, and it really gave us an opportunity to explore beyond the core conceit, which is pretty simple on its own."
2. Don't over-simplify or over-complicate things
"If you're trying to create something entirely from the ground up that has no fiction, or the rules behind it are all convoluted, it can become really hard. How does it feel like a piece of larger whole? You have to be able to maintain that."
3. Know your limits
"We're kind of a small team. We're not really staffed to launch on five or six platforms at the same time, so we really needed to focus on just a couple of platforms to start with, and the relationship with Microsoft has made those choices easier for us."
4. Work out where you need to be inventive
"The plants were pretty easy to map over - we took some of the iconic characters, and they mapped really directly to rules that we knew we wanted in Garden Warfare. Zombies were a different matter, because there weren't really any characters we could use, so we had to design them all from scratch. There wasn't anything we could take from the PvZ universe and just re-apply to the game."
5. Preserve the tone
"I think that's one of the things we've done really successfully with this game - it still has that charm, that humour and accessibility. If you have that, it's so much easier to adapt from there versus having a totally clean slate."
6. Play to your strengths
"We have a lot of experience with the Xbox platforms. Our primary development platforms at first were the Xbox 360 and PC. And I think as EA's relationship with Microsoft has grown and improved, it was just a natural migration for us to go from PC and Xbox 360 to Xbox One."Attachment 13809
7. Know what the new audience wants
"What we're trying to do with the foundation of Garden Warfare is to create something that fans of Battlefield and shooters in general will feel right at home playing. But if we can also build elements into it that are a bit more accessible, that coax in players who are intimidated by the Modern Warfare-style shooters, the more the merrier. Just making the environments and the characters more fun was a big step in that direction."
8. Don't skew too hard or too easy
"We're trying to create variety, so it's not just a twitch kind of thing - it's more that everybody will be able to find a character who defines how they want to play. Sure, there's always going to be a learning curve with any game that you play, but if we can sand off some of those rough edges, then great."
9. Have a plan for the future
"We wanted to focus first on the multiplayer experience, we wanted to create something that has a foundation of really solid gameplay. If fans react to it positively, then we'll think about how we expand. I think if we took the approach that we want to do everything that every other game does, we'd have set ourselves up for a much harder road. Campaign is something we'll consider in the future, but that's not the vision for this particular game."Attachment 13810
10. Have a sense of humour
"I don't feel like we're taking ourselves so seriously that people think we're trying to be some kind of hardcore game, or anything like that. It's definitely played to our favour when people look at us as trying to have fun with the genre, using a universe they know about already."
The game's out for Xbox 360 and Xbox One on 25th February.
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i will be getting this lol