Early this week, a report emerged that the people at PopCap Games were working on the sequel to Plants vs. Zombies, the awesomely addictive PC and mobile game, and that it would probably be released in “late spring” 2013.
Today, the news has changed drastically. George Fan, the creator of Plants vs. Zombies, was laid off, alongside about 50 other PopCap employees. The future of the Plants vs. Zombies sequel is now in doubt. It’s certainly possible that PopCap will move forward with its plans for Plants vs. Zombies 2 (perhaps Fan had little involvement in the project from the get-go), but it’s hard to imagine the sequel meeting expectations without heavy involvement from the mastermind behind the original.
PopCap co-founder John Vechey said that the layoffs were necessary, adding that the rapid shift to free-to-play mobile games has left the company reeling. He said that PopCap must improve efficiency and work to improve profits if the company is to continue working on new versions of games like Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle.
Electronic Arts (EA) purchased PopCap last year in a deal that was worth a reported $1.3 billion.