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PopCap B-Sides?

Zie's soooo adorable in all zir unpleasantness!

Via Gamasutra, it appears PopCap is starting a smaller, more experimentally focused label called 4th & Battery, named for the streets it's on in Seattle. The goal? To give their designers a chance to make games that might not necessarily find their way through the usual channels at PopCap.

As Ed Allard, whom Gamasutra mentions is executive vice president, mentions, there are a lot of ideas floating around the company. Therefore, this is a way to allow people to work on those ideas without the same pressures they might have to make us fall in love with the next Bejeweled or catch on as Plants vs. Zombies. Or, as PopCap's cofounder, Jason Kapalka notes:

4th & Battery is a purely experimental, creative label with none of the typical concerns like schedules, profitability, or even target audience. It's kind of the video game equivalent of B-sides or short films. Expect weirdness.

As someone who is a fan of what artists can do in shorter works, or experiment with in B-sides, I must say I am intrigued. Especially as their first project is Unpleasant Horse, which will be coming to the App store, at the enticing cost of "free." Apparently you will take control of a mean, flying horse who knocks other nicer horses into a grinder.

That right there? Perhaps a bit more mature in rating than the average PopCap title. They have mentioned that some of the titles they release will be of that bent. The platforms for the future will also include the PC and Facebook.

So, I suppose I now having a flying horse to go with my unicorns. It's raining ponies!

Now to imagine what other studios I wish would follow this example. Meanwhile, while it's rather bare at the moment, their website is right here, while the teaser video is below.


Richard said:

This is exactly what Electronic Arts did a couple years ago with their experimental studio, 8lb Gorilla. With promises of .99 cent games being released monthly - there was a lot of hope & promise.

Fast forward a few years & all they have to show for it, is a single (terrible) game & an abandoned twitter account after just the first 3 months.

Maybe PopCap will have better luck, but only time will tell.

I was really looking forward to the games that would be released by 8lb Gorilla. 4th & Battery... I don't really care. I have never been a fan of PopCap. They continue to release PC/Mac versions of their games thinking the highest resolution monitor in existence only goes up to 800x600. To release a GOTY edition of Plants vs. Zombies & still not have an HD fullscreen option is just them spitting in our faces while they wipe their sweaty lips with a 500 dollar bill.

Leave the creative/outside-the-box-thinking game developing to those who do it for a living. Do they think pulling a few people out of the herd will automatically change their way of thinking? That's like pulling a few animators out of Dreamworks Animation Studios & expecting them to come up with a movie of Pixar caliber.

If EA or PopCap really want to contribute to the release of games that are both fun & creative, they should just toss some money over to people like 2D Boy & Team Meat.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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