Plants Vs. Zombies
PC Version Cover


PopCap Games


PopCap Games, Electronic Arts (Android Market)


George Fan


Tower Defense, Action



Plants Vs. Zombies is a tower defense action videogame developed and published by PopCap Games.

Gameplay Edit

In Plants Vs. Zombies, players plant plants, mushrooms (fungi), and aquatic plants to defend their house. Sun,
which can be gained from Sunflowers, Sun-Shrooms, and from the Sky (Daytime Only).

Game Modes Edit


Plants Vs. Zombies includes a variety of Game Modes, such as Single-Player, Multi-Player, Adventure Mode (Story mode), Survival Mode, a Zen Garden, a Puzzle Mode, and a Variety of Zombie-Themed Minigames of other PopCap Games like Bejeweled. The PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade version includes 5 Multi-Player Modes, co-operative, and competitive, more mini-games and a virtual house.

Development Edit

Wikipedia The following section was copied from Wikipedia. Please help originalize this section.

Plants vs. Zombies director George Fan intended on balancing the game between a "gritty" game and a "sickeningly cute" game. Strong strategic elements were included to appeal to more experienced gamers, while keeping it simple to appeal to casual gamers, without many tutorials. He was inspired to make it a tower defense game after both thinking of a more defense-oriented version of a previous title of his, Insaniquarium, and playing some Warcraft III tower defense mods. While he was looking at the towers in Warcraft III, he felt that plants would make good towers. He wanted to bring something new to the genre with Plants vs. Zombies, and he found common tower defense game play elements such as mazing and juggling to be too awkward, causing him to use the five and six lane set-ups that were used in the final version. Fan included elements from the trading card game Magic: The Gathering while teaching his girlfriend Laura Shigihara how to play it, showing her how to customize their decks. That inspired him to include the seed packets as opposed to using a conveyor belt that produced randomly selected plants, due to the complexity of this system. Another influence on Plants vs. Zombies besides Warcraft III and Insaniquarium was Tapper, crediting the use of five lanes to this game. Various members of PopCap Games contributed to the development of Plants vs. Zombies through an internal forum where they gave feedback.

Plants vs. Zombies was originally much like Insaniquarium in that it involved nurturing the plants by watering them and growing grass, but the developers found it to be tedious. It was originally called Weedlings, but this concept was scrapped after the developers realized that there were too many plant-growing games on the market. One of the critical changes to the game was the lowering of the price of Sunflowers from 100 to 50 suns, as those new to the genre would spend their sun power on pea shooters and inevitably lose. More inspiration for Plants vs. Zombies' mechanics came from the film Swiss Family Robinson, especially where the family defends themselves against pirates. This was the inspiration for the Potato Mine; Fan stated that it was satisfying to watch a zombie step on the mine, being defeated and covered in mashed potatoes.

Design Edit

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The team wanted to bring back the aliens from Insaniquarium, but in the end were changed to zombies, which players could react to more easily because of how slowly they moved. Fan's favorite zombie was the Pole Vaulting Zombie, due to the hilarity involved when a player encounters it for the first time, using a specific example where a player tries to block it with the Wall-Nut, only to have the zombie jump over it.

Wall-nut2 The developers focused on the Adventure mode for the first year of development, but programmer Tod Semple finished his development tasks ahead of schedule. Afterward, he was looking for something to do, and began work on minigame ideas. The Puzzle mode had similar origins; Vasebreaker and I, Zombie came from single-level minigames, but after playing them to tweak them, he found he was addicted to them. Fan found it impressive how well-designed they were, stating that while they were using the same plants and the same zombies, they were reinventions of the game mechanics. Fan worried that the minigame and puzzle modes may distract from the main game, so to keep players focused on the Adventure mode, he required that they beat it before they could move onto these modes. However, this was changed due to comments from beta testers that they would like to try these modes out sooner. The developers allowed players to play a few of the stages from these modes in the middle of Adventure mode. Fan stated that it's a common perception amongst players that the Adventure mode is 90% of the game, while the rest of the game is merely additional content. He hoped that players would appreciate the post-game content. Another mode is the Survival mode, which included an Endless mode. After players were getting to the hundredth level in only three hours, Fan decided to make it more difficult, adding powerful zombies after the 20th level, like the Pogo Zombie.


Fan stated that every game he worked on had only him designing the prototype, adding that he used to draw a lot before he made games, where he made pixel art. The final designs of the zombies and the first plants are similar to how they were initially. After searching for an artist, they discovered Rich Werner, who Fan thought clicked with what he intended for the design. He attributed the intrigue of the design to its animation scheme; Tod Semple suggested that they animate it in Flash and export it into the game. Fan worried that this would look like it was cut out from paper, and would resemble South Park too much, but was satisfied in the end, attributing this to Semple and Werner's talents.


Fan was most proud of the Tall-nut, Torchwood, and Cob Cannon plants. He explained that the Tall-nut has character, citing its "determined gaze" and how it sheds a single tear when hurt. Laura Shigihara could not stand to see this, and protected it with a protective plant called a Pumpkin, which can protect plants inside it. He felt that the Torchwood required players to think of how plants interacted with each other. The Cob Cannon went through many design changes, but Fan was happy with the final design. Another favorite plant of Fan's was the Squash, due to how well it explained its purpose, to squash things. A plant was proposed that is similar to the defensive item Umbrella Leaf, which would be planted above other plants to protect them from airborne zombies. However, it was difficult to visualize their positions.

Soundtrack Edit

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The soundtrack for Plants vs. Zombies was composed by Laura Shigihara. It borrows elements from the pop music genre, as well as console chiptunes. Before the inception of Plants vs. Zombies, Fan asked Laura if she would like to compose the music for his next title after following her for some years. She accepted, owing to his creativity. Shigihara described the music as "macabre, yet goofy". Using the night stage as an example, she used a combination of "Big Band" and swing beats with "several haunting and serious melodies". The songs "Loonboon" and "Brainiac Maniac" were written towards the end of production. She stated that these were reactionary songs that she wrote to fit the feel of the game after having played through it twice. She tried to make the game have a Danny Elfman feel to it, while mixing in melodic tunes and funky beats. She describes a song early in the game, which uses marching band percussion and swing beats. She described another one which used techno beats with organic sounds. Shigihara also composed and performed the music video shown during the credits of the game, titled "Zombies on Your Lawn".

Reception Edit

Plants Vs. Zombies has been very successful, receiving high ratings, award nominations, and awards.

Awards Edit

Plants vs. Zombies has been nominated for the "Casual Game of the Year" and "Outstanding Achievement in Game Design" Interactive Achievement Awards from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. The game received nominations in "Best Game Design", "Innovation", and "Best Download Game" for the Game Developers Choice Awards. Plants vs Zombies was picked by Gamezebo as one of the 'Best Games of 2009'.

Sales Edit

To date, Plants vs. Zombies is the fastest-selling video game developed by PopCap Games.

Other Edit

A Plants Vs. Zombies Board Game has been released, Plants Vs. Zombies Lottery Tickets, and an appearance in a TV Show and a similar version in World of Warcraft.