Plants vs Zombies is an undoubtedly awesome game, but it has a history that few gamers would guess. It was originally supposed to be a sequel to the game Insaniquarium, where players would grow an aquarium’s population while defending their fish populace against invading aliens. Said creator George Fan:
“We knew we wanted to significantly change up the gameplay for the sequel, and [we were] leaning toward it to being more defense-oriented than the first Insaniquarium. During that time I was also playing a lot of tower defense games in Warcraft III… I really wanted to capture that appeal, and once I realized that plants and zombies made a much better theme for this game than fish and aliens, I shifted from creating a sequel into creating a whole new game.”
Fan drew concept art for the Insaniquarium sequel, with aliens as the intended invaders. He drew “locust-type aliens” and made some edits to the enemies from the original game. It was after sketching the aliens that drastic changes began to occur, and it all started with this image:
This was the first time Fan considered a 5-lane layout for the game, and the first time sunlight was considered to be an actual resource. And, of course, our friendly zombies make an appearance. It would later be the basis of the entire game, and the source of countless hours of lost productivity in offices across the nation.
“This sketch was an important one, It marked the biggest gameplay change during development, which was the change from traditional tower defense paths to the 5-lane linear gameplay you see in the finished product. It also marked the transition of the game’s adversary from aliens to zombies, as evidenced by the multiple alien references and the zombie in the lower left. I believe it is also the first appearance of the all-important sunflower plant and the idea of sun as a resource. That seed-shooting tomato on the right eventually became the peashooter.”
Next thing you know, he’s going to be working on Plants Vs Zombies 2 and he’ll come out with Kitchen Tupperware Versus Werewolves.
What do you think about Plants vs Zombies history? Do you like the game?