Behind the Scenes:
The Creation of PvZ

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense action video game developed and originally published by PopCap Games (by George Fan, pictured right) for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game involves a homeowner using many varieties of plants to repel an army of zombies from "eating their brains". It was first released on May 5, 2009, and made available on Steam on the same day.

A version for iOS was released in February 2010, and an HD version for the iPad. An extended Xbox Live Arcade version introducing new gameplay modes and features was released on September 8, 2010. PopCap released a Nintendo DS version on January 18, 2011 with content unique to the platform. The PlayStation 3 version was released in February 2011 also with added new co op and versus modes found in the Xbox 360 version. An Android version of the game, exclusive to the Amazon Android App Store, was released on May 31, 2011. On February 16, 2012, a version was released for BlackBerry PlayBook. Furthermore, both the original Windows and Mac version of the game have been re-released with additional content in a Game of the Year version. The game received a positive response from critics, and was nominated for multiple Interactive Achievement Awards, alongside receiving praise for its musical score.

Concept 1

The above picture shows the direction things were headed towards before zombies ended up taking on a starring role in the game. "Here we have some evolutions of some of the aliens in Insaniquarium," Fan explained. "You can see Psychosquid making a return, this time in a 'tank on a tank.' I had a couple of ideas for aliens that would burrow underground."

PvZ Key Sketches

"This sketch (above) was an important one," Fan said. "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.