Since announcing the closure of PlayFish social games, there was a lot of question about Electronic Arts' commitment to their social, casual and mobile studios. While PlayFish will be responsible for mobile games going forward, it was assumed that EA's other social studio, PopCap, would be taking over. EA emphasized that point during their E3 press event by announcing Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare.
It is certainly an unusual move for a publisher to emphasize more casual gaming titles at their E3 event, but as gaming continues to move toward causal and social, I suspect we will see more of this in the future, E3 or not. It was good to see PopCap and Plants vs Zombies on-stage, as it is one of the few casual franchises I have personally enjoyed.
So, what is new in this tower-defense series? A shooter. Yes, Garden Warfare is a shooter in the vein of Team Fortress 2. The title has a lot of the aspects of TF2, such as different classes each with its own special abilities, all designed to work together and even be needed together. It also maintains the personality of the PvZ franchise, being a little cartoony and really silly. It is exactly what has always made the series so fun and it is good to see they maintained the feel.
Keeping with traditional PopCap trends, you have the ability to take your plant or zombie and customize it. Choose from lots of new characters with new powers and create a unique character with hundreds of available items and customizations. Once you have your character, enter into a 24-player battle or join friends for a 4-player online co-op.
Here is the thing that is most surprising: it is a console title and it will be on Xbox One and Xbox 360 first.