PopCap Games, developers of hits titles such as Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies, has today announced the formation of a new experimental label where PopCap’s designers and developers have free reign to create smaller, simpler, and sometimes edgier games without the typical constraints of an established global games publisher.
Named after the Seattle, Washington intersection where PopCap’s Seattle headquarters are located, 4th & Battery, which the label will be known as, has today unveiled its very first game, Unpleasant Horse.
“4th & Battery is a pressure valve intended to keep our heads from exploding,” explained Ed Allard, Executive Vice President of Studios at PopCap. “The PopCap brand has become closely associated with ultra-high quality, polish and attention to detail – which is a great thing. But our standard game development process is therefore long and involved, and doesn’t really accommodate all of the creativity pumping through our collective veins. 4th & Battery gives us a way to quickly try really strange or marginal ideas, and to give our designers a safe area to hone their chops.”
4th & Battery is expected to produce several games per year, primarily small-scale, arcade-style games for platforms ranging from PC to Facebook and iPhone.
“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,” explained Jason Kapalka, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at PopCap. “Expect weirdness.”
The first game from 4th & Battery, Unpleasant Horse, was announced today. Players take on the role of a strikingly unpleasant horse that sports wings and advances through the game by destroying small birds and landing on more pleasant horses from above. Landing atop other horses enables the player to force them earthward into a perpetual meat grinder for extra points and special bonuses.
The new game will be available later this month for the iPhone and iPod touch through the Apple App Store, Unpleasant Horse will be available for free.
You never know, if any of these games are a hit, maybe one day we will see them on console, wouldn’t that be nice?