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Start your engines because Season 3 is speeding into Rocket League! This new season is bringing high-octane content, like an all-new Rocket Pass, new Arena variant, and the arrival of two titans of the track, NASCAR and Formula 1! NASCAR and Formula 1 Coming in May Since Season 3 is celebrating the art of auto […]
Plants vs Zombies 2 wasn’t what a lot of fans expected out of a sequel to the classic strategy game, as it was rife with microtransactions that many players said felt like hitting a free-to-play wall. The original producer of the game, Matt Johnston, has opened up about what was going on behind the scenes as those decisions were being made.
In an interview with MinnMax, Johnston said that the seed of microtransactions in Plants vs Zombies 2 was part of its original design, with the idea of plant food. This was intended to be a leg up for players who were struggling, as a way to overcome a particular obstacle. In the midst of development, though, his team was suddenly asked to make a slice of the game playable for upper management, for reasons he didn’t know at the time. And while the team made the demo, it’s at this point that he first expressed some reservations about following a F2P model.
“We don’t think that’s possible without breaking the game,” Johnston explained. “The game is this interwoven, meticulously hand-balanced set of interdependent components. Every plant has a zombie that it depends on for that balance. Making sure that that whole thing is woven together in that perfect lineage and that perfect experience was just a magic trick that you can’t mess with.”
The demo was well-received by management, and shortly after PopCap was acquired by EA. That’s when Johnston was told that the earlier demo had been to give EA, as potential buyers, an idea of what was going on with the game. Sometime after the acquisition, Johnston says he was visited by then-EA CEO John Riccitiello who said his kid–a big PvZ plan–had suggested the idea of rent-able plants.
“It went against everything we had just learned,” Johnston said. “If you have that interwoven fabric of all these elements, you pull one out and the whole thing unravels.”
Johnston said he advocated for keeping PvZ2 as-is and making a separate free-to-play game, built from the ground up with those hooks in mind, so it wouldn’t “break anything.” Shortly after, he claims, he was taken off the project and then later asked to leave the company.
PopCap’s Peggle series saw a similar outcome with Peggle Blast, which also made heavy use of microtransactions. Plants vs Zombies has since gone on to spin off into the Garden Warfare series of shooters, which has three entries of its own, along with the F2P collectible card game Plants vs Zombies Heroes. Plants vs Zombies 3 has been soft-launched in some territories, but a final release date has not been set. EA says it has “optional microtransactions that can help you speed up progression.”
The locations you explore in Monster Hunter Rise have already felt the delicate touch of humanity’s hand. Traditional Japanese torii can be found weaving through mountainside paths, leading to sacred shrines, while decaying temples have been reclaimed by nature as local plant life envelops the aging architecture. Signs of human life can even be found at the base of a raging volcano and in the midst of a flooded forest, where a Mesoamerican-style pyramid dominates the landscape.
If 2018’s Monster Hunter World was all about unearthing a new continent as an intrepid frontiersman, then Rise is a triumphant return to the Old World with valuable lessons learned. An enhanced port of the 3DS title Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate may have already graced the Nintendo Switch, but Rise is the first game in the series built from the ground up for Nintendo’s latest console. As such, Rise closely follows in the footsteps of World while reneging on some of its changes and introducing plenty of new impactful ideas that excellently shift the focus towards the series’ heart-pumping action.
The core Monster Hunter gameplay loop has remained relatively unchanged as you hunt down gargantuan monsters, harvest their materials to craft new weapons and armor, and tackle increasingly tougher foes. World coalesced both the single and multiplayer parts of the experience into one cohesive whole, but Rise reverts back to the old ways by splitting them into disparate Village and Hub quests. Village quests can only be played alone, while Hub quests can still be tackled solo but are designed with multiple players in mind. This isn’t the most welcome setup for newcomers since it isn’t immediately clear which quests progress the story, nor is there any indication of whether or not you should be alternating between both paths. The impact this structure has on the game isn’t as substantial as it initially seems, though. Hunting the same monster multiple times has always been a part of Monster Hunter’s DNA, so repeating the same mission as both a Village and Hub quest is something you would typically seek out anyway.