In the latest Round Table Podcast, Super Meat Boy creator Edmund McMillen dropped a bombshell of an accusation involving Electronic Arts and microtransactions. McMillen claimed that George Fan, creator of Plants vs Zombies, was fired by EA for refusing to add pay-to-win elements in Plants vs Zombies 2. McMillen stated..
You guys want to hear an industry story that has to do with EA and an independent developer? This is a semi-unknown story, and I hope I’m not stepping on toes with it, but I know I can…as long as I say it like a “slightly fuzzy on the details.”
It involves a friend of mine, George Fan. So George made a game called “Insaniquarium.” He made it ages ago and it won a lot of awards, and he got headhunted by PopCap. And PopCap hired him, set him off with two more people in a small office, and said, “hey, make the game” and he’s like “okay I’m going to make Plants vs. Zombies.” And he made Plants vs. Zombies, it was hugely successful, and they got acquired by EA, EA made that game even more successful. And they were like, “okay, we’re going to focus on this and we’re going to make a sequel, we’re going to do spinoffs, this and this.” And George was like, “great! I’ve got an idea for a sequel!” And he developed this game independently as well, with an independent mindset with a small team of people. It was personal. Knowing the guy, I can see the characters are personal, every little bit and pieces is something from him. So it was his baby. And they’re like “hey, y’know, let’s make this sequel, start on the sequel, and we’re going to put it on mobile, and we’re going to do this pay-to-win.” And he’s like, “ah, I dunno, it’s not a good idea, and I don’t really want to do that with my game, and they said, “you’re fired.” And he left.
This is interesting as Fan was fired from PopCap back in 2012, but no reason was ever given by any party involved. McMillen also said that fan does not have an NDA in relations to the termination.
Please keep in mind that neither Electronic Arts, PopCap, nor Fan himself have responded to these allegations.