PopCap promises shorter delays in bringing games to new platforms

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is now available on Android devices worldwide, just over two months following its global release on iOS. Android users may be muttering the game's subtitle — "It's About Time" — about today's release of the free-to-play tower defense title. But the Android version of Plants vs. Zombies 2 represents another important milestone for developer PopCap Games: The studio is finally getting a handle on delivering platform parity.

"In terms of the game content itself, and the things that you can buy, [the iOS and Android versions are] at parity. Which is nice for us," said Tony Leamer, Plants vs. Zombies franchise business director, in an interview with Polygon yesterday.

Leamer acknowledged that content parity across platforms certainly wasn't the case with the original Plants vs. Zombies. PopCap released it on iOS in February 2010 and on Android in May 2011, but the two versions weren't really the same game until recently.

"It took us a while to get caught up — to get [Plants vs. Zombies] caught up — from an Android standpoint to where the iOS build was. In fact, we only got there, like, earlier this year," said Leamer.

the iOS and Android versions of Plants vs. Zombies 2 are at parity

According to Leamer, PopCap launched Plants vs. Zombies 2 on iOS first because of the studio's familiarity with the platform and because the company knew it had a dedicated fan base there. In addition, Leamer explained, PopCap hasn't done much simultaneous multiplatform development.

"PopCap is really a sequential development shop; we're not a parallel same-ship shop, traditionally," he pointed out, mentioning the gaps between releases of the studio's previous games on various platforms.

But PopCap was able to release Plants vs. Zombies 2 on Android with a much shorter lag time, and the studio is looking to turn that into a trend for future games and updates.

"Going forward, you'll see much closer parity between [iOS and Android]," said Leamer, while noting that PopCap is still figuring out whether it will do a simultaneous release on both platforms of Far Future, the first expansion pack for Plants vs. Zombies 2.

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