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'PvZ: Garden Warfare' Gardens & Graveyards mode shows power of the Chomper

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A new Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare video from PopCap Games hit Tuesday to show the Gardens & Graveyards multiplayer mode in action. It also shows that Zombies will want to stay far away from the Chomper in the upcoming Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC third-person shooter twist of the PvZ franchise.

The Gardens & Graveyards mode in PvZ: Garden Warfare is a mash-up between Battlefield's Rush and Conquest modes as the Zombies try to invade garden bases and erect tombstones. The capture of these bases will then open up additional garden bases for the Zombies to attack and the Plants to defend.

The mode supports up to 24 players and, judging from the video, the maps are quite large, colorful and full of Plants vs Zombies unique styling. The final Plant base also offers some unique twists when trying to attack though the video only offered a tease of Zombie being shot to the base via cannons while the Plants try to shoot them out of the sky.

Producer Brad Lindley spoke with Microsoft about PvZ: Garden Warfare and the Gardens & Graveyards mode offering clues on leveling up, the different classes and the inspiration.

Xbox: Perhaps because of the colorful graphics, folks have been quick to compare Garden Warfare to Team Fortress 2. Which shooter do you think you’re closest to?

PvZ: We’ve taken inspiration from a lot of different games, including Team Fortress 2, but I think it is difficult to compare Garden Warfare to one specific game. That said, as a 3rd person shooter with a variety of different classes, Garden Warfare sometimes reminds me of the Star Wars Battlefront games from a few years back.

Xbox: Past a first glance, Garden Warfare’s visuals seem to conceal a more core shooter experience, can you tell us about some of the tactics players can employ?

PvZ: Players experienced with shooters will find many familiar character types, weapons and abilities, but we’ve tried to create unique twists and combinations of these abilities to fit the more lighthearted and humorous tone of the PvZ universe. Tactics in Garden Warfare run the gamut from fast-paced and vertical play of the Soldier and Peashooter, melee/tank tactics with the Chomper and All-Star, support tactics from healers like the Sunflower and Scientist to a sniping specialist like the Cactus.

Xbox: We’re all very familiar with many of these plants and their powers (Pea Shooters shoot, Chompers gulp, etc). How are the zombies evolving from mindless ravagers to meet the challenge from the plants?

PvZ: Aside from being controlled by smarter human players, the zombies have also been armed with a wide variety of Zomboss™ technology at their disposal to assist them in their never-ending quest for brainz and plant domination. This technology comes in the form of crazy weapons like ZPGs, Football Cannons, Jackhammers, Teleporters, Dolphin Guns and much much more.

Xbox: How do the plants and powers mapped to the shoulder buttons and Y affect gameplay?

PvZ: Each plant has unique abilities that are designed to suit different play styles and roles within the plant team. Generally, the most powerful and unique powers of each plant are mapped to the Y button, with other ‘role specific’ abilities triggered by RB/LB. For example, as the healer class, the sunflower has her healing powers mapped to RB and LB, but the Y button unleashes her Sunbeam attack, where she roots into the ground for a powerful laser-style attack on zombies for a limited time. Mastering each class requires learning how and when to use the core abilities to your advantage, both in individual and team combat situations.

Xbox: In the video we see players leveling up – what types of new abilities are awarded to higher-level players?

PvZ: Early in the progression, players will be unlocking all of their core abilities, but as they level up further, players will earn weapon attachments and new outfits that allow them to augment their primary abilities with different variations like ice, fire, toxic, electric, dark energy and numerous other crazy powers. A lot of interesting team play strategies emerge when you start to combine the different outfits and weapon variations with those of your teammates.

Xbox: Do we see any classic characters from PvZ1 or new fan favorites from PvZ2 making an appearance in Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare? Bonk Choy fan here!

PvZ: Absolutely, in fact, our core playable characters on the plant team, the sunflower, peashooter, chomper and cactus were all directly inspired by characters from the original game. There are a lot of other characters from the PvZ 1 and PvZ 2, such as Bonk Choy, Potato Mine, Conehead Zombie, Buckethead Zombie, Repeater, Fume Shroom, Chili Bean and many more.

Xbox: In traditional Plants vs Zombies, all Pea Shooters, Sunflowers, etc look the same. How can you differentiate your plant or zombie on the battlefield?

PvZ: We have a huge variety of options for customizing and personalizing your plant and zombie characters in the game. All characters feature several different outfits and can be further customized with crazy accessories like funny hats, eyewear, facial hair, tattoos and numerous ‘organic enhancements’ for plants as well.

Xbox: Popcap isn’t known for shooters, or 3D games in general – how did this whole idea come about?

PvZ: As PopCap saw the popularity of PvZ explode a few years back, they recognized that there was a lot of potential for the universe beyond just tower defense games. One of the crazy ideas put forth was to expand PvZ into more of a shooter/action experience, and from there Garden Warfare was born. Since then, our team has been hard at work iterating and developing on this crazy idea. We can’t wait to get the final product in the hands of Xbox fans in February!

You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feed or email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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