Plants Vs Zombies has just turned ten years old. The well-loved tower defense game celebrated its 10 year anniversary on May 5th, and its creator, George Fan, and lead artist, Rich Werner, took to Twitter to celebrate. Throughout the day, they shared some original sketches and gave fans an insight into the game's history and development.
The first drawing from Fan is recognizable as the game we all know and love, but the notes and jottings which accompany it portray a few major changes.
The biggest change is that the game’s first draft didn’t actually feature any zombies. Fan originally designed the game to use the aliens from his previous title Insaniquarium. As he was doodling, he drew a zombie alongside his plants, and Plants Vs Zombies was born.
Happy 10th Birthday, Plants vs. Zombies! I had no idea when scribbling this on paper over 10 years ago just how much it'd change my life! pic.twitter.com/MyZMx9m7Zh— George Fan (@thegeorgefan) May 5, 2019
Sunflowers and collecting sun were also absent from the original drawings. Prior to their inclusion, players were plucking radish-like plants called "Tubers" out of the ground. This was scrapped in favor of the Tubers holding up dollars. Eventually, this idea evolved into the sun and sunflowers we see in the final title.
The “five lane” concept was also missing from the first prototype, which was a more traditional maze layout. You can also see on the drawing that Fan originally envisaged six lanes, then decided to scribble one out.
In terms of functionality, the conveyor belt levels we see in the final game were originally much more prevalent. Early prototypes of the game were “inspired by Magic” and had you building decks of seed packets, which the game would draw from and send down the conveyor.
Fan also shared some inspiration with his drawing of the predecessor of the peashooter. The original concept was a tomato with a sprout, which was heavily inspired by the Snifit from Super Mario Bros. 2.
After the response to his drawings, Fan decided to share some more information about the game, including a video he calls, “Finnish Disco,” which was the inspiration for the zombies' dance moves.
While putting together the end credits music video, I made @rich_werner watch the legendary "Finnish Disco" video for inspiration. If you ever wondered where the zombies' sick dance moves came from, now you know!https://t.co/Hm1klQIxWx pic.twitter.com/Qs7JJEEqxW— George Fan (@thegeorgefan) May 6, 2019
Fan has promised to reveal some more insights into the game over the next few days, so keep an eye on his Twitter to find out more about Plants Vs Zombies. You can also find some more original Plants Vs Zombies sketches, including the evolution of the zombies, over on artist Rich Werner's Twitter.