Earlier this week PopCap Games announced Plants vs. Zombies 2, the day after they announced they were forced to layoff at least 50 employees, today we're learning that one of those laid off was none other than George Fan -- the original creator of Plants vs. Zombies. 1up is reporting that Fan was one of the unfortunate members on-staff to be laid off, despite his involvement in the hit tower defense game. Plants vs. Zombies even set records on the iPhone upon its initial release.
PopCap has issued a statement on its recent layoffs, obviously dishearted that the company has been forced to make such difficult decisions:
"There’s also an economic component to the reorganization. To stay in business, we need to manage costs, improve efficiency and maintain a profit. We’ve been able to invest in creative new games like Peggle and Plants vs. Zombies because we had a high profit business. That business is challenged, and if we don’t adapt, we won’t be able to invest in new IP. That sounds harsh – but if we don’t stay in business, no more plants, zombies, jewels, frogs or worms."
Since, EA is rumored to have rehired some member of the PopCap team, though whether that includes a substantial number of those laid off or if the rumor is at all truthful in the first place -- who knows.
It's beyond unfortunate, and bluntly stated quite classless, that the creator of Plants vs. Zombies be laid off on the eve of its sequel's announcement. Of course, we're not savvy to the events going on inside PopCap, whether Fan was part of a different project that ultimately failed, but the heart of the issue is disturbing.