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IGN reporter Rebeca Valentine has published an extensive article in which she spoke about the development of the spin-off series Plants vs. Zombies. It was developed by a small team inside PopCap Games Vancouver in 2016.

The game, codenamed Hot Tub (a reference to the original Hot Tub Time Machine movie title), was supposed to take the franchise in a completely different direction. A family-friendly, Ratchet & Clank-Esque, action-adventure game with Uncharted-style level-building and a combat system in the manner of Batman: Arkham Knight.

The main character was the teenager Eddie, who, along with his friend Peashooter, went back in time to fetch his sister Tessa because of a failed zombie experiment. In past eras, the characters had to defeat the zombies, as well as the main villain Doctor Zomboss, save Tessa and return the former appearance to Neighborville, which also suffered from the experiment.

In addition to the Peashooter, Eddie could take other plants to his party, between which he could freely switch. An IGN reporter saw gameplay footage of Sunflower and Nibbler. The first illuminates dark spaces, while the second fights in close combat and is used as a grappling hook.

Tessa was also a playable hero but to a lesser extent. The girl took Thyme Distortion as her assistant, which controlled time.

However, Hot Tub was not destined to be born. The title started in 2015 with a team of about 30 people who knew the Frostbite engine and also loved Plants vs. Zombies. For a certain time, the game was managed by Jade Raymond, who at that time headed EA Motive and Visceral Games. By the way, it was the latter that ruined the Hot Tube. More precisely, the Star Wars game, codenamed Ragtag.


Prior to the cancellation of Hot Tub, the developers at PopCap even planned to release a short film based on the game. The studio signed a contract with a third-party studio, which was supposed to do something in the spirit of Pixar. It was expected that with the game’s vertical slice, full development plan, and animation, the team would convince EA to give the green light.

Several PopCap employees, led by Jade Raymond, went to Redwood, EA headquarters, to show Hot Tub to Andrew Wilson, the company’s CEO. According to IGN sources, the presentation was received very warmly, but this did not change the final decision. EA closed Hot Tub and sent the team to work on Ragtag in Visceral.

A year later, the Star Wars game was canceled and Visceral disbanded. Former Hot Tub developers were scattered around other internal EA studios.

The last numbered game, Plants vs. Zombies remains the third part for mobile devices, which still does not get out of closed tests. Of the spin-offs, more or less relevant is Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville a third-person action game released in 2019.

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