PopCap Games gets 'edgy' with new label, 4th & Battery

PopCap Games has created a label dedicated to producing bite-sized games with a little more teeth. Called 4th & Battery, the new division will give PopCap developers the freedom to tinker with edgier, more adult games which would otherwise sully PopCap Games' good name.

Revealed today, the studio will launch in fine fashion with a game about a homicidal flying horse who enjoys killing birds and pushing his friends into meat grinders, appropriately entitled Unpleasant Horse. Crank up the volume to get the most out of its trailer:

Above: Not Bejeweled

"4th & Battery is a pressure valve intended to keep our heads from exploding," explained PopCap's executive VP of studios, Ed Allard.

"The PopCap brand has become closely associated with ultra-high quality, polish and attention to detail — which is a great thing. But our standard game development process is therefore long and involved, and doesn’t really accommodate all of the creativity pumping through our collective veins. 4th & Battery gives us a way to quickly try really strange or marginal ideas, and to give our designers a safe area to hone their chops."

That's understandable. After years of working on games like Zuma, Bookworm Adventures, and Peggle, one is bound to get an itch for a bit of the old ultra-violence; at least, more than some Plants vs Zombies can provide. Understanding this, the higher-ups at PopCap Games will stay at arms length from 4th & Battery, allowing its staff free reign over their quirky pet projects without having to worry about things like production schedules, corporate visions or even if they will sell.

"It’s kind of the videogame equivalent of B-sides or short films," explained Jason Kapalka, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at PopCap, adding, "Expect weirdness."

4th & Battery will produce a handful of games per year for PC and iOS devices. Unpleasant Horse will be available in the App Store for free later this month.

[Source: 4th & Battery]

April 5, 2011

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Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.