Reports are circulating today that say thatPlants vs Zombies (opens in new tab)creator George Fan may have been among the 50 or so PopCap employees who were fired in yesterday’s layoffs.
The rumor began with a report at Gamasutra (opens in new tab) which cited a PR representative who confirmed Fan had been let go. A later update to the story said that the representative had changed their story to say they, “cannot at this time confirm that George Fan was part of the layoffs.”
At this point it is still unclear whether this particular PR person at first relayed wrong information, or if he was told to recant in the light of potential bad publicity.
The fear of bad publicity is very real given that PopCap only announced the sequel to Plants vs Zombies two days ago. Many fans will no doubt be angry to learn that the creator will not be part of ongoing development, and that EA/PopCap didn’t view him as an integral asset to the company.
PopCap has said that the restructuring is due to the company trying to reform themselves to the demands of a market focused on free-to-play and social gaming. Fan’s earlier work, including PvZ was focused more on PopCap’s older strategy of downloadable PC titles like Bejeweled.