Casual games developer PopCap has created a new experimental label – 4th & Battery – where its designers and developers will be able to create ‘edgier’ games.
4th & Battery is expected to produce several games per year, primarily small-scale, arcade-style games for platforms including PC, Facebook and iPhone.
Ed Allard, executive vice president of studios at PopCap, said: “4th & Battery is a pressure valve intended to keep our heads from exploding. 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.”
Unlike PopCap franchises, some titles coming from the new offshoot will have mature content.
“4th & Battery is a purely experimental, creative label with none of the typical concerns like schedules, profitability, or even target audience. It’s kind of the video game equivalent of B-side or short films,” explained Jason Kapalka, co-founder and chief creative officer at PopCap. “Expect weirdness.”
For an example of such weirdness, look no further than the label’s first game, Unpleasant Horse, in which you get to play a thoroughly horrible horse with wings. You advance through the game by destroying birds and landing on top of other horses, sending them downward into a meat grinder for special bonuses. Lovely!
Unpleasant Horse will be on iPhone and iPod Touch later this month through the Apple App Store and will be available for free.