EA is under scrutiny over the implementation of loot boxes and in-game purchases in titles like Star Wars Battlefront II and Need for Speed Payback, which is not a new thing for the publisher. After the outburst, the company removed micro-transactions from Star Wars Battlefront II but mentioned they will return to the game at a later date.
While speaking at the Roundtable Live Podcast, The Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy designer Edmund McMillen shared the story of how Plants vs Zombies creator George Fan was fired by PopCap, after it was acquired by EA, for opposing the pay-to-win model for the game's sequel. McMillen said,
He got headhunted by Popcap, and Popcap hired him, sent him off with two more people in a small office and said hey make a game. And he said, ‘OK I’m gonna make Plants vs. Zombies.’ And he made Plants vs. Zombies. It was hugely successful. They got acquired by EA. EA made that game even more successful. And then they were like, ‘OK we’re gonna focus on this and we’re gonna make a sequel, spinoffs, this this and this.’ George was like, ‘Great, I’ve got an idea for a sequel.’ He developed this game independently as well, an independent mindset with a small team of people. It was personal. Knowing the guy I can see: the characters are personal, every bit and piece is something from him, so it was his baby. And they’re like hey let’s make the sequel, we’re gonna put it on mobile, and we’re gonna do this “pay to win.” And he’s like, ah I don’t know, that’s not a good idea, I don’t really want to do that with my game, and they said “You’re fired.”
Interestingly, after the news broke, Fan took it to Twitter where he confirmed that he was laid off by the publisher, and he was against the pay-to-win model. However, he didn't go into specifics about why he was laid off by the company. Since his departure, he worked as an independent game developer with the upcoming project called Octogeddon.
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