PopCap Games unveils 'experimental' game studio

PopCap Games has spun off a new studio from its development efforts that's aimed at creating simple, fast-to-market casual games.

Don Reisinger
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Don Reisinger
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Unpleasant Horse will be the first title from 4th & Battery.
Unpleasant Horse will be the first title from 4th & Battery. 4th and Battery

PopCap Games has created a new development studio aimed at delivering fast-to-market titles, the company announced today.

Dubbed 4th & Battery, the new "experimental" studio is made up of current PopCap developers who want to "create smaller, simpler, and sometimes edgier games," the company said. PopCap pointed out that in traditional gaming development models, creating a title can take a long time. And in the process, fewer titles are actually released. With 4th & Battery, the company hopes to get more titles to the market far more quickly.

PopCap Games is no slouch in the gaming business. The company's most notable title is Bejeweled, which according to the company, has sold more than 50 million units. PopCap's selection of games has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times since its founding in 2000. 4th & Battery, however, won't face the pressure of continuing PopCap's successful track record in the gaming business.

"4th & Battery is a purely experimental, creative label with none of the typical concerns like schedules, profitability, or even target audience," PopCap's CEO Jason Kapalka said in a statement. "It's kind of the video game equivalent of B-sides or short films. Expect weirdness."

His sentiment was echoed by the company's executive vice president.

"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," PopCap Executive Vice President Ed Allard said in a statement.

Prior to its public launch, 4th & Battery was working on a game called Unpleasant Horse. That title, which puts the player in the role of "a strikingly unpleasant horse that sports wings" and targets enemy birds, is scheduled to launch in Apple's App Store "later this month." It's aimed at "mature audiences."

PopCap said that future 4th & Battery titles will be made available on Facebook, PCs, and iOS-based devices.