PopCap Games has launched a new label, giving its designers and developers free rein to create games without the constraints of a global games publisher.
The experimental label, called 4th and Battery, will see PopCap developers produce several games per year, which will be small-scale, arcade-style games for many platforms, including PC, Facebook and iPhone.
“4th & Battery is a pressure valve intended to keep our heads from exploding,” said Ed Allard, executive vice-president of studios at PopCap.
“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,” said Allard.
Designers and developers will have the freedom to create whatever games they wish and PopCap notes that some of the content could be aimed at a more mature audience as a result.
The first game to be released under this label is Unpleasant Horse. The player takes on the role of a “strikingly unpleasant horse” with wings who jumps on the backs of other nicer flying ponies to advance through the game, sending the cuter creatures plummeting to a series of meat grinders below. However, if the player misses a leap, they’ll face the same gruesome demise.
The game will be available for the iPhone and iPod touch later this month for free.