After waiting more than four years to get their hands on a new Plants vs. Zombies title, gamers finally got another chance to kill the living dead with aggressive garden plants this summer with “Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time.” By mid-September, the game had been downloaded more than 25 million times, with players racking up more than 140 million hours of gameplay in the process.

“It’s About Time,” it seems, was worth the wait. But even the most dedicated Plants vs. Zombies fans couldn’t help but notice, something was different. The once-premium game is now free-to-play — a “try it before you buy it” introduction that eventually hits up players for cash to continue.. Meanwhile,  EA revealed a console-based multiplayer shooter PvZ spin-off, “Garden Warfare” . The game resembled Call of Duty more than the original Plants vs. Zombies tower defense. Not to mention brand-new creatives were involved during its development.

Gaming in 2013 is a very different beast than it was in 2009, when PopCap released the original “Plants Vs. Zombies” on the PC. Mohan Rajagopolan, senior game designer on “Plants vs. Zombies 2,” and Tony Leamer, franchise business director on the series.  When PopCap was an independent studio(ever since its acquisition by EA in 2011) “Plants vs. Zombies” has started thinking big ” As for the Mario Franchise, There’s a million different Marios, but there’s also a core platformer.

“I think a new Mario certainly has franchise potential, but not on the same scale as Mario” – Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.