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Plants Vs. Zombies, Diablo III devs’ new studio acquired by Valve

Both Semple and Gates have impressive track records in the video game industry. Gates was one of the people responsible for starting up Paypal back at the turn of the century. He also created the unicellular introductory mode in Maxis’ divisive Spore, worked on Diablo III during its prolonged production at Blizzard, and was one of the minds behind PopCap’s Plants Vs. Zombies.
Semple worked alongside Gates on Diablo III during the middle of last decade. After working on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed at LucasArts, he reunited with Gates, working as the programmer on Plants Vs. Zombies.
The enormous success of Plants Vs. Zombies is no doubt the source of Valve’s interest in the duo. Their game helped PopCap Games’ revenue break $100 million for the first time back in 2010, which in turn made that studio an acquisition target for Electronic Arts. EA paid a reported $1.3 billion for the company in 2011, and Semple stayed at EA through the transition before founding Star Filled Studios in September.
Prior to the Valve buyout, Semple and Gates were looking to hire an artist for their studio. Now they will be able to avail themselves of one of gaming’s most creatively potent talent pools around. It will be very interesting to see what they produce.

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