Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 brings Spring flowers early next year

PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a criminally-underrated online shooter, delivering a great mix of character and a surprisingly deep customization system. Its sequel, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, wasn’t expected until next Spring, but it looks like Punxsutawney Phil couldn’t see his shadow, because the game is now releasing in February.

In EA’s official announcement, creative director Justin Wiebe says that PopCap “couldn’t be more ready and thrilled” to release Garden Warfare 2 ahead of its expected launch, adding that it’s “filled will fan-requested features as well as all-new experiences that will make this unlike any other game in the genre.” One of those fan-requested features is the ability to play the game in single-player, something that was only possible in one mode of the original game.

The news also comes with announcement of a very PopCap pre-order bonus: 14 “emoji-style” accessories for each character class. Given the recent addition of the middle finger, one can only hope that it’s included. This is in addition to the Mass Effect-inspired “Grass Effect Z7-Mech,” which you can see in the above gameplay video.

The new release date of February 23, 2016 puts Garden Warfare 2‘s launch almost exactly two years after that of the original game. To reward players who have logged hundreds of hours in the shooter (confession: I have more achievement points for Garden Warfare than anything else), the game will also allow you to transfer over almost all of your unlocked equipment and customized characters. The sequel also offers six additional character classes and “over one hundred unique characters to collect,” as well as 12 maps.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 arrives to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on February 23 — which happens to be the same that both Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Far Cry Primal release —  with early access available to EA Access subscribers on Xbox One. Unlike the previous game, it will not be available on last-generation systems.

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