Allen Murray, the game's senior producer, spoke to Polygon today to explain that the company decided to soft launch in New Zealand and Australia in order to test features like server stability and pricing.
"With Plants vs. Zombies 2 we're taking advantage of a lot of newer technologies," Murray said. "If you're connected to the internet, you can save your progress and share accounts across multiple devices — and we need to make sure those systems, along with our ability to stream that content to players, works."
Plants vs. Zombies 2 utilizes cloud saving and is slated to be free with in-app purchases. According to Murray, PopCap plans to test and monitor player purchasing behavior to make pricing adjustments ahead of the game's wider launch. Players will likely see pricing fluctuations for content, which will include premium plants and coin packs that can be used for purchasing power-ups and upgrades.
"Our philosophy is to not be heavy-handed and very soft in our approach," Murray said. "Anyone with enough time and skill can unlock all content. But we have a unique challenge in that the game is widely loved — by kids and grandparents, casual players and hardcore players, and everyone in between. It's a challenge to design something that will work for all audiences."
Gamers in New Zealand and Australia can download the app immediately from the App Store for free, while U.S. players will need to wait until later this month. Our sister site TouchArcade has gone hands on with the game and has a demo available for users who want an early peek at Plants vs. Zombies 2.