PopCap’s final founding member leaves EA to “give something back”

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare enjoyed a rare PC release from PopCap.

PopCap has lost its last remaining co-founder. John Vechey is leaving both the Peggle purveyors and EA – but made clear that he still puts faith in his publishing overlords and the deal that saw PopCap become an Electronic Arts subsidiary three years ago.

Vechey’s exit follows a sabbatical, during which he was able to spend time with his new wife and child and consider “what the future has in store”.

Vechey didn’t rule out starting his own company or “joining a bigger one” in the future – but for now plans to dive into work for the non-profit environmental news site he currently holds a board position for.

“Many of you know me as the energetic, happy-go-lucky founder of PopCap, and I want to use that energy to give something back for awhile until I figure out what’s next,” said the PopCap co-founder in a statement.

“I’ll be taking some non-violence workshops, furthering some of the things I’ve learned from being part of the Quaker community, while I explore peace and social justice issues, such as war abolition, prison reform, poverty and the effects of race and gender privilege.”

In short, he’s going to channel the spirit of Peggle unicorn Bjorn.

Vechey said that PopCap have some “great games in production” and a bright future ahead with EA – whose Andrew Wilson seems to have inspired renewed faith in the company. In the past, Vechey has defended EA from its branding as the Worst Company in America – and once blogged that he was “very glad” the publisher had acquired PopCap.

EA’s Frank Gibeau called Vechey a “rare breed”.

“His personal vitality and true passion for fun helped to define the spirit of PopCap and the games they make,” said Gibeau. “He leaves behind a legacy of amazing games, powerful IP, and strong studio talent.”

Gibeau reassured fans that PopCap is still in “deeply capable hands” – but dubbed the Seattle developers a “core studio in EA’s mobile efforts”. That’s small comfort for PC players who inexplicably missed out on ports ofPlants vs Zombies 2 and Peggle 2.

PopCap was founded in the year 2000 by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka. In what year did you start playing Peggle?

Thanks, Gamespot.