This probably was not the way that PopCap Games’ experimental game studio 4th & Battery wanted to start off. Then again, maybe it’s just the type of thing that could help establish the edgy new game development group. Just three days after the studio’s public debut, 4th & Battery’s first mobile app for the iPhone, dubbed “Unpleasant Horse,” has been rejected.
A spokesman for PopCap — known for such hits as Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies — confirmed the news, but he declined to comment further when contacted by GeekWire. However, VentureBeat notes that 4th & Battery posted a Tweet yesterday that said “WTF? Apple rejected Unpleasant Horse cuz of ‘mature content?’ We thought horses dying in meat grinders was wholesome family entertainment.” The Tweet has since been removed from the site, but there have been some humorous follow-up messages directed at Apple.
One particularly funny Tweet from the studio said: “Anyhoo, we still love Apple. Honest. We even had (and liked!) a Newton back in the day. Hope we get an appropriate rating for the game!”
4th & Battery also updated a blog post, which had said the app would be out “any moment” with this new message. “Errr, it’ll be out soon. We hope. Cross your fingers.”
It is not uncommon for Apple to reject mobile applications, and we’ve seen other developers have their creations shot down too.
But, as Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat notes, PopCap is different since the company is one of the top makers of mobile applications for the iPhone. Games such as Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled have been massive hits on the iPhone, currently ranked in the top 25 iPhone game apps in terms of revenue.
Keeping developers like PopCap happy will be key for Apple, especially as new mobile platforms gain momentum.
That said, when 4th & Battery launched earlier this week, it wasn’t shy about pushing the envelope. The company said the new studio would try to attract mature audiences with weird and unusual games. Unpleasant Horse certainly would qualify.
In the game, players assume the role of an unpleasant horse with wings that destroys small birds and other horses.
Here’s a look at the company’s video introduction of the game, which doesn’t look too rough to us. But we also don’t see any meat grinders here.