We already knew that the highly anticipated second instalment of PopCap’s popular Plants vs Zombies franchise was on its way, but today the developer has posted a new launch trailer for the game and officially announced a release date.

From PopCap’s press release it sounds like Plants vs Zombies 2 is only coming to iOS, at least initially, while the company also plans an invitation only beta that will launch next week during E3. For everyone else, the game will be available on July 18 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Unlike the original title, which is currently available for 99 cents on the App Store, PopCap is making the new game entirely free to play with some in-app purchases available, but not necessary to enjoy the full game:

Free to download, Plants vs. Zombies 2 will expand and extend the classic gameplay of the original and provide players with dozens of all-new levels, plants and zombies across multiple worlds at no cost. While the vast majority of the game will be entirely free to play (players can face every zombie and access every level in every world at no cost), Plants vs. Zombies 2 players will also be able to purchase upgrades and other in-game items.

PopCap adds that “New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis.”

Designed from the ground up as a live service, the ever-expanding universe of Plants vs. Zombies 2continues the epic struggle of plants defending your brainz against zombies from your backyard through the vast reaches of time, both past and future. New worlds with new levels, plants, zombies and new ways to play will be released on an ongoing basis. Leveraging the touch interface of Apple’s popular mobile devices, Plants vs. Zombies 2 includes all-new touch-screen power-ups that enable players to “break the fourth wall” and interact with zombies directly, as well as via plant defenses.

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