Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Former Madden Developer Rips EA Sports

Posted January 11th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

One of the most fascinating developments of the year came late as a former Madden NFL developer went on an unprecedented Twitter rant regarding the state of the franchise and the stifling environment in which he had departed from. It was insight into the ongoing process and frustrations that may be faced by those who work on the games that the public rarely if ever hears. Certain elements of that are true of all major corporations but with it being Madden in particular it struck a nerve with those who have been frustrated with the series ever since the exclusive license with the league was signed in 2004. 

There are always going to be internal disagreements whether that be over something as vast as the direction of a title or in minor day-to-day decision making. The use of metrics will of course remain a factor just as focus testing and other external resources are considered. None of the details discussed were all that surprising with the targeting of other individuals who had worked on the game damaging the credibility and bringing into question motivations of speaking out.

The need to satisfy investors falls along the lines of the need for the company to satisfy the NFL and further cultivate that valuable relationship. Over this generation the product has been watered down in an attempt to appeal to the widest audience rather than achieve the best game possible. There was no series more risk-averse than Madden until this last year. That rings true in regards to being a publicly traded company just as it does in pleasing the league by presenting an inoffensive representation and trying to reach the mystical “casual” crowd.

A number of bad decisions by EA have been made along the way – whether they be judgment on general vision and specific features or the inability for the dev team to execute them properly. Where to place the blame should really be irrelevant to consumers. The bottom line is whether the product lives up to expectations and provides the value necessary. If not word of mouth and sales will be affected and a course change will occur.

Some felt as though the entirety of the rant in question was unprofessional while others hoped that doing so in such a manner could increase pressure for EA Sports to change their practices. Ultimately though this was just one side of a story that almost certainly would find the truth somewhere in between the beliefs and perspectives that would be offered by both sides.

Year in Review
Only a few more to come!
•#3 of 2012: Madden NFL 13
•#4 of 2012: SSX
•#5 of 2012: UFC Undisputed 3
•#6 of 2012: Forza Horizon
•#7 of 2012: MLB 12: The Show
•#8 of 2012: NHL 13
•#9 of 2012: NCAA Football 13
•#10 of 2012: NFL Blitz
•Vote for the 2012 Community Choice Awards
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Former Developer Rips EA Sports
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: MLB 2K12 Perfect Game Contest Controversy
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The (at one time) Death of the MLB 2K Series
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Turning to Entertainers for Marketing Exposure
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Lawsuits Faced by Electronic Arts
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: Disingenuous Marketing and Unfulfilled Features
•Revisiting the Top Stories of 2012: The Disastrous Road Towards NBA Live 13

  • Geodude

    When you first posted the article regarding that developer I posted on the madden facebook wall if there was an official EA response, just curious to see what the discussion was. However asking that on fb got me banned from posting… oh well…

    • That’s pretty bad. It’s one thing not to acknowledge it…no surprise that they wouldn’t comment on it. But to try and prevent others from mentioning it makes them look even worse.

      • Geodude

        I’m not too fussed, everyone goes on that site just to complain at EA anyway, but I didn’t like they dealt with a genuine question that was already known all over the internet anyway.

        I am a madden fan, over the years they have done good things with each game, but with every new game they remove some old good stuff, add a few good new things and then a lot of bad. If you combined all the good aspects of each madden since 2005 they would produce the ultimate game, and then to save on the lack of development time each game gets, release a game every couple of years but every year should have a charged DLC for that years roster update. My two cents (or pennys, I’m British)

        • I think the “every other year release will make Madden better” theory is one that was never well thought-out by gamers. And I mean this as no offense to you, I’m just speaking in general; gamers are completely stupid. Football gamers are even dumber. If by now they can’t see that a game that’s had 8 development cycles and still carries tons of legacy issues still isn’t right because the dev team is garbage, then they were all probably Rich Kotite fans at one time. I don’t know why in the world these football gaming dumbasses continue to cling to the idea that Madden taking a year off of releases would make even a modicum of difference. Tell me how the time off helped NBA Live?

          The only people dumb enough to still believe that are the “game changers” (what do they actually think they’re changing?), and notorious Madden ball-washers like Roadman and JPDavis. Speaking of Madden ball-washers, the guy in question here was a notorious one himself. He washed his way right into a job and later learned the hard way what some more competent people had told him beforehand; it’s a crappy job. It was funny to read him fiercely defend Tiburon tooth and nail pre-hire, only to see him now exploding post-departure about the very same things he fought people back on.

          • Amen_Ra

            HAve to agree to 100%

  • I hate the corporate overlords as much as the next guy, but this dude and his ranting just seemed low class. It would be nice if the people with the money weren’t so out of touch, but there are a lot of jobs where there are so many cooks in the kitchen that everybody ends up disillusioned.

    Obviously the Connected Careers thing is NOT the way most people wanted this game to go – I didn’t really care because I don’t play that mode, but a lot of people do. I didn’t feel like this Josh Looman guy was giving people what they wanted, instead what he thought they needed. I hope somebody at EA learns from this experience.

    But it must be tough for EA to listen to fan feedback – people saying EA SUX I H8T MADDEN doesn’t really give them a lot to work with!

  • pasta all he has to do is keep the same name just bring back the full nfl expernce of running all the teams like madden has allways done just bring back the ideas that ian, and phil started. if you recall phil frazier started owner mode on ps 2 and the old xbox people havent forgot that. i love madden i just want them to make up the mind on where the going with this game and stop bring things that people didnt ask for. what was wrong with , news paper idea, the buliding new staduims without moveing them from the city there in . the extra point was good idea it just need adjusting to it, and franchise mode as well but they didnt put the real time into fixing it. the only thing madden 13 was good at was the new infnity idea that”s it. i hope they really fix madden14 or i will pass on it.

  • clubsteve

    interesting rant…..he’s bitter, that’s for sure…..but it’s probably because he really cares about the game itself rather than just sales numbers. i can’t imagine ea would respond to comments from an ex-employee, but this is what happens when game designers are limited in what they can do. madden is in sore need of some fresh, new ideas. i thought what nba 2k11/2k12 did was brilliant and this was done with virtually no competition from ea. so why can’t madden do that?

  • Concerned citizen

    Interesting, a story about a underdeveloped, poor playing, and generally disappointing game, next to a story of, how said game is on of the years best. We, the football gaming community are seriously fucked, this mess may not clear up in my lifetime.

    • Keith.

      Exclusive license = 8 years we’re never getting back. F$&@ you EA and Tiburon.

      • Yep, and the sadder part is that we’re about to head into another 8 years of the same horse manure.

        I’m going to be looking REAL crazy still playing APF and 2K5 in 2021. Damn. Sometimes I still ask myself if this is really happening.