Trip Hawkins, founder of EA and current CEO of social studio Digital Chocolate, has said that claims made by John Madden Football programmer Robin Antonick in his lawsuit against the publisher are stretching the truth.
Antonick is suing EA for almost two decades worth of royalties that he claims he is due from sales proceeds of the entire series, after playing an instrumental role in creation of the original Madden, released in 1998 and 1989 for Apple II, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, however, Hawkins – who is not a named defendant in the lawsuit – gives a vastly different version of events and claims that Antonick has exaggerated his role.
The programmer claims to have sat beside Hawkins during development of the game, but Hawkins insists that Antonick worked as a contractor from his Chicago home.
Hawkins also says that Antonick was “one of many” people who worked on the original, but that he was “not the person driving the game.” He also claims that Antonick was not contracted to develop the series’ move to consoles because EA needed developers with “more advanced” skills.
Antonick’s 1986 contract guarantees him a 1.5 per cent cut of profits from any “derivative works” made for current hardware, but EA has always maintained that subsequent Madden titles were developed independently of his original work.
Park Place Productions, developers of the first console John Madden Football, released on Sega’s Mega Drive in 1990, allegedly told Antonick at the time that his IP would not be used as the studio was aiming for an “arcade” style.
The series has made an estimated $4 billion in profits for its publisher, meaning Antonick would be entitled to at least $60 million should his suit be successful.
Source: LA Times