EA founder disputes Madden suit

Trip Hawkins contests account of events to Robin Antonick's suit, says plaintiff exaggerated his importance in formation of seminal sports series.

Last week, word surfaced that one of the original programmers of the Madden football-sim series was suing Electronic Arts for potentially tens of millions of dollars. Robin Antonick, who helped create the original Madden game back in 1988, claimed that the series is still based on his original game, meaning he is due a share of the franchise's multibillion-dollar income.

Former EA head Trip Hawkins tells a different tale of Madden's origins.

Now, though, the man widely credited with creating the Madden franchise, EA founder Trip Hawkins, is contesting Antonick's account of events. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the former executive--who is currently in the middle of a $20 million tax dispute with the IRS--took umbrage to several points in the lawsuit and offered his own version of Madden history.

Firstly, Hawkins said that Antonick exaggerated his role in development of the original Madden. He said the plaintiff was "one of many" people who worked on the title and was not "not the person driving the game." The former EA chief also said that Antonick did not in fact work alongside Hawkins at EA's San Francisco Bay Area headquarters but, instead, was a contractor who labored remotely from Chicago.

Further, Hawkins said that Antonick's role was so small that he only worked on the 8-bit version of the game and was not rehired for the 16-bit editions. Hawkins told the Times the reason the programmer was not brought back was that EA wanted to hire staff with "more advanced" skills.

As for EA, a spokesperson would only say that, "The complaint and its 20 year-old claim are utterly without merit."

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Discussion

14 comments
Oni
Oni

I'm just wondering why it took this guy so long to sue. Has he been living under a rock all these years since he worked with EA? It's like he woke up one morning, saw a Madden commercial, got mad and decided to sue.

mtait01
mtait01

if anything EA should be sued for the online passes... I pay an xbox live subscription and I still have to pay if I buy the game 2nd hand?? imo thats just wrong

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

If the guy tried to cheat the almighty uncle Sam, so why couldn't he do the same to the lowly Robin?

Sparty_On
Sparty_On

Baseless lawsuit just like all the other lawsuits on Madden the best football game around and that is a fact.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

All the sudden BOOM, Madden is in the middle of a lot of lawsuits.

mtait01
mtait01

i heard about this story from a friend, i gathered the jist was 'people are annoyed because they can't compete with EA because of the licencing', that about right? I think that any developer can compete, just focus on making a great and fun game!! You don't need licences to make a game for god sake...

Nabulous
Nabulous

O maaan, A generation that doesn't recognize John Madden. Apocalypse here we come

Dunbon
Dunbon

he looks like that australian crocodile guy that died!

LomaxGnome
LomaxGnome

@Scootman78 You realize that Trip Hawkins hasn't been in any way a part of EA since the 90s, right? He has no vested interest in either side. Since he was there, he was telling the story as it happened. Funny how you say they were "once a great employer." If you believe that, then you should believe Trip Hawkins, since he founded and was running EA back in those golden ages.

TheTrainer1980
TheTrainer1980

Who cares. People might as well sue for MS Paint, or Office, etc. Seriously

Scootman78
Scootman78

Translation of this article: EA refuses to properly acknowledge programmer who helped create the Madden franchise. EA is such a greedy company. Hard to believe that once upon a time, they were such a great employer for creative programmers and developers interested in making compelling sports games. And it's not easy to believe anything Trip Hawkins says since he apparently can't even be responsible enough to pay his own taxes.