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.
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."

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 14 comments about this story