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Why I Make Games: Matthew Prior

From safaris in Africa to FIFA 17 producer. Meet Matthew Prior.

EA PLAY 2016

There’s something special about making video games, and whether you love art, engineering or both you know how magical the experience can be.

We’re lucky to have lots of amazing creative people who make video games here at EA, and we wanted to find out more about why they’ve chosen to make games.

Meet Matthew Prior, FIFA 17 producer and EA SPORTS Creative Director:

When did you first start playing video games?

Pretty much as soon as I could hold a controller. I remember spending hours on the early Atari games every day. From that point on, I basically nagged my parents to get the latest game consoles (which rarely worked).

When I got my own money, I bought pretty much every system that came out. My mum’s attic back in the UK is basically a museum of gaming.

What was your first job in the industry – what was your day to day like back then?

My first job was in QA (Quality Assurance) on Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit back in 2002. It was a little tedious but at the time I loved it because the industry was so new and exciting.

My job prior to joining EA was running safaris in Africa and living out of a tent so it was nice if only for the creature comforts. Even Rub Testing was interesting back then: We’d slowly drive the car around all the tracks and bang it into every bit of scenery to make sure the collisions work properly.

How have you contributed to FIFA 17?

The majority of my time this cycle has been devoted to delivering the cinematic narrative for FIFA 17. I worked on the first FIFA Ultimate Team some seven years ago which was the last full-on brand new mode for FIFA, so getting the cinematic narrative off the ground has been a full time job.

From defining the initial concept, the features and game mechanics and then working with our narrative director and writer in creating the story, characters, casting, etc., that has been my main focus.

You switched the game engine from EA SPORTS Ignite to Frostbite for FIFA 17 on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for this year. In what ways does Frostbite bring FIFA to a new level?

Changing engines is always a challenge but ultimately a rewarding one as the goal is to improve the game. We have an incredibly dedicated and passionate team here in Vancouver so everyone has been onboard with the transition.

Frostbite has allowed us to do things in FIFA we have never been able to do before. Creatively, it’s a big step forward. There wouldn’t be a cinematic narrative without it.

You’re a big football fan yourself. What do you think of the totally unexpected Premier League championship for Leicester City this year?

I think it’s incredible and another reason why the English Premier League is the most popular and exciting league in the world. As a Manchester City fan, there was a time when I was hoping Leicester would fail, but as soon as we were mathematically out of it, I became a Leicester City fan.

I can say with a high degree of certainty that you will never see anything like that ever again in football. A team that almost got relegated the previous year and was one of the favorites to do so again, for a team like that to win the league is unbelievable. When they played Man City, they did a comparison and the transfer costs of the entire Leicester City team was less than our central defender.

For many, many years the only way I would ever see Man City win anything was in the virtual world of FIFA, so offering long suffering fans the ability to live that dream is a massive part of the game and unquestionably part of the reason for its incredible success.

Excited about FIFA 17? Tell us why on Twitter @EA.


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