Why I Make Games: Rex Dickson

EA SPORTS Madden NFL

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 video games.

Rex Dickson has always wanted to work in video games.

When the Sony PlayStation was first released and Rex Dickson saw what it could do, he immediately set his mind to becoming a Game Designer.

“I distinctly recall teaching myself to code in ‘BASIC’ on the Apple II when I was in elementary school,” he says. “I realized pretty early on that math was not my strong suit, and coding would not be a viable career option.”

Rather than get discouraged, he tried to focus as much energy as he could into studying level design and game mechanics.

Dickson got his first break in the industry as a QA tester, and later used this experience to secure an internship with a small game developer, which eventually gave him the opportunity to become the lead designer and producer of an RPG game called “Revenant”.

By 2006, Dickson was on board with EA in L.A., working as a game designer on the Medal of Honor team”. In 2012 he joined EA Tiburon in Orlando as the Creative Director on the Madden team.

Rex has a personal connection to American football.

“I started playing football in the 6th grade, and played all the way through college,” says Dickson. “My most notable accomplishment was winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship as a senior at Marist in 1994.”

Dickson loves that Madden can feel like a totally organic experience every time you play.

“I think coming from big linear scripted FPS games, this is a big deal for me as a gamer and a developer,” he says.


Today, as a Creative Director on Madden, Rex establishes the high level vision for the franchise and works with various groups to ensure alignment on the game’s feature set.

The dev team is focused on working with the community to make sure the right adjustments get made at the right time.   

“I am directly responsible for the gameplay, but also have influence and oversight of graphics, audio and presentation,” he says.

The team generates a lot of feedback from a variety of sources, and Dickson is the person responsible for absorbing that feedback, filtering it, and generating action items.

The passion for the sport leads to passion for the game, and we all collectively feed off of that.

Rex is just one of the real sports fans and athletes at Tiburon.

NFL helmets adorn one of the walls at the studio, just one of the many reminders that Tiburon is where many of our EA SPORTS games are developed.

Having lots of real sports fans at Tiburon helps the team stay plugged in to what players are saying.

“The passion for the sport leads to passion for the game, and we all collectively feed off of that,” he says.

 

If you’re hoping to one day work in gaming, Dickson has some advice.

“In the age of free publically available game editors like Unity and Unreal, there is no longer an excuse not to build something yourself,” he says. “You don’t have to wait for someone to teach you how, the internet is full of tutorials. Go teach yourself!”

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