At Electronic Arts, everything we do is meant to Inspire the World to Play. Approximately 8,800 employees bring the spirit of play to EA every day, living our Purpose & Beliefs – Creativity, Pioneering, Passion, Determination, Learning and Teamwork – to deliver powerful and immersive experiences to millions of players around the world.
Continuing our special series highlighting our 2018 Purpose & Beliefs award recipients, we speak with Senior Game Designer, Katie Scott, who was recognized with the Learning Award.
1. Why did you want to work at EA?
I knew that a company with such a long history of amazing and successful games would have the structure to help me succeed. Early in your career, you need people who are willing to guide you, be realistic and accepting of what you are capable of, and help you grow. I knew at EA there would be so many opportunities to develop mentoring relationships. Of course, I was also excited to work on the games! I have had the fortune to work on Need for Speed, Battlefield, FIFA and others. Having had the opportunity to work on so many different genres, it gives me the confidence I could work on any game.
2. How did you begin your video gaming career?
I wanted to be a Game Designer my whole life. From the moment I got my hands on a controller, it was all I wanted to do. When I was little, I would design Super Mario levels on school paper with pencil crayons. But when I graduated high school and started to seriously think about a career in gaming, there just wasn’t a way I could make it work. I wasn’t a computer or math whiz, so engineering didn’t seem like a good fit, and, at the time, there wasn’t a lot of information or education out there regarding any other gaming careers. I ended up studying photography and writing and other random things. Finally, in my late twenties, I decided I needed to pursue my dream job, and by that time, there were so many ways to pursue an education in gaming.
3. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Our technology is mind-blowingly enabling of creativity. I can have an idea, jump into the game engine, and by the end of the day, actually play it. Coming up with ideas and daydreaming about them is fun, but knowing how fast it can be realized, that’s really special. “Make early, make often,” that’s what I always say. It’s how the best ideas get realized.
4. What are some of the challenges you face in your role?
The pace is a challenge. We release a FIFA title every year, but many games work on two, three or even five year cycles. Of course, this doesn’t absolve us from making a great experience for our players, so we put everything we have into each of our games. But it’s kind of crazy to look back and see that I have made three games in the timeframe where many developers make one, or less! On the other hand, this comes with a lot of pride, too. Knowing that my team is so dialed in, experienced, passionate and talented, that we can put out a great game every year. That’s something to be really proud of.
5. What EA title did you start your career with?
My first job was as a, I think it was called Gameplay Capture Artist on Need for Speed: Shift. Basically, my job was to play Shift all day long and try to make cool gameplay moments. Then, I would rewind and record the game action for use in in-game cinematics, marketing, etc. I got exceptionally good at that game! I had my foot in the door though, and I was able to show enough talent and drive that I got better and more opportunities. EA also has a culture of support, where we try to enable each other to be great. So I learned very fast from some really talented and experienced people. Now I try to pay that forward and support people in that same way. I’ve done a huge amount of speaking, both within EA and outside, I’m involved in the mentorship program, I’ve done workshops for schools and camps. It’s a really important thing to me: to nurture people the way I was.
6. What is your favorite thing about the working environment at your location?
Dogs. Has to be dogs. People are allowed to bring their dogs to work at EAV and it’s just such an amazing energy boost. I’m one of those crazy dog lovers, and when things get a little stressful or rough, knowing that I can go hang out with my dog friends Porter, Noodle, and so many others, really makes me feel boosted. Second would be ball hockey. We have multiple leagues and games to play in. I’d never played in my life, but I was able to find a game that suited me and a team that welcomed me.
7. Favorite EA memory?
My favourite EA memory has to be seeing the announcement trailer for The Journey, which is FIFA’s story mode. The Journey was a huge challenge and I started working on it when we had little more than an idea. As I was watching the trailer, I knew we had made something really special that our users were going to go crazy for. I knew this was going to be a special moment in my career, when the trailer dropped, because it would probably be one of the most excited I would ever see a fan base. I hope I can top that one day!
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