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In Their Own Words: Meet the Makers

Meet the Leads from across EA’s worldwide studios and learn how they got started in game development.

At EA we pride ourselves in putting the best and brightest minds in our studios to bring you first-class games. You see the output of their work in gameplay, but who are the faces behind your beloved games? And what do they do all day?

Spoiler alert: They don’t just play video games. We sat down with our studio leads across the globe to learn more about their day to day and how they got started in game development.

We heard from David Rutter with FIFA, Matt Webster with Criterion, Oskar Gabrielson with DICE, Marija Radulovic-Nastic with Central Development Services and Samantha Ryan with EA Mobile, Maxis and BioWare.

Here’s what they told us.

What inspired you to get into game development?

David Rutter: “I was working on my PhD at the University of Leicester, and my supervisor took me to the pub one evening. Over a pint he mentioned that I was going down a specialized rabbit hole, and suggested I do something I love instead. He asked what I enjoyed doing in my spare time, and the rest is history.”

Marija Radulovic-Nastic: “It is a unique industry that combines many things I love. Art, storytelling, cutting-edge technology and social interactions. I’ve played video games since I was a kid and I believe that in a way they influenced who I am today.”

What is your favorite classic video game?

Matt Webster:Super Sprint. I first discovered it in the arcades. It was a 3-player top down racing game.”

Oskar Gabrielson:Track & Field II for the NES. My brother and I spent years with that game. I still have a passionate longing for games with strong timing components and button mashing features.”

Marija Radulovic-Nastic:The Legend of Zelda franchise. I generally don’t like long flights but The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild made traveling last year enjoyable.”

Samantha Ryan: “My favorite game of all time is Fallout 3, but I also love Super Paper Mario, Starcraft and Summoners War.”

David Rutter:Earthworm Jim. I almost made it to the very end, and died slightly before the finish. I did meet one person that beat the game – Lu, Executive Producer at EA Firemonkeys in Australia.”

What is one thing about your daily job that would surprise people?

OG:“Even though we have more than 400 game creators now at DICE, I still try to make time to write some real production code for our games.”

Collaboration between the developers at the DICE studio in Stockholm.

MW: “How much talking I do! We place enormous value on creative collaboration in our studio. Video games aren’t made by one person. So, I think the amount of face to face conversation we have would surprise people.”

DR: “This time of year, I don’t get to play nearly as many games as I’d like. People assume I sit around and play all day. But there’s more to the business than that!”

What three words would you use to describe the game development process?

MW: “Exciting, rewarding, compromise.”

SR: “Art meets science. It’s a balance! Game development encapsulates something that is free form in nature, but is also rigid and data-driven. It’s balancing the creative vision with the science of bringing numbers to bear.”

MRN: “Exhilarating, disciplined and surprising.”

What three items must you have at your desk at all times?

SR: “A Coke Zero, my phone, and a whiteboard.”

OG: “Two is enough. Pen, and paper. It’s still the best way there is to get down thoughts and iterate rapidly.”

DR: “A cup of coffee. three cups of coffee, actually.”

MRN: “My family picture, controller and a glass of water.”

MW: “Sharpie, Post-it Notes, and my laptop.”

What game development trends are you most excited about in the next few years?

OG: “Cloud technology. We’ve spent the majority of the past 30 years optimizing our games to run on a single machine somewhere in a living room. We’re just at the brink of being able to run bigger parts of our game simulation on the server – forcing us to rethink all the boundaries we’ve previously setup for ourselves, both gameplay wise and visually. It’s going to be quite the ride the next few years.”

SR: “I’m excited about the trend we’re seeing towards self-expression in the game industry, including player generated content. Self-expression combined with social gameplay can drive viral trends that are illuminating to watch.”

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