EA’s Frostbite team is pushing boundaries for what game developers can achieve. Development Director, Grace Yen, inspires Frostbite engineers to collaborate across EA game teams in order to shape the future of gaming.
Hi Grace! What’s your role on EA’s Frostbite team?
I’m a Development Director on the Frostbite game engine team. My job is to create an environment that inspires my team members to deliver awesome products on time, while having fun!
You recently made a career switch within EA. How did you get to where you are now?
I joined EA as an engineer 12 years ago and worked on some amazing products including FIFA, NHL, and UFC. I worked in multiple areas including game modes, online, and UX. As I continued to build neat features like ‘Create a Player + Team’ in NHL, and ‘Online Team Play’ in FIFA, I realized I really enjoy bringing people together and getting things done.
I pursued a career change to the Development Director track while at EA, and it has been an awesome experience. EA has been extremely supportive, and they’re constantly helping me grow into my new role. It’s nice to work for a company that’s so heavily invested in training and mentorship opportunities.
What does your day-to-day activity look like?
It’s hard to say! I’ve been working here for over a decade, and I continue to find exciting challenges and jump into things I have never trained for officially. The sky is the limit when it comes to deciding what to incorporate into my role. It never seems like I’m doing the same thing for too long. One day I’m participating in play tests to help one of our mobile titles in development, and the next day I could be travelling to meet our Madden development team to discuss how we can use live telemetry to drive development of content creator workflows.
What do you enjoy most about working on the Frostbite team?
We really value and embrace helping our team members grow, discovering what they enjoy doing, and giving them room to explore and innovate. One of the neat things we do on the Frostbite team is regular ‘Action Weeks’, where team members are able to get together and pursue something they think would be valuable. We’ve had some great ideas come from what starts during these weeks. Failure is okay too; we see value is learning what doesn’t work and sharing that over some beers with the team.
How is Frostbite improving gameplay and collaboration behind-the-scenes?
We’ve collected some of the best and the brightest team members who have shipped some of the best EA games of all time. We’ve given them the mission to deliver an engine that empowers game creators to shape the future of gaming.
Our engineers are driven by the idea of collaborating across our EA game teams so we can get further together and build a solid foundation of sharable technology. We have a community of game developers within EA that are in active daily communication, ready to help each other and share work. Why build average looking grass multiple times for different games when you can build world class looking grass once, and push into multiple games?
You just met someone looking for a great career in the gaming industry. Why should they work for EA?
If you are looking for a place where you can be challenged and grow over time, EA is the place for you. You can join some of the biggest triple AAA development teams, or work on a small team pitching a game idea. Or like me, you can navigate a career change. One of the things I look for when we are adding team members is a passion for learning and delivering results.
The work environment is great here as well. As a mom with three small kids, when soccer practice and other kid’s activities come up, I’m out the door or working from home so I don’t miss a beat. I’m currently learning how to play guitar with on-site guitar lessons, and I get to play hockey in our indoor court during the work day. Did I also mention that I got to play Battlefield 1 and the Star Wars™ Battlefront™ Rogue One™: X-wing VR Mission before they launched?
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