In Their Own Words: Will Sykes

There are so many opportunities to work in gaming all over the world. Meet Will Sykes from Tiburon.


There are so many opportunities to work in gaming all over the world.

Meet Will Sykes from Tiburon.


When Will Sykes lined up to take a knee to win the finals of EA’s Campus Champions tournament, he earned the title of best Madden 17 player at EA.

For a former competitive Madden player and current Gameplay Analyst for Madden 17, it was a long time coming.

“The first game of Madden I ever played was in 2002,” says Sykes. “My older brother Jon beat me so bad the scoreboard stopped working. Embarrassing to say the least!”

These days, Sykes’ role as a gameplay analyst keeps him focused on making sure the game is up to player standards.

“I’m essentially the first audience for the game,” says Sykes. “I play the game to ensure it’s aligning with the designers’ big picture ideas.”

Sykes and his team play a crucial role in development. “It’s more than just saying a feature is good or bad,” he says, “it’s about also suggesting new ideas that help make the game better.”

Now working on the game he loves, Sykes first started playing Madden seriously in school.

“My financial advisor in college a few years ago recommended I stop traveling to tournaments, and I kind of didn't listen,” he says. In 2013, Sykes found out about his first underground tournament.

“I drove up from VA, slept in my car, and got bounced from that tournament early the next day,” he says. “It was disappointing, but I could see a world where I played in tournaments for a living.”

It’s the feeling in the building during a tournament that first hooked Sykes.

“I've been to events where it's a key moment with thousands of people watching, and friends of the dude you're playing are screaming in your ear,” he says. “You have to make a play. We call it the hot seat, and it's by far the most intense part of a tournament.”

After winning a tournament in Atlanta in 2014 and earning a few more later that year, Sykes heard from Madden NFL Associate Designer Ryan Glick about an open position in Tiburon. He’s now full-time with the team, and he’s been lucky enough to enjoy a few perks.


“I’ve been able to meet with players and coaches from the NFL. Last year was Cam Newton.,” he says. “This year, we've had guys like Eric Berry - whose story is incredible - and Vince Wilfork come down. Talking to them about the game and the sport we all love is a special opportunity.”

Sykes was proud to win the tournament for his team back in Orlando.

“When you walk into a place like Tiburon, you can instantly understand the culture is centered around people enjoying what they do.” he says. “I had to win it for the Tiburon studio!”


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