Before I began casting the resurrection spell on this blog I spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not this was a good idea. After all, I’ve had a nice vacation, plenty of downtime and the chance to politely beg off from tons of offered interviews, questions/queries from analysts and assorted other interested people. By jumping back into the pool I know/knew that I would get asked a lot of questions about my 3 years at EA, whether about EA itself, WAR, the situation regarding my departure, etc. So after much thought and reflection I decided to not only bring back the blog but also to, as I said in an earlier post, continue my career walking down the same road I have almost always walked on, the high road. I do this not from contractual issues (buh bye now), fear (I mean after all, I was happy to tangle with Microsoft years back) but simply because I think it is good manners. However, I do want to say some things about my tenure at EA and for now this post will have to suffice.
First, I have always maintained and will always maintain a tremendous respect for EA the institution. EA’s historical legacy is one of the proudest in our industry. They have been responsible for more great games and game-changers then any other company since their founding so long ago. Corporations are not inherently evil or good as they are made up of people (lots of people in EA’s case) who help direct and shape the company fortunes. It will be a sad day for the industry if EA passes through the great corporate veil as so many other game companies have done over the decades and I hope that day never comes.
Second, as much as I respect the corporation itself, I have a much deeper respect for the hardest working men and women at EA, the group known in the parlance as the rank and file. These are the people who literally burn the midnight oil (and the Saturday and Sunday oil as well) to make games. Many of them live, breathe, eat, sleep and **** games and their dedication to their craft is amazing. One of the many things I’m proud of during my tenure at EA (more on this below) is the fact that in our executive circle/meetings I always spoke up for them whether it was to push for a profit-sharing plan like we had at Mythic, repricing of stock options (when EA’s stock, like all the gaming stocks, took a nosedive during the recession/downturn/ecopocalypse) and other things. As I said to my bosses on more than one occasion, the executives, including yours truly, can take care of themselves, we need to take care of the workers. These are the guys and gals who really make or break the games that drive our industry.
Third, I’m very proud of what I accomplished during my brief tenure at EA. Over the years there my opinion was asked about all sorts of games and developers that EA might want to work with and I can say without any fear of contradiction, that my advice (and sometimes warnings) were always spot on. In terms of WAR, well, given the historical failure rate of MMORPGs (more on this another day), the fact that WAR was developed in only 3 years (compare and contrast to other already launched titles), is still operating, had to launch directly against a WoW expansion, sold a hefty amount of copies, was one of the highest rated MMOs to date, etc. is something to be proud of regardless. I am also proud that during my time at EA I never once sought promotion, raises, super-special perks, more power, etc. all I cared about was trying to deliver a top title for EA. I felt that doing anything else would be a disservice to the company and to the team that bought Mythic in 2006. My mission was to help get WAR out the door and anything that could distract me from that I wanted no part of.
Fourth, I still thank EA for acquiring Mythic. The EA leadership team at the time invested a significant amount of money in Mythic (though it pales before the Playfish, Bioware/Pandemic and Jamdat acquisitions). They believed enough in us to buy us and again, regardless of what eventually happens to Mythic or what happened during my tenure at EA, that deserves a thank you.
Finally, one thing that I’m not proud of was that the three years at EA were the toughest of my PERSONAL life. As a old entry here states, soon after the EA acquisition my mom was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. The year that followed was rather emotional and her final two weeks were, to put it mildly, difficult culminating with her death only a few hours after my birthday). I come from an incredibly small family (thanks to that wacky guy, Adolf Hitler) and my mom’s death left me a bit emotionally adrift. What I should have done is take off a significant amount of time but once again, that wasn’t in my DNA. Rightly or wrongly I tried to push through it and with very little emotional support it wasn’t the best decision I ever made.
So, time to wrap up this post and for now, that’s all I intend to say about my time at EA. For those who comment here, ask me questions or seek interviews, this post should be self-explanatory.