Electronic Arts founder and Madden NFL creator Trip Hawkins says many of the claims made by programmer Robin Antonick in his multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against the company are simply untrue.
Antonick filed his lawsuit against Electronic Arts on April 1 but he's not joking around. The details are here but long story short, he claims he recently discovered that the Madden NFL franchise is still based on the work he did on the original PC and Commodore 64 versions of the game that came out in 1988, yet he received his last royalty check in 1992. Now he figures he's due some back-pay, to the tune of roughly $4 billion, representing the "disgorgement of all profits" earned by the franchise.
But Hawkins, who left EA in 1991 and isn't a defendant in the lawsuit, tells a bit of a different tale. Hawkins said Antonick wasn't even in the same state during the development of the original Madden game, but instead worked as a contractor from his house in Chicago. Further, he was just one of many people working on it, "not the person driving the game," and when it was time to create a 16-bit version of the game, Hawkins said Antonick wasn't re-contracted because the job required the skills of "more advanced" programmers. Zing!
Antonick's lawsuit cites "confidential settle communications" employed by his attorneys in a failed attempt to negotiate a settlement with EA, but a rep said the suit is "without merit" and that EA "never offered to pay Antonick a penny" when it was approached.
Hawkins' role in the creation of the game is well-documented, as is his personal recruitment of Madden, a fact attested to by Madden himself. Antonick's part isn't as clear; he's listed by Mobygames as one of four designers, along with Hawkins and Madden, and one of only two programmers on the original John Madden Football, but I suspect Mobygames doesn't carry a lot of weight in court.
Source: LA Times