Trip Hawkins Weighs In On Madden Lawsuit
Despite not being a defendant in the case, EA founder Trip Hawkins has weighed in on Robin Antonick’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against EA over the Madden Football series, and his statements unequivocally contradict Antonick’s. Antonick clams that he was largely responsible for the software behind the first game, and that he’s owed millions in unpaid royalties due to what he says is evidence that the series has continued to be based on that software ever since. A pretty big accusation, one that EA has stated is ‘without merit’. Today, in an interview with the LA Times we learn a lot more about the development of the game, and it pokes a lot of holes in the lawsuit:
Hawkins… gave an account vastly different from Antonick’s.
Among the key differences is that Antonick said he sat next to Hawkins to develop the game. In an interview with The Times, Hawkins said Antonick worked as a contractor from his home in Chicago.
Hawkins also said that Antonick was “one of many” people who worked on the first game but that Antonick was “not the person driving the game.”
Hawkins said Antonick, who worked on the 8-bit version of the game, was not recommissioned to help program subsequent 16-bit versions because the company needed developers with “more advanced” programming chops.
That’s pretty strong stuff, and it’s bolstered by the fact that John Madden himself has confirmed it was with Trip Hawkins, and not Robin Antonick, that he worked closely during the development of the first Madden Football game. The mess is further complicated by Antonick’s claims that EA initially wanted to settle with him, a claim they also strongly dispute. It isn’t beyond reason that a major corporation would seek to lock as many people out of potential royalties as they can, so we can’t claim this news proves Antonick’s case is groundless, but it’s become a much more uphill battle than initially appeared.
This is certain to get more interesting, so grab your popcorn.