The studio making Madden NFL is game jamming to find new projects
"There are secret meetings happening around the office and after hours. It feels like a startup company in some ways."- EA Tiburon VP Daryl Holt speaks to the effect an ongoing game jam is having on studio culture.
Florida-based EA Tiburon is perhaps best known for developing games in EA Sports franchises like Madden NFL and NBA Live. However, the studio has worked on non-sports titles like Superman Returns and Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure in the past, and may do so again after the studio completes an ongoing internal game jam.
"We are sports fans but we play other games here and we are fans of other game types,” said EA Tiburon COO Daryl Holt in a recent interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "We would not lose our focus on sports, but we could add another focus."
Holt told the Sentinel that Tiburon is celebrating its 20th anniversary (Tiburon Entertainment was founded in 1994 and acquired by EA in 1998) by embarking on an extended game jam internally titled Game Jam Plus.
As Polygon points out, the studio is currently believed to have a headcount of around 800 and may be seeking a new project to complement its work on Madden NFL, NBA Live and EA Sports Pro Tour.
The studio will hold an internal voting process this week to determine the most promising projects, and Holt expressed hope that the fruits of the jam would survive the vicissitudes of game development to see commercial release by 2018.
"My team worked in my garage until 1 a.m. last night," said Madden NFL creative director Mike Young. "There’s a crazy energy."
His comments echo the sentiments of many game makers that game jams can be a valuable learning experience. Turning the product of those game jams into a releasable game can be a challenging ordeal, one that Capybara Games' Nathan Vella discussed at length in this GDC Next talk.