EA founder and current Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins says a multi-million dollar lawsuit over Madden series royalties
exaggerates the role of programmer and plaintiff Robin Antonick.
In an interview with the L.A. Times
, Hawkins said Antonick was a work-at-home contractor on the game, and not Hawkins' office-mate as alleged in the suit. He also describes Antonick as "one of many" people involved in the game's development, and "not the person driving the game."
Hawkins further said that Antonick was left out of development on the console versions of the game because developers with "more advanced" programming skills were needed.
Hawkins is not a defendant in Antonick's suit, but he is named as one of a few EA employees that "had extensive access to and knowledge of Antonick's code, design documents and other intellectual property."
The lawsuit claims Antonick was instrumental in developing the original Apple II, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS versions of John Madden Football
, and that his 1986 contract with EA promises him 1.5 percent of all profits from derivative works on new hardware.
EA has allegedly withheld those royalties for nearly two decades on the argument that the console versions of the game are derived from Park Place Software's 1990 Genesis version, and not from Antonick's work.
But Antonick says his work features such as "sophisticated models of player behavior in place of static rules-based gameplay" were incorporated into that Genesis version and the series as a whole.
EA spokeswoman Tiffany Steckler told the Times Antonick's complaint was "without merit."