In a very recent post, I wrote about my cynicism in receiving a free copy and plaque for the last game I worked on for EA. What a coincidence it was when a courier dropped off a copy of Fight Night Champion and my plaque this morning for me. Unfortunately, the copy I got is a PS3 version so I can’t play it but it’s definitely the thought that counts in this situation. Thanks EA for doing the right thing. My heart grew three sizes today and that’s not because of the KFC.


Last Friday, I went out for drinks with a friend in the downtown area of Vancouver. Since my friend is older and an early riser, we decided to adjourn early and call it a night. We were at Waterfront Station about to go our separate ways when something caught my attention. On the stairs leading down to the Canada Line trains, I saw a young lady being carried down the steps by her friends. I initially thought they were just having some fun but upon closer inspection I saw that the young lady was unconscious. They were awkwardly holding her with one friend getting the arms and another carrying her legs. There’s an elevator right next to the stairs so I’m not sure why they didn’t just use that.

That wasn’t the most interesting thing I saw that night however. Trailing just behind the passed out girl was a young looking dude, maybe nineteen years of age. He was sober enough to be on his own two feet but when I saw him he was holding onto the staircase railing for dear life. Not only that, he was hunched over, looking like he had seen better nights. It was at this moment I heard cries of “gross!” and “ewww!!!” from the people around him. I looked again and saw that the reason why he had stopped on the stairs was because he had just vomited all over them. Though he was small in stature, he had puked an impressive amount. He had nearly covered the width of the wide staircase with his vomit, causing people to have gingerly tip-toe around the mess. Not only was the amount impressive, the vomit was a fascinating shade of pink with randoms chunks of food that were visible to me even from over 20 feet away. The pink vomit made me think he had been drinking red wine but I don’t know many nineteen year old dudes who go out and get wasted on red wine.

I didn’t stick around to look at the spectacle any longer. I did wonder about two things as I made my own way home. First, who was the poor soul who had the responsibility to clean up the vomit? Do they even have a clean-up crew around near midnight? What if it had to wait until morning for the clean up? Fresh vomit isn’t that great to begin with, I can’t imagine what hours old vomit is like. Second, I wonder if that dude made it down to the Canada Line train on his own. He must have had a terrible Saturday morning.

Well, that was my public vomit story of the day.


UPDATE: EA pleasantly surprised me this morning with a delivery of my plaque and a copy of the game. Thanks for doing the right thing EA!


March 1st went by and I didn’t even notice that the last game I worked on for EA was released on Tuesday. Fight Night Champion is now in stores for the Xbox 360 and PS3. There are several reasons why I nearly forgot the game was out this week. First, no one from EA even bothered to contact me for a free copy of the game. Usually whenever a developer works on a game for a substantial amount of time (and my six months seems substantial enough) they get a free copy. I suppose they thought I didn’t count because I no longer work for EA and out of sight means out of mind. To be fair, I never really felt like I belonged on the Fight Night team and I could never shake the feeling I was always viewed as a disposable project resource. From the first day I showed up to work for the Fight Night team to the last day when they handed me a box to collect my things, there wasn’t a single day where I felt like I fit in on that team. Very few people on that team really understood what kind of software engineer I was capable of being, so I was stuck doing thankless work that the other software engineers looked down upon for those six months. There were numerous times the other software engineers on that team asked me if I was a junior engineer when they found out what I was working on. Yeah thanks buddy.

So if they weren’t willing to give me a free copy of the game, what do you think the chances are that EA is going to give me a plaque to recognize that I worked on the game? The chances are probably very slim. If you’re not familiar with game development, it’s customary for companies to give people who worked on the game a plaque to recognize their work on the title. It usually has a nice frame and inside that frame is a game disc, the cover art, and a little plate with your name on it. I doubt they’d bother to make a plaque for me, after all, I was about as important to the Fight Night team as condoms are to members of a Dungeons and Dragons club.

Now if you’re wondering what kind of game development team makes plaques for people, even if they’ve been laid off or quit, well that team would be the skate team. Before skate 3 shipped EA had to unfortunately lay off several of my co-workers. Nevertheless, plaques were made out to everyone who worked on the game, even if they left the company one way or another. There was a considerable effort to get the plaques out to people who were no longer working for EA. Those plaques were sent by FedEx, which isn’t a cheap way of delivering things. The feeling is, once you’ve worked on the skate team, you’ll always be part of the skate family. That might sound like some empty line but it’s true. About twice a year, we get together at a bar to catch up and talk about the good old days. It doesn’t matter if you only worked on the original skate for six months or if you worked on all three games, you’re part of the family now, so let’s imbibe some alcohol together. We’ve actually had people who now live in Montreal come back to Vancouver to meet up again. The next event is actually this month, skate Paddy’s Day! We’ve done a St. Patrick’s Day thing for about the last four years or so.

The last thing I’m curious about is if my name made it into the credits for Fight Night Champion. From past experience, my name should be in there. If it is there, it definitely won’t be in the main list of programmers. I joined the project late and because I was laid off, I wasn’t even around to see it completed. Under circumstances like this, programmers in my situation usually have their names in the credits under the heading “Additional Programming”. Then again, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they completely left my name off the credits.

Finally, if you want to know if I recommend Fight Night Champion to anyone, I really can’t answer that question. I got stuck working on part of the game that had nothing to do with the actual game play, you know the part when you actually do the boxing? In six months, I didn’t even play the new mode they have in the game that features Eliza Dushku. The reviews, however, have been pretty good, so keep that in mind. If you do pick it up, let me know how it is and I would appreciate if someone would tell me if I made it into credits.


I am receiving second-hand information that there were some small-scale layoffs at EA today. I believe the reductions occurred on the Need for Speed team which is part of whatever remains of Black Box. I’m not sure exactly what the numbers were or why the layoffs happened. In Vancouver, there are now enough unemployed game developers that you could take them all and start up a new studio with probably two teams, each working on a multiplatform game.

Just in the last six months, significant number of unemployed developers have come from: EA layoffs from late October, Propaganda Games layoffs from Pirates being canceled, Propaganda Games layoffs from complete studio closure, EA layoffs from the EA Sports Active team, and of course layoffs from United Front Games when True Crime: Hong Kong was canceled. The games industry in Vancouver has continued to take a beating and there is no end in sight. This not a good time to be looking for a gaming job because there are so many candidates out there right now, just in this city. Add in applicants who are from out of town and you’ve got too few jobs and a lot of people going after the same job.

I am not sure how this will turn out. Could the future become even bleaker? Maybe.