The People Of EA

Chris

Technical Director, Generation Studios
Kitchener
Background 
I grew up in Kingston, Ontario.  Outside of school, my time was spent playing soccer, basketball and of course, gaming.  Sports games were always popular in our home, so it’s no surprise that EA has been a part of my life for quite some time.  My brother and I have very fond memories of playing EA titles in the early 90s.  We logged countless hours exploiting Jeremy Roenick’s lethal one-timer in NHL 94.  We were also big fans of FIFA International Soccer (the first FIFA title).  We didn’t care that the rosters were full of fake players at the time.  We fell in love with Italy’s Roberto Favaro and his goal celebrations.
 
I moved to Waterloo, Ontario in 2000 to study computer science at the University of Waterloo.  After graduating, I remained in the region and worked as a software developer for roughly six years before joining EA.  My wife and I love living in the region and are excited to be raising our two small children here.
 
Getting Your Start with EA
Living in the Waterloo region, I had never considered EA as an option.  The region has a vibrant tech industry, but lacking when it comes to game development.  That changed in 2009, when EA acquired J2Play; a small, Kitchener-based startup.  A university friend (now my boss) was already working for EA.  In late 2011, he mentioned to me that the studio was growing and looking for people.  He forwarded on my resume and I started at the end of November.
 
I was hired as a mobile client developer under the Pogo label.  The team was developing an Android app that consisted of five popular Pogo games.  Once this was completed, I was transitioned to the team working on the live service for The Simpsons Tapped Out.  I remain on this team today.
 
Working at EA
In my 3+ years at EA, I have experienced both success and failure.  Helping launch The Simpsons Tapped Out and seeing it rise to the top of the charts has certainly been one of the bigger highlights.  I take a lot of pride in working on a game that, even three years after launch, is still enjoyed by five million people every day.  During this time, I have also had the pleasure of watching our tiny studio and its 20 members relocate and expand.  The Kitchener studio now has over 60 members, spread across five teams.
 
Over my time at EA I have also expanded my role into new areas, including an active role in our studio’s co-op hiring and mentoring process.  Their ambition and eagerness is infectious.  Stewarding their growth has been an awesome experience, and definitely something I look forward to continuing.
EA’s Impact
 
EA provided the environment I needed to discover my ideal role.  I came to EA with technical knowledge and some reasonable communication skills.  I have been allowed to find that right mix of technical challenges and team collaboration to excel and grow as a software developer.  I enjoy working with others to break large problems into smaller ones, and attempting to find the simplest solutions.  This is especially relevant in the mobile space, where the audience is extremely large and diversified.  I never get tired of watching my three year old daughter navigate an iPad.  The fact that she can find her favorite games and movies is a testament to how intuitive the interface is.  It is these simple, intuitive solutions that I strive for when developing mobile games.
 
Along with my family, working at EA also keeps me grounded.  When life gets tough or my passion wavers, I can take a step back and say “at the end of the day, I make games for a living.  Life can’t be that bad.”  My work with the co-op students also serves to revitalize me.  Their level of maturity and technical competence consistently amazes me.  It pushes me to reengage and improve as both a mentor and role model.
 
Any Thoughts to Those Seeking a Career at EA?
Given the choice, I think most people would be thrilled with a job that offered:
-Challenging and engaging work
-Talent and welcoming teammates
-A comfortable working environment
 
I love what I do and the fact that I make a living doing it.  That being said, I’m not about to sugar coat it. As with any job, there are challenges that will need to be overcome. However, what I can say with certainty, is that EA has never failed me when it comes to amazing teammates and an awesome place to work.  I truly enjoy coming to the studio every day.