One of original Madden creators suing EA for millions

More than 13 years ago, Robin Antonick helped to create the original John Madden Football. In 1988 the football sim was released for Apple II, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. Now, Antonick is suing EA for millions of dollars in royalties he claims he is owed from the success of subsequent versions of the Madden franchise.

The lawsuit is based on a contract between EA and Antonick signed in 1986 that promised Antonick royalties on the earnings of future iterations of Madden that used his creations as a framework.

Because Antonick claims he last received a royalty check in 1992, we’re guessing that EA scrapped his designs and decided to start from scratch for the first Super NES and Sega Genesis versions of Madden. Apparently, Antonick thought that as well, until just a short while ago.

Says the formal complaint: “Only recently, as a result of publicity surrounding the 20th Anniversary of the Madden videogame did Antonick become aware that Electronic Arts did not independently develop subsequent versions of its Madden NFL software. Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick.”

Now, nearly two decades after his last check, Antonick is trying to go back and say that every Madden game since 1992 was based on the original coding he used to develop for Commodore 64. It seems like a long shot, especially considering the Madden gameplay was completely overhauled for the N64 and PSX versions, then again for the PS2/Xbox/GCN generation and yet again for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Comments EA: “The complaint and its 20 year-old claim are utterly without merit.”

We’ll see what the state of California has to say about that.