Robin Antonick, who is credited with programming the very first Madden game, is suing Electronic Arts for royalty payments he never received. With 85 million copies sold to date that could prove to be a lot of money if Antonick prevails in court. Antonick is asking for a jury trial in California in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. He claims that EA cut him out of the Madden franchise fortune.
Antonick claims that he created the football video game and had signed a development contract with EA in 1986 that entitled him to royalties on "derivative versions" of the Madden franchise.
"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," says the complaint filed in California. "Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick."
Antonick is seeking "tens of millions" in royalties, disgorgement of all profits from the sale of the game as the result of "fraudulent behavior." The Madden NFL game franchise has generated more than $4 billion in profits since its launch more than 20 years ago.
Antonick says that he has not received a royalty payment from the game since 1992.
Over the past couple years, EA and Antonick have supposedly engaged in confidential settlement negotiations. EA denies this claim.
"The complaint and its 20 year-old claim are utterly without merit," EA spokesperson Tiffany Steckler told the Hollywood Reporter. Commenting on alleged settlement talks, she added, "We never offered to pay Antonick a penny."