After six years at the helm of Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL franchise, creative director Rex Dickson announced his departure from the company in a statement released via Twitter on Wednesday evening. Dickson’s exit comes as EA Tiburon is still developing 2018’s entry in the long-running series and it appears to have some contentious feelings surrounding it:
This decision was made after many discussions with other leaders on the team. We collectively agreed this was the best path forward for everyone involved. This is as much about me and my family as it is about giving the team, the community and the Madden franchise a chance for a new direction.
Dickson went on to say “there is no drama or deeper story here” and that he has “nothing but gratitude for all the opportunities [EA] created for me.” It’s usually a pretty good sign that there is some drama when someone goes out of their way to say there isn’t, but it appears that any details of the creative differences that led to Dickson’s exit will remain in house for now.
The more immediate impact of Dickson’s exit is Madden NFL 19. A change in leadership at EA Tiburon in the middle of Madden’s development cycle could lead to a loss of focus. It also remains to be seen if any proposed change in direction of the franchise, which most likely wouldn’t be implemented until next year, would greatly effect fan response to the series. Madden games still sell very well, but recent installments have felt rather stale, touting the game’s microtransaction-driven Ultimate Team mode while showing little evolution in its actual gameplay.
Regardless of Madden’s future, Dickson is thankful for his time at EA. “Working on the EA Sports Madden franchise was a lifelong dream realized. It has truly been an honor,” said Dickson.