More than two years after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the video game industry is still adapting to the impact of the deadly virus on work culture. Speaking during today’s earning’s call, though, EA Chief Operating Officer Laura Miele said the company has found its “new ryhthm” in the COVID era.
“Yes, we did see initially some disruption in how our teams make games…But I am just blown away by the ingenuity and creativity of our teams and how they have adapted,” Miele said during the call.
According to Miele, “more people are coming back” to the office on a regular basis, and EA has “seen a lot of progress in working out the rhythm and process in how our teams make games.” CEO Andrew Wilson was among those recently in the UK visiting the company’s racing teams, which includes the recently-acquired F1 22 developer Codemasters.
But even if more employees are returning to the office, EA says it is still supporting work from home.
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“Sometimes it’s more meaningful for them to be in the office together, sometimes it’s better for them to be at home,” Miele said, explaining that more intensive parts of the development cycle may have different staffing requirements.
In a separate interview with IGN that went up earlier today, Madden 23 senior producer Clint Oldenburg talked about how the team has adapted since the pandemic.
“I think the biggest change for our team is a result of the pandemic, like everywhere else. We don’t have a central team, per se, all in the studio all at one time together anymore, but the working world has changed,” Oldenburg said.
“We’re now in a hybrid working environment, just like everyone else, so we have workers that are fully remote. We have workers that are hybrid. We have workers that are always in the studio. And from a team standpoint, that’s probably the most significant change, but I wouldn’t say that that’s had neither a negative nor positive impact on what we do day to day. It’s just different. We have to work differently, and we have to work smarter, and we have to work more collaboratively than we ever had before.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a unique challenge for game development, forcing studios to rethink everything from motion capture studios to testing. Even now, the pandemic is still causing delays throughout the games industry.
In the meantime, EA has managed to continue to rolling along thanks to the success of its sports titles even as it has contended with a dry spell in releases. Responding to acquisition rumors, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that the publisher “couldn’t be in a stronger position as a standalone company.”
Its next release is Madden 23, which is due out in early access on May 16.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.