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Madden NFL’s creative director departs after six years

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‘This was the best path forward for everyone involved.’

Madden NFL 18 - Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints versus the Los Angeles Rams
A Rams-Saints game in Madden NFL 18.
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Rex Dickson, the creative director of the Madden NFL series for EA Sports since 2012, has left the franchise and the company. Dickson made the announcement yesterday evening via Twitter.

“There is no drama or deeper story here,” Dickson said, though his departure is effective immediately. “This decision was made after many discussions with other leaders on the team. We collectively agreed that this was the best path forward for everyone involved.

“This is as much for me and my family as it is about giving the team, the community and the Madden franchise a chance for a new direction,” he added.

Dickson’s tenure was one largely of turnaround, coinciding with Madden’s launch on the current console generation in late 2013. He arrived one year after Cam Weber was brought on board as group president (later becoming president of the EA Tiburon studio) to give the series a new long-term vision after a period of repeated changes in priority and focus.

Under Dickson, Madden NFL introduced the Connected Franchise mode in 2012’s Madden NFL 13, brought aboard Brian Murray of NFL Films to oversee much-needed changes to the series’ broadcast presentation, and introduced a new live commentary system with Madden NFL 17. Last year, under Mike Young, Madden NFL 18 delivered the series’ inaugural story mode, good enough to win it Polygon’s Sports Video Game of the Year.

Throughout that span, Madden also made numerous gameplay improvements and changes, seeking to make the game’s many systems (particularly defense) more understandable to the users, while supporting them with things like better blocking AI.

Dickson credited many “player first advocates” on the development team at Tiburon and thanked several community leaders. “I am filled with hope when I think about the passion of those who will pick up the flag and fight on for the future of the Madden franchise.”

Dickson gave no indication what his future plans are; he had previously worked on EA’s Medal of Honor series, and on 2011’s Homefront for Kaos Studios and THQ. Polygon has reached out to EA Sports for additional comment.