Gamer's Experience: EA Plant Tour
Note: This story was written by a PSX Extreme reader who wanted to share his experience at the Electronic Arts plant in Canada.
First of all, to protect my family and I (you never know who'll read this), I'll say my family's last name is Paulson.
Well, when my family and I got into Burnaby, (close to Vancouver), we drove up to this massive building with lots of glass windows, I mean, this place was huge! Anyways, we walk inside to this big fancy front desk and they ask, "Hi, are the Paulson family? We've been expecting you!" and I'm thinking, wow!! These people are on top of the ball!! Well, after we're all given formal tags with our names on it and stuff, this lady comes up to us and says "Mr. ****** (the name of the one of the executive guys) will be with you shortly to give you your tour, I'll just be in a meeting, but you can pull me out if you need anything!" And we're all like, man, these people seem like they've been preparing us for a while. Well, the guy comes, we get our PS2 games for really cheap, about 3 of 'em, FIFA, NHL, and Triple Play, (and I already had two others, NBA Live, and Madden), and then he started with the tour.
Our first stop was the sound room. This place, they told was, was one of the best in the continent for recording music and other sound FX. It was shaped like half a hexagon, with triple pane glass so you could see the recording room. The sound room had, DTS, Dolby Digital, and other amazing sound and movie stuff in it. The guy that was in there at the time showed us a couple of videos of NFS and other stuff and it was almost better than any movie theatre I've been in!!! He told us of all the stars and stuff that have been there for recording which was kinda cool.
Next, he showed us the huge room where they do the motion captured movements for all the sports games and stuff. Some of you may have seen pictures of this room or heard of it. It's about the size of a really large gymnasium. At the moment they had turf down and a large soccer net for the upcoming FIFA 2002 game. Just outside of the room was where the Pro sports players could relax, watch TV, have a shower, eat, etc. while they were waiting. In that room, I saw pictures of people like Kevin Garnett and Antoine Walker (NBA Live series), and also wrestlers like Sting and Stone Cold. It was so cool!!
Next, we all went to the areas where the actual people were developing the games. We were shown a guy working on an upcoming James Bond racing game for PS2, he showed us all the framework of a certain level, and I must admit, it looked really good!!! I don't know if you guys know about this, but there is going to be a new Sled Storm game for PS2!! I saw shots of what it'll be like, and it's amazing!! Next we went to the NFS section, (oh, I forgot to mention that all these areas are in cubical format, but the workers can configure them however they want), and as usual saw a couple of shots and models and stuff. Next we went to the NBA Live area. No one was there at the moment, they were all in a meeting, except for one guy. He showed us NBA Street, the actual game, which looks really cool!!! You get points by doing good moves and plays, but also of course by scoring. In the game you can push guys over and there are really detailed backdrops with high resolution people. The game is set in the suburbs, it's basically a street ball game. It was kinda cool that I got to see a preview of the game 3 months before it came out. One more thing about these cubical sections; every cubical had a PS2 in it or some form of one!!! One PS2, instead of having the writing of PS2 on it, it said TEST instead. The executive guy that was giving us the tour said that it could play any format of game, including burned ones. I thought that was kind of cool. Also, I saw a few of those TOOL PS2's, the ones used for developing the games.
Even though all these people work in cubicles, they don't get treated wrong. They can take a break whenever they're tired. This building includes a big weight room for exercise, a cafeteria, so the workers don't have to go out for lunch, lots of little rooms for relaxation, which include PS2's and 36 inch Sony Vega TV's, two movie theatres with DTS and Dolby Digital audio which can seat about 80 people, and a soccer field and basketball court outside for some fresh air. So it all makes their work a little easier.
Well, those were the major highlights of my tour. Now you know what it's like to be at an EA plant! One suggestion for those of you who are lucky enough. If you live near the EA plant in California or Vancouver, B.C., I suggest you go for a tour sometime!!! You'll really enjoy it!