We managed to gain the opportunity to interview the most interesting man in the world and no I’m not speaking of the Dos Equis guy. I’m speaking of a Colorado University graduate, a man lucky enough to get drafted into the NFL, who’s now an amazing gameplay designer atElectronic Arts solely focused on the Madden Game series.
His name is Clint Oldenburg and he’s lived a pretty awesome life so much so it’s as if he’s always gained new opportunities right when he needed them. Now this did not come easy considering everything he’s received he’s worked extremely hard for it and also managed to humble himself when necessary to gain progress in his careers. In 2007 he was drafted out of Colorado University by the New England Patriots to be a professional football player in the National Football League. This led to him often being traded to play for several other teams in the league including the New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, etc.
Shortly, after deciding he was done with football he managed to catch wind of a great opportunity to start over in the game of football this time now with the NFL but with Electronic Arts and their Madden title. The catch was he’d have to start over at the very bottom as an intern and he was totally gamed, which has opened up several doors for him to continue to learn, grow, and develop his talents and passion for the game of football. Check out our interview with him below.
So who exactly is Clint Oldenburg? Where are your from?
I’m from Gillette, Wyoming. Got my degree from Colorado State University where I also played football. After graduation, I was a 5th Round NFL Draft Pick in 2007 by the Patriots. I had a five-year journeyman NFL career and I am now a Gameplay Designer on the Madden NFL series.
Having had the chance to play in the NFL; What was the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your time in the league?
There’s no substitute for hard work.
How did you transition from playing in the NFL to becoming a game designer for Madden (EA)? What sparked your idea to get into gaming?
I applied for an internship at EA after I had been cut by the Redskins. I was fortunate enough to get the job. I’ve always loved video games and was interested in learning more about the development.
You got your start at EA as an intern. Was that humbling? What motivated/inspired you to push through and continue to learn a new craft?
Being an intern never really crossed my mind to be honest. I felt like I was just another member of the team. I just came in here hoping to learn as much as I possibly could about making video games while offering as much as I could from my background.
What is a day-and-life like for you at EA? What do you do and how do you add to the overall aspect of Madden?
I’m a gameplay designer, so I’m on the creative side of the development team. I write designs and create new features for the game, specifically in the gameplay arena. Gameplay being anything between the white lines. I also assist with scanning players faces, directing Motion Capture shoots and really anything else that I can help with.
Is there anything you’ve created in Madden that you are most proud of? If so why?
I’m proud of every single thing I’ve put into the game. Knowing now how difficult it is to make a video game, anything that ships on that disc is a real accomplishment.
What are your plans for the future? Where would you like to be years from now in the industry?
I’m not really worried about the future right now. All of my former coaches used to preach ‘one play at a time.’ That’s what I do still now, but it’s one day at a time. The future usually has a way of working itself out.
It’s very rare to have someone from the NFL become a designer for Madden. How do you leverage your experience from playing on the field to designing the game?
We pride ourselves on replicating NFL football, so obviously having someone on the team who played the game is an asset. But really that just got my foot in the door. What got me a full time job was my humility, willingness to work as a team player and my desire to learn new things.
What advice would you give a kid interested in becoming a game designer? Where would you point them to get started?
Really depends on the age, but to keep it as general as possible, I’d say you have to be well-rounded. You can’t just focus on one thing and expect it work. I use math, reading, writing, speaking, physics, anatomy, etc. on a daily basis. All those classes that are required in grade school and high school that we all like to complain about are actually things all video game developers have to apply to their jobs.
How do you define ‘success’?
Manifest Destiny – Success is whatever you think it is. We’re all where we are today for a reason and it will be the same way tomorrow. Success is defined by each individual person and what the one thing is in life that makes them the happiest.