Where were you last night when the Philadelphia Eagles announced they would sign Michael Vick?
If you were with some senior developers at Electronic Arts Tiburon, you would have been caught halfway through your meal at Buffalo Wild Wings in Orlando, celebrating the launch of one of the year's biggest titles, Madden NFL 10, which began selling at midnight.
Instead of high-fives, though, the development team had to regroup. The announcement meant they had to make one more pass at the game to add Vick into the virtual lineup.
“I looked at our product manager and said, 'Couldn't he have just given us just one more day?' " recalled EA Tiburon spokesman Rob Semsey, who was part of the group at the restaurant. But it was after 8 p.m., and there was no time for deep philosophical discussions.
The game's art director, Mike Young, immediately abandoned his wings and headed back to the studio. Donny Moore, Madden's designer, who was en route to the restaurant, made a U-turn right back to the studio.
The rest, about eight others, got to work at the restaurant.
"I have an iPhone," Semsey said. "It's disgusting now. It’s got greasy thumbprints all over it from me making calls and texting on it while trying to eat our hot wings."
What's the big deal? some of you might ask. Can't EA just pop in their model from when Vick was in Madden in 2007, before he was banished from the NFL and sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring?
Not so fast, said Semsey. For one thing ...