EA’s Richard Hilleman Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The International Digital Media and Arts Association awarded Richard Hilleman with the IDMAA Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual awards ceremony on November 9, 2012, in Miami, Flordia.

Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director of Electronic Arts, is internationally recognized as one of the most influential video game producers of our time. He was a key figure in building the massively successful EA Sports brand and spent more than 20 years developing games such as Chuck Yeager’s Flight Simulator, the original Madden football and NHL games and Tiger Woods PGA Tour.  In the role of Chief Creative Director since 2008, Hilleman has overseen the growth of talent within EA’s studios, creating EA’s internal masters programs on game design and development. Hilleman has been named by IGN Entertainment as #15 of the top 100 game creators of all time, and his influence on current and future generations of game designers and players is immeasurable.

Hilleman joined Electronic Arts in 1982 as one of its first twenty employees, and over the last 25 years has soldered cables, copied disks, built copy protection, mastered and manufactured more than 200 titles for a company that has emerged as an industry pillar of interactive entertainment.  He began producing his own games in the late 1980s, creating a broad range of simulators and driving games for 8 and 16 bit computers. His first credited title as producer was Indianapolis 500: The Simulation on PC in 1989.

Dave Ferguson, IDMAA Awards Chair (left), presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director, Electronic Arts (right).

Dave Ferguson, IDMAA Awards Chair (left), presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director, Electronic Arts (right).

In 1989 he began work on re-designing John Madden football, which suffered from weak initial sales as an Apple II game.  Hilleman hired Scott Orr, and together they developed a game with great head-to-head competition, an intuitive interface and responsive controls.  It reigns as the best-selling title in the history of video games in North America.

Both Hilleman and Orr were promoted to senior roles in EA product development, and Hilleman was later named Vice President in charge of Production for the entire company. He was Executive Producer or Producer for other successful EA Sports titles including NHL HockeyNHLPA Hockey,PGA Tour Golf and Tiger Woods Golf.

Since 2000, Hilleman has worked as part of the internal university at Electronic Arts, creating and teaching specialized education for producers and development directors.   He was named Chief Creative Director in 2008, and also serves on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.

But perhaps his most surprising role in recent years is that of hybrid supercar designer.  After years of tinkering with electric cars as a hobby and converting his vintage Porsche 550 Spyder into a 200-horsepower electric, Hilleman worked closely with Capstone Turbine Corporation to design the high performance hybrid electric supercar called the CMT-380.  The car, which took five years to complete and debuted at the LA Auto Show in December 2009, runs on a combination of batteries and a turbine engine with ultra-low emissions that rival any hybrid car on the market.

The IDMAA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the fields of digital media and the digital arts. The International Digital Media and Arts Association was founded in early 2004 by a group of 15 universities. IDMAA is dedicated to serving educators, practitioners, scholars, and organizations with interests in digital media.

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