Shaun Pejic- FIFA's Live Gameplay Producer
Developer Interview #6
Welcome to our latest developer interview! This week we managed to speak to Shaun Pejic, the Live Gameplay Producer for the FIFA series. Shaun is also an ex-professional footballer, who played for York City, Vancouver Whitecaps and my team Wrexham, before moving into the gaming industry.
If you enjoy this interview, please give it a share, or better yet subscribe for free to receive other pieces of news, opinions and developer interviews straight to your inbox.
Firstly, I have to ask you about your football career, do you have a standout moment or match you look at most proudly?
Honestly, it’s difficult to call out one game that stands out, as there were a few that come to mind. If I were to call out one match that tops the rest, it would be the LDV trophy final against Southend in 2005 at the Millennium Stadium. I came on after 15 or so minutes after Robbo was struggling with an injury. Coming into the game that early, with that much pressure and then going on to win it when all the odds were against us was an amazing memory. It made it extra special for me by celebrating with my dad, who was the physio at the time at Wrexham, when the referee blew the final whistle he came running towards me and gave me a massive hug. Something that I’ll never forget.
Personal note- Shaun played in my favourite away day of all time when we beat Shrewsbury at the last league game at Gay Meadow, the limbs were unforgettable!
Tell us a little about how you came to transition from one career to another? Has it been challenging?
To cut a long story short, this all came about after I moved over to Vancouver to play for the Whitecaps back in 2009. I loved the city and the people, met some new faces and a girl, who is now my wife, and those people were working in the video game industry. Fast forward a few years I had the opportunity to talk to the FIFA team, brought some ideas to them and it turned out to be a good match for everyone. Was it challenging when I started? The simple answer is yes. It’s never easy to transition from one career to the next, especially going from training every day and keeping fit to then being in an office environment sitting on your butt, although we did have the option for standing desks that helped! Ha. No, in all seriousness the most challenging was learning all the complex systems and processes. It’s very hard to make a great game like FIFA so the first few years I was asking lots of questions and learning everything I could get my hands on. If you’d have told me 15 years ago that I’d be working in video games in the future I would have probably laughed at you. But now, looking back, it was the best decision I made to get out of football and into making games with the FIFA team.
What is your role within EA Sports and what does an average day look like?
My role is a Live Gameplay Producer and an average day does vary quite a bit depending on the time of the year. One of my focuses is to listen to the players and what they like/don’t like about the game and then solve the problem “how do we make that better for everyone.” I also design new ways to play the game while working closely with the very smart team to make those designs come together during the production cycle.
What has been your most surreal experience working on FIFA?
One of the cool perks of my job is I have the privilege of attending press tours for FIFA. This is when we start to show what’s different in the new game and show them off to the public - some of the venues are filled with people from all over the world and honestly, the first time I went to one of these events, I was blown away to see in person how many people were there and play the game. We obviously know how many people play but seeing that amount of people interested in what we did was very surreal.
Is there anything you can tell us about the next steps for the gameplay?
I can’t share anything that we’re doing just yet but there will be a bunch of information coming soon to get people excited about the next iteration of the game. It’s going to be a good one this year! :)
Are there any games you try to take inspiration from or that you admire outside of FIFA?
For anyone working in the video games industry, it’s very important to play other games and see what else is out there. Even if it’s a different genre of game you’re always comparing and taking inspiration from all types of games. A few that I’m playing now are Elden Ring and Forza Horizon.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about your job?
The biggest enjoyment for me is that I work in video games and my job is entertaining as many people as possible. I think in general that is amazing and something anyone would really enjoy. If you were to twist my arm, I really enjoy the people I work with - they are some of the smartest and nicest people I’ve met. We all have the same end goal of making a fun game for people to enjoy. In summary, I like to bring joy to games from my past football career of entertaining people on the pitch to now entertaining people on their couch.