Meet Anna Rogalsky: Art Director at EA SPORTS - Building the Future of Interactive Games

Meet Anna Rogalsky: Art Director at EA SPORTS - Building the Future of Interactive Games

Anna Rogalsky is an Art Director at EA Sports, leading a team of talented artists to create visually captivating and engaging sports video games. Learn more about her role, and the mentorship available to one lucky Rookie Awards 2023 winner.

Do you have a passion for art, storytelling, and video games? If you're looking for an exciting career opportunity in the gaming industry, the Rookie Awards 2023 career opportunity sponsored by EA SPORTS might be just what you're looking for.

EA SPORTS, a division of Electronic Arts, offers a range of opportunities for aspiring artists and designers who are passionate about gaming. Anna Rogalsky, an Art Director with EA SPORTS, has over 25 years of experience in the industry and is currently leading a team of talented artists in Vancouver, Canada. In this article she shares how creativity, collaboration and innovation are the backbone of her teams success.

If you're ready to take your passion for art and storytelling to the next level, explore the career opportunities available via the Rookie Awards and join the team at EA SPORTS!

What do you do?

I am an Art Director with EA SPORTS, a division of Electronic Arts (EA), and one of the most iconic brands in entertainment – connecting hundreds of millions around the world to the sports they love through a portfolio of industry-leading video games.

Currently, I am working with their EA SPORTS FC team to build the future of interactive football, leading a team of talented artists, and working closely with developers. As an Art Director, I am involved in shaping the game’s visual identity, creating designs that not only captivate, but also engage players at a deeper level. My responsibility is to ensure that the visual aspects of the game are cohesive and aligned with the overall gameplay and narrative.

Where is the team located?

At EA SPORTS, we have more than 2500+ developers working together from across the globe to make some of the most popular sports games on the planet, including studios in Vancouver (where I’m based), as well as Orlando, Bucharest, Madrid, Birmingham, Cologne, Southam, Kuala Lumpur, and Seoul. Read more here.

How did you start in games?

Many people dream of pursuing a career in the arts, but often find themselves following a different path due to external pressures or practical considerations. My experience is a common one; I graduated from an art school and went to school to study mathematics due to my parent’s wishes. At that time, video games were not as popular in my country as they are now.

Although I did not pursue a career in the arts initially, I started as an artist 25 years ago in a small studio in Israel. I worked on various projects, from small games to larger-scale productions, gaining valuable experience along the way. In 1996, I discovered 3D Studio Max, which captivated me immediately, and I knew that this was the career path I wanted to follow.

After immigrating to Canada over 20 years ago, I made the decision to return to school and pursue the 3D program at the Institute of Technology in Vancouver. Upon graduating with honors, I was fortunate to be hired by EAs. Since then, I have worked on numerous projects over the years, providing me the opportunity to use my skills to contribute to the success of each game I have been involved with.

What impetus led you to work in this field?

While it may be a popular notion that people work in the gaming industry because of their love and passion for gaming, I must confess that this was not the case for me. I did not grow up playing video games and probably didn't even sit in front of a video game until I turned 18. My deep appreciation for art and storytelling is what drove me to pursue a career in the video game industry.

As an artist, I have always been drawn towards creating and being a part of a dynamic and creative team that works together to bring a game to life. The game development process is a collaborative effort that requires a diverse range of skills and expertise. Working alongside other talented people who share the same passion can be incredibly gratifying, which motivates me to continue to work in this industry.

While I may not have been exposed to video games at a young age or be a gamer, my love for art has been a perfect fit for the gaming industry.

What recent projects have you worked on?

Working at EA SPORTS is a significant achievement for any game developer, and I'm proud to have spent the last 17 years of my career with EA. During my time here, I have worked on various projects, each with unique challenges and rewards. Some of the more recent projects I worked on include Need for Speed Payback, and EA SPORTS FIFA ( now “EA SPORTS FC”).

Working on Need for Speed Payback, I co-led the team of artists and collaborated closely with an EA studio based in the UK. It was an incredible experience working on a popular racing game known for its fast and intense gameplay.

I am currently working on EA SPORTS FC, which has been an exciting project for me to be a part of. FC is the future of football from EA SPORTS, after nearly 30 years of genre-defining, interactive football experiences with EA SPORTS FIFA. Previously working on FIFA makes FC feel like home, and I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many incredibly talented people who inspire me daily, and I am grateful to be a part of such an exceptional team. As an Art Director, I have directed characters, vanity, stadiums, and other elements, focusing on providing the user with the most immersive and realistic gaming experience possible.

What is the company culture like?

EA SPORTS, and EA more broadly, is known for being a dynamic work environment that values innovation, creativity, and collaboration. As a company, we strive to create a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and respected. We also prioritize work-life balance, providing employees with various benefits and perks, such as flexible schedules, fitness programs, and professional development opportunities.

One of our core values is to "put players first," which means that we are committed to creating fun, engaging, and enjoyable games for players of all ages and backgrounds. This focus on the player’s experience drives everything we do, from game design to customer support.

We also place a high value on teamwork and collaboration.

As a company, we believe that the best games are created by teams of talented people working together to achieve a common goal.

We encourage employees to share ideas, provide feedback, and work together, overcoming challenges as they arise to create the best games possible.

EA is also committed to giving back to the communities where we live, work, and play – bringing together corporate philanthropy, employee giving, volunteering and donation matching, our amazing players and creators, and our interactive entertainment experiences, to amplify our positive impact.

How are new ideas pitched and developed?

At EA SPORTS creativity and new ideas are highly valued and encouraged. Regardless of an employee’s role or seniority, everyone can pitch new ideas for games and projects. One of the ways that we foster this culture of creativity at EA SPORTS is through our annual Game Jams and Hackathons.

Both are time-limited events where a small group of artists and engineers come together to work on a new game idea, aiming to develop a new game prototype within a set timeframe, usually a few days. During the Game Jam, participants are encouraged to think outside the box, exploring new concepts and ideas. They can experiment with new mechanics, art styles, and gameplay concepts. At the end of the Game Jam, the teams present their prototypes to the rest of the organization, allowing them to showcase their ideas and receive feedback from their colleagues. These events are just a couple of examples of how we foster creativity, innovation, and the chance to pitch new ideas.

How does the team collaborate?

Communication is the key to effective collaboration at EA SPORTS; we use various tools to stay in touch and share information. This includes face-to-face meetings, email, Slack, and project management software. We also encourage team members to share ideas and feedback, work together, and solve problems. The EA SPORTSFC project is a large-scale undertaking that requires the efforts of many teams and people. To ensure its success, we divide into small, cross-functional teams with specific responsibilities in areas such as art, programming, game design, etc. These teams collaborate closely, ensuring their work is seamlessly integrated, resulting in a cohesive and engaging game. This approach helps us to align around a shared vision, ensuring that all aspects of the player's experience are carefully considered.

New product or business you admire?

I find “It Takes Two” a unique and interesting concept for video games. The idea that a video game can teach and help players navigate relationships intrigues me. The innovative gameplay mechanics, where both characters need to work together to overcome challenges, make the game even more exciting. It offers various challenges that require cooperation and communication, which can be a fun and educational experience for players.

What unique challenges and opportunities does your work bring?

As an Art Director in the gaming industry, I face challenges regularly. One of the main challenges is figuring out how to deliver the best possible game for the user within the production cycle. This is a challenge that requires finding creative and innovative solutions within a short period of time. However, it also presents an opportunity to think outside the box and find creative ways to address the problems. It’s also an opportunity to push boundaries, grow as an artist while experimenting with new ideas, and ultimately deliver the game players will love.

What do you find exciting about game dev?

With so many aspects involved, I find it challenging to narrow down just one aspect of game development that I find exciting. However, if I had to choose, I would be particularly drawn to the dynamic nature of gaming. There's never a dull moment in game development. It is fast-paced, and things are always moving forward quickly. I also find fulfilment in the creative aspect of game development, which allows me to use my creativity to help bring the game to life. Seeing all the pieces come together, including the art, technology, gameplay, and design, is a fascinating process. Knowing that my work contributes to the players' enjoyment is a rewarding experience.

Has anything recently changed your perception of the game industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the gaming industry, resulting in one of the most notable changes, the shift toward working remotely. As many of us were required to work from home during the pandemic, we quickly discovered that creating high-quality games, with large teams, without being in the office was possible. Over the past three years, the game industry has learned that there are no limits to where team members are located if they can communicate and collaborate effectively. This new way of working has created opportunities, allowing us to work with an even more diverse range of talented people from all around the world.

What initiatives do you have to support young artists in your field?

EA understands junior artists have much to offer and are often full of fresh and exciting ideas. EA benefits from their new perspectives and creative ideas by providing opportunities for these new artists to grow and develop within the company. We hire junior artists straight out of school and offer bi-yearly co-op programs with many of our studios. This valuable experience helps students to build their portfolios, gaining a competitive edge when looking for full-time employment after graduation.

EA SPORTS provides our artists with the opportunity to participate in a custom Art Mentorship program, in addition to EA’s company-wide, general mentorship program, both of which are designed to help mentees identify and achieve their career goals while providing opportunities for personal growth and development.

Outside of a great portfolio, what other qualities do you like to see in artists?

A great portfolio is a strong indicator of talent when considering young artists for a role. Still, we also look for candidates with various complementary qualities that can help them succeed and grow within our team. These qualities can set candidates apart and indicate if they will fit our team and culture.

One of the key traits we look for is a strong work ethic, specifically, having the drive and commitment to consistently produce high-quality work while meeting deadlines.

We value individuals who are collaborative, communicative, and open to feedback. Working well with others can go a long way in a creative environment, especially when dealing with high-pressure deadlines.

In addition to artistic and technical skills, we also appreciate individuals who have a passion for their craft and are willing to experiment and take creative risks. A curious, explorative mindset can lead to breakthrough ideas and solutions that drive innovation. The ability to pivot and adjust courses when needed is a valuable skill in game production.

What is on offer for a Rookie Awards winner?

EA SPORTS is offering an amazing opportunity to one lucky winner. The mentorship will connect you with members of our team, who will guide you and give insights on the inner workings of this incredible studio.


EA Sports is offering an amazing opportunity to one lucky winner. The mentorship will connect you with members of the EA Sports team where you'll be guided and given insights on the inner workings of this incredible studio.

Enter Now

What advice do you have for your prospective mentee?

Coming into the internship or mentorship with an open mind and a willingness to learn is very important. Be prepared to take on new challenges and ask questions when you need help. Also, before starting the internship or mentorship, it is a good idea to research the company or organization you will be working with to familiarize yourself with their products and goals, helping you understand your role better.

When asking questions, be curious and proactive. Be bold and ask your mentor about their career path and how they got to where they are today. You can seek advice on how to improve your skills, work effectively as part of a team, and what are the building blocks of a strong artist that lead to success in the industry.

It’s important to always keep an eye out for new opportunities by asking the right questions, understanding the problem at hand, and identifying any deficiencies or areas for improvement. By doing so, you can often uncover valuable insights that can lead you to the right solutions.