Industry veteran David De Martini passes away at 56

The former EA exec worked on The Godfather, Origin, and more.


David De Martini, a former Electronic Arts executive who touched a wide range of games and technologies over his nearly 18-year career, has passed away. Journalist and presenter Geoff Keighley shared word of his passing on Twitter last night. Speaking to Polygon, De Martini's son Dominic said his father died at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA, due to complications stemming from a lung transplant.

Per Polygon's detailed obituary, David De Martini got his start as a software engineer before entering the games business via Electronic Arts in October 1998. He quickly made a name for himself, spearheading projects such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour and NCAA March Madness.

De Martini's involvement in some of EA's most vaunted sports properties was no coincidence; Dominic told Polygon that his father loved enjoyed playing golf and tennis, and attended events with his son as often as possible.

In 2006, David De Martini executive-produced The Godfather, EA's open-world mobster game based on the 1972 film. That same year, he assumed the dual roles of senior vice president and general manager of EA Partners, a program engineered to publish games made by external studios. Rock Band, Crysis, Brutal Legend, Portal 2, Titanfall, and Bulletstorm are just some of the games brought to fruition through EA Partners.

In 2010, De Martini shifted his focus to digital distribution and helped launch EA's Origin platform the following year. Two years later in 2013, he ended his 15-year tenure at EA to join Oculus VR as the head of worldwide publishing. He remained with Oculus until July 2014, shortly after Facebook announced its acquisition of the VR company for $2 billion.

David De Martini spent the remainder of his career presiding over his own firm, De Martini Consulting.

Numerous industry figureheads and former colleagues took to social media to express their sorrow at De Martini's passing. "Sad news today about David DeMartini,"wrote legendary adventure-game designer and Double Fine founder Tim Schafer. "A great guy, & an early supporter of Brütal Legend at EA. Probably would not have happened w/o him."

"He took me to lunch for my interview as GM at BioWare 7 years ago,wrote BioWare developer Aaryn Flynn. "He was very kind and supportive, it's always stuck with me."

"David DeMartini was an institution here at EA for many years," reads a statement posted to EA'sTwitter account. "His trademark wit, passion and warmth shaped every team, game and project he touched. We've lost a great one, and our hearts go out to his family, friends and everyone that had the great fortune to know him. DeMar will be truly missed."


Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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