In this industry it's not often that hearing a studio is being closed down genuinely surprises you, but I'm left fairly shocked by the news that EA is shutting the doors at Maxis Emeryville, the studio's main headquarters, for good.
Well, maybe 'surprised' is the wrong word; despite the well-publicised disaster of SimCity and the negative response to the removal offrom The Sims 4, I somehow simply assumed that Maxis, who've since before I was even born, would continue on regardless.
"Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville location. Maxis continues to support and develop new experiences for current Sims and SimCity players, while expanding our franchises to new platforms and developing new cross-platform IP,” an EA representative said in a statementyesterday.
The changes apparently won't affect future development on The Sims 4, and EA says that affected employees will be “given opportunities to explore” other positions at the company, but Maxis as we know it is essentially no more, as designer Guillaume Pierre confirmed on Twitter. Harsh timing for the team, several of whom would have been enjoying a break at GDC this week.
It's almost certainly thethat ultimately lead to this situation, but let's remember Maxis as the developer that gave us so many beautiful Sim games. Endlessly playing titles like was one of my formative gaming experiences – despite the studio's fall from grace in recent years, I'm genuinely sad to see it go. All the best to anyone affected by the closure.