Former SimCity Leads Form New Studio Of 'Recovering Ex-AAA Developers'
Three developers behind the troubled SimCity have departed EA and Maxis to form their own studio. Not only have they left their employers behind, but the trio of Jellygrade founders profess to be "recovering ex-AAA developers," implying a different kind of experience than their previous work.
The three members of the studio are Ocean Quigley (SimCity Creative Director), Dan Moskowitz (SimCity Gameplay Lead), and Andrew Willmott (SimCity Lead Architect). Quigley tweeted today that the picture above, as well as those featured on the studio's Tumblr, are the early stages of a game focused on the dawn of life on earth.
We're making a simulation about the dawn of life on earth; about lava, water, rock and the emergence of the first primordial creatures.— Ocean Quigley (@oceanquigley) July 16, 2013
The focus on lava, water, and rock is reminiscent of Ubisoft's From Dust. In that title, players were tasked with shepherding a nomadic tribe across dangerous, shifting terrain by using the power of elements.
Given how early this is in the development cycle, there isn't much more to know about Jellygrade's first title. You can see more concept drawings on the studio's Tumblr.
SimCity was an absolute public relations disaster for EA, tarnishing the name of one of the most beloved franchises in gaming history. Despite fantastic sales, the intangible damage done to the brand, Maxis, and EA was significant.
The three Jellygrade founders held key roles in the development of SimCity, but they were also pieces of a larger machine. How much burden they bear for the SimCity nightmare likely will not ever become public. There are a set of questions we will ask as development progresses, specifically about the lessons learned from the failures of the SimCity rollout.