EA Shuts Down SimCity Studio Maxis Emeryville

by Mike Futter on Mar 04, 2015 at 08:34 AM

EA has shut down the studio responsible for Spore and SimCity. The news comes from Guillaume Pierre, lead gameplay scripture and a designer on SimCity (according to his Twitter profile).

“Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville,” Pierre writes. This seems to be confirmed by tweets from studio general manager Patrick Buechner. When reached for comment, EA confirmed the closure.

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.

These changes do not impact our plans for The Sims.  Players will continue to see rich new experiences in The Sims 4, with our first expansion pack coming soon along with a full slate of additional updates and content in the pipeline.

All employees impacted by the changes today will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA.  For those that are leaving the company, we are working to ensure the best possible transition with separation packages and career assistance. 

Both of Maxis' most recent games had their share of problems. The Sims 4 (developed at the Redwood Shores location) met with resistance among the franchise's fans, especially related to a number of elements missing from the previous iteration. SimCity had enormous launch problems when it arrived in 2012.


Our Take
It’s always unfortunate when a studio (especially one as storied as Maxis Emeryville) gets shut down. In this case, it happened during the annual Game Developers Conference, which is particularly painful. For much of the industry, this week is about learning and celebration of accomplishment. Our thoughts are with those employees who must turn their attention elsewhere.