Videogame Galactus Electronic Arts have announced that they are shuttering Maxis, the legendary studio that created SimCity, The Sims, and Spore.
The news comes on the back of several high profile disappointments for both Maxis and publisher EA. In 2013, the studio put out SimCity, the latest entry in the popular city building series. Its release was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster, with the game’s always-online requirement forcing players to wait for hours just to play while the game’s servers struggled under the pressure. The game currently has a horrifying 2.2 user score on Metacritic.
The following year, Maxis put out The Sims 4, which was also released to critical disappointment. The development of the game was fraught with fan outrage over a missing content that had become staples of the series, such as toddlers, swimming pools, and an open-world neighborhood. It also reportedly did not sell very well compared to its predecessor, The Sims 3.
These two high profile letdowns are likely the reason for the studio’s closure. Development of all games under Maxis’s name will now be split among EA’s studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinski and Melbourne. A statement on the matter from EA reads:
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.
Meanwhile, Maxis designer Guillaume Pierre confirmed the news with a tweet that read: “Well it was a fun 12 years, but it’s time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door.” He later confirmed to Polygon that “everyone’s out of a job.” An anonymous source at EA’s Redwood Shores studio also told Polygon that several members working on The Sims there will be laid off as well.
Maxis began life in 1987 when it was founded by Will Wright and Jeff Braun, who released the first SimCity in 1989. They were later purchased by EA in 1997, and went on to release a string of successful titles, such as The Sims 2 and Spore.