Electronic Arts has shut down its primary Maxis game studio in Emeryville, California. Although the brand will live on through other branches around the globe, the decision will no doubt tug at the heartstrings of hardcore SimCity fans.
News of the closure first came via Twitter with EA later confirming it in a statement.
In it, the company said they are consolidating Maxis IP development to their studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne as they close the Emeryville location. Maxis will continue to support and develop new experiences for current Sims and SimCity players. The planned Sims 4 expansion pack is still in the pipeline and coming soon, we're told.
EA added that all employees impacted by the changes will be given the opportunity to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA. Those that are leaving the company will receive separation packages and career assistance.
Maxis was founded in 1987 as Maxis Software by Will Wright and Jeff Braun. After going public in 1995, Maxis was purchased by EA two years later. In addition to the SimCity franchise, Maxis also spawned the immensely popular “digital dollhouse” franchise The Sims.
Despite those two smash hits, Maxis has had a sketchy track record over the past decade or so. Spore was one of the most hyped games in recent history but ultimately ended up being a flop. The 2013 remake of SimCity carried a ton of promise as well but was ultimately marred by a catastrophe of a launch, lots of missing features, small maximum city sizes and an always-online controversy.