EA Shuts Down Maxis Emeryville Studio


A huge name in the Sim genre, Maxis will be consolidated by Electronic Arts. Maxis, founded in 1987 and best known for its Sim franchise, will be consolidated by its owner, Electronic Arts. EA purchased the company back in 1997, and today announced its intentions to consolidate the three Maxis studios down to two.

On the chopping block was Maxis Emeryville, the studio responsible for many classics including The Sims and Spore. Unfortunately, the Emeryville studio is also responsible for the recent reboot of SimCity which was not received well. In the official statement, EA writes “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locasions as we close our Emeryville location.”

If you’re worried about future content from EA and Maxis, EA’s statement at least tries to be reassuring. “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.” Of course, that is not an answer about what’s going to happen with SimCity, but at least that’s a commitment on one of the games.

There were, of course, several sad tweets from the Emeryville staff as they departed today. Perhaps the most notable was from Guillaume Pierre, the Lead Gameplay Scripter and a designer on SimCitySpore, and Galactic Adventures.

Of course, not all is necessarily lost for the studio. Going back to EA’s Statement, they promised “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.” Unfortunately, the disaster that was SimCity was most likely the reason for the studio’s closure, however I think Maxis Emeryville should be remembered for its legacy. To quote quote High Fidelity: “is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or to fade away?” The SimsThe Sims 2, and Spore were all fantastic, almost revolutionary for their times, and I believe those should be the games that define our memory of the studio.  No matter the studio’s legacy, I wish the former employees in Emeryville good luck.

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends! Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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