EA has shut down Maxis Emeryville, the main Maxis studio and longrunning developer behind SimCity and Spore, among other games. Though the Maxis brand will carry on, the studio that most people knew as "Maxis" is no more.
"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," an EA representative said in a statement.
The news comes smack in the middle of the Game Developers Conference, where developers from across the world are congregating in San Francisco for various meetups, lectures, and sessions. It's poor timing, to say the least.
I've been hearing rumblings about a shake-up at Maxis for a few days now, but official word first came this afternoon from former Maxis designer Guillaume Pierre, who wrote on Twitter this afternoon that the studio would be shutting down:
Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville
— Guillaume Pierre (@MaxisGuillaume) March 4, 2015
Later in the afternoon, EA confirmed plans to shut down Maxis Emeryville, sending over the following statement:
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.
Originally founded in 1987, Maxis was best known for the Sim franchise, which began with Will Wright's SimCity and expanded to include a number of other games, including the popular The Sims series, which is handled by a separate developer called The Sims Studio.
In 2013, Maxis released an online reboot of SimCity that was plagued with all sorts of problems, which may have been what led to this final closure. Neither SimCity nor the recent release of The Sims 4 performed very well, according to a person familiar with goings-on at the studio.