EA shutters Maxis Emeryville, the studio that spawned SimCity

EA has announced that it has shut down the Maxis Emeryville studio, developer of the iconic SimCity franchise, and The Sims, among other famous titles.

Kotaku got the word from an EA spokesperson, who told them: “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.”

In other words, the Maxis brand will still live on, but the studio which has always been behind the name won’t.

Guillaume Pierre, who used to work as a designer for Maxis, had previously broken the news on Twitter: “Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville.”

As questions started to flood in, he replied that: “The shop is closing down”, and “Everyone's out of a job.”

When Pierre was pressed for further information by a reporter from Polygon, he simply tweeted: “I can't go into more details beyond that the studio is shutting down.”

In a later formal statement, EA said: “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.”

The company also confirmed that plans for The Sims 4 and further expansions and content would continue unaffected. Also, EA said that staff at the closed studio would be “given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA.”

Maxis was first founded in 1987, and established itself with SimCity, and then a whole host of other “Sim” games (SimAnt, SimFarm, SimEarth, and so forth). It was acquired by EA a decade later in 1997 – and The Sims was subsequently released in 2000, becoming a huge cash cow of course, with a series of games each spawning their own set of expansions.

The Sims 4, though, hasn’t gone down particularly well with the critics, and indeed the third game rubbed many up the wrong way by removing elements that were present in its predecessor (like being able to see inside certain buildings your Sim is visiting, rather than merely staring at the outside and a timer).