Maxis Software, creator of such well-known franchises as SimCity, The Sims, and Spore, has officially been shut down by parent company Electronic Arts.
The news first broke in a tweet by lead SimCity gameplay scripter and designer Guillaume Pierre:
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
Not long after Pierre’s tweet, EA confirmed the closing in a statement. They also confirmed that development of Maxis’ existing franchises has been divvied up between other internal studios. In addition, The Sims 4 developer Maxis Redwood Shores is still intact – it is only Maxis Software (located in Emeryville) that is affected.
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.
Maxis was first founded way back in 1987 by legendary game designer Will Wright and Jeff Braun. The studio rose to prominence with the 1989 release of SimCity, and several acclaimed sequels in the SimCity series followed through the years (we’ll forget about the newest one). EA purchased Maxis in 1997, and in 2000 the studio released the first title in what would become another mega-blockbuster series: The Sims.
Recent entries in both series have received mixed reception, but it’s impossible to overstate the impact that Maxis has had on the gaming industry, and it’s unfortunate to see them become just another check on the list of studios that EA has bought and subsequently shut down.