Electronic Arts has shut down Maxis Emeryville, the original Maxis studio the birthed SimCity, The Sims, and many other significant PC games over the last 28 years. The Maxis brand carries on through teams in other locations, but the studio founded by Will Wright in 1987 is no more.
Maxis designer Guillaume Pierre broke the news via 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
— Guillaume Pierre (@MaxisGuillaume) March 4, 2015
EA confirmed the shutdown later that afternoon, releasing 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.
As developers from around the world gather for both GDC and PAX East this week, the announcement’s timing is inconvenient, to say the least.
Will Wright and Jeff Braun founded Maxis in 1987 in order to bring SimCity to home computers, since established publishers did not believe that it would make any money. It went on to receive wide critical and popular acclaim, and that success fueled a series of Sim– games over the ’90s, ranging from SimLife and SimEarth to SimAnt and SimHelicopter.
The studio’s popularity waned following the success of SimCity 2000, until it was purchased by EA in 1997. Under its stewardship, Wright developed domestic life dollhouse The Sims, which once again catapulted Maxis into the limelight as one of the most successful video game series of all time. Wright left the studio in 2009 following the mixed reception of Spore.
Many will always fondly remember Maxis as a unique haven in gaming where you got to build something and play with it, rather than destroy. At least until you got bored and called down the alien and a tornado to destroy your city, or built a death house with no doors, windows, or bathrooms where an occupant could slowly waste away.