EA Closes Maxis Emeryville Studio (Spore/SimCity)

Except she was at Maxis for 20 years or so, and was exec producer or studio manager for Sim City 3000, Sim City 4, The Sims, Sims 2, and Sims 3 as well as Spore.

So, maybe not EA’s Suit. Maybe Maxis had their own suits.

Like Blizzard with Activision, I feel the relationship between Maxis and EA wasn’t as evilly dictatorial as many gamers think. I assume that while some seemingly money-grubbing decisions came from corporate leads’ concerns over investors, I’d bet that many other commonly derided design decisions came from within the developer’s ranks. They really were considered for the good of everyone. Groupthink can be really powerful.

We all laugh at the obvious bone-headedness of the always-online requirement, but I bet there was room of nodding heads when that was rolled out; many because they sincerely felt that all that great gameplay would be enhanced by online features.

Decisions like removing the single-player/offline part from one of the most successful single-player/offline franchises are made at the top.

It’s like none of them ever played anything themselves. They certainly don’t understand the market if they ignore everybody who doesn’t want or can’t be online all the time.

You’re next, Bioware. Unless you can somehow shove PopCap into the boss’s office ahead of you.

Dragon Age 3 was successful. They won’t shut down bioware until they release a clunker.

Or two or three.

It’s sad to see Maxis go. So many great Sims and Sim games.

SWTOR is also apparently generating money for them.

“Maxis was only following orders”.

At the end of the day they put the code in to e.g. disable offline. If they don’t have the heart to tell the publishers to sod off, then it’s their fault. What was the worst that could happen? EA took SimCity off of them and gave it to another studio? I’d say that’s better than becoming know for not caring.

According to things I’ve read a few places, it seems it was Maxim that pushed the AlwaysOnline angle, and then cut most of the features connected to it 3 months before launch.

I just remembered that Maxis was responsible for a game I loved when I was way younger - A train game of some sorts, I think was called A-Train.

Some insider commentary from a former Maxis employee on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/reply?id=9149874&goto=item%3Fid%3D9148746

A-Train was licensed from Japan by ArtDink. It’s still being developed and released in Japan and recent versions are now on Steam. I liked the Simcity-2000-eque art style of the first few A-Trains the most.

1: I’ve never even heard of A-Train.
2: I want a train game that actually looks like this box art:

Did the Sims team work at the shutdown studio?

Termination of project lead, followed by new lead who does what he’s told? EA isn’t “the publisher” anymore after you’re bought out, they’re “the boss”.

Link fix: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9148746

I love the guy who didn’t work at Maxis lecturing the person who did about how Spore’s money was spent and how they operated.

A-Train was licensed from Japan by ArtDink. It’s still being developed and released in Japan and recent versions are now on Steam. I liked the Simcity-2000-eque art style of the first few A-Trains the most.

SimTower was also licensed from a Japanese company, and was a great game.

I know it’s kind of unavoidable and human nature, but it’s kind of a shame that a game that has thousands of hours of work put into it and hundreds of thousands of expecting fans can be ruined by one person’s desire to hold onto their job.

Reading the comments from the former Maxis employee made me think of Sim Golf, which I would love to be able to buy a digital copy of.

No, The Sims got forked to a team at EARS (EA Redwood Shores, the headquarters) years and years ago. That group was responsible for The Sims 3 and 4.

Seems appropriate to revive this with a slighty different but more happy topic: the elusive SimRefinery has been recovered.

A very short exposition of the series of events that led to the game being finally recovered in the last two weeks.

You can grab the dumped floppy here.

Sometimes the internet works like we had hopes for it when we were young and healthy!


Chevron has always been a Bay Area company. And Maxis did not have a business simulation department back in the day.