EA Closing Down Maxis's Main Studio

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EA Closing Down Maxis's Main Studio

In an a move to consolidate its studios Electronic Arts has announced that it will be closing down Maxis.

One of the sad truths of the video game industry is that game studios close down and disappear all the time. That being the case, there are still moments when you see certain names coupled with the words "shut down" and can't help but feel a bit saddened.

Case in point, Electronic Arts has announced at GDC today that it will be closing down Maxis Emeryville in an effort to fold its staff and projects into other development houses under the Maxis brand. Recognizing that this consolidation will lead to many of the studio's staffers losing their jobs, EA stated that former Emeryville employees "will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA." The publisher also intends to work with employees leaving wholesale "to ensure the best possible transition with separation packages and career assistance."

Prior to this news, the Emeryville office was in many ways the most important studio bearing the Maxis name. The former haunting grounds of studio co-founder Will Wright, it was the driving force behind major franchises including Spore, SimCity and, most recently, The Sims 4. EA, in its statement, also affirmed that the closure will "not impact our plans for The Sims" and that players "will continue to see rich new experiences" coming to the game in the form of expansion packs and "additional updates." The publisher offered no comment as to whether or not this closure was related to the disastrous launch of 2013's SimCity or the arguably lackluster reception critic and fans have given to The Sims 4.

Source: Kotaku

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Well their plan to bury The Sims should it fail to meet expectations was their plan, so technically it's true that closing Maxis won't impact their plans.

Hopefully they the devs that are let go are able to find work or are able to open their own studio.

I would love to know how many of the decisions that blunted the appeal of the latest SimCity and Sims offerings - thereby dooming the studio - were handed down from EA "suits" in the first place. Are they out of work because they didn't do well? Or did the responsibility merely fall on the wrong heads?

Great news. That studio has done nothing but shitting its breaches for the last few years. Time to shuffle and deal again.

the people of the studio should found their own one and make a proper SimCity or Sims game. Since I'm pretty sure they're capable enough. And without Suits telling them to cut the games to DLCs and stuff. I know it's unlikely but it would be funny to show off to those guys at EA.

I'd mourn their loss if Maxis wasn't already a shambling husk of a company.
Its last real ambition left the company with Will Wright, right after EA all but strangled Spore in the crib.

If anyone leaving the company had an ounce of talent and ambition in them, I hope they land on their feet somewhere where they can put it to good use. Otherwise: Nothing of value was lost.

Thanks again, EA. BioWare, watch your backs.

Bat Vader:
Hopefully they the devs that are let go are able to find work or are able to open their own studio.

Yes please. I miss old, Pre-EA Maxis. :'(

Next int line:

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RIP Maxis. SimCity 3000, The Sims and 2, etc. will be dearly missed. Thanks EA, keep being the jerks you've always been.

The EA business model:

Step 1:Buy up talented studio and/or IP
Step 2:Use every method possible to wring money out of them until it's utter shit.
Step 3:Close down studio and/or abandon IP
Step 4:Move on to another one and repeat process.
Step 5:In the meantime release another recycled Madden again cuz idiots eat that shit up every year.

Better watch your back, Bioware, because EA is running out of lambs to sacrifice...

Kotoriii:
Next int line:

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RIP Maxis. SimCity 3000, The Sims and 2, etc. will be dearly missed. Thanks EA, keep being the jerks you've always been.

gonna add this here.

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I fear that if Bioware fucks up at all in the near future they'll be next on the chopping block...and on that day i'll cry tears of blood and rage!

OverEZ:
Thanks again, EA. BioWare, watch your backs.

Honestly when EA does decide to retire Bioware I feel that the Bioware staff are talented enough that they could open their own studio or they would get hired by Bethesda, CD Projekt Red, and/or Obsidian. The writing staff is pretty darn good at writing characters that people care about so I'm pretty sure they would be safe. Imagine having Bioware written characters in something like Skyrim. That would be awesome.

best sim city is still 2000. afterwards it wasnt any good. even when EA did improve a bit by offering specials, free games and more or less fix things, they still have to do things that make them look bad.
im really curious who will win the worst company award this time.

List:
the people of the studio should found their own one and make a proper SimCity or Sims game. Since I'm pretty sure they're capable enough. And without Suits telling them to cut the games to DLCs and stuff. I know it's unlikely but it would be funny to show off to those guys at EA.

Well there will allready be a proper SimCity. It's called Cities:Skylines, releases on the 10th and is pretty much everything SimCity 2013 should have been. There are allready tons of streams and videos on youtube, so you can check it out.

Another studio gone because EA doesn't know how to run a proper business. They couldn't just make The Sims 4 and SimCity like normal games. No, they had to mess with the formula that works by making those games into money milking soulless products. They've been voted the most hated company in America twice for fuck sake. How can someone be so blind and stupid?

Adam Jensen:
They've been voted the most hated company in America twice for fuck sake. How can someone be so blind and stupid?

That's easy, they just don't give a shit.
Despite their "WE DON'T WANT TO BE THE WORST" whine a few months back, they don't really care.
People will still fork over cash for their stuff, all they'll have to do is find a new corpse to dig up or something else to hook up to the milking machines.

Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/SimCity-Lucy-Bradshaw-Defends-Always-DRM-Says-EA-Didn-t-Force-It-Them-53694.html

Aww... someone already beat me to the graphic of EA shooting bioware out back behind the barn. :(

Good luck to all the Maxis peeps with the job search :( I did really enjoy your games, when they worked.

Coreless:
Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/SimCity-Lucy-Bradshaw-Defends-Always-DRM-Says-EA-Didn-t-Force-It-Them-53694.html

I don't buy that one bit. To believe that the Devs are given that much creative control goes completely against EA's modus operandi because every single developer they've assimilated becomes more and more into the EA slime, with online DRM (funny thing is Dragon Age Keep is perhaps the best version of DRM that they've came up with), tacked on multiplayer aspects and "freemium" bullshit/DLC vehicles.

Coreless:
Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/SimCity-Lucy-Bradshaw-Defends-Always-DRM-Says-EA-Didn-t-Force-It-Them-53694.html

EA has owned Maxis since 1997 and there is no way the heads of Maxis are going to say that the people who pay them ordered them to do stupid things, that's not now business works unless you want to be unemployed.

But now expect lots of these unemployed devs to tell the truth that everything that was anti-consumer in SimCity and Sims 4 was EA's managements fault.

Bat Vader:
Honestly when EA does decide to retire Bioware I feel that the Bioware staff are talented enough that they could open their own studio or they would get hired by Bethesda, CD Projekt Red, and/or Obsidian.

I agree it's possible, but:

Coreless:
Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/SimCity-Lucy-Bradshaw-Defends-Always-DRM-Says-EA-Didn-t-Force-It-Them-53694.html

I think any former member of the EA hegemony needs to spend some time with a cult deprogrammer before continuing with their career.

Notshauna:

Coreless:
Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/SimCity-Lucy-Bradshaw-Defends-Always-DRM-Says-EA-Didn-t-Force-It-Them-53694.html

I don't buy that one bit. To believe that the Devs are given that much creative control goes completely against EA's modus operandi because every single developer they've assimilated becomes more and more into the EA slime, with online DRM (funny thing is Dragon Age Keep is perhaps the best version of DRM that they've came up with), tacked on multiplayer aspects and "freemium" bullshit/DLC vehicles.

Which is my point, also. EA's writing the checks. If they weren't, how could they close a studio? All they have to do is drop some subtle or not so subtle threats (without actually forcing anything) and everyone falls in line. When it fails, they grab a studio employee and have them argue that it's the studio's fault, knowing some people will actually assume that this is the case, when it was EA's stupid idea to begin with.

If nothing else, EA is at least partially responsible. Pretending otherwise is naive.

I guess this is part of that capitalist "Big Business does no wrong" bullshit that goes on here in America.

Kotoriii:
Next int line:

RIP Maxis. SimCity 3000, The Sims and 2, etc. will be dearly missed. Thanks EA, keep being the jerks you've always been.

Beat me to it. Bullfrog, Westwood, Origin, Pandemic, Phenomic, Mythic, Danger Close, and now Maxis. Plus PopCap look to be going the same way. It really seems EA won't be happy until they've bought up and promptly shut down every developer they can. They haven't touched most of the IP those studios might have come with and they haven't kept most of the staff from them, so why do they even bother buying them in the first place? They really do seem to be desperately trying to be real life Hollywood villains being dicks just because they can; there doesn't seem to be any kind of sensible business strategy behind half their decisions.

Coreless:
Why are we even blaming EA for this? The Maxis GM and the development team was 100% at fault for the online only DRM, the smaller cities and broken simulation. Every decision that completely destroyed the game was their fault alone, in this case EA didn't have to do anything.

Why are we blaming EA for closing down one of their development studios? Because it's EA who did it. As Notshauna says, EA certainly had far more influence over Maxis' decisions than you give them credit for (enforced multiplayer and always online DRM are things EA proudly states it demands in its games, so it's rather naive to think that Maxis came up with those ideas completely independently), but that's largely irrelevant because this article isn't about Simcity being bad, it's about the studio being closed down which absolutely is EA's sole decision. Whatever criticism they may have come in for, SimCity sold over 2 million copies in its first couple of months and The Sims 4 sold over 1 million in its first two months, and both games have been supported with expansions and DLC well after release so clearly they haven't been simply written off as failures. Even if they didn't live up to EA's hopes, very few companies would bin one of their historically most profitable subsidiaries because of one or two under-performing releases. And given that EA have a well established history of doing this with previously successful and well-liked developers, it really can't be dismissed as a one-off thing that Maxis brought on themselves.

Jim Sterling predicted this a while back.

As the man himself said in light of this news, "EA runs like shitty clockwork."

Good news! And I hadn't actually heard this from my Google feed yet.

I'm honestly surprised Maxis was allowed to exist as a brand after the SPORE fiasco. But I guess EA wanted them to squeeze out a couple more turds so that the core brand wouldn't take the blame for soiling the carpet.

List:
the people of the studio should found their own one and make a proper SimCity or Sims game.

Going to be rather difficult to get back into the city builder market after March 10th.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/255710

From what I've seen and heard, Colossal Order and Paradox will have the genre sewn up after next week.

So does EA get to sit on their IPs whilst throwing the studio out to the wolves? That is pretty horrible business practice. Complete artistic culling.

So let me see if i have this correct.

EA buy you and give you a load of money to make 1 or 2 good games. They then interfere and screw up your next 2 titles trying to milk them for all they are worth. They then blame you for the failure that they caused and then close you down ?

I think i have that right yes ?

Better make the sims mobile with microtransactions everywhere while the corpse is still warm!

Precisely.

They want to buy up the IP for the cheapest possible price and sit on it. They're a holding company now, nothing more.

Im pretty sure EA only needs one more sacrifice to complete the pact and summon forth demon's from the enth dimension, thus creating a permant bridge so they can travel back to the darkend pits of lazalgor and wallow in all their blood-money.

Honestly though, i hope those that have lost job's are able to pick up again and carry on after this.

Foehunter82:
Precisely.

They want to buy up the IP for the cheapest possible price and sit on it. They're a holding company now, nothing more.

Indeed, fuckers.

If i was a studio no matter what they offered me i would give them the finger. Better to die free that live as a slave.... and then die anyway.

As the late Mr Spock once said.

"As it is logical that you will kill us in any event, I chose not to cooperate."

Michael Tabbut:

Kotoriii:
Next int line:

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RIP Maxis. SimCity 3000, The Sims and 2, etc. will be dearly missed. Thanks EA, keep being the jerks you've always been.

gonna add this here.

image

I fear that if Bioware fucks up at all in the near future they'll be next on the chopping block...and on that day i'll cry tears of blood and rage!

Dude, that was awesome.

If I'm reading things correctly, doesn't this mean that most of the "classic" game dev houses are now extinguished?

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Thanks for the memories, Maxis. EA, I can only hope you close your doors soon.

gamegod25:
Better watch your back, Bioware, because EA is running out of lambs to sacrifice...

There is still Visceral and DICE yet to go.

I expect Visceral next, since they're making a spin off to someone else's IP (Battlefield), they aren't making the whole product and after BF4's year and Hardline's muted response expectations are pretty low (except for EA's suits, who expect it to sell more than BF3).

Then DICE if they cock up the Star Wars license launch, which based on every DICE release ever they surely will.

Then Bioware once Mass Effect 4 fails to meets sales predictions or Disney gets annoyed and takes the Star Wars license away like they did to Sony.

"Dun-dun-dun,another one bites the dust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Hey, I'm gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust"

It's not really a surprise at this point, it is just sad I think. All those studios that made those great classics are just dying off one by one.
But at some point they will all be gone, then what? What will EA do when there are no one left to buy?
I suggest they merge with Ubisoft or something, now that would be a sight.

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