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EA Shuts Down SimCity Studio Maxis

The studio's projects, franchises, and some employees are reportedly being consolidated elsewhere, but the developer's primary Emeryville location has been closed.

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SimCity developer Maxis is undergoing a major shift within EA, one that will see the closure of its primary Emeryville location. According to a statement from EA, an undisclosed number of employees have been either reshuffled or laid off as a result of the restructuring. Maxis will continue on as a brand within EA, but development responsibilities of existing franchises have been distributed among multiple other internal studios.

The full statement from EA on the closure is as follows:

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.

Founded in 1987, Maxis was responsible for a wide variety of Sim games over the years, from the original SimCity on through the early installments of The Sims. Though development responsibilities for The Sims had split off to a separate studio--called, appropriately enough, The Sims Studio--as of 2006, Maxis continued to work on various major projects for EA, including Spore, and 2013's troubled SimCity reboot.

As someone who counts the original SimCity and some of its sequels among his favorite games of all time, this is a horrible thing to have to write about. Say what you will about the current state of SimCity and post-Will Wright Maxis, it's a terrible thing to see a studio with so much great history get broken down into component materials like this. Here's hoping everyone affected by the layoffs finds work quickly.

Alex Navarro on Google+