Oh No! …Or not. A designer and scripter for SimCity, Guillaume Pierre, tweeted earlier today that the Maxis Emeryville office was closing its doors for good. Both Pierre and Kotaku report that the Maxis studios are being consolidated to the Redwood Studios, though EA has yet to release an independent statement about the closure.
The fact that Emeryville had their hands in a number of failed projects (Spore, SimCity 2013) makes this news unsurprising. EA has closed acquired studios before and will do it again. Quite frankly, in my opinion the Sims franchise has been lacking its charm since Maxis originally pulled itself off the team in TS2. It started as a genuinely quirky series, lost that feeling in TS3, and with the release of The Sims 4 it is clear that they’re trying to make a grab for that “random quirky weird” aura that the original series held. In the end it just feels forced and The Sims will eventually be another game in the long list of games (and Studios) that EA throttled to death. EA does state that this closure will have no negative effects on The Sims 4 (meaning the games aren’t also shutting down), but that’s obvious given the fact that the Sims ran without Emeryville (or Maxis at all) for 7 years. Maxis let the Sims go 2006 and they never got it back, regardless of whose logo shows up in the bottom right corner.
It’s just a pity to see another studio lost to the EA Graveyard.