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EA's shutting down Maxis Emeryville, home of SimCity and Spore

The studio originally behind SimCity, The Sims, and Spore is shutting down. Electronic Arts has confirmed that it's closing Maxis' Emeryville location and redistributing its portion of the work on The Sims 4 (opens in new tab) and SimCity (opens in new tab) to other Maxis branches.

The studio has expanded significantly in terms of headcount and geography since it was co-founded by Will Wright in 1987 and acquired by Electronic Arts in 1997. Though the original SimCity was highly influential, Maxis found its greatest success yet with the release of The Sims in 2000.

Since The Sims 3, the life simulating franchise has been co-developed by The Sims Studio, a separate unit which is part of EA's main Redwood City, California campus.

Wright left Maxis in 2009, and the Emeryville location's two most notable recent games, Spore and SimCity (2013), both found lukewarm receptions. Even with that in mind, it's still shocking to think that one of the most influential studios of all time is no more.

EA declined to specify how many employees will be impacted by the closure, but said that all of them "will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA". SimCity lead scripter Guillaume Pierre was a bit less positive, tweeting (opens in new tab) that "everyone's out of a job".

Connor Sheridan
Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.