By Wes Smith
In an effort to consolidate its properties, Electronic Arts will be shutting down SimCity studio Maxis, the publisher confirmed on Wednesday.
The move will affect the head Maxis studio in Emeryville, California and an undisclosed number of employees.
SimCity lead scripter and designer Guillaume Pierre confirmed the news of the studio’s closing via Twitter.
“Well it was a fun 12 years, but it’s time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville,” Pierre wrote.
Maxis owner EA will continue to work on its popular and successful Sims franchise, it assured players in a statement shortly after news broke of the consolidation.
“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,” EA wrote in a statement.
Founded in 1987 by Will Wright and Jeff Braun, the studio launched a near-instant success in gaming franchises with the release of the first SimCity in 1989. After being acquired by EA in 1997, the studio had continued to delve into the world of player-controlled real-life simulation with further SimCity games and its lucrative spin-off, The Sims.
However, recent issues have hit the developer. A hyped alien creation game, Spore, was critically panned by gamers. The recent SimCity 4 release was riddled with gameplay bugs and other technical issues. The Sims continues to be a driving economic force for EA, though, with multiple expansions and in-app purchases for fans. The Sims 4 is releasing its first full expansion, tentatively called Get To Work, in April.