A Moment of Silence is in Order

I’ve talked a lot on this site about my feelings towards the Sims series. Even though my earliest game memories were of sitting over my mum’s shoulder  while I watched her play Tomb Raider and Monkey Island, the first proper (read: not educational) game I ever played myself was my mother’s copy of the The Sims, which she purchased because of her enjoyment of Sim City and subsequently gave up because she couldn’t stop her little people from dying. Basically, the Sims and Sim City were big parts of my childhood, and while I know that EA isn’t likely to give up two of their biggest cash cow franchises just yet, the news I got today still has me worried when I think about their futures.

This is because Maxis, the company that spawned both of these properties, was effectively closed down today by EA, who have owned them since 1997. These two franchises have been passed around through EA’s many, many studios a lot in the past almost twenty years, and much of the design decisions of the Sims  3, 4 and the newest Sim City flop can probably not be attributed to Maxis anymore than can be to any other of EA’s studios. In the modding community, no one even really seems to know which studio is developing which game, EA’s network is so confusing. And despite them more or less having been the same company for a while now, poor choices are generally blamed on “EA” and good ones on “Maxis”.

So (and forgive my cliche) but it’s with a pretty heavy heart that I have to say goodbye to Maxis tonight, as they were the studio whose games really introduced me to gaming in general. And it was an interest in modding the Sims 2 that introduced me to the ambition to learn how to code, something which lead to me pursuing a degree in Computer Science over ten years later.

Although EA announces their intentions to not abandon the Maxis franchises just because of this development, I can’t say that these game series will be the same ever again without the input of their mother studio.