Sim City Developers Ditch EA, Start New Studio


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After the meltdown that surrounded the launch of SimCity this year, it wouldn't come as any surprise that some Maxis developers were disheartened. The visuals of the new title were top-notch, and the streamlined interface appeared to working well, but the size of cities was heavily constrained, one of the many by-products of the broken always-on DRM implemented for the game. SimCity's Metacritic score sits at a dismal 64, with user reviews that are even more harsh.

Though upset gamers were quick to blame EA for the mandatory online requirement, SimCity's developers had always maintained that the game had been designed around such a system from the start (though it took only days for modders to get the game running internet-free). Now, whatever the real story behind the poor SimCity launch, the major names behind the title have now struck out on their own.

A new game studio named Jellygrade was announced this week. The names behind the new developer are Ocean Quigley, the creative director of SimCity; Andrew Willmott, the lead architect of SimCity; and Dan Moskowitz, gameplay lead on SimCity.

The new studio's website states that these three "recovering ex-AAA game developers" are now working on their first indie project. It is also hinted that the game will be for mobile platforms. So far, a few hints have been given on the current ideas for the upcoming title. Quigley has stated that the game will be a simulation (shocker) about "the dawn of life on earth." From Quigley's blog:

It's a game that takes you from the churning, molten early earth to seas teeming with life.

Some volcano and magma drawings have been posted on the Jellygrade tumblr development blog. The game appears to use lava, water, rock, and comets to simulate conditions on early Earth.