SimCity creative director "dismayed" at game's launch

Ocean Quigley says he was alarmed by "blundered" release of city-building game, but would have left EA regardless.

SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley, who announced his departure from Electronic Arts this week, was "dismayed" by the troubled launch of the game, he told Polygon in a new interview.

Quigley, along with two other veteran Maxis developers, is now heading up Jellygrade, an all-new independent studio already at work on a simulation game for tablets. Though the botched launch was troubling, Quigley said, he was planning to leave regardless.

"I was dismayed at the blundered launch of something that I had poured so much love and attention into, which made the leaving easier but it would have probably happened anyway," he said. "Honestly, I think I would have left regardless of whether EA's launch of SimCity was smooth or rough. It was basically my third SimCity. I did SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4 and this new SimCity."

Explaining his decision to leave and try something new, Quigley said that though he did not pitch his project to EA or Maxis, the idea for his new game is "too weird and science nerdy for EA."

"EA's strengths are executing things with hundreds of people, to well-understood patterns. The stuff that I want to do now is to explore some new simulation themes and some new mechanics and do some stuff that EA is not well set up to do," Quigley said. "So, not knocking EA, they do what they do, but it was time for me and the other developers Andrew Willmott and Dan Moskowitz to go off and try some new stuff."

SimCity's launch in March was marred by server woes, though this trouble has not kept the game from selling 1.6 million copies since launch. The game is due out for the Mac in August.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Want the latest news about SimCity?

SimCity

SimCity

Follow

Discussion

78 comments
bakasora
bakasora

It's really sad that SimCity franchise is owned by EA.

blackothh
blackothh

I really feel bad for the artists that worked on this game. for all the bullshit this game has, one thing it does incredibly well, is be amazing to look at.

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

I still like the new simcity, I just hope it gets enough support for EA to justify doing some easy fixes that are needed.

straightcur
straightcur

He is responsible for how bad this game is!!!!!!    the launch sucked, but the game is even worse.   Now that most of the people that ruined the franchise are gone, can we get a new SimCity game?   forget this one was made , and start over

magicalclick
magicalclick

next time you play the game first before release the game. It doesn't matter if you want new ideas or not, because the game has to be fun before anything else. The transit vs job is good idea until you made Sims unable to reach their destination because they refuse to go on the empty freeway. Learn how to make a decent navigation system before you want to simulate that.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Too bad that guy decided to keep his mouth shut while EA was ruining the game.  I'll make sure to keep an eye on his products before I even think about buying them.  Anyone who lets a classic like SimCity go to hell deserves the highest level of scrutiny in his future projects (especially since he left on good terms and will probably try to sell any of his successful titles to EA so they can ruin them, too).

jack00
jack00

Your game sux maxis.

acemcgregor
acemcgregor

I still haven't bought this game even though I re-installed Sim City 4 a month prior to this game's release just to hold me over until it came out. After the poor reviews and the DRM scandal I've pretty much forgotten about it by now and am busy playing other games.  Waiting for a big price drop, maybe the end of DRM. If other people have done the same thing I have, developers should be taking note.

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

I smell trash coming from Quigley's mouth because he knew even before the launch that SimCity was not going to go well. He had access to the program and could have stood up to EA and say what he had to say even if he would have got fired. I am buying what he is selling.

cirugo
cirugo

Oh bullshit...what a liar!

He was out in full force defending his "vision" of online-only until the disastrous launch.  Then he ran away and hid from the fallout.

TheLeftHandDoom
TheLeftHandDoom

with all the controversy surrounding violent video games, Simcity was one of the great, venerable franchises in video game history:  No violence, no sex, pure fun for every member of the family,  young and old.  


..... and EA ruined it.

liandrikonflict
liandrikonflict

Hey Quigley...when you sell your soul to the Devil dont expect anything less then hell shit and flames.

DarthLod
DarthLod

News Flash!! This is what happens when you force a single player game to be connected to the internet. Also, this is a tired franchise. He was just trying to cash in on the brand name.

XxXeroxX
XxXeroxX

Everybody is leaving EA. Glad to see that the "Worst Company in America", AGAIN, is finally being destroyed from within. 

As to SimCity, I'm sad that it didn't work out as well as people had visioned. I was looking forward to buying the game. 

Sorciere_basic
Sorciere_basic

"EA's strengths are executing hundreds of people"

Somehow I already knew that.

mike300zxt
mike300zxt

Long time SimCity fan (1-4).  SC5 is the first major version I will likely never own :(

I seem to remember Ocean formerly claiming some of the bad ideas as his own.  Maybe I'm remembering wrong.  Anyways, hopefully lesson learned, and may the next game be better.  We all make mistakes, just don't do it again! :p

Fursnake
Fursnake

Shall I blindly accept that he had nothing to do with the blundered release or should I take it all in with a grain of salt.

AshTrai
AshTrai

How do u blame a publisher for rubbish game mechanics you had to of overseen and ok'd being the creative director of said game? 

Nobody likes EA but trying to blame them for your own fuck ups is a bit past the pale. 

VelvetKevorkian
VelvetKevorkian

"too weird and science nerdy for EA."

Meaning it's probably a better game EA could ever make at this point.

Triton
Triton

I would run to after what I did.

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

Look at him attempting to deflect the blame for the god awful DRM decision from himself and the former Maxis employees of his new studio to EA.

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

I didn't mind the launch stuff, I didn't mind the always on. The problem was the game itself. It had stupidly small plots, but the biggest problem was the core mechanics. The "traffic" or the term they used for the way the sims went around your city was just broken and horrible. It doesn't work at certain core levels. The sims can complain about no parks or no shopping, when they're in the middle of a shopping complex and across from a park. The sim behavior just doesn't work.

NicAgent
NicAgent

So Jellygrade, will you make us a true, hardcore city-building sim, complete with any problem a real city would encounter.  That said online connectivity between cities could make for an interesting multiplayer experience, if it's done right that is.

chicack
chicack

I feel you sir... just go somewhere that not produced rubbish game...

Riddick123
Riddick123

This new Sim City was an "Ocean" of fail.

MightyEzekiel
MightyEzekiel

they should have taken simcity 4 and just make it better. but no.

aphextwin777
aphextwin777

I wanted to buy this game being an old school gamer since the original Sim City first came out on the Amiga but I'm so glad I was cautious and waited for the reviews and user opinions to be made public, I saved myself a lot of money and hairs on my head. Plus releasing an Airship DLC for a ridiculous price really takes the piss.

Think I'll wait for Sim City 6 or for an indie developer to release a decent offline clone.

fanirama
fanirama

We're dismayed by you, your game and your nonsense. STFU.  You guys destroyed the game making something tiny then selling stuff that should be in the game as expensive DLCs and putting a straight face while lying to us that the "simulation" needed supercomputers and needed to be online for this. And then hackers proved you could run it offline. The region play is really missing, city size is just bullshit. 

Look at CitiesXL - beautiful and pioneered some concepts SimCity devs stole from here - curved roads, auto-layouts, no power lines and all that.

But Ocean and his team did such a piss poor job on it. They're terrible developers IMO and stooges who didn't have a spine to stand up to EA. Lame 

And killed off my beloved SimCity franchise with their greed and naivete.

maddogmark25
maddogmark25

Such a shame that EA completely mucked up such a good franchise because they were looking for quick profits and sales. Even after the DRM nonsense, the game is still garbage. Crazy that I have to play a 10-year old game (SC4) to do things I can't even imagine doing in a 2013 game.

wickedd
wickedd

@straightcur +1 mate, BrokenCity 2013 was a total failure and my worst invested money in any form of entertainment topping even the dime I tossed at the guy that pretends to be a statue.


Honestly, I'd only want SimCity4 reworked in HD with 16:10 and 16:9 compatybility and optimization. That was the only thing they had to do to win people over after that thing with SimCity name on it from few years back, Societies or whatever.

lonewolf1044
lonewolf1044

+Meant to say I am not buying what he is selling.

vackillers
vackillers

@cirugo exactly... all those videos pre launch he did even with the so called "father of sim city".. complete cop-out....

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

@DarthLod It's not a tired franchise.  With the computing power we have today, I can imagine tons of new things to model.  Hell, you can even put fracking in the game and see how it ruins residential and agricultural zones as fast as radiation.

kohle36
kohle36

@mike300zxt Nope, your memory is fine, it's just that after people realized that server connections weren't the only thing wrong with the game, he shut right up and stopped owning his 'vision'

jhcho2
jhcho2

@Fursnake  

They are all guilty in some way. EA may have been responsible for the server woes, but Maxis is responsible for the many game breaking bugs that went on unfixed for a long period of time. SimCity is really one of the buggiest games around, and there are at least 10 of which are game breaking and could destroy all your hard effort. The sad part is that many of those bugs are still in the game as we speak.

jhcho2
jhcho2

@AshTrai  

It goes something like this. Maxis is responsible for the design direction, which includes the decision to make it sort of an MMO. EA, as the publisher, is responsible for ensuring they have sufficient server bandwith to accomodate the launch. EA didn't do their homework.

rolla020980
rolla020980

@RedLegZeff 

I agree as well as other mechanics, for example, the casinos are only visited by tourists, not by citizens, and why is it that traffic backs up in a city of under 100k when I have a major 6-lane road with a light rail and a good bus system. Tell me 1 actual sub 100k pop city with light rail, bus, a 6-lane road that still has this issue.

MN121MN
MN121MN

@maddogmark25 Funny how SC4 is by far have a more loyal fanbase than SimCity2013......

VincentAntonio
VincentAntonio

@mohna16

@bakasora

They ruined a lot of good franchises, but honestly right now they have nothing of my interest, never played Batlefield, and I never have been into sport games. Sad news about stupid Disney giving them EXCLUISVE license in starwars, there are a lot of good stuff better around there in videogames. No need to buy anything from them.Yet I feel angry for the good franchises they ruined, they have a talent to ruin everything they touch.

vackillers
vackillers

@kohle36 @mike300zxt LoL... yep.. when everyone could actually start connecting to the game and start actually playing it, people quickly realized what a total catastrophe the entire simulation is... There is stuff in the game that is literately so damn broke, you will NEVER be able to fix it... because it needs an absolute complete overhaul in order to fix the fundamental things that simply do not work. How it all even got passed its development stage is absolutely staggering!!!!!!

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

Because Simcity4 expanded on everything its predecessors did while sim city was a just a step back frankly I could of over looked the server problems and the DRM but not the tiny build area and forced multiplayer

Not that SC4 was perfect it was possibly one if the worst optimised games I've ever played The driving missions were impossible when I first got the game because of how badly the game ran even 4 PCs on my current Rig that runs BF3 on ultra does not like it

kohle36
kohle36

@Kooken58@vackillers@mike300zxt

There was an extensive discussion on the EA boards post-release about all sorts of bugs and design errors. I recall one thread discussing how resources and people are calculated and handled by the simulation - they used the same basic system to manage sewage, electricity, and most notably, sims themselves.

iirc, sims were basically treated in engine as floating resources. They'd try fill the first available 'job' in the morning (then cycle through until it found an 'unused spot'). After work, they'd go to the first available house (i.e. sims don't live or work in the same place day to day). Not only did it hilariously defeat the purpose of 'following sims to their jobs' (touted as a feature by the devs themselves and as a partial explanation for city size); it also basically caused much of the major traffic problems and service issues (like 26 firetruck congo lines to a single fire while the rest of the city burned).

So yes, in that sense, the game is fundamentally broken at a very basic level. I think they tried patching a few things to mitigate the congestive effects of their own simulation, but from what I heard, it only lessened the more glaring symptoms a little - the game design itself was still causing the same fundamental problems.

Kooken58
Kooken58

@vackillers @kohle36 @mike300zxt Though it was a let down for the most part I wouldnt go as far to say that it isnt broken beyond repair.  Get rid of the online connectivity and offer ways of terraforming and having larger cities and the game would be pretty good. Maybe thats just me though?  One of the issues Ive had is with traffic and the fact that population seems to be a bit wonky.