SimCity creative director leaves EA

Ocean Quigley and pair of other lead Maxis developers leave Electronic Arts to establish new studio Jellygrade.

SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley and a pair of other lead Maxis developers have left Electronic Arts to establish a new studio--Jellygrade--Quigley announced today on Twitter.

"I'm done with EA. This is a small, independent studio," Quigley said.

Joining Quigley at Jellygrade are Andrew Willmott and Dan Moskowitz, who worked on SimCity as simulation architect and lead gameplay engineer, respectively. The trio have been with EA for years, serving in lead roles on SimCity 4, Spore, and The Sims 2.

"We love making simulations," Quigley said.

Jellygrade's new game is a simulation title for tablets that is focused on the dawn of life on Earth, and will center on lava, water, rock, and the emergence of the first primordial creatures, Quigley said.

A few pieces of concept art are available on the Jellygrade Tumblr. Quigley said he hopes to share more details about the project soon.

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.

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Discussion

166 comments
kohle36
kohle36

Yeah, I'm not all that interested in Jellygrade tbh. Even putting the 'mobile' aside for the moment, these are the guys that spearheaded all the 'unique gameplay changes' to SimCity, and then sat back and defended their 'vision' in the face of overwhelming evidence that their vision, in fact, sucked.

Fursnake
Fursnake

Does EA really need creative directors anymore, because I don't think EA really makes use of them...at all.

jameson425
jameson425

EA essentially kills off franchises by being a overbearing gold-digging bitch, and then just when you think its over the worst has yet to come. I mean you gotta hand it to them, It does take quite a few fuck-up's  to receive the Worst Company Award the last 2 years running... 

Geogyf
Geogyf

like EA bearhug affected Bioware (the 2 creators left), 

so EA bearhug affected Maxis (creator left).

Its no coincidence. 

Maybe EA put too much pressure in the 2 companies, and they rushed their respective games? 


edinko
edinko

They already lost my interest at "mobile"

wickedd
wickedd

They couldn't bare the shame. Not suprising they left. 

noandno
noandno

Let's just hope that he can redeem himself for the shits happened in DRMcity

HapiJoel
HapiJoel

Wow, did SimCity 4 for Mac get pushed back again?!

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

Maxis is just a ghost. don't expect big things from her. only the sweet memories remain.

Wattsburg0
Wattsburg0

EA has creative directors?  I thought they just bought creativity these days?

aminal85
aminal85

Sounds like his parents used a gamertag generator to pick his name.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

I guess they couldn't take blatantly lying to and bullshittting their customers anymore, and being forced to implement retarded always-online features at the behest of the Worst Company in America.

auliaackckck
auliaackckck

So they are making Spore/From Dust for tablets then... interesting =)

91210user
91210user

Yeah, mess up SimCity and take the money and run with it! Give Origin to the noobs marketers and business makers so they have a hard time figuring out what SimCity fans want.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Let's hope that as independent developers their games will actually be enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong, there is for sure something enjoyable in Spore, SimCity and their other recent titles they worked on, but I think EA as their publisher had way too much to say in their development, ruining these games' potential and then topping it off with worhtless DRM too.

Their first title may focus on tablets and personally I don't like that (as PC gamer), but if it helps them rake in money from the Apple drones to start off their company I'm fine with that.
I just hope they'll leave their options open enough to bring their games to PC at some point.

What they're working on kind of sounds a bit like "From Dust" which in itself was a interesting and refreshingly new concept (because there wasn't really much to do), but UbiSoft managed to ruin it with always online DRM so nobody bought it and they saw it as failure and decided not to continue further development.

Anyways, good luck - With Ocean Quigley's magnificent beard not much can go wrong, unless they promise features and end up not living up to the expectations.
Thankfully they left these pure marketing talkers (Lucy Bradshaw and Kip Katsarelis) behind at Maxis/EA to go down with that sinking ship.

Bane_09
Bane_09

Im still waiting on a Sim Farm sequel, make it happen JellyGrade

vault-boy
vault-boy

This is like Darth Vader killing the Emperor at the end of Jedi, except they're both still alive.

D1N02982
D1N02982

Jellygrade? what kind of name is that? lol

magicalclick
magicalclick

Hopefully they don't make the same traffic mistake on Sim City 4 and Sim City.

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

But Ocean! EA is so WONDERFUL to work for!

cgobeil
cgobeil

Good move Ocean, good move!

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

YES!!! Bioware needs to follow suit and I'll be the happiest gamer ever!!

Accuracy158
Accuracy158

As far as I see it there are two possible conclusions I can draw from this.  In both cases I'm glad to see them leave the company.

1.) These guys helped come up with all the stupid social ideas in SimCity V... In which case good riddance.

or

2.)  These guys aren't really bad themselves and EA was just forcing them to make evil decisions, so now they want to leave and be independent from big publishers... In which case I say good luck and it's cool they're leaving.

Cashmoney007
Cashmoney007

I wonder if they got sick of people at EA.  It would be shame if EA ruined Maxis for good.  Maxis made a good Sim City game.  But it did not need to be always online and needed to have bigger maps.  I feel EA needs to find a better way to work with these companies and not come up with stupid ideas.  If they continue to do that then more people will leave certain studios.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

I am not sure how to feel towards the new studio.

SimCity wasn't great but it is hard to tell how big of a role they played in it not being a great game. Whether they had some of the bad ideas themselves, or if they had good concepts that the EA business model squashed to attempt to make money.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

I wish them good luck; their concept sounds really cool and hope it hits PC as well.

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

That sim game they're working on looks like it could be interesting. Hoping for a PC release since that would have the widest audience for this sort of game.

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

"Selling 1.6 million copies since launch".

I don't wanna live on this planet anymore.

TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@FursnakeWell, they have no creativity, or direction, so there really doesn't seem to be a point to having them.

SultaN-s
SultaN-s

@91210userit's probably quite the opposite ! It's business makers and noop marketers who interfere with the development process and force developers to do things they don't want to do in their game and then force them to lie and bullshit about it on the web. No sane gamer/game developer wants DRM in his game or want the game released before it's ready. And hey, the publisher is EA !!!

anakvunky
anakvunky

@Bane_09 Maybe all the sim series should have sequel, sim ant, sim earth.... 

bahamutdragons
bahamutdragons

@vault-boy Yes, it's exactly like that.  There is absolutely no difference between your Star Wars reference and the article.  Great job, great analogy, no sarcasm required in this comment.

hystavito
hystavito

@flammable_zeus From the description and the fact that it's for mobile, it sounds like it might be one of those games that claim to be a sim but are really just a puzzle game.

kohle36
kohle36

@Diegoctba That's actually a pretty poor showing for a franchise with this kind of pedigree. It's a depressingly large number as is, granted. But it probably should have been much higher if they hadn't botched it so thoroughly

VincentAntonio
VincentAntonio

@Diegoctba

This is a small number if you take in mind Diablo 3 presold 2 millions, and that number was published some months ago. Does it means the game had not sold since that time? They well get a cash grab soon with the Mac release, those guys buy anything, and this shallow and dumbed down game is perfect for the mac user :P

makryu
makryu

@Diegoctba Don't worry, that's probably less than half of what they needed it to sell to consider it a success.