EA Shuts Down Maxis

EA Shuts Down Maxis

Just when you think Electronic Arts might not be as evil as they once were, something comes along to remind you that they, are, after all, EA for a reason. Maxis Emeryville, the studio that Will Wright created that gave us SimCity and The Sims is now no more. Like Westwood and Bullfrog and other studios before it, a venerable development house that has created some of the classics in PC gaming is now no more is now another EA casualty.

News is filtering in as various ex-Maxis employees come clean on various social platforms like Twitter. From a financial perspective, it’s no real surprise that the studio was in danger, since their last SimCity game experienced a disastrous launch that soured the entire franchise going forward. Of course, directives like “make a game online only so as to keep piracy and profit margins under control” sounds more like an executive directive rather than one that would come from the developers themselves. Executives, however, are usually the last ones willing to go to the chopping block for terrible mistakes. That’s why employees are for.

It’s a sad day, but at least Maxis had a good run. They created a lot of classics, and it’s too bad that they’re the latest venerable company to be sent off to die. Hopefully, BioWare’s not next.

The Sims 4 Gets A Free Holiday Update

The Sims 4 Gets A Free Holiday Update

In a move that could be interpreted as either a cynical attempt to garner goodwill from consumers, or a genuine gesture made in the spirit of Christmas, Electronic Arts has released a free update for The Sims 4 that, appropriately, is about the holidays. In addition to some new career options, including business and athletic careers, Sims can now enjoy paid time off, as well as family leave options when a new Sim is born into the house hold. Of course, this being December, there’s also a free holiday pack that includes the expected decorations and tasteless sweaters that are part and parcel of the Christmas family experience.

All of this comes on the heels of the previous free update that added the option to build in swimming pools—and subsequently drown Sims in them, a rite of passage for any Sims player. It looks like by degrees, EA and Maxis are addressing the criticisms many had of the base game, and they’re doing it for free. So far. It’ll be interesting to see just how much added content the first inevitable expansion offers when it finally debuts, but for now, EA is giving your Sims free stuff. Go get it.

CGMPodcast Episode 124: Destiny Is Here

CGMPodcast Episode 124: Destiny Is Here

On this week’s CGM podcast, Ragnar Tornquist and Red Thread games try to run a contest for music fans to donate a tune to their game… and get shut down by angry musicians claiming they are exploiting artists. Supergirl might actually be getting a TV show, but the logistics of networks, licensing and who gets to broadcast what make it dicey. Also, people might not be all that hot on Kara Zor-El anyway. Finally, Destiny is out, and it’s good! Not change your life forever good, but pretty good!

Wizarding Isn’t All Flash In Sims Hogwarts

Wizarding Isn't All Flash In Sims Hogwarts

Earlier this year, a user on the Adventure Game Studio forums posted a Sims-like game taking place in the Harry Potter universe. Yeah, that’s right. Sims Hogwarts. And it’s free. Get it here!

Marion, the author, calls it a test for making this type of game in Adventure Game Studio. AGS is a tool that is, unsurprisingly, typically used to create adventure games, not simulations. In this one, you’ll be asked to look after your wizards vital needs, foster his studies, and manage his social life. Blimey!

 

The Sims 4 Coming Next Year

The Sims 4 Coming Next Year

According to Electronic Arts, The Sims 4 will be released in the fall of 2014.

First announced in May, the franchise has added many new features to make the game more engaging. One example is a more complex emotion feature, allowing players to change much more complex feelings of their Sims by controlling the environment around them.

Another new addition is SmartSim, which allows players to create and modify houses in a much easier and simpler manner.

Maxis had many issues launching SimCity last year, which may be part of the reason The Sims 4 won’t require an online connection to play. Players will need to create an Origin account to join though.

The Sims 4 is set to release on PC and Mac. No console ports have been announced as of now.