SimCity creative director says 'blundered launch' made it easier to leave

By Steve Watts, Jul 17, 2013 7:00am PDT

SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley is leaving Maxis to form a new studio. Though he says he would probably leave no matter what, the rough launch of the latest in the city-building series made it easier to head out the door.

"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," Quigley told Polygon. "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."

He also said that EA's studio system, built around large franchises, isn't the place for personal projects. "EA has a certain roster of projects they want to do and they are a big company with big momentum," he said. "If you have something new and untried, and something that's uniquely yours that you want to do, it's really not the environment to do it." He said he wants to explore "new simulation themes" outside of EA.

Quigley announced yesterday that he is leaving to form a new studio called Jellygrade, along with SimCity's lead architect Andrew Willmott and lead gameplay engineer Dan Moskowitz. The trio is working on an iPad sim regarding the early formation of earth. He says he didn't pitch it at Maxis or EA, because it's "a little too weird and science nerdy for EA."

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