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

SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley says he was "dismayed at the blundered launch" of the game, which made leaving to form his own studio easier.

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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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From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 17, 2013 7:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, SimCity creative director says 'blundered launch' made it easier to leave.

    SimCity creative director Ocean Quigley says he was "dismayed at the blundered launch" of the game, which made leaving to form his own studio easier.

    • reply
      July 17, 2013 7:03 AM

      I'm still mystified that a guy is named "Ocean Quigley".

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      July 17, 2013 7:38 AM

      What about the blundered game? Reading the reviews it universally sounds as though the traffic and populace routing were game breaking. The game was designed for a few initial hours of enjoyment and pure irritation after that. No matter how much effort or care you put into a city, the random natural disasters were inevitable and frequent enough to not only wipe it out, but game design made it impossible to recover. A game that destroys my many hours of work and forces me to start over does NOT sound like a purchase I will ever be making.

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        July 17, 2013 8:13 AM

        Honestly, on a city you reach end game very quickly. This is why i stopped playing. You just run out of things to do alot quicker than previous games.

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          July 17, 2013 8:52 AM

          yup.. I was done with the game after 6-8hrs. I tried 2 cities and you hit a stalemate really quickly.

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        July 17, 2013 8:15 AM

        I bitterly regret buying the game for these reasons and more. It is an awful piece of shit.

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      July 17, 2013 7:59 AM

      Great.

      "I was dismayed at the blundered launch...which made the leaving easier but it would have probably happened anyway." and "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."

      The way I see it, he sounds like Jay Wilson who told everyone he's working so hard on many SimCity games, proceeded to ruin the franchise, then left. If someone is the lead creative director, he/she would FIX the game first to the expectation of the customer before actually leaving to start another project. Leaving midway through the mess just shows that the person did not own up to his/her mistakes and didn't take responsibility whatsoever.

      It is difficult to wish him the best in the new project, considering the mess he left behind. I'm also amazed that people would be interested in the new project while they were all lied to and could see how crappy SimCity 2013 was (and still is).

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        July 17, 2013 8:15 AM

        wow it's amazing that you know everything about the internal development process at maxim

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          July 17, 2013 8:34 AM

          That's why I said 'the way I see it...'. Personal opinion, ahoy. Honestly though, would you want to support an ex-AAA developer like this after the game that is SimCity, which a lot of people dislikes and they still persist even after tons of input and comments? That just shows that they did not listen to feedback and just go with their 'artistic vision'.

          The game just did not hold candle to the previous iteration, which a lot of people still played and modded to this day.

          Also, its Maxis, not Maxim.

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            July 17, 2013 8:40 AM

            0wned.

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            July 17, 2013 8:55 AM

            Ocean was also creative director on the previous iteration

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            July 17, 2013 12:41 PM

            You think it was all up to him? Maybe there were others pulling the strings?

            I wish him best of luck and success in his new start. Hopefully his company can provide some killer simulation games that would warrant a purchase and stick its thumb on its nose to the asshats at Maxim...err Maxis...er, EA.

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              July 17, 2013 12:44 PM

              you dont get called a creative director without having some serious string pulling duties.

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                July 17, 2013 12:49 PM

                I don't know about software development and all that it entails, but it seems like there would be too many hands in the cookie pot to put all that "power" to one person. Are there multiple directors (with different concentrations) that can dictate the other aspects of the game?

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                  July 17, 2013 5:10 PM

                  Someone in his position would have nothing to do with the implementation details of how the SimCity backend is architected and how the client interacts with it. As lead creative director, what he would have had a lot to do with was the overriding creative direction of the game, tenets of which are the focus on multiplayer and representing the simulation as close to 1-1 as possible. Throwing "EA" under the bus for failing to address the ramifications of his design decisions is disingenuous. There were a lot of factors that contributed to a poor launch of SimCity but most of them originated at Maxis, including the need to be online and connected in the first place.

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        July 17, 2013 5:01 PM

        Jay Wilson hasn't left Blizzard, he's just working on different projects now.

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