Creative Director, lead architect, and lead gameplay engineer depart EA and Maxis.
Ocean Quigley, the Creative Director for the recent 'SimCity,' and Art Director on 'Spore,' 'SimCity 4,' and 'SimCity 3000,' has left Maxis and by extension EA in order to pursue a new project that he has described as "a little too weird and science nerdy for EA."
In forming Jellygrade, Quigley has taken with him the lead architect for 'SimCity,' Andrew Willmott, and lead gameplay engineer Dan Moskowitz. Quigley has said, "I have been a big studio developer for a long time, almost 18 years now. EA has a certain roster of projects they want to do and they are a big company with big momentum. 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.
"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. 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."
While Jellygrade remains in early concept form, the project is described as a simulation that is meant to recreate the shaping of Earth, and is being developed for the iPad.
Quigley has expressed his dismay at the incredibly difficult launch at 'SimCity,' but has stressed that it did not play a direct factor in his departure. "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.
"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."
Even with EA's propensity for sequels, a new 'SimCity' is likely to be radically different after the change in personnel. As EA's brass remain influx, it's even possible that the next 'SimCity' to avoid the PR mess that both it and its distant cousin 'Spore' managed.
Author: Brian Hoss