Electronic Arts is reshuffling the remnants of Maxis in an organizational shake-up, with Maxis senior vice president Lucy Bradshaw departing as the studio is combined with EA's mobile division, EA announced today.
Rachel Franklin, general manager of The Sims Studio at EA's headquarters in Redwood Shores, California, will take over for Bradshaw as the head of the Maxis group. In that role she will oversee all Maxis development, including The Sims 4 and other projects, although she will not manage development of the mobile games The Sims FreePlay and SimCity BuildIt.
In an effort to "expand the scope of opportunity for Maxis to reach more players on PC and mobile, as well as explore cross-platform play," said EA CEO Andrew Wilson, "we are bringing Maxis together with our mobile teams under Samantha Ryan's leadership." Ryan is the senior vice president of EA Mobile, and her new title will be "senior vice president, EA Mobile and Maxis."
"The collaboration between these teams will help us unlock new ways for Maxis IP to connect with players wherever they want to play," said Wilson.
Bradshaw had served as the senior vice president of Maxis since June 2013, after working as the studio's general manager. She joined Maxis in 1997, and her departure ends a 23-year tenure at EA. Her time as general manager included the disastrous launch of 2013's SimCity revival, and she became the public face of the mess as the name attached to Maxis' updates regarding the game.
"Through 23 years with our company, Lucy has brought an incredible passion for games and our player community," said Wilson. "I want to thank Lucy for her dedication to EA, her contributions to Maxis, and the creative spirit she infused in every one of her teams and projects. We wish her the best as she takes on her next adventure."
EA shut down Maxis Emeryville, the long-running studio behind the SimCity series, this past March. At the time, EA moved all development of Maxis titles, including The Sims and SimCity, to existing EA offices around the world. Will Wright and Jeff Braun founded Maxis as Maxis Software in 1987, and EA acquired the company in 1997.
Update: An EA representative reached out to Polygon to clarify that while Franklin will oversee all Maxis development in her new role, including The Sims 4 and "some other projects," EA is not currently moving the mobile games SimCity BuildIt or The Sims FreePlay under Franklin's purview. In essence, the rep said, this change doesn't mean Maxis games will be shifting away from PC. We've edited the story to reflect this.
The spokesperson also sent a statement from Bradshaw regarding her departure from Maxis and EA:
"I've had a wonderful journey at EA and Maxis, filled with amazingly creative people, unforgettable experiences and an inspiring community of players and creators," said Bradshaw. "I have the highest regard for EA's leadership today, their vision and their focus on putting players first. I leave knowing that Maxis is in great hands with a leader and teams who are full of respect for our players, passion for our games, and new ideas to bring to the world of Maxis gamers. I look forward to seeing what's next from these incredible teams, I'll certainly be playing."