SimCity Creative Director Ocean Quigley and two other principal developers on the game have left Electronic Arts to form a new independent studio.
Ocean Quigley, perhaps the best-named (and most awesomely mustachioed) developer in the business, announced today on Twitter that he, along with Andrew Wilmott and Dan Moskowitz, have left Maxis and Electronic Arts to found a new indie studio called Jellygrade. Quigley was the creative director on SimCity, Wilmott was the simulation architect and Moskowitz was the lead gameplay engineer.
The studio's first game will be "a simulation about the dawn of life on earth; about lava, water, rock and the emergence of the first primordial creatures," he tweeted. The game is being developed for the iPad initially, but Quigley said he hopes a PC version will come out "in time."
SimCity, as you might recall, didn't have the smoothest launch ever, but while Quigley acknowledged that he wasn't happy with the situation, he said was ready to draw a line under his career at EA anyway. "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," he 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."
"I have been a big studio developer for a long time, almost 18 years now," he said. "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."