Electronic Arts’ SimCity has lost three key leads. Ocean Quigley, the former SimCity creative director, tweeted that he was leaving EA and Maxis to form Jellygrade, an indie studio to start on a new project. He is taking the former lead architect Andrew Willmott and lead gameplay engineer Dan Moskowitz with him to work on an iPad game about the early formation of life on Earth.
Quigley told Polygon that SimCity’s botched launch wasn’t a deciding factor in his departure from EA.
“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 said.
“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.”
Ocean Quigley admits that the concept for his new project was influenced by his work on Spore, but that it has not been pitched to EA because it’s a “little too weird and science nerdy” for them.