Maxis: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maxis Software
Type Subsidiary of Electronic Arts
Founded 1987
Headquarters Emeryville, California, USA
Key people Will Wright, Jeff Braun (founders)
Industry Software & Programming
Products Sim franchise, Spore and SimCity
Parent Electronic Arts

Maxis Software is an American company founded as an independent video game developer in 1987. It is currently a subsidiary of Electronic Arts (EA). Maxis is the creator of the best-selling computer game of all time, The Sims and its sequels The Sims 2 and The Sims 3. These titles and their related products are the brand's most popular and successful lines.

Most Maxis titles are simulation-based, though none are considered traditional simulations. Maxis founder Will Wright likens them as "digital dollhouses." Maxis has also released games developed by other production houses, such as A-Train and SimTower.




Origin and early acclaim

Will Wright, Maxis co-founder

Maxis was founded in 1987 by Will Wright and "idea guy" Jeff Braun to help publish SimCity on home computers. Before then, the game was only available on a limited basis on the Commodore 64 due to few publishers showing any interest in porting it. The reason for this is because SimCity wasn't a traditional game that had definite "win" and "lose" conditions. The title went on to become, statistically, one of the most popular and successful video games of all time.[1] The SimCity series has since been updated to include SimCity 2000 (1993), SimCity 3000 (1999), SimCity 3000: Unlimited (2000), SimCity 4 (2003).

Maxis has also released some non-sim titles, such as 1991's RoboSport and the well-known 1995 3D Pinball for Windows, which has been included as one of the standard system games in many Windows releases.

After such success with the SimCity series, Maxis tried various other Sim- titles. Some of these attempts include SimAnt, SimFarm, SimEarth, SimLife, SimTower, SimIsle and SimHealth. Maxis was also approached by companies to design business aids; SimRefinery is one example. The success of these franchises varies, but none matched that of the original SimCity. Maxis' hit The Sims is the only notable exception.

Origin of the name

Maxis' name was derived from a formula suggested by Jeff Braun's father: computer game companies should have two-syllable names and should include an 'x'. This is confirmed in an interview with a Maxis employee on a bonus disc released with The Sims: Makin' Magic, and earlier in SimCity 2000 Special Edition.

A false rumor states that Maxis is named after "six AM" in reverse. This is the time of day that a Sim's alarm clock wakes them up. This rumor seems to have stemmed from an easter egg in SimCity 3000, in which the game's ticker bar displays the message "Do you know that Maxis spelled backwards is Six AM?" upon execution of a cheat code in the cheat entry box.[2]


After the immense success of SimCity, Maxis experimented with different genres. However, their new games, including The Crystal Skull and SimCopter, were commercial failures. They also acquired Cinematronics to create a game called Crucible. Heavy losses and lack of direction led Maxis to begin considering acquisition offers.

Acquisition by EA

Electronic Arts (EA) completed its acquisition of Maxis on July 28, 1997. Compared to other companies acquired by EA, such as Origin Systems and Westwood Studios, the absorption of Maxis has taken a slower pace, and the company has retained some of its original staff, including Will Wright. Products were shipped under the Maxis logo for several years, but in 2004, The Sims 2 bore only the Electronic Arts logo on the box cover (although Sims 2 displays the Maxis logo at game start, and on the reverse side of the box). As of October 18, 2006, and the release of The Sims 2: Pets expansion pack, the Maxis title has been omitted from the game's start. Also, up until The Sims 2: FreeTime, the logo of Maxis was used for a button in the Options panel of the game to display the credits. In FreeTime, the Maxis logo has been replaced by a symbol of the Sims plumbob.

For many years, Maxis was a traditional studio located in Walnut Creek, California (and before that, Orinda, California), but in February 2004 the division was folded into EA's Redwood Shores headquarters.[citation needed]

The present Maxis is based at Will Wright's studio in Emeryville, California.[citation needed]

Notable creations

Maxis is widely regarded for its innovating simulation games, in which there is no specific goal to the player, making its games almost endless.

SimCity series

A screen-shot from SimCity 4, showing a densely populated city

SimCity was Maxis' first release and innovated the conception of gaming as there was no specific goal to be reached, meaning that it could neither be won nor lost. In this franchise, the player is a mayor that must raise a city from a single village to a successful metropolis, laying down zones, taking care of the public services and stimulating the city's economy. The series includes five main games (SimCity, SimCity 2000, SimCity 3000, SimCity 4 and SimCity Societies) and three spin-offs (SimCity: The Card Game, SimCopter and Streets of SimCity). SimCity Societies, the fifth main release for the franchise, was not produced by Maxis, but by Tilted Mill Entertainment, being described as a 'social engineering simulator' and criticized for the lack of SimCity's traditional gaming formula.

The Sims

Current "The Sims" Division logo, used from 2004. It was inspired by The Sims 2 logo.

Maxis' most successful series to date and the best-selling PC game of all time is The Sims (2000).[3] Maxis has developed seven expansion packs for the game as well as an online version (The Sims Online). Maxis released The Sims 2 in 2004, a sequel title that features a full 3D environment as opposed to the original's dimetric engine. Eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs have been released for the sequel thus far. The Sims 3 was announced in November 2006 and was released on June 2nd, 2009.


A screenshot of a near-final prototype Cell Phase, the first phase of the game. The player must evolve through the Cell, Creature, Tribal and Civilization phases to reach the last and most advanced knowledge in the game: the Space Phase.

Maxis' latest project, Spore, was released on September 7, 2008 (September 5 in Europe). Players create species starting at the single cell level, and develop them into sentient life. The goal is for them to eventually gain the intelligence to create spaceships. The Spore Creature Creator allows users to create species for later use in the game. This is one of few Maxis' games to feature goals on its plot as the player must complete five different phases and reach the space-traveling technology. There is also an ultimate goal, which is entering the galactic core, a massive black hole surrounded by a powerful and hostile cyborg species called The Grox. However, the player can stay in a single phase as long as he wishes, even after completing it.

"Spore" was largely lauded by media and by Maxis and Electronic Arts themselves as one of the most revolutionary games of all time. Professional criticisms were highly positive, but the general public received the game with strong distrust mainly because of the DRM technology.[citation needed] Negative reviews also focused on the game's frequent bugs. EA Games confirmed the production of expansion packs due to Spore's financial success.[4]


  1. ^ Geoff Keighley. "SIMply Divine". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  2. ^ Additionally, in later Sims expansion packs, the name was explained by Will Wright as Six AM spelt backwards in the bonus "The Sims 2 Preview".
  3. ^ Walker, Trey (2002-03-22). "The Sims overtakes Myst". GameSpot. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  4. ^ Ian Bogost (2008-03-31). "Opinion: Is Spore 'For Everyone'?". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2006-03-01. 

See also

External links

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:Maxis article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Founded 1987
Founder(s) Will Wright, Jeff Braun
Located Emeryville, California, USA

Maxis is a game company that was started in 1987. After that, it produced SimCity which ended up being one of the most successful games. After that, it launched a range of more Sim games, though these weren't as successful. In 1997, it was acquired by Electronic Arts. In 2000, The Sims was launched, becoming the best selling game and spawning several expansion packs and spin-offs. In 2004, it became absorbed into EAs corporate office and after The Sims 2: Pets, it's logo was dropped from games altogether.


This category has the following 2 subcategories, out of 2 total.


Pages in category "Maxis"

The following 43 pages are in this category, out of 43 total.


S cont.

  • The Sims 2
  • The Sims 2 (console)
  • The Sims 2: Apartment Pets
  • The Sims 2: Castaway
  • The Sims 2: Castaway (DS)
  • The Sims 2: Nightlife
  • The Sims 2: Pets (console)
  • The Sims 2: Celebration! Stuff
  • The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Happy Holiday Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  • The Sims 2: Open for Business
  • The Sims 2: Pets
  • The Sims 2: Seasons
  • The Sims 2: University

S cont.

  • The Sims
  • The Sims: Bustin' Out
  • The Sims: Bustin' Out (GBA)
  • The Sims: Hot Date
  • The Sims: House Party
  • The Sims: Livin' Large
  • The Sims: Makin' Magic
  • The Sims: Superstar
  • The Sims: Unleashed
  • The Sims: Vacation
  • Spore
  • Spore Origins
  • Streets of SimCity


  • The Urbz: Sims in the City


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Type Private
Founded 1987
Headquarters N/A
Products SimCity
Parent Company Electronic Arts

Maxis is one of the most creative software companies in the industry today. Throughout their rich history, Maxis has made many very successful and very unique games. Focusing mostly on very addictive simulation games, Maxis first made a name for itself with SimCity series, and its second major break came with The Sims series.

Known as an extremely creative company with a wide-reaching audience (a difficult task in the software industry), Maxis has had a very long and trying climb to the top.



Maxis starts

Maxis began its humble beginnings in the mid-1980's with Gaming designer Will Wright. While designing an attack helicopter game called Raid of Bungeling Bay, Wright noticed he enjoyed building the islands for the game more than actually playing the game.

SimCity - the original

Wright took an interest in urban planning, and with the help of theories from Jay Forrester, added buildings, vehicles, and people to create a new type of game. Thus, SimCity was essentially born.

Unfortunately, interest in the games, particularily from publishers and developers, was lacking. They simply didn't think it was worth the risk. This was a completely untested genre, after all. Wright eventually released a Commodore 64 version of the game in 1987, but could not even hope to reach the big names like the PC or Macintosh. That is, until he met co-founder Jeff Braun at a pizza party in 1987. Braun was so interested in Wright's game that they started their own company to publish such games. Thus, Maxis was born.

In 1989, Maxis struck a co-publishing deal with Broderbund, but Wright was still unsure whether or not the game would sell. Initially, once SimCity was released, sales were slow. But, like many cult-hits that bent the rules, word of SimCity spread like wildfire.

Wright proceeded to work on two new games, SimEarth (based roughly on James Lovelock's Gaia theory of planet evolution), and SimAnt. Continued success drove Maxis to innovate, rather than pigeonhole themselves into merely being a SimWhatever company. However, many of their developments struggled to reach even a small amount of the sales and popularity that their Sim hits reached.

Maxis goes big

After releasing SimCity 2000 in 1994, Maxis took a big step and made the move to bigtime, going public in June of 1995. This integral turning point in Maxis is occasionally looked upon as the death of Maxis. However, many fail to realize that Maxis could not have continued forever without going big. Wright and Braun acquiesced their top positions to a businessman who knew nothing about game development, and Maxis moved into a large, corporate office. Wall Street went nuts over the stocks (mostly from the still-simmering success of SC2K), but the company was weak internally. Low morale, and a lack of ideas for the next big game lead to a feeling of desperation.

SimCopter, Wright's project ruined by deadlines

Wright was still trying to create; SimCopter was his next big idea, but big business was focused on short-term goals and quarterly profits, not giving the development team enough time to polish the games. To "kick the horse while it's down" as it were, management gave a deadline of releasing four games (Full Tilt Pinball, SimPark, SimTunes, and SimCopter) by the end of 1996. The team at Maxis managed it, but everyone (except management) agreed that all 4 games were not as polished as they would have preferred, and many corners were cut. Wright was particularly angry about SimCopter, his baby, being shipped with so much more potential to the game being lost (Indeed, many players enjoyed the basic premise of the game immensely, but felt it was far from complete, and ridden with bugs. See Homosexual Sims bug).

Entering 1997, Maxis took the "shotgun" approach to software development (release a large array of games and hope something hits) for a lack of any remaining option. Maxis acquired several companies and released many lackluster games (The Crystal Skull, pour example). Eventually, the problems got to the point where management couldn't ignore them - Maxis posted a $2-million loss in March of 1997. The consensus? Release another SimCity (SimCity 3000). In 3D, no less. After SimCopter, many were expecting more 3D, but both hardware and software of the time were nowhere near advanced enough at the time (and still aren't - SimCity 4 isn't fully 3D, and taxes even the newest machines). But management didn't care - and Maxis was practically a laughing stock at E3 1997.

Ironically, Electronic Arts would be Maxis' saving grace (ironic only because of the hatred of EA nowadays). EA had planned to acquire Maxis for years, but Maxis would not allow it. Unfortunately, the company had no choice after the previous few years. June of 1997 brought the $15-million deal that realistically saved Maxis. EA knew the company was dead inside, but hoped the brand name and its own management could salvage the company. French engineer Luc Barthelet was transferred over to head Maxis. Faced with anger and low morale, Barthelet realized that things had to change, and fast.

Maxis tries again

Barthelet rearranged a majority of Maxis, losing many people in the process. He cut loose the 3rd-party companies Maxis had acquired, and killed all but one of the projects on the go (although the Streets of SimCity, saved from an early death, would later go on to be another embarrasment anyway). His mission was to turn Maxis into the type of company that released only Top 10 games. In otherwords, a complete 180-degree turn from Maxis' old ideals. Bathelet played the 3D SimCity 3000, realized it was ridiculous to force it into 3D, and ordered it back to a SimCity 2000 style. Barthelet also realized that Wright needed more freedom and resources to do what he did best - design amazing games. Not surprisingly, Maxis started to rebound (internally, at least).

Wright's new freedom let him focus on the game he had kept in the back of his mind almost since Day 1. Tentatively titled Dollhouse (luckily later renamed to the infamous The Sims). Months and months of detailed analysis, research, and development went into the game that really brought Maxis back to the top of the industry, and earned the title of the best selling computer game of all time.. Although Maxis is chided for selling out by releasing expansion pack after expansion pack, the fact remains that the Sims is a hugely popular franchise and one of the few titles that reached non-gamers on such a grand scale.

The Sims 2 promotional shot

Maxis has now released The Sims 2, the sequel to the hit simulation, to much fanfare. Wright continues to work on his personal titles (an early space-faring game entitled SimMars has partially grown into his most ambitious project yet, Spore). Maxis will likely continue for some time; however, the effect of being under EA's wing is beginning to show. Maxis' name hasn't been on one of its games for a while now (titles like Sims 2 or SimCity 4 were under the "EA" brand). Maxis' future from here is unknown.

Game List

Note: This list does not include re-releases or expansion packs. For those, please reference the individual game articles.


  • SkyChase





  • A-Train
  • A-Train Construction Set
  • SimLife



  • SimHealth





  • SimSafari










  • Spore Creature Keeper
  • Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena

External Links

  • About page
  • GameSpot Feature on Maxis
  • There is a wiki for Maxis games:Maxis Wiki

Developer stub
This video game developer-related article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.

Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.

This article uses material from the "Maxis" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

Maxis Software is an American company that was founded as a video game developer and is now a brand name of Electronic Arts (EA). Maxis' second software title was SimCity, a city simulation and planning game. Maxis is also the creator of the best-selling computer game of all time, The Sims and its sequel The Sims 2 and a title called Spore in which you guide a creature from cell form to smart, developed creatures. These four titles and their related products are the brand's most popular and successful lines.

Most Maxis titles are simulation-based, though none are considered traditional simulations. Maxis founder Will Wright likens them as "digital dollhouses." Maxis has also released games developed by other production houses, such as A-Train and SimTower.

Acquisition by EA

Electronic Arts (EA) completed its acquisition of Maxis on July 28, 1997. EA kept some of the original staff, including Will Wright. Products were shipped under the Maxis logo for several years until 2004, when The Sims 2 had only the Electronic Arts logo on the box cover. As of October 18 2006, with the release of The Sims 2: Pets expansion pack, the Maxis title has been removed from the game's start. Also, up until The Sims 2: FreeTime, the logo of Maxis was used for a button in the Options panel of the game to display the credits. In FreeTime, the Maxis logo was replaced by a symbol of the Sims plumbob.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address