03/05/2015 12:30 EST | Updated 05/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Electronic Arts closes Maxis studio, makers of SimCity and The Sims

Maxis Emeryville, the California-based video game studio known for creating popular games such as SimCity, The Sims and Spore, was closed down by publisher Electronic Arts (EA) on Wednesday.

"Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville (Calif.) location," EA said in a statement on Wednesday.

EA will continue to provide support for its latest games, The Sims 4 and SimCity (2013), but it would not confirm how many jobs were cut.

"Well it was a fun 12 years, but it's time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door," tweeted Maxis staffer Guillaume Pierre, who later clarified by saying, "Yes. Everyone's out of a job."

Maxis was founded in 1987 by Will Wright and Jeff Braun. Their first major game SimCity, released in 1989, was a city-building simulator and started one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved series in PC gaming.

Maxis was acquired by EA in 1997. Their next hit, 2000's The Sims, exchanged the macro city-level management of SimCity and focused on the lives of its gibberish-speaking human inhabitants called Sims. The series, including its sequels, spinoffs and expansions have sold more than 125 million units.

EA had come under fire for its handling of Maxis's games in recent years, especially what was perceived as a botched launch for its reboot of the SimCity in 2013. For the first time in the series the game required a constant connection to the internet in order to play the game, but servers were swamped by users, rendering the game unplayable by many gamers for weeks.

Wright, who left Maxis and EA in 2009, called the launch problems "inexcusable" in an interview at the time.