While the news of SimCity developer Maxis Emeryville’s closure did not come as too much of a surprise, it was no less disappointing. Here was a developer with a long legacy of successful city-building titles, among other things, who was seemingly kicked to the curb after one, admittedly colossal, failure.
Still, the talent of Maxis’ staff cannot be discounted, and while the recently displaced employees are currently looking for new studios they are also trying to keep active. In fact, one SimCity developer has tried to keep his city-building skills sharp by creating high resolution models Cities: Skylines.
The developer in question, Bryan Shannon, was one of the unlucky hundreds laid off by EA in the Maxis Emeryville studio closure. Most will not recognize Shannon’s name, but they likely are familiar with his work on SimCity and its Cities of Tomorrow expansion.
Clearly Shannon has a passion for city building and so rather than let that go to waste he has taken to playing Cities: Skylines, Paradox Interactive’s well-reviewed city-building simulator and SimCity competitor. In a lot of ways, Cities: Skylines seems to succeed where SimCity (2013) failed, delivering untold freedom to the player without the need for an Internet connection.
But while most Cities: Skylines players are fine submitting their creations to Steam Workshop and letting anyone pick them up, Shannon has tried to use the sharing tools as a form of income. He has started a very basic page where fans can help fund his current Cities: Skylines hobby.
Granted, all of Shannon’s Cities: Skylines building models are completely free, but if someone wants to show their support this page gives them a way to do so. It also gives SimCity fans a chance to show their support for the franchise’s creators who are unfortunately without employment at the moment.
As of this writing Bryan Shannon’s Patreon page has accumulated a monthly sum of $161.34 in exchange for continued work on his Cities: Skylines models, which he says can take between 15-30 hours to make. He clearly has a passion for the city-building genre, and rather than let those desires go to waste he is trying to find a creative outlet.
Shannon’s work on Cities: Skylines will also likely serve as a perfect job interview for developer Colossal Order. They may not need staff now, as Cities: Skylines is already out the door, but if this game proves successful the studio might look to hire Shannon based on his models.
So, feel free to check out Bryan Shannon’s work and maybe contribute if you’re a fan and would like to see more. Perhaps that will get the former SimCity dev on the Cities: Skylines team and keep the spirit of Maxis' franchise alive.
What do you think about this approach to Steam Workshop creations? Would you fund a developer like this?