Former head of Maxis, Lucy Bradshaw, has stepped down from her role and moved on to other endeavors. She had been with Maxis for 23 years but decided to hang up the boots after helping spearhead Maxis projects like The Sims, Spore and the SimCity reboot.
The news came via a publicly published letter by current CEO of Electronic Arts, Andrew Wilson who explained on the official EA website that Bradshaw would be moving on and that The Sims studio lead, Rachel Franklin, would be taking Bradshaw's place.
According to the letter, Maxis has other projects in the pipeline and Franklin will not only be heading up future expansions for The Sims 4, but also taking charge of Maxis' other projects as well. Wilson writes...
Rachel Franklin, who has been leading our Sims Studio, will now take over leadership of the Maxis group. Rachel will continue to lead the teams working on more new content and cultivating the passionate player community in The Sims 4, and now she will drive our efforts on other new Maxis concepts in development as well.
The letter is short and sweet and spends very little time waxing poetics. It makes it clear that Bradshaw is out and Franklin is in and business will move on as usual. It's a very matter-of-fact approach to the situation and anyone who had become attached to Bradshaw shouldn't read too much into the letter for anything other than the fact that she's now gone and someone else is replacing her.
Bradshaw did garner a lot of heat (although not as much heat as then CEO John Riccitiello) during the launch of Maxis' SimCity reboot back in 2013. The game featured always-on DRM and a forced online, social component that actually crippled the game during launch. People bought the title and couldn't play it for a few weeks as the servers couldn't handle the load, bugs prevented some people from getting into the game and there were lots of other minor missing features and restrictions that left a bad taste in the mouths of SimCity fans.
At the heart of it all was Lucy Bradshaw running damage control, attempting to answer questions and provide context for the decisions being made at EA and Maxis. Gamers were less-than-satisfied with what they were being told and despite SimCity having a strong start on the sales, it quickly died off as word spread around about the always-on DRM.
After a hacker managed to mod the game to provide an offline version of the experience, EA later admitted that the game could be played offline and opted to offer a patch. It was too little, too late for most fans.
Later on Maxis was embroiled in some controversy with The Sims 4 when fans realized that they were removing a lot of features that were present in The Sims 3, including toddlers and pools. This also reflected poorly on Maxis but they attempted to recoup some trust by releasing some of the DLC for free.
During these past few years Maxis has lost a lot of trust, and it will be interesting to see where Lucy Bradshaw goes from here and where Maxis goes from here.