In a rather interesting move, a number of Maxis employees have left the studio to form their own independent one. The new studio is called Jellygrade, and three of its confirmed members are Ocean Quigley, Andrew Willmott, and Dan Moskowitz; all three who worked on this year's SimCity. Their experience also includes the likes of SimCity 4, SimCity 3000, Spore, The Sims 2, and many others, so Jellygrade is certainly off to a good start.
Quigley served as the creative director and art director on SimCity, Willmott was the simulation architect, and Moskowtiz was the lead gameplay engineer. It was Quigley who announced the three had left Maxis, and a look at their new studio's website includes the following line: "a few recovering ex-AAA game developers, now looking to make the kinds of games we love on mobile."
Now, according to Quigley the three left Maxis on amicable terms, with no apparent reason for the departure other than it being time. Nothing definitive has been revealed about Jellygrade's debut game, except for Quigley stating:
We're making a simulation about the dawn of life on earth; about lava, water, rock and the emergence of the first primordial creatures.
It sounds right up their alley, and hopefully we'll have more information to share on it before long.