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Sony Santa Monica Hit With Layoffs

Layoffs are never good news.

According to an official statement given to GameSpot, Sony has been forced to reduce the workforce at the company's internal Santa Monica Studio.

"SCEA can confirm that we have completed a reduction in workforce at Santa Monica Studio. This is a result of a cycle of resource re-alignment against priority growth areas within SCE WWS. We do not take these decisions lightly. However, sometimes it is necessary to make changes to better serve the future projects of the studio. We have offered outplacement services and severance packages to ease transition for those impacted."

The God of War developer is currently assistant Ready at Dawn with the anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive, The Order: 1886. There are reports that one of Santa Monica's projects were canceled as a result of this round of layoffs, but Sony hasn't commented on that. Let's just hope this doesn't affect the development process of The Order; we're not sure just how big of a role the GoW designers have.

Sony Santa Monica opened in 1999 and we're hoping they stick around for a while longer.

Tags: sony santa monica, god of war, god of war developer

2/25/2014 9:41:59 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (36 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 10:33:56 PM
Reply

Always sad to hear people losing their jobs, development costs these days are just insane though. I hope this doesn't mean they will continue to squeeze Kratos of his glory for more money.

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telly
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:45:48 PM

Seems clear to me the bubble is bursting in the AAA space. I hate reading about people losing their jobs too but I think it's clear developers, even big ones like Santa Monica, are starting to recognize it's time to reign in budgets quite a bit. You can't drop $100 million per game, EVERY TIME you make a game! That's the financial equivalent of russian roulette. You're going to catch that bullet sooner or later.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 11:29:56 PM

Actually a bit more information has come through unofficial channels since this announcement.

It turns out that SSM had a large team working on a brand new IP, which was going to be in the Sci-fi genre, and apparently a lot similar to Destiny.

Once Destiny was revealed, the team at SSM decided to make some changes to their project to distance itself from Destiny (also since Sony had their hand in the pot with Destiny), unfortunately that change in direction for the project caused a lot of problems, and they were never able to get development back on track, so the project was cancelled, and part of the team working on the project were sacked.

Looking at it from there, it is understandable, if the project really was like Destiny then it wouldn't be worth while dumping millions on a game that will compete with a large multiplatform title which is guaranteed to be a success.

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telly
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 10:12:55 AM

That's interesting, Akuma. Makes a lot of sense if true.

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 10:35:48 PM
Reply

That's a shame. I really wish that Santa Monica would split into two main teams so that they can get their games out more frequently than one every three years. GoWIII was too amazing to be a twice-in-a-generation (or once, considering that most people weren't so hot on Ascension) event. But then, they've got guys helping out all over the place, so they can't really do the same as ND.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 10:43:20 PM

Didn't some of them have to help the dummies doing The Last Guardian or something?

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 10:52:02 PM

I remember reading something along those lines, but goodness knows, really. I just think that Ueda and Team ICO are frickin' insane.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 11:07:21 PM

They aren't insane, they're just showing how human they really are. ICO and SOTC to me are easily top10 gaming experiences of my life and I doubt they will ever be matched. Perhaps they're just having a difficult time putting the magic into game form like they did for the first two games.

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Kiryu
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 1:47:30 AM

First of all without those dummies at Team Ico you wouldn't have God of War II which is arguably the best God of War.Nobody went to help Team Ico.The dummies as you call them are working on a Masterpiece right now.
World don't buy the Last Guardian if you think that team is full of dummies

Last edited by Kiryu on 2/26/2014 1:52:32 AM

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 1:58:40 AM

Why would we not have GoW II without Team Ico?

And insane for trying something so utterly bonkers that after eight years they still have nothing concrete to show to the public. At least we've seen vids of FFXV...

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Kiryu
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 2:04:54 AM

Playstation 3 was not really enough at the technical level to achieve Ueda's vision.

You know that theme about colossus and Titan's in God of War II?
SSM wouldn't have gone that route without the inspiration from Shadow of the Colossus.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 2:55:43 AM

First bit is plausible, although in that case you'd expect Sony to have made sure that Team Ico were the first ones with PS4 dev kits so that they could have something to show off ASAP, because it's more like The Lost Guardian at this point.

Except you were fighting some big beasties in the original, like the hydra, as well as spending most of your time on the back of Cronos... It certainly isn't the same as battling against the Titans, but the foundations were already in place for the sequel to go bigger, not to mention Greek mythology. The Titans were an integral part in it, so it was only sensible for SSM to go that route, regardless of any inspiration from SotC.

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Kiryu
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 3:21:02 AM

Colossus Battle

Last edited by Kiryu on 2/26/2014 3:21:26 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 9:21:19 AM

No need to take sh*t all personal son.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:08:34 PM

Kiryu is the weaker, smaller version of me. We will just have to deal with the tirades.

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Knightzane
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 10:59:43 PM
Reply

Better than the rumors about Sony selling Sony Santa Monica. Seriously, the xbox kin have been spreading around the bonfire that Sony will be selling Sony Santa Monica to Microsoft.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 11:09:30 PM

Where did you hear this? I'm going to assume N4G?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 9:22:20 AM

That's funny, some folks will believe anything.

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SirLoin of Beef
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 9:31:56 AM

From what I've read, they're going after some of the workers, not actually buying the studio. An example of this is at http://www.psu.com/a022612/Microsoft-poised-to-grab-PlayStation-talent-as-Sony-Santa-Monica-lays-off-staff

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:29:18 PM

That makes more sense since MS needs Sony's talent to survive now.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 11:30:42 PM

Nope. N4G posts some trash articles, but an article about rumors of SSM being sold wouldn't get approved.

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Kryten1029a
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 11:32:21 PM
Reply

"...cycle of resource re-alignment against priority growth areas within SCE WWS."

I recognize individual English words in that but my Corporatese is a bit shaky. Why not just say, "we didn't have an immediate need for their services and laid off those individuals to reduce payroll."

Agree with this comment 6 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Lawless SXE
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 11:50:02 PM

I want to nominate this for comment of the year.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 9:36:10 AM

Admit it Krysten... you got that off google translate, didn't you? ;p

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:30:39 PM

Cuz that sounds ice cold and they'd rather bury that in nonsense. People are just resources now, not humans.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:46:19 PM

Always have been, really. There's just less demand for that resource these days...

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 3:11:05 PM

Yeah, after 21 years at my full-time job, and after being a day 1 employee, I found that out the hard way........Yup, I(and 100+ others)all got a mass-layoff just so they could replace us with a "on call" part-time dealers at my casino.

And just because the big-wigs didn't feel that their f*ckin' $$millions$$+++ bonus checks were big enough.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 3:23:02 PM

In their defence, Biker, 10 million dollars ain't what it used to be! /sarc

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 4:48:13 PM

Ha!

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PlatformGamerNZ
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 12:35:57 AM
Reply

yeah i hope it doesn't have any affect on the order or what ever sony santa monica is working on to be less awsome

happy gaming =)

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Kiryu
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 1:45:21 AM
Reply

These employees are not leaving sony they are just moving to another studio inside Sony's World Wide studios.

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 2:02:37 AM

"Severance package"

The inclusion of the phrase implicitly states that some people are gone from Sony's payroll completely.

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Kiryu
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 2:06:02 AM

But it's good cause Cory Barlog stated SSM is hiring an all star team for his next game.

Last edited by Kiryu on 2/26/2014 2:06:11 AM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 9:37:22 AM

On the other hand, I wouldn't advertise I'm hiring an average or o.k. team for my next project.

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Banky A
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 6:35:28 AM
Reply

Oh man what a loss of many talented/genius coders and programmers! Really hits me.

It's hard enough getting to that level of experience, let alone working with a top industry team.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Akuma07
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 11:30:59 PM
Reply

Actually a bit more information has come through unofficial channels since this announcement.

It turns out that SSM had a large team working on a brand new IP, which was going to be in the Sci-fi genre, and apparently a lot similar to Destiny.

Once Destiny was revealed, the team at SSM decided to make some changes to their project to distance itself from Destiny (also since Sony had their hand in the pot with Destiny), unfortunately that change in direction for the project caused a lot of problems, and they were never able to get development back on track, so the project was cancelled, and part of the team working on the project were sacked.

Looking at it from there, it is understandable, if the project really was like Destiny then it wouldn't be worth while dumping millions on a game that will compete with a large multiplatform title which is guaranteed to be a success.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

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