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Sony Santa Monica Layoffs Killed The Studio's New IP

The Sony Santa Monica studio just suffered a round of lay-offs due to a "cycle of resource re-alignment."

Many lost their jobs but worse, there were reports that these layoffs affected the team's new IP. Sony didn't comment on that when they released their official statement but now, one of the former employees has evidently confirmed that a new IP was axed. Former lead level designer Jonathan Hawkins explained on Twitter:

"Yesterday, I was laid off. It was a good 10 year run & I got to make three 90+ games. I lived the dream & got to accomplish all of my goals. Except one… making something out of nothing & creating a new AAA IP.

The saddest part of waking up today is I no longer get to work with my family. Secondly, the pain that I feel for my friends who have lost their jobs. The saddest & most important part is the game I was creating for the player that will never be played. I'm sorry that I've failed you."

It seems this unknown new IP was the brainchild of Stig Asmussen, who was game director for God of War III. We don't know if this project will pass to one of Sony's other internal studios but for now, it seems the Santa Monica team will just continue to assist Ready at Dawn with The Order: 1886.

This is too bad, because we would've loved to have seen that new IP. Maybe we will someday; it's unlikely the idea is completely dead within the company.

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

2/27/2014 11:18:11 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

I007spectre
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 11:41:16 AM
Reply

What hope is there for the smaller guys if one of Sony's top studios has such trouble.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:18:27 PM

Don't worry too much, it's the AAA games that have trouble profiting because development costs are insane. Smaller games that are good stand to profit because they simply cost less to make.

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Akuma07
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:10:16 PM

If the unofficial reports are true, costs are nothing to do with the reason why the project was cancelled.

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Clamedeus
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 12:01:16 PM

I heard the new IP was similar to Destiny. Not sure how true that is though. Sony is doing a lot of restructuring of the company, and if i remember correctly the reason why they laid some of the people off is because they are trying to refocus the resources they have.

But i could be wrong on this, the only people who know are the developers who got laid off, and Sony. So i have no ides.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 11:49:10 AM
Reply

I highly doubt any game they were working on is just gone. I think he was speaking for himself. Sony really sticks by their developers and I doubt Sony would let an asset go.

But thats besode the point. The major blow here is in the company. Im surprised by the layoffs because of Sony backing them, but Im wondering if making a new ip wouldn't have helped rather than the last GoW. I don't really know internally what's going on but even ND capitalized on their success with Uncharted and branched out and released two new ip's in one generation while Santa Monica only branched out as far to aid other teams.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:11:43 PM

Yeah, I agree that perhaps instead of another GOW they would have been better served creating a brand new IP. It will be intresting to see where these workers go, I'm guessing MS. And just like Rare they will be making games no one wants.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 3:16:23 PM

Yeah that would be unfortunate really. Sony Santa Monica has some of the best talent and to lose any of it is a huge blow.

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Killa Tequilla
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:00:58 PM
Reply

This is why happens when you buy used games. Support your developers people!

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:09:33 PM

No, this is what happens when a company/team is mismanaged to the point of no return. They made plenty of money from their creations. Their bosses let them down. Sony is currently suffering major hemorrhaging from other areas of the company. Were you aware they're shutting down all of their Sony stores but 11 and laying off 1,000 workers?

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Killa Tequilla
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 1:53:57 PM

Yeah. I was. I just hope they can start making some profits in every department they have so that they can get back up on their feet.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 3:13:46 PM

The gaming department from what I understand is a seperate entity anyways from the tvs and computers and so on... I also heard that Sony is exiting the laptop realm.

So the only thing that will help Sony on the gaming side, is their performance... In the gaming side.

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Akuma07
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:14:41 PM

Guys, really, pay attention to the news.

There are reports flying all over the place about the reasons for these lay-offs. They aren't on PSXE, and they won't be either.

But unofficial reports claim that the new IP that was being worked on was a sci-fi game which was similar to Destiny. Since the Destiny reveal SSM had tried to change the direction of the new IP to distance itself from Destiny. Unfortunately the new direction didn't work out, and the project was cancelled. With the project cancelled they basically had an entire team sitting around doing nothing, so SSM entered a "cycle of resource re-alignment." and some of the team were laid off and the others were realigned on new projects.

People are ALWAYS so quick to assume that Sony's not so apparent financial issues are the cause for every bad thing that happens in the company.

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Beamboom
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 7:48:10 AM

... But to lay off people just because of a cancelled project, Akuma... Can that really be so?

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Clamedeus
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 12:03:51 PM

That's what i was trying to say above, but i completely failed. Haha. You said it WAY better than i did. @Akuma

Last edited by Clamedeus on 2/28/2014 12:04:07 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:21:29 PM
Reply

Sad but no unexpected, while Sony exclusives are the highest quality they don't sell the numbers that dummy games like Halo and CoD and Gears do. The industry suffered greatly from a lengthy generation and it will take time for PS4 dominance to translate to robust development inside Sony.

That said, the idea and its resources will probably stay on file but if these guys go to Microsoft then they won't get to come back and make it.

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Crabba
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 12:58:49 PM
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Of all the studios, it's really odd that they lay off people from one of Sony's most well known and respected studios...

Not only that, but they just had another announcement recently about how they were moving to a bigger office & "expanding"?!

All very strange.

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Kiryu
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 1:54:21 PM
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Actually it's the other way around,
Cancellation of the new ip made people lose jobs.

In Cory Barlog I Believe

Well Jonathan Hawkins has Joined Kojima Productions the creators of my Second Favorite Series.

Last edited by Kiryu on 2/27/2014 1:58:30 PM

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daus26
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 2:14:05 PM
Reply

For this to happen, two things have had to happen.

1. This new IP was ambitious and expensive.

2. The new IP was too much of a risk to finish and release for whatever reason, thus canceling it.

My guess is Sony invested a lot of money and hours into this, but after some kind of event, they realized it wouldn't work, and the fact that it's canceled means they won't get anything in return so layoffs are to be made.

I really want to know if this new IP is too similar to a competitor or something, because it's not like Sony to cancel and layoff people for a new IP that does new things.

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Akuma07
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:16:52 PM

It's funny you say all that. Because apparently that is exactly what happened.

That competitor was Destiny.

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Knightzane
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 3:19:44 PM
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I don't think Sony will let this be the end all and say all.

It'll be brought back soon. And the people who lost their jobs will get another one easily. If he did direct GOW3 then work won't be scarce for him out there.

It would be cool if they were making sony santa monica bigger in order to make more games. Sometimes you gotta lose some, to win some. Eye for an eye. Double edged sword. To win the war you gotta lose the battle. Uh... Yeah.

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daus26
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 3:26:57 PM

It wouldn't make sense. For Sony to cancel this, it would have to mean it flat out won't work. We're talking layoffs. They would have to change something major to the game and revive it as something completely different.

If it's going to come back, why bother laying off the original people that came up with it? This isn't a matter of downsizing. It's laying off all the people involved with this new IP. He said himself that it would never be played by players. Again, a glimmer of the idea may be put to use in another new SSM IP, but it would be something entirely different.

Last edited by daus26 on 2/27/2014 3:29:39 PM

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 3:55:21 PM
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I really hope that this means that they aren't just toiling away on a new GoW. It's a great series, but it's kinda tired at this point and SSM needs something to reinvigorate the excitement surrounding them. Sorry if this seems unclear, I'm not fully awake yet.

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Akuma07
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:11:10 PM

'Insider' claims seem to indicate that SSM is in fact working on a new GoW.

Pretty disappointed in that.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:33:33 PM

I have no issue with them working on a new GoW, so long as it isn't the only thing that they're working on.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 5:44:23 PM
Reply

yeah it is sad that we don't get to see that new IP but hopefully they won't waste the investment of the game and give it to another studio at some point soon. and we are all sad for you guys to loss of your jobs cos we wud have loved to see all the new things the sony studios we going to be offering us.

happy gaming =)

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___________
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 7:09:51 AM
Reply

sigh.
really starting to hate this industry, the creative, innovative, growth, improvement, gets killed off, and the mediocrity, stagnant, repetitive, been there done that, crap, gets milked to kingdom come!
again, sigh.

so worrying and depressing to see this industry falling to bits, even when it is seeing the best sales of next gen consoles in HISTORY!
too little too late!
should of seen new consoles years ago, and now were paying the price for it.

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Nas Is Like
Saturday, March 01, 2014 @ 4:51:04 PM
Reply

I don't understand.

How is an new IP being stopped working on worse than people losing their jobs?

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