Santa Monica Studio

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Santa Monica Studio
TypeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
Founded1999; 22 years ago (1999) in Santa Monica, California, US
FounderAllan Becker
Headquarters,
US
Key people
Yumi Yang (studio head)
ProductsGod of War series
Number of employees
>250[1] (2021)
ParentPlayStation Studios
Websitesms.playstation.com
The Santa Monica Studio at the 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards

Santa Monica Studio is an American video game developer based in Los Angeles. A first-party studio for Sony Interactive Entertainment, it is best known for developing the God of War series. The studio was founded in 1999 by Allan Becker and was originally located in Santa Monica, California, until relocating to Playa Vista in 2014.

History[edit]

Santa Monica Studio was founded in 1999 by Allan Becker, a long-time Sony employee who wanted "to break out of the corporate Foster City group" of Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio was established in an office next to the developer Naughty Dog before moving into a brick building in the suburbs of Santa Monica, California.[2] The building at Penn Station would be occupied for fifteen years.[3] For its first game, the racing title Kinetica, Santa Monica Studio decided to skip the PlayStation console and built the game for the console's then-upcoming successor, the PlayStation 2, instead. A game engine was developed "to give the [PlayStation 2] some legs" for Kinetica and future releases. While the game was developed during the studio's team building phase, producer Shannon Studstill focused on the game's release to prove to Sony that Santa Monica Studio was capable of delivering a product on schedule and within budget. Kinetica was released on time in 2001, with the studio staying under the allocated budget. After publication, Santa Monica Studio shifted to its next project, God of War, while re-using the engine from Kinetica.[2]

The External Development group, a department within Santa Monica Studio separate from internal development teams,[4] acts as both a video game publisher and business incubator for indie game studios, notably Thatgamecompany and its game Journey.[2][5] Other incubated teams include Broodworks, Eat Sleep Play, Fun Bits, Giant Sparrow, Incognito Entertainment, Q-Games, and Ready at Dawn.[2][6][7] Becker left Santa Monica Studio in 2011.[5] By March 2012, Becker had joined Sony's Japan Studio, while Shannon became Santa Monica Studio's "Senior Director of Product Development".[2] In January 2014, Santa Monica Studio announced that it would move from their Penn Station offices to The Reserve, a 20-acre facility on Jefferson Boulevard in Playa Vista, Los Angeles. The 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of office space were "four or five times the size" of their previous Santa Monica office, according to Studstill. At the time, the studio employed roughly 240 people.[6] An undisclosed numbers of staffers were laid off in February that year due to the cancelation of a new intellectual property, including Stig Asmussen, who headed the canceled project.[7][8] The studio relocation was completed on July 22, 2014, coupled with a new logo, dubbed SMS "Vanguard".[3]

In March 2020, Studstill left Santa Monica Studio to lead a new development studio under Stadia. Subsequently, a long-time employee and previous director of product development for Santa Monica Studio, Yumi Yang, was installed as the developer's studio head.[9]

Games by internal development team(s)[edit]

Year Title Platform(s)
2001 Kinetica PlayStation 2
2005 God of War PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
2007 God of War II
2010 God of War III PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4
2013 God of War: Ascension PlayStation 3
2018 God of War PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
2022 God of War Ragnarök PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5[10]

Games published by External Development group[edit]

Year Title Developer
2001 Twisted Metal: Black Incog Inc. Entertainment
Twisted Metal: Small Brawl
2002 Twisted Metal Black: Online
2003 War of the Monsters
Downhill Domination
2005 The Con Think & Feel Inc.
Twisted Metal: Head-On Incognito Entertainment
Neopets: The Darkest Faerie Idol Minds
2006 Blast Factor Bluepoint Games
2007 Flow Thatgamecompany
Calling All Cars! Incognito Entertainment
Warhawk
PixelJunk Racers Q-Games
Everyday Shooter Queasy Games
2008 PixelJunk Monsters Q-Games
Twisted Metal Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition Eat Sleep Play
God of War: Chains of Olympus Ready at Dawn
PixelJunk Monsters Encore Q-Games
PixelJunk Eden
Linger in Shadows Plastic
2009 Flower Thatgamecompany
PixelJunk Eden Encore Q-Games
Fat Princess Titan Studios
PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe Q-Games
.detuned Farbrausch
God of War Collection Bluepoint Games
PixelJunk Shooter Q-Games
2010 Fat Princess: Fistful of Cake Super Villain Studios
PixelJunk Racers 2nd Lap Q-Games
God of War: Ghost of Sparta Ready at Dawn
2011 PixelJunk Shooter 2 Q-Games
PixelJunk Sidescroller
God of War: Origins Collection Ready at Dawn
Carnival Island Magic Pixel Games
2012 Twisted Metal Eat Sleep Play
Escape Plan Fun Bits
Journey Thatgamecompany
Starhawk LightBox Interactive
Datura Plastic
PixelJunk 4am Q-Games
Sorcery The Workshop
Sound Shapes Queasy Games
The Unfinished Swan Giant Sparrow
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale SuperBot Entertainment
2014 Hohokum Honeyslug
2015 Fat Princess: Piece of Cake One Loop Games
God of War III Remastered Wholesale Algorithms
The Order: 1886 Ready at Dawn
Everybody's Gone to the Rapture The Chinese Room
Fat Princess Adventures Fun Bits
2016 Bound Plastic
Here They Lie Tangentlemen

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Who We Are". Santa Monica Studio. 2021. Archived from the original on January 30, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nix, Marc (March 21, 2012). "The House That God of War Built: Sony Santa Monica". IGN. Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Studstill, Shannon (July 22, 2014). "Sony Santa Monica unveils its new logo". PlayStation Blog. Archived from the original on October 17, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  4. ^ "15 Years of Creative Partnerships". Santa Monica Studio. Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Robinson, Martin (March 15, 2013). "Inside Santa Monica Studios, Sony's development commune". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Graser, Marc (January 28, 2014). "Sony Game Division Finds New Westside Home for Santa Monica Studio". Variety. Archived from the original on February 10, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Moriarty, Colin (February 24, 2014). "Layoffs Hit God of War Studio Sony Santa Monica". IGN. Archived from the original on November 14, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  8. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (February 26, 2014). "God of War developer Sony Santa Monica suffers layoffs". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  9. ^ Valentine, Rebekah (March 4, 2020). "Yumi Yang named new head of Sony Santa Monica Studio". GamesIndustry.biz. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "Hermen Hulst Q&A: What's Next for PlayStation Studios". PlayStation.Blog. June 2, 2021. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2021.

External links[edit]