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  1. #1
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    Layoffs Hit God of War Studio Sony Santa Monica

    Reliable sources have confirmed to IGN that there were layoffs at Sony Santa Monica Studio today. The Sony-owned, exclusive developer – founded in 1999 – is best known for its God of War games.

    The extent of the damage remains unclear, though there are indications that one of the projects the studio was working on has been cancelled alongside this round of layoffs.
    Update: Sony has provided the following statement to IGN, confirming what our sources have told us:

    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.
    Sony Santa Monica has released five games in its history -- Kinetica, God of War, God of War II, God of War III, and God of War: Ascension -- although it also has a significant presence in Sony's second party development ecosystem. Thatgamecompany (Flow, Flower, Journey), Giant Sparrow (The Unfinished Swan), and Fun Bits (Fat Princess, Escape Plan) are just a few of the developers that got their start working alongside Sony Santa Monica.

    More recently, SuperBot created PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale with the help of Sony Santa Monica, and games like Hohokum are currently under development with the help of Santa Monica-based producers.

    However, all has not been well at Sony Santa Monica, specifically when it comes to God of War: Ascension. The God of War trilogy that came before it sold prolifically, but word was that God of War: Ascension underperformed "significantly" when it launched early in 2013. The studio moved on to something else after finishing its DLC support for the game, though that didn't stop long-time Sony Santa Monica employee and director of Ascension, Todd Papy, from leaving the studio.

    Strangely, Sony Santa Monica recently moved offices while noting that it was hiring and expanding its workforce. The most notable recent addition to the staff was none other than Cory Balrog, co-creator of God of War, who returned to the studio after a six year absence.
    http://au.ign.com/articles/2014/02/2...y-santa-monica


    Man this industry is so fickle.

    More info here:

    http://gearnuke.com/rumor-sony-santa...ght-be-new-ip/

  2. #2
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    This is not the first studio to do this so far this year, same happened with the studio that created/helped create Bioshock! Seems to be something in the water.....
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    It's not like they shut down the Damn studio, just trimming extra fat lol. Sorry to those that lost there jobs, in the same vein they just moved to a larger building to grow the studio. This is Probably Redundancy

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    This is nothing new and most big studios do this. If they were to cancel a game, which isn't rare or uncommon, those people are going to be laid off. Nothing new, this isn't the negative news that some people here wanted. LOL

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    Seems a lot of studios are downsizing lately. Could be that games are getting easier to develop and require less manpower, no?

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    uh wtf....didn't I just hear that Sony SM was interested in scooping up some of the layoffs from Irrational Games????

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    Quote Originally Posted by shepard View Post
    uh wtf....didn't I just hear that Sony SM was interested in scooping up some of the layoffs from Irrational Games????
    Right but this is probably a different branch within the studio. You got different teams making games most likely and if one game gets cancelled, there isn't any work for that team, so they are laid off.

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    The only way I'm going to be pissed is if something leaks about that canceled game and it was turning out to be awesome.

    Destiny and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor is all I need for the rest of the year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demi_God View Post
    This is nothing new and most big studios do this. If they were to cancel a game, which isn't rare or uncommon, those people are going to be laid off. Nothing new, this isn't the negative news that some people here wanted. LOL
    True. I always have to laugh to myself when I see certain members who never post any threads in the Playstation section except when they find a juicy tidbit of bad news to throw in here. I can just picture them hurrying over here with bated breath to be the first one to post it. lol

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    Lots of great studios are laying off employees. If Naughty Dog follows suit, I am going to panic. Maybe these guys know something we don't...

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    Hiring and laying off isn't a new trend for this industry. I'm surprised so many are shocked by it to be honest. Development time ramps up, and development time ramps down. It's the nature of the beast. It's rarely the sign of a dying company to be honest.

    Where I work we have expected time periods where things get crazy. Contractors are hired early enough to train them for the storm to come. As the work levels out again those contractors are relieved.

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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethal View Post
    Lots of great studios are laying off employees. If Naughty Dog follows suit, I am going to panic. Maybe these guys know something we don't...
    Knock on wood! If that happens i'll lose hope in the gaming industry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethal View Post
    Lots of great studios are laying off employees. If Naughty Dog follows suit, I am going to panic. Maybe these guys know something we don't...
    I really feel for employees, this is a messed up industry to be in, one minute you have a job next you don't. It's no real way to treat staff, and I'm glad I never went down that path with one of these "professional" developers, I couldn't raise a family on such a fickle basis. Most of these guys in the industry are young, and probably don't have roots yet, but man something has to change in this industry going boom bust boom bust all the time and floating your employee levels is going to end up in disaster at some stage.
    No wonder indie studios are on the rise.


    Quote Originally Posted by Demi_God View Post
    Right but this is probably a different branch within the studio. You got different teams making games most likely and if one game gets cancelled, there isn't any work for that team, so they are laid off.
    No body want people out of jobs some of these people might have families.
    Jesus, look past your own motivations for once.
    Last edited by mynd; 02-26-2014 at 19:18.

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  16. #14
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    The game/vfx industry is contract based, this happens all the time. I'm sure they'll land a job where they can pay their bills.

  17. #15
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    I've heard this whole thing is cyclical. So nothing to worry about for SSM as a whole.

    Doesn't make it any less sucky for those, and at least MS is trying to give some of them jobs (as per Sub's thread).

    #IndieStation4 and proud of it.

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  19. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admartian View Post
    I've heard this whole thing is cyclical. So nothing to worry about for SSM as a whole.

    Doesn't make it any less sucky for those, and at least MS is trying to give some of them jobs (as per Sub's thread).
    I really couldn't care about the whichever game studio it is to be honest, it concerns me more that this seems to be the norm. I get you sometimes need to float staffing levels, but there just seems to be whole heap of people getting layed off left right and center at the moment, between Irrational, SSM, Criterion.
    I don't get what the hell the point of actually having a development studio if your on such a knife edge all the time. Sometimes it takes a cancelled project, other times its just poor sales on a game, it seems the business operate on a day to day, game to game basis with no real vision or stable financing.

    If you're at the whim of the bank manager, how the hell do these people ever get creative with the threat of the axe hanging over their head. It's little wonder that creativity is now the domain of the small indie devs, and the big publishers tread the same $#@! out to us repackaged.

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  21. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malt View Post
    Seems a lot of studios are downsizing lately. Could be that games are getting easier to develop and require less manpower, no?
    It's because developers and publishers have grossly and dangerously overextended themselves with inefficient development. They're running themselves dead because of it. They need better resource management.
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  23. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mynd View Post
    I really couldn't care about the whichever game studio it is to be honest, it concerns me more that this seems to be the norm. I get you sometimes need to float staffing levels, but there just seems to be whole heap of people getting layed off left right and center at the moment, between Irrational, SSM, Criterion.
    I don't get what the hell the point of actually having a development studio if your on such a knife edge all the time. Sometimes it takes a cancelled project, other times its just poor sales on a game, it seems the business operate on a day to day, game to game basis with no real vision or stable financing.

    If you're at the whim of the bank manager, how the hell do these people ever get creative with the threat of the axe hanging over their head. It's little wonder that creativity is now the domain of the small indie devs, and the big publishers tread the same $#@! out to us repackaged.
    Fair point.

    Maybe that's why Ken decided to 'downsize'? Interesting.

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  24. #19
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    i wouldn't be too worried mynd, i think the industry is going to find itself on a more stable ground once it realizes how to keep the fat trimmed. i think mobile games have really shown these developers that you don't need millions to make millions or even billions.

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    It's funny because many have been preaching the collapse of the industry as we know it for some time.
    We've been through some phases, and I can impart a little of what I know as someone who had to go through the process of pitching a game idea at a publisher.

    Firstly, as a developer, your completely at the whim of publisher, these guys ultimately fund your game, but and this is where I think the industry is wrong, only enough to fund the game. And they cover their arse. They generally don't fund you game so much as loan you enough money to complete you targets then you repay them via royalties on said game.
    If I made a game, I dont see a cent on the royalties from a publisher until the game has repaid to them what it cost them to pay me to make the game.

    This method has, by in large now collapsed, their are very few large independent development studios, all the successful ones got bought by the publishers themselves, so that THEY could control the royalties rates, you see a really successful development studio with hit making potential could dictate to publishers far better than what a new start up could. Publishers hate paying royalties, so they figured they would just buy the studios and control the royalties. Why? I'm pretty sure they all got $#@! scared with some of the
    they were paying out that some of these studios might choose to self publish.

    Just to give you and idea what we had to do even get to see an NDA form form a publisher.

    1/ proof of concept, we had to code a playable game demo.
    2/ market research we had to prove their was a target market for our game.
    3/ Design document - I had to write a very hefty "manual" if you like on what the final game would be, how it would work, level design.
    4/ Budget - how many people it would take to complete, costs, break down of artists vs programmers, time frame, milestone marks.

    I swear I coded our original demo in 8 months, and spent another 6 months dotting the i's and crossing t's on our proposal.
    All at the whim of publishers. Who do nothing but fund the game advertise and distribute.

    Now that distributing, thats changed drastically over the past 5 years, I am so glad that the actual need for a "publisher" is diminishing. Kickstarter has dropped the requirement for them as funding managers, digital distribution has killed the requirement for them to distribute, and you tube and social media has killed them as a marketing company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    The only way I'm going to be pissed is if something leaks about that canceled game and it was turning out to be awesome.
    Rumour..

    New IP was really unique, sci-fi…legitimately saddened at the news. Sorry to everyone involved, damn.

  27. #22
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    Meh it was stig game, been in development for 4 years and still couldn't produce anything worthwhile.

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    Still would've been nice to see. I think I hate the whole 'cancelling' thing. I'd rather them put it on hold and/or offload them to another team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungMullah88 View Post
    Meh it was stig game, been in development for 4 years and still couldn't produce anything worthwhile.

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    Whats a stig game?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Admartian View Post
    Still would've been nice to see. I think I hate the whole 'cancelling' thing. I'd rather them put it on hold and/or offload them to another team.
    Lol At least it wasn't like 8 days where we got to see pre production work and even a concept trailer before the Damn thing got canned!

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