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Sony confirms layoffs at God of War developer Santa Monica Studio

Sony confirms layoffs at God of War developer Santa Monica Studio with a possibility that an upcoming game will be axed from their lineup. 

In a statement made to IGN, Sony confirmed suspicions that they would be reducing the staff at Santa Monica Studio, the home of the Playstation-exclusive God of War franchise.

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. – SCEA (Published on IGN Feb 25, 2014)

Artwork from the Sony Santa Monica Studio game, God of War: Ascension (PS3, 2013)
Artwork from the Sony Santa Monica Studio game, God of War: Ascension (PS3, 2013)

In a recent blog post, studio director Shannon Studstill announced that the team of “over 220” staff would be moving into a new office in the Playa Vista area. It is uncertain at this time how many people will be laid off, but like Bioshock developer Irrational Games*, Sony is claiming to support their staff.

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. – SCEA (Published on IGN Feb 25, 2014)

Despite the shocking announcement that staff would be laid off, Santa Monica Studio’s website is still offering jobs and internships on their career page. This leads to speculation that the layoffs could be minimal, and perhaps extra staff hired to work on the latest God of War game are being made redundant as the company shifts focus on its latest projects.

Artwork from the upcoming PS4 game; The Order 1886 (co-developed by Santa Monica Studio and Ready at Dawn.)
Artwork from the upcoming PS4 game; The Order 1886 (co-developed by Santa Monica Studio and Ready at Dawn.)

With these layoffs comes the speculation that Santa Monica Studio has cancelled production on one of their upcoming titles. The three titles that Santa Monica have announced for a 2014 release are; Hohokum, The Order: 1886, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. These titles are all in co-development with other companies and it seems unlikely that they would be pulled at this stage. This leaves a possible future installment of the studio’s own God of War franchise as the likely victim.

Reactions to the Santa Monica Studio layoffs

On Twitter, people have offered their sympathy to the unknown number of staff who will be let go:

Some Tweets were a little more cynical of Sony, and with the recent announcement of the company selling off their VAIO computer range* had this to offer:

Finally, some tweets were a little more rational and question Sony’s decision, especially considering the big announcement that they were moving and expanding;

We’ll keep you updated as more news comes out. In the meantime, if you are reading this Sony, please don’t cancel #TheOrder1886 !

 

By Tim Harvey

* Click here to read about the recent closure of Bioshock studio, Irrational Games.

* Click here to read about Sony selling off their VAIO computer range.

Let us know what you think in the comments below, or Tweet us @tapscape, and @timharveyau

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