Sony Santa Monica hit with layoffs (update)

Sony Computer Entertainment Santa Monica Studio, the developer behind the God of War franchise, was hit with layoffs today, a representative from Sony Computer Entertainment America confirmed to Polygon.

"SCEA can confirm that we have completed a reduction in workforce at Santa Monica Studio," an SCEA statement reads. "This is a result of a cycle of resource re-alignment against priority growth areas within SCE [Worldwide Studios]. 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."

SCE Santa Monica is part of Sony's global network of development studios, which also includes SCE Japan Studio, SCE London Studio as well as Uncharted and The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog and LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway developer Media Molecule.

Founded in 1999, little is known about the California developer's next project. In March 2013, God of War: Ascension lead designer Mark Simon said he wasn't sure what the studio would work on after the game's release. Screenwriter Michael Angeli, whose credits include Battlestar Galactica and Dark Angel, said last July that he's working on an unannounced project at SCE Santa Monica. Last August, God of War 2 director Cory Balrog returned to the studio. In November, God of War: Ascension director Todd Papy departed the studio and later joined Crytek.

SCE Santa Monica also partners with other smaller studios, including Hohokum developer Honeyslug, Journey developer thatgamecompany, The Order: 1886 developer Ready at Dawn Studios and The Unfinished Swan developer Giant Sparrow.

Update: Former SOE Santa Monica lead level designer Jonathan Hawkins revealed on Twitter that a new IP was canceled at the studio alongside the layoffs.

The 10-year SOE Santa Monica veteran lamented the loss of his work "family," the pain he feels for his friends who are out of work and the canceled, unannounced game.

"The saddest & most important part is the game I was creating for the player that will never be played," he wrote. "I'm sorry that I've failed you."

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