Hi everybody, my name is Shannon Studstill, Head of Studio at Santa Monica Studio! It’s hard to believe we started this studio 14 years ago with Sony veteran Allan Becker, who now heads up Sony Japan. The original core team formed together in a bunch of small cubed offices at PlayStation’s old headquarters, in what was the former 989 Studios. It was here that our small team established the foundation and vision for a new studio.
It was clear the walls at “989” mixed with the good folks focused on the corporate business proved to be a not so artistic environment to foster our much needed creative culture. We needed to create games in a space with no walls, away from the daily “business”, where our collaboration as a creative team and family, would lead us to incredible designs.
Now 14 years later with 47 games published at this studio here in Santa Monica, it definitely feels like we made the right decision. As we continue our expansion, we’re preparing to say goodbye to this long-time home, and move into a new cutting-edge facility that will meet the needs of our growing team for the next era of Santa Monica Studio.
We won’t be moving far, actually — just a few miles south to Playa Vista (Check it out on Google Maps). For old-timers at Santa Monica Studio, especially those with us since Day 1, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time we moved into an early 1900’s train station — yes, our current home is an old train station — and it felt like new. There are so many great memories over the course of the last decade as we’ve grown to occupy this entire building, from a team that started with 16 people, to a bustling studio family over 220 strong.
Our current building and the atmosphere that it provides has proven to be a strong part of the fabric of who we are today despite earthquakes, chronic power outages, and even the occasional ghost sighting (watch our Halloween video). Within these battled walls we developed games like Kinetica and the God of War series, and fostered incredible partnerships with talented External Developers who brought classics like Journey, Sound Shapes, Fat Princess, and The Unfinished Swan to life.
Nostalgia aside, excitement for our new Santa Monica Studio is building. Our new facility dramatically increases the size of our open floor plan, which will allow all our disciplines to collaborate closer than ever before. Our “no walls” creative culture approach and unfettered collaboration between every person and department are central to our game development processes.
The facility will also house a state-of-the-art recording studio, along with being just steps away from a brand-new cutting-edge motion capture facility. The new mo-cap facility is being constructed from the ground up, literally adjacent to our new studio. It will be used specifically to facilitate the needs of all game development coming not only out of Santa Monica Studio, but our good friends at Naughty Dog as well.
The move couldn’t be coming at a better time. With PS4 off to a historic start in the US and Europe, our new facility in Playa Vista will enable us to meet the needs of this powerful new game platform. If you were impressed by what our designers and engineers pulled off with PS3’s technology, just wait until you see their capabilities on PS4.
Santa Monica Studio is always looking for great new talent to join our family. We are searching for people across all disciplines to work side-by-side with our phenomenal creative teams, alongside game directors like Stig Asmussen and Cory Barlog, both of whom have led the creation of our God of War games. You can also keep tabs on our hardworking creatives via regular updates on the new Santa Monica Studio website, with everything from game development insights and career advice, to updates on upcoming games like Hohokum and The Order: 1886.
Feel free to follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates relating to our big studio move later this year, our games, and our team. Thank you for your continued passion in our games, and above all else, players first!