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IGN: ~50 Layoffs at Sony Santa Monica, Project Canceled [Up2: Was Stig's New IP]

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Corto

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Yeah, we know Valve starts and stops tones of experimental projects.

Thing is they don't over hire for them, nor do they cancel them after such a long incubation process.

From our perspective it's seems like a nuke went off over at SSM.

We can't say for certain. But Half Life 2 Episode 3 is being worked on and off for years now. And staff turnover happens at Valve too maybe at lower rate, but that's just a guess. Clint Hocking left Valve last month.
 

DemonNite

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Description of certain studios' projects using one word. TLG was "pretty", Sony Bend's game was "panic" but he didn't want to say anything about SSM's game.

I wouldn't read too much into his comment about the SSM game to be honest. It was also still fully on track the other week so things change fast
 

J-Rzez

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Are the problems with the rest of Sony bad enough to bring the game division down?

I was reading an article on my phone a couple weeks back that the suits interviewed (none being Kaz or PS-suits) said flat out that "the playstation family would be the last consumer division to experience cutbacks". Basically they said especially due to the success they've been having that they internally realigned their focal points.

This isn't really news, especially after last gen though. It's entirely possible Stig's game was in development hell, bloated, and/or just not turning out to be good, and thus they cut things off before it spiraled out of control to focus their resources elsewhere. I doubt someone just woke up and said, "lets save a couple bucks today" and threw a dart at a board and it hit Stig's game.
 

benny_a

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I wouldn't read too much into his comment about the SSM game to be honest. It was also still fully on track the other week so things change fast
Do you know if the project was in full production or pre-production?

Also can you shed some light on the make-up of the 50 people that left? How much was working on game design, how much was QA? Administration perhaps?
 

Kyoufu

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I wouldn't read too much into his comment about the SSM game to be honest. It was also still fully on track the other week so things change fast

My guess at the time was that he didn't want to say anything because God of War 4 would be easily given away lol. I guess he wasn't thinking of GoW4 anyway.
 
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My other theory was that they were letting people go to make room for new talent:

were talking 50 fucking people.
you don't let go 50 people at once because you're looking for replacements.
this is about cutting costs.
 

jayu26

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Description of certain studios' projects using one word. TLG was "pretty", Sony Bend's game was "panic" but he didn't want to say anything about SSM's game.
I don't know. In hindsight the tweet makes sense. Maybe at the time he meant that they are giving it every chance for it come together...


Demon's post makes it sound like something went wrong very recently. I don't like that.
 

Arzehn

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Disappointed, I really wanted a game similar to Mass Effect/BSG. Don't have any interest in the GoW franchise either.

They must have had a good reason to cancel it this late though... guess the game was just no good?
 

Taurus

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I was reading an article on my phone a couple weeks back that the suits interviewed (none being Kaz or PS-suits) said flat out that "the playstation family would be the last consumer division to experience cutbacks". Basically they said especially due to the success they've been having that they internally realigned their focal points.
Hard to believe since game division is like 8 percent of Sony. Whether it is success or failure doesn't make or break Sony. Now with their handheld business failing it's probably even smaller part overall.

Also the big risks included in the game business with small profits don't actually courage to spend any extra into it.
 

coolasj19

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Jul 3, 2013
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Hard to believe since game division is like 8 percent of Sony. Whether it is success or failure doesn't make or break Sony. Now with their handheld business failing it's probably even smaller part overall.

Also the big risks included in the game business with small profits don't actually courage to spend any extra into it.
8% is a lot. SCE is supposed to be the profit maker. And if you chucked off 8% of Sony, you'd be left with a hell of a lot less of Sony as a whole. SCE is one of the foundations of Sony under Kaz.
I wouldn't read too much into his comment about the SSM game to be honest. It was also still fully on track the other week so things change fast
Dammit. I just really want to know what happened. And if something else is on track to compensate for a lost reveal for this E3.
 

iamvin22

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Jan 22, 2010
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Sorry for bringing bad memories, but I remember some trailers with great looking scenes. That one was also on a lengthy dev time, yes? 3-4 Years IIRC, before the cancellation?

haha...no meant thank you for the great reminder :) i worked on the getaway for PS2.
 

beril

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I was reading an article on my phone a couple weeks back that the suits interviewed (none being Kaz or PS-suits) said flat out that "the playstation family would be the last consumer division to experience cutbacks". Basically they said especially due to the success they've been having that they internally realigned their focal points.

Well hasn't pretty much every other division been hit with cutbacks already? In that case there's nothing contradictory about this
 

Aversion

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Well I hope people remember that no one is immune to failure. They could have been dreaming in the skies. Who knows maybe one of the projects just wasn't getting off the ground for a 60 dollar title.
 

Taurus

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8% is a lot. SCE is supposed to be the profit maker. And if you chucked off 8% of Sony, you'd be left with a hell of a lot less of Sony as a whole. SCE is one of the foundations of Sony under Kaz.
It is? Wow. If you look back at their gaming business as a whole then how much profit have they done in 20 years? I'll say it's not much.
 

viveks86

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I wouldn't read too much into his comment about the SSM game to be honest. It was also still fully on track the other week so things change fast

Any hints on what changed? Also, does this mean there will not be an SSM game for 2 years at least, since both Cory and the GOW:A team are just getting started?
 

dragonbane

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Do you know if the project was in full production or pre-production?

Also can you shed some light on the make-up of the 50 people that left? How much was working on game design, how much was QA? Administration perhaps?
Probably entered full production after Ascension shipped. Would be weird if not. They probably realized after 1 year that it wasn't turning out too well or would have needed too much time.


Wonder what happened. Terrible meeting? Confused client? Budget? Crap concept? All the above?
Probably milestone delivery and someone higher up took a look at it and basically went "shit, this will take too much time to get right and out the door".
 

dragonbane

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Any hints on what changed? Also, does this mean there will not be an SSM game for 2 years at least, since both Cory and the GOW:A team are just getting started?
GoW:A team probably moved to Stig and is now with Barlog to fast track the next GoW for an early 2016 release.
 

coolasj19

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Sounds like a violent reaction. You just dont shut the project down and fire 50 employees...
They probably wasted a lot of money and had nothing to show for it
Yeah, if it was set to be revealed at E3, and it was "going swimmingly" (whatever that means) then something very bad happened. Maybe they were about to start ramping up production and when they showed what they had it just wasn't going to happen.
It is? Wow. If you look back at their gaming business as a whole then how much profit have they done in 20 years? I'll say it's not much.
Well,
Any Sony Division making profit in the last 20 years is a feat.
Basically this. I can't find that nice infograph that separates Sony into division and gives them nifty profitability bars.
 

Father_Brain

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Probably entered full production after Ascension shipped. Would be weird if not. They probably realized after 1 year that it wasn't turning out too well or would have needed too much time.



Probably milestone delivery and someone higher up took a look at it and basically went "shit, this will take too much time to get right and out the door".

Well, that and they may have reevaluated the new IP's creative direction and decided that it simply wouldn't sell enough to justify whatever development remained. Perhaps the higher-ups gave SCE new, more draconian profitability targets and Project Stig no longer fit in.
 
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Sounds like a violent reaction. You just dont shut the project down and fire 50 employees...

They probably wasted a lot of money and had nothing to show for it



Teams have to hit development goals. They also, for better or worse, go through extensive playtesting.

No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.
 

Surface of Me

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Yeah, if it was set to be revealed at E3, and it was "going swimmingly" (whatever that means) then something very bad happened. Maybe they were about to start ramping up production and when they showed what they had it just wasn't going to happen.

Well,

Basically this. I can't find that nice infograph that separates Sony into division and gives them nifty profitability bars.

IIRC, Sony's insurance business in Japan is by far making them the most money ATM.
 

coolasj19

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I'm gonna be so mad if they canceled Stig's new IP just to make another God of War.
This isn't Black Tusk. A GoW was in production no matter what. They had 3 teams. Now they have 2. Unless I'm mistaken.
Is GopherD alright!?!?
Nobody has asked this yet. Wish he'd check in.
Stig's project cancelled yet somehow after 6+ years the clowns at Team Ico are still there.
Team ICO is a smaller core of people. Not 50+.
Teams have to hit development goals. They also, for better or worse, go through extensive playtesting.
No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.
Wait, seriously? That's no good... I understand being let go if they have no position for you but, they couldn't have been reallocated throughout SCE? Then again, it's not as simple as that, people would have to move from Santa Monica to different places completely.
IIRC, Sony's insurance business in Japan is by far making them the most money ATM.
Yeah, if I recall they made them a majority of their profits at one point in time. Still looking for that inforgraph. No embed because it's not relevant.
http://cdn.splatf.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/sony-by-segment.gif
 

Sweep14

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Teams have to hit development goals. They also, for better or worse, go through extensive playtesting.

No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.

Team not being preserved is probably a consequence of WWS needing to be really carefull with their expenses and can't afford to keep multiple people with similar profiles on similar team positions
 
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It wasn't the entire team either. There were more than 50 people on it, obviously.


Why those 50 (which included temp workers, of course) got fired is what I don't understand. Especially guys that have been there for 10+ years.


I assume Stig will begin working on a new project and make a new team. And with that, there will be hiring. So did they just not think the people on the project that they fired were not good enough? How is someone good enough for 10+ years and then suddenly not?


It's a weird situation. I wish someone would clarify. It should be Shannon and not Yoshida, as it was her call in the first place. And after Starhawk/PSABR/GoW:A/Sorcery/this... maybe it's time to question how capable she is at running a studio... (though i do agree the problem with most of those games was the complete lack of marketing).
 

Pound_lb003

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Teams have to hit development goals. They also, for better or worse, go through extensive playtesting.

No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.

For real? People were excited about it internally. I think the project was exciting, it was probably just floundering.
 

beril

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Teams have to hit development goals. They also, for better or worse, go through extensive playtesting.

No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.

What are you basing this on exactly? Plenty of the devs seem upset at least. Not sure who else has seen it, given that it wasn't even announced, and Sony officials aren't going to come out and say they've just cancelled the most awesome game ever
 
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I'm gonna be so mad if they canceled Stig's new IP just to make another God of War.

I am almost positive this is what happened. Sony needs to make money to make up for losses in other divisions so what do they do Focus on pumping out another sequel to a series that always sells pretty well or invest in a grand new IP that nobody knows how well it will do? Sony opted to just focus on the household name but IMO it's very short term thinking.
 

Pound_lb003

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What are you basing this on exactly? Plenty of the devs seem upset at least. Not sure who else has seen it, given that it wasn't even announced, and Sony officials aren't going to come out and say they've just cancelled the most awesome game ever

I was actually thinking of that guy who, either interned at SSM or was a contestant on The Tester (or something) who saw whatever it was, and thought that the R&C: Into the Nexus tease was it's announcement.

He seemed jazzed at the concept. So yeah, I think hope's were high.
 
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It is? Wow. If you look back at their gaming business as a whole then how much profit have they done in 20 years? I'll say it's not much.
It's also significant that the CEO of Sony Corp. is from PlayStation. If that division meant little to them, that would definitely not have happened.
 
Feb 27, 2013
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It wasn't the entire team either. There were more than 50 people on it, obviously.


Why those 50 (which included temp workers, of course) got fired is what I don't understand. Especially guys that have been there for 10+ years.


I assume Stig will begin working on a new project and make a new team. And with that, there will be hiring. So did they just not think the people on the project that they fired were not good enough? How is someone good enough for 10+ years and then suddenly not?


It's a weird situation. I wish someone would clarify. It should be Shannon and not Yoshida, as it was her call in the first place. And after Starhawk/PSABR/GoW:A/Sorcery/this... maybe it's time to question how capable she is at running a studio... (though i do agree the problem with most of those games was the complete lack of marketing).

So Stig's still part of SSM?

May be Mr. Chacko Sonny?
 

Samyy

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I am almost positive this is what happened. Sony needs to make money to make up for losses in other divisions so what do they do Focus on pumping out another sequel to a series that always sells pretty well or invest in a grand new IP that nobody knows how well it will do? Sony opted to just focus on the household name but IMO it's very short term thinking.

So they canceled the project they pumped millions into for the sole reason of making another god of war when they already had another team working on GoW anyway ;)?
 

Corto

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Just checked on Twitter one of the people that I follow that I know works at SSM is Shane Liesegang. Former Bethesda dev and writer, special interests in procedural generated content, huge worlds creation. He still has SSM at his profile but it seems they had a unexpected day off today there. Seems that something really unexpected happened.
 

Giant Panda

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It's a weird situation. I wish someone would clarify. It should be Shannon and not Yoshida, as it was her call in the first place. And after Starhawk/PSABR/GoW:A/Sorcery/this... maybe it's time to question how capable she is at running a studio... (though i do agree the problem with most of those games was the complete lack of marketing).

Ultimately, Yoshida would have to approve this decision, so he is responsible for it as well. He needs to be able to lay down the law if people are using their freedom to make their own decisions, to make terrible ones. Going from a hiring spree to laying off a quarter of your workforce confirms there's bad management by either Sony or SSM.

Hopefully Sony and SSM realize God of War needs a complete reboot in gameplay and story, and they give the title enough time to accomplish that.
 
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GoW:A team probably moved to Stig and is now with Barlog to fast track the next GoW for an early 2016 release.

I'm gonna be so mad if they canceled Stig's new IP just to make another God of War.

Ugh, I really hope not. I love the GoW series and have bought every game (more than once in a few cases), but Jesus Christ I'm fed up with it now. The series needs a hiatus and I'd bet the developers want the chance to work on something else for a while.

No one that's seen it thinks it's a shame that the game was canceled. That sounds like a given. The surprise is that most of the team was fired.

Ouch, it was that bad, huh? What a waste of four years.
 
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