Santa Monica Studio Update: New Site, New HQ

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Santa Monica Studio Update: New Site, New HQ

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.

Sony Santa Monica StudioSony Santa Monica 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.

Sony Santa Monica Studio
Sony Santa Monica Studio

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.

Sony Santa Monica Studio

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!

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  • So i am browsing the site using my PS4, and everytime i go to watch a video it tells me its missing a plug in. Is this just happening to me?

  • Is the name changing?

    • Nope! We will still be Santa Monica Studio! Our name is who we are and Playa Vista is still relative to the region of Santa Monica.

  • This mean your going to pump out More super high quality games more often :) ?


  • Playa Vista Studios?

  • God of War 3 still remains my favorite ps3 game of all time and Warhawk my favorite online experience and IMO you are sony’s brightest first party studio with that said are you guys planning to bring the EPIC warhawk experience to psvita and ps4? When is Stig going to announce his next project? Will David Jaffe ever be back at the studio? Are you guys developing an exclusive title for vita? When can we expect to see The Order 1886 in action? Anyways congrats !!

  • Congrats!! So where is that ghost video?

  • What a great video, I know it takes a lot of hard work to get to SMS. It would be amazing to work there some day.

  • Cannot wait for their new game to be revealed!

  • Hmm, so you’re moving to Playa Vista. Is it safe to assume that you guys are also Vita Playas???

    Sorry, I know that was extremely cheesy, but I couldn’t resist. Good luck with the move, and I’m excited to see what comes next from your studio!

  • Can you guys come up with more creative ideas than how intestines come out of a centaur now that Cory Barlog is Back

  • Will there be another God of War game coming? Hmmm bigger stuidio means bigger and badass game!

  • This is very exciting! I am hoping you guys are becoming a multi-team studio… even more SMS games each year is awesome :)

  • New IPs please.. Kratos can take a bit of a break! :)

  • can i like work for you. i got a lot programming experience considering im only 16 :D

  • God Of War for Vita, please!


  • Congratulations and Thank you for many years of hard work bringing us great games.

    I have been a avid supporter of majority of your games and very much look forward to seeing what the future holds.

    Keep up the good work :)

  • @1 Its because the browser on PS4 doesn’t have flash (since flash stopped supporting anything other than PCs). Youtube will use HTML5 video but you have to request it (ie turn it on b/c not everything supports it). Google Youtube HTML5 for the link.

    • We actually (mostly) support HTML5 for video on the Blog – it’s just the plugin we use to set agegates and the like. We’ll dig into this!

  • my online mutti player keeps freezing at repawn point then when I went to send my friend a messge the screen went black

  • I wish you all the best in the new studio and that your amazing creativity will keep on flowing through the new office space! ;)

  • i hope when order 1886 comes out there is a ps4 god of war demo or tease. >_<

  • Congrats on the upgrade, I assume that no cars will come crashing into this location hopefully!!!

  • Congrats!

  • Hey Aaron, I am going to Devry for Multimedia Design and Development and was looking into moving to Santa Monica after school, who could I talk to for some info on careers?

  • The worlds claim for GOD OF WAR for VITA!!! Certainly this will be the sales of vita augment mucher more!!!

  • ANNOUNCE YOUR BIG PS4 PROJECT ALREADY!!! Can’t wait to know what you guys and Media Molecule are doing.

  • This is great nonetheless, we all want to know what’s the next game that’s in the works.

  • So when will God of War be released for vita? Can’t wait.

  • We need a one God Of War for PS Vita, The G.O.W Collection or the G.O.W 3.

  • Who is that girl with short hair and black spec?! She’s too cute ;O

  • I gotta say a GOW game on The Vita would be great…and a tour of Santa Monica during E3…

  • Cool name Shannon, you don’t ever have to waste time trying to think of clever nicks :). And congrats on the new digs, you deserve it!

  • Congrats on all your success and the best of luck to you all in the future. Hoping against hope here, but I’d like more updates to PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

  • Who cares about some studio relocation. Where the hell is War Thunder on PS4?

  • @ Sid Shuman

    Actually, the only videos that show up via PS4 browser are HTML5 vids….meaning most often when a dev or the blogteam post a vid other than Twitch/Ustream, it quite often doesn’t play. People are right to activate YouTube for HTML5 vid, works gfreat after that, but I found other issues, such as audio streaming….for example, when the Blogcast was uploaded, I obviously can’t download it to my PS4, so I go to stream it via the SoundCloud widget and I get nothing, literally. This also happens when I visit the actual SoundClound and TuneIn websites, and while the sites are HTML5 enabled, theres no audio from any stream I click on. I’ve also tried using the mobile versions of websites like Sony suggested, and quite often, any website I try to visit using mobile versions turns out worse and less functional.

    Please have the PS4 devteam look into resolving these issues asap, as the PS4 (aside from graphics) feels like a major downgrade in comparison.

  • by downgrade I mean the following:

    PS3 browser is better than PS4 for web compatibility

    PS3 can play CD & MP3

    PS3 can DLNA

    PS3 can game online during maintenence, where as PS4 pays for online and can’t during maintenence

    PS3 can quit a game quicker, with less button presses


    I could continue as there’s a wishlist in the PS forums for PS4 with everything PS4 is lacking, even in comparison to PS3. This is supposed to be next-gen. step it up.

  • you right at @dagimp13 i hope i didnt waste my money

  • Congrats on the new spot..hopefully we shall soon see a new GOD OF WAR..Syphon Filter..or a SOCOM like game..with Battlefield gameplay..PLEASE! we need this! Esspecially with the PS4..all that power with a 3rd person shooting game..will make the system fly off shelves!! :p

  • Whoever that is with the beard that the video is sampled at looks crazy as hell. Like 10 pounds of crazy in a nine pound bag.

  • Can’t wait to see what this means for the game side of things.Keep up the great work! Salute

  • Oh wow, so just down the street near EA’s old building and Google Spaces? Nice. Goodluck guys, looks good!

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