Sony Santa Monica’s Canceled New IP Was Sci-fi, Really Unique, Set to Be Unveiled at E3, Insider Says

The recent round of layoffs at Sony Santa Monica apparently was caused by the cancellation of a new IP in the works at the studio, as confirmed by the project’s Lead Level Designer Jonathan Hawkins (that also mentioned that the dropped project was the one led by God of War III Director Stig Asmussen), and today we got some insider info on what it entailed from former NeoGAF user Shinobi602 that is known to have very solid contacts across the industry.

Sad to hear Santa Monica’s new IP is canned. It sounded pretty darn good from what I was told. RIP, we hardly knew ye.

New IP was really unique, sci-fi…legitimately saddened at the news. Sorry to everyone involved, damn.

What’s worse is that it was set to be unveiled at E3. Something massive must have happened. : (

Shinobi also mentioned that he was told that the project was going “swimmingly” and that it “supposedly” was the project involving Battlestar Galactica‘s writer Michael Angeli. He also explained that (predictably) the assets for the game are being preserved, so we might very well see something made out of them some time in the future.

This doesn’t mean that Sony Santa Monica’s has now no new IP in the works, as it apparently had three projects undergoing development: one by the God of War: Ascension Team, one led by Cory Barlog (that according to Shinobi still seems to be going on) and the canceled one one with Stig Asmussen at the helm, and we know very little to nothing at all about them. Shinobi Mentioned that he’s sure that a new God of War is in development, but that sounds more like personal (even if most probable) speculation.

Interestingly enough another insider, Pete “FamousMortimer” Dodd, mentioned that his sources had a different opinion of the game, also explaining that the decision was taken directly by the studio’s director Shannon Studstill:

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.

Mind you, it’s not too surprising that different sources may have different opinions about a game, and developers directly working on a project often see it differently from people that have a less direct involvement with it, as Shinobi mentioned.

Could be dev bias but like I said they were hitting milestones well, shaping up well from what I was told.

Ultimately, whether the new IP was great or not, it’s always extremely saddening to see projects canceled, and even more so when talented developers lose their jobs out of the deal. We can only hope that as many as them as possible will fall on their feet and  find another mean to express their talent soon.

Join the Discussion

  • Digital Hokage

    this is really sad news 🙁

  • truthtellerdealwithit

    Not sure why. Theyve been hiring constantly since Xmas, and have now layed a bunch off. dafaq

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Personnel is often tied to a project, so if the project gets canceled part of its staff gets laid off, no matter if the company has been hiring.

  • Is it canned or canceled? There is a big difference between this words. Nevertheless, it’s sad news. I love sci-fi.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      The lead designer said “canceled.” So canceled it is. Not everyone knows that difference.

      • JerkDaNERD7


      • > Sony Santa Monica’s Canceled New IP Was Sci-fi
        > Sad to hear Santa Monica’s new IP is canned

  • Delsin Row

    so someone answer me. im sure they havent the money problem. because they are the biggest studio of sony. so what was the problem thet thew were fired? is it because of the new people and ideas or something else?

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      It’s very hard to say. What’s for sure is that projects never get canceled without reason. It’s possible that SSM wanted to focus its resources on the other two projects, or a myriad of other reasons.

      Unfortunately we’ll probably never know for sure, or at least not until some post-mortem several year from now.

      • Delsin Row

        But this damn insider says the game was unique 🙁 i really cant figure it out. if you go to theire website, they”ve hire people constantly. it doesnt make any sense.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          Uniqueness isn’t the only factor to a project’s success, I’m afraid. As a matter of fact normally “unique” can lead to commercial failure (which is damn sad, but that’s to blame mostly on the fact that customers always love to praise uniqueness, but not as much to buy it).

          • Delsin Row

            another question. look at this part

            ” one led by Cory Barlog (that according to Shinobi still seems to be going on)”

            is it possible that this project is cancel too? cory barlog is one of the important key of santa monica !

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Nah. From what we know only one project has been canceled.

          • MasterofMidnight

            Agreed. And ‘unique’ is quite obscure in its meaning. ‘Unique’ does not necessarily make for a fun game to play.

        • JimmyNice

          The only thing that makes sense is that upon review, It didn’t live up to expectations internally and the time it would take to have it corrected and ready to show off didn’t match their deadlines… so you shift focus… again just an outsiders guess with no understanding of the actual process

    • jb223

      Actually money problems are seeming more & more likely, Sony announced today that they are closing down something like 20 or more of their dedicated retail stores, this comes too hot on the heels of this closing to not assume that a Sony owned studio is being hurt by Sony’s financial issues…just a shame that they are shaving off of one of their most potentially profitable divisions instead of cutting out more in their consumer electronics division. Even though the PS4 is selling gangbusters, Sony as an entity has been in trouble for awhile, I suppose that’s down to the influx of cheap consumer electronics & people more willing to buy faulty products w/ very short lifespans instead of investing in tech that is higher end & longer lasting.

  • ExTrooperBrenTurner

    Too bad it was canned, really. I love SF, it could have been something awesome. 🙁 But hey, since “the assets for the game are being preserved”, maybe we will have a nice surprise in the following months (at least, I hope so).

    • Delsin Row

      i hope god hear it from your mouth my friend 🙁

      • Aidan Murphy

        isn’t delsin’s last name Rowe, not Row?

        • Delsin Row

          yes. but i did it on purpose 😀

          • Aidan Murphy


          • Delsin Row

            hhmmmmm. because im naughty 😀

  • Steph

    Aw that’s a big letdown 🙁 it would have been amazing to see what they could have done with a sci-fi setting.

  • alok

    Glad Jonathan Hawkins joined another great Studio which makes one of the most Epic Series in video game history that is Metal Gear Solid.
    Cory Barlog taking over things back to PS2 Glory days

  • Michael Balchunas

    Ouch this one hurts

  • SleezyBigSlim

    Neogaf says it was Stigs game that was cancelled

  • Matt Dickinson

    Oh I hope it gets passed on to another studio at least

  • Hairy-Knowles-Jenkins

    Neogaf = Neaogay 🙁

    • JerkDaNERD7


  • Axe99

    This be right sad :(. I hope all the people laid off find work ASAP, and if the IP is quality, that it gets legs again down the line.

  • Furious Francis

    This sucks…..but man, people said Sony projected forecast and losses would affect the game development side or the PS4…..guess not. I’m sure Sony has some other good games on the deck for E3 though.

  • Eagles83

    Well this news really sucks. I think their studio is a great studio but is definitely in need of new IP. God of War is starting to lose its luster and this sounded like a cool project. Hopefully these people will land on their feet soon as I’m sure there is a great deal of talent that was let go.

  • HeczTehFinezt

    I was actually hoping Naughty Dog would make one, a game based on the comic book Ellie reads in The Last of Us, Savage Starlight but it wasn’t what ND planned. When I read this and saw sc-fi, I was happy but the cancelled part killed it. I would love to see some more new IP or current series but with new characters, an example being infamous, it went from Cole to Delsin. Idk about Uncharted, if its Nathan Drake, I wouldnt mind but I would love to see a new protaganist.
    Sucks that the employees lost their jobs too but they’re being hired by the devil of the gaming industry, MS but as long as they get a job then its good for them 🙂

  • vcarvega

    IF the game was not shaping up well, this is not bad news… But I was really looking forward to a new IP from SSM; especially one with fiction from the lead Battlestar Galactica writer!

  • JerkDaNERD7

    I can see the results of the corporate spin-off effecting em’….sad for gamers.

    • You are flat out wrong

      You mean like the no games MS has announced since E3 except for Fable Legends? Or the studio they have that doesn’t exist? Face it, even with this cancelled project, Xbone still has no games.

      • JerkDaNERD7

        Hmmm…let me see

        Sunset Overdrive, Fable Legends, Quantum Break, Halo Xbox One, Gears, D4…..why am I naming these games. Anyone can admit to this, but can you admit to naming me actual announced first party titles from Sony?!….EXACTLY, doubt you’ll come close to what’s already been and will be announced at this years E3.

        The grasp of the black whole is relentless for Sony. Who cancels a New IP into a new gen???? While every developer out there ARE on full throttle developing mode, Sony cancels? LOL!

        Keep on hanging around the Kool-Aid fountain, your going to experience a major crash…btw, Osaka?! Highly doubt Microsoft claimed that rumor, probably another sad attempt from SonyGaf.

        • You are flat out wrong

          Nothing on Sunset Overdrive since E3, Fable Legends in 2016, nothing on QB since December, Halo 5 is 2015, Gears is 2016, D4 is Kinect Swery crap. And you want me to put $500 down on that? Oh look, it’s the Xbot anthem. “Wait for E3!” “Wait for Gamescom!” “Wait for TGS!”

          Who cancels a new IP into a new gen? A company that recognises a turd when they see it. MS should have done the same with Ryse after it entered its fourth year of development hell.

          Better loosen that tinfoil hat of yours, that’s your boy Phil Spencer telling Xbots that their vaunted Osaka studio supposedly making a huge exclusive JRPG doesn’t exist. Complain to him about it if you don’t like it. 🙂

          • JerkDaNERD7

            Osaka moesaka…lol, I don’t care. Never interested in JRPG since last gen.

            I’m not here to convince you to spend your own money, LOL! That’s all up to you because I already know your intentions. I’m just trying to call you guys out on your BULLSHIT, which you guys LOVE to revel in. Very Sad…


          • You are flat out wrong

            So you’ve realised that the Xbone pales in comparison to PS4 and now you desperately attempt to distract. Well done. You’re well on the road to recovery.

          • JerkDaNERD7

            ….your not sly and did not make any sense, LOL!

            If anything, it’s going to be pretty embarrassing for the likes of you when things start to garner weight for Microsoft. Given in how RIDICULOUSLY sure you guys are of it’s demise it’s sad that when things seem so obvious, how would guys handle it?!

            Until Deep Down, which is the only reason I might give a thought for PS4…if until it disappoints or not. I see NOTHING but one and done games being developed for. Geez, have Sony realized that gaming overall is transitioning? They need to get with the times. If anything they need something like Halo to truly revive them. I HIGHLY doubt they provide any IP close to that.

          • You are flat out wrong

            Yes, “Wait until…” seems to be then Xbot mantra.

            Unfortunately DR3 is the only semi-interesting game on the Xbone and that’s the way it’ll stay until November.

          • JerkDaNERD7

            Your personal opinion, right?! LOL!

            Always with your type thinking EVERYONE and THEIR grandmothers agrees with you, LMAO!

            Take your goggles off, Sony is sinking ship. Hope for their gaming division it doesn’t take a sever hit.

  • ImonadrugcalledCharlieSheen

    They dont cancel great games that are going along swimmingly, sad for the people who lost their jobs but there was a lot more to it then whats being said, the game must not have been worth continuing to work on.

    • shinitaru

      or someone vital dropped out of the project, Michael Angeli maybe?

      • MasterofMidnight

        Would a vital person dropping out consequently end the production of a game? Heck, even if Kojima walked out of Konami in the middle of an MGS production, I’m not sure they’d put that game on hold, let alone a new IP completely unheard of being dropped.

        I agree with Imon that there’s likely more to this. Probably that the game just wasn’t working, or at least in the eyes of Sony, it wasn’t financially viable / too risky. After all, Sony killed off Studio Liverpool (creators of the Wipeout series, among other things) the minute that franchise proved it wasn’t viable anymore. There are other examples in the past where Sony have cut teams loose the moment they’re not making money for the company.

        • shinitaru

          IDK, it was just one alternate possibility, I would think that if the story belonged to Michael Angeli, they would have no choice in the matter. Just guessing though, I don’t really know how that aspect of game development works. That’s the money aspect, kind of boring to me TBH

  • mikeslemonadeFromN4G

    This is really nothing out of ordinary. It’s one canceled project among hundreds of projects coming down the pipeline for the PS4.

    • Kam Williams

      Actually this is pretty unusual. Sony had 4 years invested in the title. Nevermind how much they spent or should we say wasted here. The opportunity cost to develop something else during that time is incalculable. Moreover the fact that senior staff were not transferred to other projects and were fired (apparently because there are no other projects for SSM currently?) is actually extraordinary. Nice attempt at damage control though.

      • You are flat out wrong

        Duke Nukem Forever was over four years. So was Bioshock Infinite. And LA Noire.

        At some point a game’s been developed for so long no matter how much you retool it it’s still gonna be a stinker and underperform.

        On the subject of damage control, defend this, Xbot: You can’t see sh*t.

        • Kam Williams

          Lol. No need. The MINUTE you changed topics you exposed the fact that you have no rebuttal. Oh the sting of it. An E3 ANNOUNCEMENT DOWN THE TUBES!! Guess you’ll have to replace with more indie games huh? That should be REALLY EXCITING…I love mobile games..on my phone sure…but yea…indie all the way dude….LMAO

          • You are flat out wrong

            Yeah, an E3 announcement of a broken game that sounded like a Destiny clone. My heart shatters.

            Good luck trying to play Octodad or Outlast on your phone, you won’t get anywhere. Funnily enough, the only console with a mobile game on it is the Xbone – Halo: Spartan Assault.

      • mikeslemonadeFromN4G

        Does 8 days, The Agency, and the Getaway ring a bell? Y’all people in the X1 camp need to try harder because I’m having field days on debates.

        • MasterofMidnight

          At what point did Kam even mention Xbox 1? Why is it that if someone mentions anything that isn’t glossy, positive PS4 hype, the person is immediately deemed an MS fanboy trying to ‘debate’ console wars? Seriously, Kam wrote something inciting and intelligent, and all you decide to do is spout complete and utter nonsense? What the actual heck dude?

  • Kam Williams

    Its okay. Sony Santa Monica’s newly displaced did manage to find their way to at least one more hot meal. Only in America.

    • shinitaru

      You’re trying too hard

  • Virdin Barzey

    This sad news not for the new IP but for The Order 1866. Isn’t Santa Monica working on this with Ready at Dawn? That 3 minute clip was troubling. Add to that the layoffs and now cancelled project……Not looking good. Lets see if they can pull it out.

    • shinitaru

      The cancelled project caused the layoffs. Did you read the article? It was in the very first line:

      “The recent round of layoffs at Sony Santa Monica apparently was caused by the cancellation of a new IP in the works at the studio”

  • PatcherStation

    Rumour has it that Microsoft are trying to hunt down these guys.

    • You are flat out wrong

      Along with every other publisher and developer.