Back in February, Sony Santa Monica canceled a a new IP in development for PS4, causing the layoff of quite a few developers. Very little is known about it, but we can learn more thanks to the Linkedin Profile of former Lead Level Designer Jonathan Hawkins, who published a few more details about it.
Position: Lead Level Designer – Unannounced IP – (2010 – 2014)
– One of four hand-picked seasoned developers to lead a new IP from conception
– High-level design documentation, prototyped and developed gameplay systems
– Created greenlight presentation, two playable demos with a small team and limited resources
– Managed 15+ designers with daily reviews, feedback, problem solving and strategic planning
– Developed best practices for modular world building, tool creation and code requests
– Open-world, scripted linear content and system design
– Conducted analytical playtests for all gameplay sections
– Narrative/Mission design, tools, dialog and script feedback
– Schedule creation and management with production
– Mentored, trained junior designers and new team members
– Recruited, reviewed resumes, design test and conducted interviews
Looks like the game had been in pre-production and production for quite a while, since 2010, even if it started quite small, led by four developers and then expanded with a small team and limited resources. Still, two playable demos were created before the cancellation.
We also get confirmation that it was an open world game, with “modular world building”, even if it still has scripted linear content within it, including missions.
It’s unfortunate that the game was canceled, especially considering the many developers that lost their job. Will we ever see any of the title’s assets? That’s unlikely, even if it’d be nice to get a glimpse on what could have been.