Santa Monica Studio was formed in 1999 as a Santa Monica-based branch of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide - a group of video game developers all owned by SCEI. As such, the studio was founded on the promise of " creating the most immersive, enjoyable, compelling and playable experiences for the PlayStation consumer" according to the official website.
Released in 2001, and the first game using the in-house developed Kinetica game engine.
The breakthrough of SCE Santa Monica, however, came with their second title, the action/adventure platformer, featuring the iconic raging spartan Kratos, that has spawned a multi-million dollar franchise. Released in 2005, God of War (which was also powered by the Kinetica engine) received widespread critical acclaim, and won several prizes, such as Game of the Year at the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
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In 2006, the SCE Santa Monica-developed was released to mediocre reviews. It was SCE Santa Monica's first PSP title.
God of War II
The success of God of War prompted SCE Santa Monica to develop a sequel which was released in 2007, and won two BAFTAs (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts) - for "Technical Achievement" and "Story And Character".
After the release of God of War, David Jaffe, the game designer who worked on the game, expressed his interest in developing an FPS for the PSP. Jaffe, looking to create another story-driven game, proposed an FPS taking place in a USA invaded by China.
The game, Heartland, was turned down by the studio - partly because of the somewhat controversial story, partly because they didn't want to create an FPS on PSP, and partly because the studio was already focusing their powers on developing the third-person-shooter Warhawk in collaboration with Incognito Entertainment (who they had previously worked together with to develop parts of the Twisted Metal franchise).
This, along with a desire to create smaller games, ultimately lead Jaffe to leave SCE Santa Monica , along with several other developers, and found Eat, Sleep, Play, Inc. Heartland itself, however, was ultimately cancelled.
Following the release of Warhawk, SCE Santa Monica went back to the God of War franchise.
When the developer Ready at Dawn, who at the time was working on the Jak & Daxter PSP spin-off Daxter, contacted SCE Santa Monica with an idea for a God of War PSP spin-off, SCE Santa Monica gave their consent. The result, God of War: Chains of Olympus, was released in 2008 as the first God of War game not developed by SCE Santa Monica.
In 2009, God of War and God of War II were ported to PlayStation 3 by Bluepoint Games and released in the U.S. as God of War Collection. This was the first port of SCE Santa Monica-developed games ever.
The latest release from SCE Santa Monica is God of War III, which was released in March 2010 after being heavily marketed by Sony.
They have also collaborated with thatgamecompany and, even allowing them to move into their studio for the development of fl0w, and later Flower. (source).
They also housed Giant Sparrow to allow them to develop The Unfinished Swan. SCE Santa Monica now works on PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale after the relationship between Sony and SuperBot collapsed.
The studio has more than 2000 PlayStation games in their extensive "reference library", as well as their own user-testing lab for every PlayStation platform.
SCE Santa Monica Studio is one of six North American studios affiliated with SCEW, the others likewise having been responsible for well-known PlayStation franchises. Among them are Zipper Interactive (the SOCOM franchise), Sony Bend (the Syphon Filter franchise), SCE San Diego (the NBA and MLB: The Show franchises, as well as the PSP-port of ModNation Racers), and Naughty Dog (the Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and Uncharted franchises).