Google announced the opening of a new studio that will be led by the former head of Sony Santa Monica, Shannon Studstill. Jade Raymond, VP, and Head of Stadia Games and Entertainment said, “Stadia Games and Entertainment is setting out to change the way we play, enjoy and create video games. With Stadia, the creative possibilities are limitless. But we can’t build those experiences without a talented team of game designers, artists, and storytellers. We started that journey with the opening of Stadia’s first original games studio in Montreal late last year. Today, we’re adding a new Stadia Games and Entertainment studio in Playa Vista, California, which will be led by an industry veteran, Shannon Studstill.”
Jade Raymond said that this new studio located in Playa Vista, California will focus on delivering new, exclusive games that will use new gameplay mechanics and creative ways to play. Sony Santa Monica, the studio behind the God of War series has announced its successor to Shannon in Yumi Yang. In a statement to IGN, the company said:
We extend our warmest congratulations to Shannon Studstill on her new role. Under her leadership, the studio she helped found over twenty years ago masterfully reinvented itself and its greatest franchise with 2018’s Game of the Year, God of War. In her role as VP of Product Development, Shannon helped smaller independent teams incubate within the studio, leading to groundbreaking works like Journey and The Unfinished Swan. All of PlayStation is better for and grateful of her many years of exemplary service and bold creative vision.
Taking over as studio head is Yumi Yang, a 19-year PlayStation veteran with an extensive background in product development and heavy involvement across many of Santa Monica Studio’s biggest games. Her project management prowess and meticulous oversight of 2018’s God of War helped the title fully realize its groundbreaking potential. After nearly two decades and countless substantial contributions to Santa Monica Studio’s rich legacy, Yumi has the unquestioned respect and trust of her peers. With her vast experience and deep understanding of the studio’s distinct creative DNA, she is perfectly positioned to lead Santa Monica Studio to a bold and exciting future.
Since Stadia launched, it hasn’t really caught on as Google may have thought it was going to. Some of the games that launched with the service haven’t been on par with other platforms and other games aren’t even the same game, but a version of the game that hasn’t received the latest patch. Recently, Google announced that a free subscription tier would be coming to the service as a way to boost the user base. Since the service launched in November, only members that purchased the Founder’s Edition was able to play, but the company said that a free version would be coming sometime this year.