Recently, MLB The Show 21 has been turning a lot of heads because it’s releasing on Xbox platforms as well as Sony ones. Even though the franchise has been licensed out since its inception, this is indubitably a big moment.
However, many may not know much about San Diego Studio, the studio at the heart of this. The studio was originally called Red Zone Interactive and was founded in the 90s by former Sony Interactive Studios America employees. Sony acquired Red Zone Interactive in January 2001. San Diego Studio was formally founded in 2001, and it has been heavily involved with Sony’s first-party sports games ever since. It’s definitely a lesser studio in Sony’s repertoire, but its output over the years has been fairly diverse—at least, before the studio began working on MLB The Show in 2018.
The first game developed under the San Diego Studio banner, 2002’s The Mark of Kri was an action-adventure game featuring the Polynesian and Maori-influenced warrior Rau Utu. The game was unusual for its time, sporting a cartoon-y aesthetic alongside an M rating. It was fairly well-received and had a sequel called Rise of the Kasai made by a different studio consisting of the first game’s developers. The Mark of Kri and Rise of the Kasai are actually available for purchase on PS4, which is fortunate given that the second's story has no lead-in without the first game. Regardless, The Mark of Kri’s legacy still lives on.
Starting in 2005, NBA became one of San Diego Studio’s premiere IPs. Predating MLB The Show by a year, the NBA series has served as the primary basketball video game series since the PS2. The last NBA game San Diego Studio worked on before the license was given to Electronic Arts was NBA 10: The Inside for the PSP. The NBA games are a major part of the studio’s history even if their track record has been spotty, and they set the tone for the types of games it would be developing from then on. Still, even though the studio was primarily about sports games, it did branch out into a lot of experimental projects.
High Velocity Bowling is a virtual bowling title released on the PlayStation Network, and is available for download for a few more months via the PS3 PlayStation Store before it shuts down. The game was released in 2007 for the PlayStation 3, and was developed by San Diego Studio's in-house Team Ramrod. On September 21, 2010, an update made the game playable with the PlayStation Move controller.
ModNation Racers is a 2010 go-kart racing video game developed by United Front Games for the PlayStation 3, and by San Diego Studio for the PlayStation Portable. User-generated content is a central aspect of the game, so much so that it uses the same "Play, Create, Share" adage as LittleBigPlanet to communicate its focus on online user content sharing and level creation tools.
This series is considered a cult classic among kart racer fans, and enjoyed a couple more sequels over the years. ModNation Racers: Road Trip released for the PS Vita in 2011 from San Diego Studio and United Front Games, and, surprisingly, LittleBigPlanet Karting, a crossover with the franchise that apparently inspired ModNation, was released by the same studios in 2012 for PS3.
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