Together with the likes of Insomniac Games and Naughty Dog, Santa Monica Studio is considered to be one of Sony's biggest assets in the gaming spectrum. For those who aren't aware, it's the studio behind the hugely successful God of War series which has proven to be one of the PlayStation's most popular and best selling exclusive series of all time. Now, on the same day that the most recent God of War celebrates its third anniversary, speculation is growing that the developer could be staffing up to work on a brand new IP.
With the release of the as yet untitled God of War sequel edging ever closer, it should come as little surprise that the developer is starting to think about its next big project. In fact, Santa Monica Studio has been quietly hiring for its next project since at least the beginning of this year. Up until now, however, there had been very little indication as to what that title might be, but, thanks to one of the developer's most recent job listings, things are starting to become a little clearer.
The developer is currently in the process of recruiting a senior character concept artist to work on "a new unannounced title." While this much is old news, things get a little interesting in the role's responsibilities and requirements sections, which state that the successful candidate will be expected to develop characters for "fantasy-based worlds" and must have the skills needed to "render realistic believable fantasy-based creatures, characters and props." With this in mind, it's now looking all but certain that Santa Monica Studio's next project will be a fantasy game of some sort. As for whether it's a brand new IP or a new entry in an existing franchise though, things are a little less clear.
Aside from a futuristic racing game for the PS2 back in 2001, Santa Monica Studio has worked almost exclusively on God of War titles since it was founded in 1999. It has co-developed numerous titles, however, and has worked with developers including Thatgamecompany, Fun Bits and Giant Sparrow in this capacity on multiple occasions. Interestingly, the latter is also currently hiring for an unannounced project that will apparently be in the spirit of Disney's Fantasia, although this is probably just a coincidence.
Given the recent reports that Sony is shifting its attention away from smaller games to focus on blockbuster hits, it seems a little unlikely that one of the company's biggest first-party studios would partner up with a smaller developer; especially at such a pivotal time in the PS5's life cycle. With that in mind, a brand new IP seems like the most realistic outcome, although nothing can be ruled out until more information has been revealed. With the next God of War title still scheduled to release before the end of 2021, that could happen a lot sooner than fans some might expect.
In terms of what's been officially revealed for God of War: Ragnarok, there's very little. The short teaser didn't even confirm a proper title for the game, so whatever it is officially called finds itself in a marketing limbo of sorts. It's not even certain that God of War: Ragnarok will hit its 2021 release date. Luckily, however, the lore surrounding the new game is already pretty deep, and fans know the game is likely to feature Thor quite extensively.
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