Sony Santa Monica

Cory Barlog’s “crazy announcement” turned out to be exactly what we expected: the God of War II director is returning to his former stomping ground, Sony Santa Monica. In an enormous post on the PlayStation Blog, the outspoken developer talked candidly about the time that he spent away from the studio that gave him his big break – and his reason for wanting to return.

Welcome back

“I felt that I was ready to come back home – home to where it all started,” he said. “There I would use my newly honed powers of awesome to create something that will rock the free world.” Since leaving Sony Santa Monica, the veteran has held positions all over the globe – including notable roles at Avalanche and Crystal Dynamics.

“Did I become the master craftsman that I originally set out to become?” he pondered. “Well, no, not yet. I learned that the 'master' part is a goal best left on the horizon, always appearing attainable, but just out of reach. That keeps you hungry and at the top of your game.” Those are some extremely wise words.

But enough navel gazing – what’s Barlog up to now that he’s back? “Sadly, I can’t tell you yet,” he teased. “But I can say that it’s freaking huge, and it will live up to the standards that I helped establish here at Sony Santa Monica. We’re putting together a team as I type this – an Ocean’s Eleven kind of thing.”

He added: “We are searching the world high and low for the best of the best to come and be on the ground floor of this endeavour. So, hey, if you’re a freaking rock star unafraid to roll your sleeves up and take risks, reading this thinking that your current digs are feeling, well, a bit small, a bit dull, and in need of some excitement – you need to contact me at Sony Santa Monica.”

The most interesting thing about the veteran’s message is that it sounds like he’s been given the freedom to construct his own team, meaning that he’s not working with an established group of developers as we originally predicted. That means that there could soon be three units within Sony Santa Monica.

We already know that there are two main squads at the North American studio: the God of War: Ascension team, as well as Stig Asmussen’s group. That's in addition to the external operations division responsible for titles such as The Order: 1886 and The Unfinished Swan.

Judging by Barlog’s comments, though, he’s not working with either, but starting something brand new, presumably for the PlayStation 4. We’ll probably have to wait a few years before we get to taste the fruits of his labour, but it’s pretty exciting to have such a talented developer back at the helm of a major first-party project. Roll on the big reveal...