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Google opens a new first-party Stadia studio in California

Google has announced it’s opening a second first-party studio to develop games for its streaming service, Stadia.

VP of Stadia Games and Entertainment Jade Raymond explained in a blog post that the new studio will be located in Playa Vista, California, and be led by former Sony Santa Monica lead, Shannon Studstill.

This is Stadia’s third studio after its first-party team in Montreal and the recent acquisition of Journey to the Savage Planet developer Typhoon Studios, which was snapped up last December.

“The new Playa Vista studio will focus on delivering exclusive games, using new gameplay mechanics, creative ways to play together and unique interaction models that we’re just starting to explore,” wrote Raymond. “While we’re not ready to share specific game plans yet, rest assured we are listening to what gamers want and adding our own Stadia twists to create new IP and experiences.

“I’ve been a fan of Shannon’s for a long time, and have admired her award-winning work leading Sony’s Santa Monica Studio and the industry-defining franchises like God of War that have won fans all over the world. She has an extensive background in product development and creative leadership, but most importantly, she’s a visionary who, as the studio director, will lead and inspire the Playa Vista teams. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the Stadia family.”

Google recently recruited a number of former senior Assassin’s Creed developers to join its new first-party games studio in Montreal, Canada, including former Assassin’s Creed executive producer Sébastien Puel, who’s joined Google as director-general of the new outfit, and Francois Pelland, who’s been appointed head of production for Google’s first-party game strategy. Watch Dogs’ art director, Mathieu Leduc, has also joined Google Stadia as an art director.

It’s not been a flawless rollout for Google’s new service. Google acknowledged “an issue” delayed the dissemination of invitation codes to early adopters of its streaming service, Stadia, which officially launched in November. In some cases, players had already received their packs but were unable to use it without the invitation code. 

Just days before its launch, Google confirmed a number of key features originally detailed to early adopters of Google’s streaming subscription service will now be delayed. Google was then required to respond to criticism that its Stadia streaming service is failing to meet consumer expectations after it was advertised that all Stadia games at launch would support 4K and said the onus was on developers to “continue to improve their games on Stadia”.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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