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HIVE EXCLUSIVE: Sony's Santa Monica Game Studios Thriving in the Fast Lane With 'Gran Turismo' and 'Twisted Metal' Sequels

24 Jul, 2001 By: John Gaudiosi

With Gran Turismo 3 A-spec and Twisted Metal: Black flying off store shelves, Sony Computer Entertainment America is making the most of its two Santa Monica-based game studios, its wholly-owned development house, Naughty Dog, and its two-year old internal development studio.

In the hot smoke of these two hit PlayStation 2 games, Sony's Santa Monica studios are readying a new trio of games for fall release: Formula One 2001 and Kinetica for PlayStation 2 and Twisted Metal: Small Brawl for PlayStation.

“We’ve worked with Naughty Dog for years now and we’re excited about their latest video game Jack and Dexter, which has the potential not only for a great videogame franchise, but also for licensed products and the possibility of a TV or movie deal,” said Ami Matsumura-Blaire, director of marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment America.

The latest 3D platform adventure from the developers of the best-selling Crash Bandicoot franchise will ship this December. Sony will back this AAA first-party title with a massive marketing push. The game, which incorporates simple, yet challenging gameplay across massive interactive worlds, has already received overwhelming critical acclaim.

“As games become more immersive and PlayStation 2 is adopted by the mass market, there will be more opportunities to expand franchises beyond the videogame realm,” said Matsumura-Blaire.While details have yet to be worked out with Jack and Dexter licensing agreements, Sony does have a toy line shipping next year.

“As a company, we’re looking to expand into various licensing opportunities with our first-party franchises,” said Matsumura-Blaire. “We’re launching a line of Twisted Metal toys next year, which will be the first deal for Sony Computer Entertainment America.”

Sony recently shipped Twisted Metal: Black for PlayStation 2, which sold over 177,000 units in June, according to an analyst who studied NPD TRSTS Videogame Group data, and continued to remain in NPD TRSTS Top 5 Overall Games Sales through July 8-14.

Sony will ship the kid-friendly Twisted Metal: Small Brawl for PlayStation in November. The release will mark the franchise’s fifth appearance on the console. This edition will be a remote-controlled car combat game, rather than the dark, Mature-rated PS2 Twisted Metal: Black.

Both Kinetica, a futuristic racer, and Formula One 2001, look solid for PS2. Although F1 games have traditionally sold very poorly in the states, the games sell well in every other territory.

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