PlayStation Studios Spotlight: San Diego Studio

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
This PlayStation Studios Spotlight is all about the home-runner hitters at San Diego Studio, responsible for the MLB: The Show series. This is the one-stop shop for all things San Diego Studio: history, projects, recent news, and a rating.


Update Log:
19/04/22 — Spotlight overhaul for 2022
If you want to see where San Diego Studio ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.

San Diego Studio overview

san Diego carousel image

San Diego has got a special place in the PlayStation Studios set up. Formed in 2001 from a disparate Sony Interactive Studios America in-house development team, the Studio San Diego is now a vital cog in the year-to-year operations of Sony. Starting out with Mark of Kri on PS2 in 2002, the action-adventure game about Polynesian myths is a bit of a forgotten gem. After this effort, the principal development team of Studio San Diego focused on sports with NBA-centric entries on PSP, PS2, and PS3 from 2005-2009. In total there were six games, none of which reached the high standard expected of the team.

That changed as the MLB: The Show series began to find traction in the market and started delivering year-in-year-out since its start in 2006. The games are a high-tier baseball simulation, with all of the bats and caps a fan could dream of, the sales numbers a company dreams of — and production about a sport the developers can't stop dreaming of. In a history of the studio written by Colin Moriarty, now-studio director Christian Phillips said that the team "eats, lives, and breathes baseball." The games now have a pedigree that all other baseball sims must live up to, and very few do.

mark of Kri

Like Santa Monica Studio, though, what San Diego makes year on year is only half the story. Other teams have been developing and cultivating projects inside San Diego for years. Idol Minds worked out of there to make Pain (2007) on PS3. United Fronts made the heavily underrated kart-racer ModNation Racers in 2010, with San Diego porting the game onto PSP and Vita with Road Trip. Zindagi Games made Medieval Moves and the Sports Champions and its sequel for the PlayStation Move peripheral.

Valkyrie Entertainment made an ill-faring third-person shooter with Guns Up! and the David Jaffe-led studio The Bartlet Jones Supernatural Detective Agency made the similarly plagued Drawn to Death. San Diego themselves took a swing at a PvP game with the 5v5v2 twin-stick shooter Kill Strain, but it ultimately never made it to market. Diego has assisted and helped publish in many different capacities, making the team a multi-faceted part of the PlayStation Studios set-up.

San Diego Studio's previous project: MLB 22: The Show (2022)

MLB® The Show™ 22

MLB The Show 22 seems to have struggled to maintain the high-quality updates year to year in the face of releasing on five major platforms this year. It has a 77 critical average on Opencritic, with notable criticism for its lack of substantial updates. There are apparently a fair few more bugs than usual, with a few critics pointing out that even the addition of co-op from last year feels a touch undercooked. That being said, though — this is still the best baseball simulation on the market.

San Diego Studio's current project: MLB The Show 23 and Uncharted project [rumoured]

Uncharted remake or project

The next MLB game is inevitable, it is just a question of whether the team is going to be able to rectify the mistakes made in last year's iteration.

There is also a badly kept secret about the second dev team operating in San Diego: a team supposedly working on another Uncharted. In January, A ResetEra thread discovered that a studio head — called Michael Mumbauer — had detailed his work on LinkedIn with the inclusion of a wild Uncharted 5 theory video. Another line in his profile read that he had “built a brand new, all-star, AAA Action/Adventure development team for Playstation. Based in San Diego and utilizing proprietary engine technology, this team was assembled to expand upon existing franchises and craft all-new stories for the next generation of gamers.” In May, a senior environment artist moved from Naughty Dog to San Diego’s secret team, furthering the rumour-train.

San Diego Studio in 2022

Sony Computer Entertainment/United Front Games modnation racersCREDIT: Sony Computer Entertainment, United Front Games, Zeljko Duvnjak

No major studio news as of yet in 2022.

Where does San Diego rank?

San Diego Studio is clearly a team of talented developers that loves baseball and — when let off the leash — is capable of helping other developers make some cult hits. However, MLB The Show 22 hasn't really been the home run in terms of the home-run quality this year as it was released on more platforms than ever before. It seems to have been more of a clever punt, aiming to start spreading its wings on other platforms as more of a live-service title with minimal meaningful updates to career modes. While San Diego Studio remains a PlayStation development stronghold entrusted with a huge money-churner and secret projects, the output has clearly dropped from extraordinary quality to very good — leaving its form in the silver category as San Diego continues to serve a vital purpose without the flair of previous years.

Silver
Silver

Made a great game, has plenty of potential, or serves a vital purpose


If you want to see where San Diego Studio ranks amongst the other Sony first-party developers and find out more information about the other teams, check out our PlayStation Studios Hub Page.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Associate Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation news. He writes about upcoming exclusives like The Last of Us and God of War, PS Plus and PS Studios news, and his favourite games — The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed, and The Outer Wilds — before an evening swim.