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Square Enix to open new Canadian studio for next wave of consoles

Location to be decided in May; At least 100 employees to prepare for new games hardware

Japanese publisher Square Enix is planning a second studio in Canada, looking to take advantage of millions of dollars in subsidies and the region's generous tax incentives to create games for a new wave of home consoles.

Planned to open in 2012 and host at least 100 employees, there are three locations in the running - Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto, according to Canadian paper La Presse.

Square Enix already has the Eidos Montreal studio, and its director Stéphane D'Astous is charged with finding the new location, telling La Presse that "the negotiating process has begun."

The new consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will require more attention and more staff. We want to prepare ourselves

Stéphane D'Astous, Eidos Montreal.

While another base in Montreal would be advantageous for closer working relationships, it's the direct subsidies from the Quebec government that are more appealing - it handed Warner Bros $7.5 million and THQ $3.1 million to settle there recently.

The location will be chosen by Square Enix at the end of May. The new studio will be a base for staff to work on games for the next generation of home hardware, said D'Astous.

"The new consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will require more attention and more staff," he said. "We want to prepare ourselves."

According to the report, Square Enix has already looked at and dismissed Raleigh, Atlanta and Orlando as locations for the new studio.

Eidos Montreal is currently at work on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, to be published this August.

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Latest comments (24)

Mbuso Radebe Associate Producer, Smoking Gun Interactive Inc.5 years ago
@Matt - According to the La Presse article, the three locations are Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Just a quick heads up :)
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Frankie Kang Producer / Consultant, First Post LLC5 years ago
At this rate I may need to move to Canada! No complaints though, as I love Vancouver!
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Eidos Montreal has been going for four years now - I don't think they've released a single game yet? (I may be wrong)
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Show all comments (24)
Xavière Hardy Project Manager, THQ5 years ago
Their first Game, Deus Ex Human Revolution, has been announced for August
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
I know, that's my point. Four years until their first game? Doesn't that add weight to the idea that tax breaks encourage inefficiency? How quickly would they have gotten it done if they'd not been getting subsidised by the quebec government?

I'm not making an anti-Eidos point, simply trying to open a debate on the issue.
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Jim Myrick CEO-Producer, NetToons, Inc.5 years ago
Is there more information out there about the next generation of game consoles? Is there a whole next gen coming from Sony, Xbox, etc. If so when? Are the specs and SDK's available?
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Gregor Manby Producer 5 years ago
No tax breaks in the UK, yet it took Realtime Worlds longer to release their first game.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Hmm, fair point. Still, I'm surprised it's taken them four years.

@ Jim. I think Ubi have had a similar team for a while now. I'd assume that Sony and MS are keeping the big developers in the mix about what's going on.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship5 years ago
Gregor, there was a different source, but the same root cause - too much money!

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Nick McCrea on 17th March 2011 5:35pm

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Xavière Hardy Project Manager, THQ5 years ago
it's also a question of how long does it really take to make a AAA video games, with a brand new team, brand new studio.. Also we could better compare with the number of people working on a project and so the real cost of this project.
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I think 4 years to produce a polished, super polished franchise, not to mention insane levels of QA for cinematics is a fair estimate. Even with a experienced studio, developing new IP/franchise reboots from scrath is pretty much a 3 year development cycle. So in that sense SE Montreal have done reasonably alright.

Hopefully the sales will translate accordingly. It would provide a nice welcome boost of team confidence for their next projects going forwards I reckon, allowing for DLCs, new mission packs, and other franchises to explore.
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
Yeah, maybe I've been a bit harsh. I dunno, still seems a tad long to me though.

@ Chee, I'll be interested to see its sales. I'll also be interested to see how Brink does. I'll probably buy DX, purely because I played the last one on the PC, but I doubt I'll buy Brink - it looks very good though, it'll be interesting to see how both titles do in the current market.
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Yeah I have to agree...4 years is sort of what I'd hope for for an excellent game.
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Roberto Bruno Curious Person 5 years ago
Also, am I wrong or Eidos Montreal is working at Thief 4 too?
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Oh. have heard rumours of the Thief project being restarted but can you verify?

@ Fran - be interested to see how reception for Brink does as well. Or more like how does the business model of Splash Dash work vs Eidos Montreal - and which kind of developer can turn out better goods
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Christian Philippe Guay Technical Game Designer, Gameloft Montreal5 years ago
I'm instead glad that they are still working on Deus Ex and make sure they deliver a first game that is stunning. That's why Call of Duty still is popular, CoD4 was great and much better than MW2, World at War or Black Ops.
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Kay Williams Studying Media Design, Full Sail University5 years ago
I had a chance to see a bit of Deus Ex at GDC this year. It looked like they know what they are doing. Quite honestly, a 3-4 year production cycle doesn't sound that bad if they get the job done right.
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts5 years ago
Four years is nothing if they've developed a new engine too. I don't know if they have, but it would certainly explain the length of time.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
I wonder if NIS America has got a studio in Canada?

Because if they do, I would love to work there someday when I finally finish my university course and move over there after some time and a bit of luck.

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Christopher Welsh Studying BEng Honours Degree - Computer Game Development, University of Ulster5 years ago
Could it also be taking longer because last I heard they are also working on Thief 4? Maybe developing two games in the one studio is causing delays for both games.
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Shane Estanislao Sr. Environment Artist, Sony Computer Entertainment America5 years ago
4 years does sound about right for a new AAA studio starting from scratch. If you factor in a new game engine, that means new production pipelines, new tools, and new team that needs to gel. Put that all together, and you have a pretty good learning curve for everyone to get up to speed. Then, if you're trying to reach the level of quality you need for an AAA title, there's a ton of R&D that needs to be done.
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Me wonders what they can achieve with their brand spanking new 100 man studio in 3-4 years time
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Chris Karpyszyn Programmer, King Beaver Software5 years ago
Thief 4 is indeed being worked on by Eidos Montreal. They've started planning it somewhere around Summer 2009. They were also actively hiring for a super secret new project recently.

@Shane, you are right. I believe they built Deus Ex from the ground up. They seem to be a passionate bunch and they also realize the necessity for proper planning and design. The Thief 4 team was incredibly small in the first year while they were getting the specs down and for initial programming.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Chris Karpyszyn on 21st March 2011 1:03pm

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Private VIdeo Games 5 years ago
Half of Eidos came from Ubisoft Montreal :)
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