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Ubisoft opens new Abu Dhabi development studio

100 new jobs and training academy for the United Arab Emirates

In December this year Ubisoft will open a new development studio in Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

The French company has partnered with twofour54, Abu Dhabi's Media Zone Authority, for the move.

"We are excited by the partnership with twofour54. Their commitment to developing a strong regional gaming industry and their knowledge of the region were the perfect foundation on which to continue building our development teams," said Christine Burgess-Quémard, executive director of worldwide studios at Ubisoft.

"The demographics and the pool of skilled technical talent in the Middle East and North Africa region are key factors that will contribute to the success of this new studio."

The studio will mean 100 new jobs over the next five years, made up of a team of Ubisoft veterans lead by Yannick Theler, formerly human resources director of Ubisoft Shanghai, and new talent from the region. The studio will also feature a twofour54 gaming academy.

"Digital gaming has always been a priority sector for twofour54 and to partner with an international market leader such as Ubisoft is great news for the region's gaming industry," added twofour54's Wayne Borg.

"The digital games played by Arabs have traditionally been developed outside the region, which means that they rarely have a direct relevance to Arab gamers. Our agreement with Ubisoft will benefit the region in that it will enable the development of titles that resonate with the local population, whilst also building the skills of young Arabs to allow the region to create its own games and developing a gaming industry base here at twofour54."

The decision is not without controversy. According to an Amnesty Report on the United Arab Emirates, the region's laws still strongly discriminates against woman, migrant workers are regularly abused and exploited, and some crimes still carry the death penalty. Abu Dhabi is currently the richest city in the world.

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Rachel Weber

Senior Editor

Rachel Weber has been with GamesIndustry since 2011 and specialises in news-writing and investigative journalism. She has more than five years of consumer experience, having previously worked for Future Publishing in the UK.