Funcom opens Montreal studio

Funcom opens Montreal studio
Michael French

By Michael French

September 1st 2009 at 7:24PM

Norweigan Age of Conan developer expands to Canada

Norwegian developer and publisher Funcom, known for its MMO titles including Age of Conan, has opened a new online games studio in Montreal.

The firm said it "will build a strong and competent development team that will work on several games in the Funcom portfolio".

The studio will be responsible for Funcom's upcoming The Secret World MMO and is to be headed up by Ole Schreiner.

Montreal is home to Ubisoft's massive Montreal studio, the large independent A2M and a number of other games outfits.

The province of Quebec, where Montreal is located, is famous for its generous tax credits for games companies, where up to 40 per cent of budgets and wages can be claimed back from the Government.

Funcom plans to both tap into the local development scene and also move a certain number of key personnel over to the new studio.

“Montréal has established itself as one of the world’s most important locations for video game production, and we are looking forward to taking part in that success,” said CEO Trond Arne Aas.

“In addition to strengthening our North American presence, the new studio will take advantage of the great incentive programs offered by the Québec region, incentives that makes Montréal one of the most cost effective locations in the world for developing MMO games. This will in turn allow us to better balance our costs, making it possible for us to continue to expand our investments into the MMO segment.”

In a report on French-language site Les Affaires Eidos Montreal's studio head GM Stephane D’Astous - who has also worked at Montreal games offices for Babel Media and Ubisof - said he welcomed the competition, and added that he had met with Funcom staff already.

Funcom's move into the territory was aided by investment firm Investissment Quebec.

“It has been a pleasure for us to work with Investissement Québec in setting up our Montréal studio and we are very thankful for the strong support they have given us throughout this process,” said studio CEO Schreiner.

“We are excited about the opportunity that Montréal represents to our company, not only because of the great incentives offered by Québec, but also the authorities’ strong commitment to training qualified video games personnel and building a video games cluster in Montreal and Quebec.”