â??Future-proofingâ?? approach for Ubisoft Montreal

â??Future-proofingâ?? approach for Ubisoft Montreal
Michael French

By Michael French

February 12th 2007 at 9:00AM

More details have emerged regarding the expansion of Ubisoft's massive Montreal studio, revealing that a bulk of its hires will be graduates while the firm readies itself for future console generations.

With the new next-gen formats proving cost and labour intensive enough for some publishers and developers, it may come as a surprise to hear a third-party ready itself for whatever challenges the successors to the 360, Wii or PS3 may pose.

But that's exactly the thinking of Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, according to an interview with Reuters discussing Friday's announced investment in a new animated movie studio in Montreal, creating 500 jobs for artists, and further growth for the development studio in that city, which will add a further 500 jobs.

"What we see in the future generation of consoles is they will allow us to play games in real time, which is the equivalent of what you see today in CGI movies," Guillemot said.

"We will work and learn all the technology and know-how so that when it's time for the next console launch in five years, we'll be ready for games and movies that are at the right level."

"We're looking for the best talent interested in movies but also interested in learning more about creating video games as well, so they will not only give things to us, but they'll also learn how interactive entertainment is made," Guillemot added, explaining that the company was already actively hiring from Hollywood and CGI animation companies.

He added: "With the short films, we're going to learn how CGI production works. We'll insert product placement in the short films so we can monetize them. Our goal is to work more closely with Hollywood studios and talent so we can eventually make movies at the same time we create the games."

Meanwhile, further details from the Quebec authorities have revealed that a number of government departments - including investment groups such as Investissement Quebec and the ministries that focus on trade, sport, finances, employment and education -worked to convince Ubisoft to keep growing its Quebec-based teams, strengthening both the company’s plans and the region’s talent base going forward.

Explained minister of employment and social solidarity Michelle Courchesne: "As part of this extremely promising project, Ubisoft will hire, over the next few years, hundreds of graduates namely with a background in computer graphics, multimedia and programming."

She continued: "For our government, it is essential to support companies' training plans. By focussing on qualified labour, Québec will be able to continue to create wealth and to come out on top in international competition."