Ubisoft Montreal to become world's biggest studio

Ubisoft Montreal to become world's biggest studio
Michael French

By Michael French

February 9th 2007 at 3:15PM

Ubisoft Montreal is aiming to have over 3,000 staff under its roof by 2013 following a deal with the Canadian government - a move which would make it the world's largest games development studio.

The expansion requires a total investment of  C$454.1m (US$383.9m) on Ubisoft's part, some of which will come from tax credits. The Government of Québec has already earmarked funds of up to C$19M.

In total, the studio wants to add 1,400 jobs at the studio over the next six years. The studio is already 1,600-strong and manager Yannis Mallat has previously told Develop that it will grow to 2,000 by 2010. The new target would make the studio the single largest development studio on the planet, ahead of EA Canada's base of around 1,800 developers.

The news comes 10 years after the studio first opened in 1997.

Two key elements make up the plan. Firstly, Ubisoft Montreal has set a goal of creating 500 new video game development positions in Quebec by 2013.

Also, Ubisoft will open a new film animation studio in Montreal that will focus on making digital cinema content based on Ubisoft brands and characters - Assassin's Creed is set to be the first game that will spin-off such a project. The animation studio will also play host to 500 employees by 2013.

"In 1997 Ubisoft made the decision to wager on Quebec's immense creative potential," commented Yves Guillemot, president of Ubisoft.

"Ten years later, the Montreal studio hasbeen the driving force behind the conception and development of legendarybrands, such as Prince of Persia, and the greatly anticipated Assassin's Creed. The Montreal studio was recently ranked fourth development studio in theworld by Game Informer, one of the most influential magazines in the game industry. Today, we are pursuing our strategy centered on innovation byincreasing investments in our creative teams based in Quebec."

"With this announcement, we are one step closer to reaching our goal of making Ubsisoft's Montreal studio the most important center for video gamedevelopment in the world, and especially to reinforce Quebec's position as a reference in the creation of digital entertainment," added Yannis Mallat.

Quebec's generous tax credits have already helped fuel Ubisoft's growth in Montreal, which has a population of almost 5,000 developers - the grants system provides studios with 30 per cent of their staff's wages, but adds a further 7.5% for software produced in the region that includes a localised French version.