Warner Bros to open major Montreal studio

Warner Bros to open major Montreal studio

By Colin Campbell and Michael Frenc

March 22nd 2010 at 11:19PM

WBIE president Martin Tremblay says 300 staff will join outfit

Another big publisher has made the move to open a dev base in subsidy-supported Quebec, Canada – with Warner Bros the latest set to open a new development studio in Montreal.

Only three months ago, THQ revealed it was set to open a massive Montreal base.

WBIE president Martin Tremblay says the new studio will employ up to 300 staff.

He unveiled the plans to local politicians, who have stumped up a $7.5 million grant as well as various tax credits.

A press announcement said the new Warner studio would focus on "product development, digital and cinematographic animation, quality assurance of products developed by the Montreal studio, as well as the adaptation and translation of its products into various languages."

Montreal, and neighboring Ontario, have attracted a number of development studios. Canada has a long history of attracting media and artistic companies through generous tax-breaks and subsidies.

Ubisoft famously has a large operation on the east coast of the country, with studios in Quebec and Montreal, and a new outfit in Toronto opening soon.

EA has a vast operation on the West coast, predominantly in Vancouver, but it too has a base in Montreal - the city which first introduced games tax breaks in the mid '90s.

Warner's move is a sort of homecoming for WBIE president Tremblay.

He helped grow Ubisoft's base in Montreal when it opened and seriously grew its studio operation there in 1997. He was first EVP and then COO from 1999 to 2006 before leaving to join Vivendi Universal Games.

(Tremblay was a vocal supporter of non-compete clauses - given an incident that saw a number of staff from Ubisoft Montreal move to the newly opened EA Montreal - but Ubisoft ironically enforced him to work his notice when he joined Vivendi.)