CANADA SPECIAL: Eidos Montreal

CANADA SPECIAL: Eidos Montreal
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

November 13th 2009 at 5:41PM

In our ongoing series of profiles, we turn our attention to Eidos Montreal

Year founded: 2007
Location: Montreal
Previous projects: None ... for now
Currently working on: Deus Ex 3, Thief 4
www.eidosmontreal.com

Since opening its doors at a February 2007 press conference, Eidos’ Montreal studio has enjoyed a brief but intensely busy early history.

With a move into permanent offices taking place by September of the same year, Eidos Montreal confirmed the development of Deus Ex 3 just a month later. After the high profile acquisition of Eidos by Square Enix at the beginning of this year, the team then went on to confirm that it was art work on Theif 4 in May this year.

The studio's location in Montreal is certainly something it sees as a positive, and as General Manager Stephane D'Astous points out, the growth of the Canadaian video game sector has been explicit in recent times: “It’s very strong and sustained. Even since the economic slow-down of fall 2008 there was zero job-cuts in all studios in Montreal. Even in this “tough” period, a new player announced its arrival to Montreal – Funcom. The critical mass (video game industry only) in the province of Quebec has grown to near 7,000 employees; Montreal has equalled 6,000."

The tax breaks Canada is famous for have also helped Edios Montreal, but that isn’t all the region has provided for the Deus Ex 3 team.

“It’s a well-established program that has been going on for the last 12 years now,” says D’Astous of the tax relief provided. “Any and all companies related to interactive entertainment – thus video game included – have the same terms and conditions, no exceptions. It’s a simple, comprehensive and reliable program. It’s obviously very successful in attract business, but companies stay and continue to expand because of the vast pool of talent that exists in Montreal. The operational costs – disregarding the tax breaks – are among the lowest in the entire world. Our schools are getting better and better, and supplies good young talent year after year. I don’t know any other city/country that is able to reunite all these “winning-conditions” to conduct business. It permits to lower the level of risk and encourages growth and expansion."


And as for the way Eidos Montreal is structured?

“We have a ‘studio-lead’ organisation,” reveals D’Astous. “We see ourselves as a ‘profit-centre’ instead of the traditional studio ‘cost-centre’. Our studio has a very ‘flat’ organisational structure. One team works on one project. We have a QA group that takes care of testing several key titles from the Eidos label. We also have a brand/marketing group within our studio that takes care of the brand/marketing strategy of our games. We see ourselves has accountable of our ‘products’ instead of simply taking care of the traditional ‘development’ (gold master disk) of our games. And we have also an R&D group.”
 
Committed to working exclusively with cutting edge tech on triple-A games, as one of the newer of the city’s high profile studios, Eidos Montreal looks set to do great things with it’s current IP. Something D’Astous believes is in part down to his colleagues – a team he describes as passionate and talented.