CANADA SPECIAL: Funcom

CANADA SPECIAL: Funcom
Will Freeman

By Will Freeman

November 10th 2009 at 11:00AM

A look at the Norwegian company's Québec operation

Number of staff: Approx. 300 worldwide
Year founded: 1993
Locations: Norway, US, Canada, China, Switzerland
Previous projects: The Longest Journey, Anarchy Online, Age of Conan
Current projects: The Secret World, Conan

www.funcom.com

Originally established in Norway back in 1993 by founders Erik Gloersen, Ian Neil, Andre Backen, Gaute Godager and Olav Mørkrid, Funcom only expand to  Canada in September this year.

Perhaps best known for Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, Funcom’s recent history has seen it specialise heavily in online gaming; a trend that its recently-opened office in Montreal is set to continue.

Already things are very busy at the new studio, which joins Funcom’s Oslo, US, Chinese and Swiss operations.

“We have a core technology team in place,” explains Funcom COO Ole Schreiner, who is charged with heading up the Canadian operation.

“Our chief technology officer is in Montreal and will run his team of core technology engineers delivering core technology to our new titles. We will also have several smaller teams connected to our main production, like production to the new MMO The Secret World (pictured, left). It will consist of designers, some graphic artists, world builders and so on.”

Attracted to Canada by what it describes as a ‘a fantastic talent pool’, Funcom’s location in the Quebec privince means it is primed to take advantage of some of the country’s most generous incentives and tax breaks, but that isn’t the only motivator behind the firm’s decision to set up shop.

“Canada has embraced game development and it definitely shows,” Schreiner says. “The close proximity to one of the largest gaming markets in the world is also a great benefit to us.

“Funcom is a world leading MMO development studio with world class developers in a flexible and young environment. Funcom is one of the most multicultural companies in the world, with staff from over 40 different nations working throughout our offices in Norway, the US, Canada, China and Switzerland.

“We have some of the most talented individuals in the business working here, and during the past 15 years we have established a technology platform that allows us to bring our ideas to life.”

Keen to build on the ongoing success of the likes of Anarchy Online and The Longest Journey, which have arguably made a significant impact on the industry, Funcom is already eagerly looking to the future.

“It’s hard to choose your favourite baby,” jokes Schreiner when asked to pick Funcom’s biggest achievement to date.

“Most recently we launched Age of Conan which is an amazing game. It’s a huge, overwhelming project that we’re very proud of; with over one million games sold, it’s been a huge success for us.

“But of course, games such as Anarchy Online and The Longest Journey are both games that have made a tremendous impact in the industry, and that’s something we’re very proud of.

“We want to continue pushing the envelope for MMOs,” reveals Schreiner when it comes to talk of what work the new Montreal studio will support as it grows in the years to come.

“Right now we’re working on our biggest title yet, The Secret World, and we’re employing everything we learned from our previous games into this one project. We want to create MMOs for the future, through fantastic gameplay and groundbreaking technology.”