Square Enix will double headcount if £1.2m grant is approved, article claims

Eidos Montreal ‘to become 700-dev mega-studio’

Japanese publisher Square Enix wants to position its Canadian studio Eidos Montreal at the very centre of its game development operations, a new report claims.

Its subsidiary Eidos Montreal could grow from about 350 staff to nearly 700 if a deal with state officials is agreed, according to local business publication La Presse Affaires.

But it is believed that Square Enix wants a CA$2 million (£1.2m) grant from local government to facilitate the rapid increase in staff. That deal is not thought to have been finalised.

Square Enix is in talks with influential funding group Investissement Quebec, the report alleges, and has reached a “tentative agreement” on the CA$2 million grant. Finer details still need to be agreed on.

A Square Enix spokesperson was not available at time of going to press, nor was Investissement Quebec.

Eidos Montreal, which recently concluded development on the console blockbuster Deus Ex, would become one of the biggest game studios in Canada if the deal goes ahead.

Reportedly, Eidos Montreal will create the first hundred jobs by the end of 2012, with the remaining 250 employed by 2015.

Key to the deal is the generous tax break subsidies offered by the Quebec government, which offers studios a 40 per cent discount on production costs.

That generous tax policy has attracted a growing number of game publishers, most recently THQ, which is shutting down numerous triple-A studios across the globe in favour of a new mega-studio in Montreal.

Ubisoft and Electronic Arts together employ about 3,000 game developers across Montreal.

Square Enix apparently looked across various Canadian districts, such as Ontario and British Columbia, when debating where to build its new studio. It decided on Montreal after consultation, though the logistics remain unknown.

Eidos Montreal will either have to relocate to bigger offices, or buy more space, to incorporate another 350 staff. There is a chance both studios will be separately located.

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