Deal with Quebec government fast-tracks development outfit that will host 400 jobs

THQ to open massive Montreal studio

Another big publisher has made the move to open a dev base in subsidy-supported Quebec, Canada – with THQ the latest to establish a Montreal studio.

The new studio, called THQ Montreal, will open in mid-2010. The studio will make titles for the publisher’s Core Games division, plans to create 400 new jobs and expand to include all sorts of disciplines including design, engineering, art, content and technology development, quality assurance and localisation.

In fact, THQ says the studio will become the biggest studio in its network of dev teams that employs 1,200 already.

THQ joins the likes of Ubisoft, EA, Eidos, Funcom and Activision in having a base in the Canadian province of Quebec. The state’s government offers notoriously generous tax breaks to multimedia companies – with up to 40 per cent of costs refunded to projects in the region.

It’s this well-built subsidy system which has helped the likes of Ubisoft Montreal flourish to create massive projects like Assassin’s Creed II alongside numerous others.

THQ will similarly benefit. In a statement, the firm said the move complimented its ‘ongoing efforts to develop the highest quality games in a cost-effective manner’ – last year, amid mounting losses, it pared back its studio business and restructured, jettisoning poor IPs.

“Montreal’s outstanding pool of creative digital media talent and its highly regarded university system makes this the ideal location to support our future product and technology development needs,” said Steve DeCosta, THQ senior vice president, THQ Core Games, Operations and Finance.

“Moreover, government support, in the form of reimbursable tax credits and other incentives, enabled Montreal to stand out as the best combination of creative talent and favorable economics of the cities we evaluated for our new studio.”

Danny Bilson, THQ executive vice president, THQ Core Games added: “We are focused on building hit franchises and achieving efficiencies within our studio organization and THQ Montreal will play an integral role in achieving both of these objectives.

“We expect to ramp up the studio over the next several years, with our first titles targeted for release in fiscal 2013.”

And the move has of course been praised by the Quebec authorities. Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade Clément Gignac, added: “We are pleased to welcome leading videogame publisher THQ to Montreal.

“THQ’s new studio represents a key investment by a premier video game developer and will create more than 400 highly-skilled jobs in Montreal’s technology sector, further enhancing our position as a leading center of creative talent and game design.”

The firm has appointed Dave Gatchel, formerly the general manager of THQ’s Paradigm Entertainment studio, to serve as the Montreal team’s GM. THQ has a studio on the Canada West Coast, Relic in Vancouver.

However the actual location for THQ Montreal has yet to be decided as the publisher is still scouting for locations.

We reported last month that more publishers were expected to open a studio in Montreal. Develop understands that THQ has been considering the move to Montreal for some time – it seems the firm’s recent strategy shift helped the firm make its mind up.

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