Eidos has tapped up former Babel Media Montreal exec Stéphane D’Astous to head the studio. Prior to his role at Babel, where he grew the UK-HQ’d localisation company’s base in the city, he worked at Ubisoft Montreal – so he’s used to building new operations for businesses run in Europe.
"I’m really delighted to be joining Eidos who deserve their worldwide recognition for some fantastic games. I look forward to establishing a brand new studio that will continue this legacy and develop triple-A, next-generation titles that will demonstrate once again the expertise and knowledge we have in Montreal," said D’Astous.
It’s the third studio the publisher, which is owned by UK firm SCi, has opened in the past 12 months – it recently established Eidos Sweden and Eidos Studios Hungary, the latter of which this week topped the UK charts with Battlestations: Midway. Its other studios around the world include Crystal Dynamics (USA), IO Interactive (Denmark) and UK-based teams Pivotal and Beautiful Game Studios.
Following an investment deal with Warner Bros, SCi CEO Jane Cavanagh told Develop’s sister magazine MCV in December that the company would be opening a studio in Canada. Going by those comments, a China-based studio will be next.
"This is a really exciting time for Eidos, we are actively looking for opportunities to further our drive to become a major force in global videogames publishing. Montreal is the ideal location to open a new studio because of its thriving game development community and favourable economics," said Bill Ennis, Commercial Director, Eidos.
Those economics are, of course, the Quebec province’s favourable tax credits, which after a year refund up to 37.5 per cent of the salaries for creative staff working at studios in the region.
"We are very happy to welcome Eidos, the largest video games publisher in the United Kingdom to Quebec. Our talented workers, competitive operating costs and the support of our government have enabled Quebec to become the sector leader in Canada and attract industry’s major players, like Eidos," explained Raymond Bachand, the Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade.
But in Montreal, Eidos will be in good company. The city plays host to almost 5,000 developers, working at the likes of Ubisoft Montreal, EA Montreal, A2M and a host of others. The first of those last week announced plans to significantly increase its capacity to over 3,000 developers by 2013. The city is also games HQ for Autodesk and Softimage.