Another 300-odd video game industry jobs are heading into Canada, courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive. At press time, the interactive division of the entertainment powerhouse announced it was setting up shop in the country’s third-largest city, Montreal. Warner Bros. cited government incentives and Montreal’s growing video game animation and publishing community as reasons for the move.
The city is already home to French video game giant Ubisoft’s largest studio in the world, Electronic Arts Montreal and Eidos Interactive. Game publisher THQ Interactive said in December it’s also opening a studio in Montreal, creating another 400 jobs.
Tax credits and an additional US$7.3 million kicked into the Warner studio by the provincial government of Quebec helped seal the deal. But Ian Kelso, president and CEO of the industry association Interactive Ontario (another Canadian province ramping up its presence in the video game industry), says incentives ‘can only get you so far.’
‘They’re the cost of doing business,’ says Kelso. ‘It really comes down to the talent.’ And talent, he adds, does more to anchor companies in a particular city or region. ‘I think once you get established with an industry where you have very strong, viable clusters, you get networks established and those are hard to uproot,’ Kelso explains. ‘You have communities of talent, but also the support and infrastructures around that… There’s a lot of value created so that it’s hard to just go somewhere else and set up shop anew.’
Warner Interactive has published popular titles including Batman: Arkham Asylum based on the billion-dollar Dark Knight feature film, and the Nintendo DS hit Scribblenauts. Its new studio will work on product development, digital and cinematographic animation and quality assurance, along with adaptation and translation into various languages. It’s expected to be complete by 2015.
From Playback Magazine