Ubisoft is one of the largest studios in the world in the development of video games with locations in 18 countries. It was founded in France in 1986 and established a studio in Montreal in 1997 with government help. Not often has this type of investment paid off the way it has but in Montreal, the studio has grown to over 3000 employees and is the creative drive behind many of the most popular games the company produces including Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry. Quebec fought for and won the location over the company’s first choice in New Brunswick.
Today, Ubisoft has five studios in Canada in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Toronto and Halifax. Ubisoft has closed operations in Charlottetown and notably, Vancouver. At present, there are no studios in western Canada although all four provinces have been lobbying hard for the company’s next major investment. That comes to a close today as it will be announced that Winnipeg will be the home to Ubisoft’s next studio.
Winnipeg will join the company’s world-wide 35 studios and 12,000 employees in producing the popular games that easily out sell the biggest movies Hollywood produces. The attraction to Manitoba likely came in two ways: the first was that the Manitoba tax credit film, media and sound was retained into the future. There was some question why the government of Brian Pallister kept this in the last budget. Now we know.
The 35-40% tax credit is a major selling point over the other western provinces. Just ask New Brunswick how they feel about losing Ubisoft to Quebec to know how big landing the company is. The second is: Winnipeg is home to a few winners in software development with Bold Commerce, Skip the Dishes, Invenia and Farmer’s Edge. It also as some creative producers in film and TV as well as Red River College to help attract talent. That is nothing to say of the theatre departments of University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba.
The company plans to invest $35 million in the province of Manitoba, creating 100 new jobs at the studio over the next five years. Winnipeg will be a co-development studio dedicated to developing tools and technology for their various video games. It will directly be involved in open-world games such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Watch_Dogs.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations