Canadaâ??s 37.5 per cent tax relief â??allows us to put all the money on the screenâ??

THQ: Quality is vital, and tax breaks can help

Game tax breaks are often backed on the argument they will stimulate employment, protect business and allow national dev sectors to compete on the global stage.

THQ exec Danny Bilson, however, thinks there is another, often overlooked benefit tax breaks offer to publishers: quality product.

“These days, only the finest games will sell to the kind of numbers we need them to,” Bilson told Develop, “so the tax break allows us to put more on the screen for the market.”

Bilson, the executive VP for core games at THQ, today announced the opening of its new mega-studio in Canada’s subsidy-supported Quebec region. The offices are expected to create 400 new jobs within five years.

“We have to compete at the highest level, and Montreal affords us that in two ways,” he said.

“The first is the 37.5 per cent tax credit that allows us to put all the money on the screen, and second is the great game development talent that’s up there.”

He said that THQ Montreal – set to be the publisher’s biggest studio of its global fleet – will build “two major original IP blockbuster games”, as well as undertake QA work, localisation and art in-sourcing.

Those two projects will be lead by a duo of decorated game designers; Dave Gatchel (formerly at THQ Paradigm Entertainment) and Patrice Désilets (formerly at Ubisoft Montreal).

Désilets is currently on a non-compete clause at Ubisoft that runs until May 2011, Bilson confirmed, meaning he won’t be employed by the studio until the deadline passes.

Bilson believes that Montreal is steadily growing into a focal point on the global stage, praising the increasing number of developers in the city, as well as neighbouring universities training in digital arts.

“Montreal’s community is really growing, and it is becoming this great talent centre to make games,” he said.

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