Last week, Develop published an opinion piece by Firebrand CEO Mark Greenshields in which the former DC Studios head recounted his belief that Montreal is an inefficient place to do business in.
To say it whipped up controversy would be an understatement (check out the 30+ comments from former developers employed by Greenshields), but it wasn’t just our readers that were stirred by his criticism – Canadian gaming website Game Focus decided to get the other side of the argument and spoke to Eidos Montreal’s Stephane D’Astous, who said that Greenshields "totally misunderstands Quebec’s methods of attracting developers to Montreal."
He continued: "When people – in Europe particularly – talk about the gaming industry in Quebec and Canada, all they pinpoint is the tax credit, which is only a small part of the whole equation.
"The low cost of company operations, the talent, the growing of multimedia educational institutions and the cultural values between Europe and Quebec are all part of the success equation and we got that from the beginning."
D’Astous went as far as to say that the Quebec government was "visionary" when it created the tax credit programme ten years ago. But referring to Greenshields in particular, D’Astous said: “He’s jealous and that’s sad. I’ve read his comments and it made me smile.”
Game Front also asked EA Montreal’s Alain Tascan for his opinion on the comments, who said: "No matter what people say, Québec has a lot of talent and it has a big role to play when it comes down to develop a quality product. I can’t understand why would he go out and say that."
It’s an issue that polarises many in the industry: are Quebec’s tax credits fair? Should UK and European studios be fighting for similar tax breaks, or are those who say we should instead be fighting against Quebec’s tax breaks the right ones? Are tax credits even the issue? Let us know in our comments section, or e-mail your thoughts to email@example.com