New studio pulling in Ubisoft Montreal staff for next Splinter Cell project

â??AAA jobs onlyâ?? at new Ubisoft Toronto stronghold

Ubisoft’s newly-launched Toronto studio will concentrate its deep reserves of staff to work solely on AAA projects, and nothing else.

That’s according to Ubisoft Toronto general manager Jade Raymond, who offered a first glimpse of the new development stronghold in a wide-ranging interview with Gamasutra.

"Instead of starting a studio and working on small projects, Nintendo DS or portables, we’re starting out of the gate with triple-A only,” said Raymond.

“I think that’s the right strategy [because] it allows us to attract the best talent right off the bat.”

Raymond, once the producer on the original Assassin’s Creed project, started working for Ubisoft in 2004 when at the firm’s Montreal outfit.

Now having moved to the Toronto base, she outlines one way in which the new studio will begin to fill its huge capacity and quickly fire into production.

"All of the core team has relocated with me from Montreal," she said.

Raymond confirmed her team is now working on the next Splinter Cell game – using technology built at Montreal, no less.

In July last year, Ubisoft announced it was investing over $473 million in building the new studio in Canada, claiming it will create 800 new jobs over the next 10 years.

Ubisoft’s decision to establish a new studio of such enormity was partly influenced by being based in a region that offers comprehensive tax breaks.

Ample state support is a norm at Ontario. It offers such competitive production bonuses that its thought to be one of the reasons why neighbouring region British Columbia has seen its development workforce dry up.

Ontario houses studios such as Silicon Knights, Digital Extremes, Artech Studios, March Entertainment, Magmic Games and Bedlam Games – and a real test of game tax breaks themselves is in how much of these nearby independents will retain staff.

There is a fear that indie studios orbiting the huge strongholds like Toronto will eventually be absorbed by them. If such a concern came to fruition, would imply that tax breaks do not help all – just the biggest in the class.

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