Warner to open game studio in Montreal

Another 300-or-so video game jobs are coming north courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which says it will set up shop in Montreal - lured by government incentives and a birds-of-a-feather effect in the increasingly game-centric city.

Another 300-or-so video game jobs are coming north courtesy of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which says it will set up shop in Montreal – lured by government incentives and a birds-of-a-feather effect in the increasingly game-centric city.

The city is already home to Ubisoft’s largest studio in the world, EA Montreal and Eidos Interactive. Game publisher THQ Interactive said in December it will also open a studio in Montreal, creating another 400 jobs.

Tax credits and an additional $7.5 million that the province is putting into the Warner studio helped seal the deal. But Ian Kelso, president and CEO of the industry association Interactive Ontario, notes that incentives ‘can only get you so far.’

‘They’re the cost of doing business,’ he says, ‘It really comes down to the talent.’

Talent, he says, does more to anchor companies in a particular city or region. B.C. has long been home to game-making giant EA and others, and Ontario has recently begun to attract business, too.

‘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,’ he says. ‘You have communities of the 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.’

WBIE has published popular titles including Batman: Arkham Asylum 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.

The studio is expected to be complete by 2015.