Danny Bilson, the group’s core games executive vice-president, and Dave Gatchel, leader of the Montreal studio, have also confirmed rumors of Patrice Desilets’ arrival at THQ as one of Montreal’s most recognized game creators. “This studio represents the next step in THQ’s drive to create games of the highest quality.” says Danny Bilson. “Montreal is where we’ll be developing our biggest and most expensive games.”
Patrice Desilets was creative director at Ubisoft Montreal on Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and the Assassin’s Creed series. “He’s a key player in our industry.” says Danny Bilson. “His job is to build the first team responsible for the development of our future intellectual properties. We want our games to come as a result of artistic inspiration and we want to provide our artists with the best possible environment for them to create the games of their dreams.”
THQ is known in the gaming industry for being among those who value transmedia strategies the most. The province of Québec and Montreal offer opportunities through their cultural industries that the studio’s leaders intend to take advantage of. “It’s very possible that we’ll be working on our intellectual properties with Montreal companies.” says Danny Bilson.
He adds: “We’re looking for partners; we don’t fund this kind of undertaking. I think that we’ll be able to find good contacts here, especially in computer animation. We’ve never hidden the fact that Montreal’s digital community weighed so much on our decision to move to Montreal.”
Danny Bilson does not elaborate on the kind of games that will be developed in Montreal. “We just want to make the best games around.” he says. THQ shows an obvious taste for third-person shooters and action games. It is also safe to expect games that will rely, first and foremost, on playability supported by story-telling.
“What really matters to us is to give our developers a lot of freedom.” says Danny Bilson. “You’ll never see our marketing department telling our artists how to do their job. Instead of that, we’ve merged the marketing and the development teams in order to ensure that the guys in marketing understand the intended in-game experience and come to us with a marketing campaign as original as the game itself."
In 2009, THQ announced its intention to make Montréal its flagship studio. Although the company intends to hire between 300 and 400 employees over the next few years, the company’s management is fully aware of Montreal’s challenges when it comes to human resources. “We are very excited by the Montreal market.” says Lenny Brown, THQ’s director of creative and business development. “We are also aware that it’s a very competitive market and that we’ll have challenges to face when it comes to hiring.”
This is the reason behind THQ Montréal’s decision to focus on the artistic aspects of game making. “Our plan is to use the studio to hire artists and to use them instead of handing the work over to third parties.” says Lenny Brown. “So far, our tendency has been to outsource the artistic components of our games to companies in China and elsewhere.”
THQ’s major projects have encouraged it to strengthen its production capacity. “We have an MMO coming up, another Warhammer 40,000 game, which will be developed in Texas. So, we want to have a studio where we’ll be able to easily control what’s being done." says Lenny Brown.
Only after this will THQ realize its full potential in Montréal. “We hope to produce a couple of original intellectual properties once the studio is running at full capacity.” says Lenny Brown. “That’s our plan for the long run.” [July 1, 2011]
Send this IT news to a friend