Paris, France-headquartered Ubisoft said Monday that it is opening a new "full development studio" in Toronto, Ontario, marking the company's first development presence in the province and creating 800 new jobs in the next decade.
Ubisoft called the opening "significant", as the government of Ontario is investing CAD$263 million ($226 million) over ten years. Ubisoft said its own net investment will amount to over half a billion Canadian dollars in the new studio, whose operations will start in late 2009.
"Today's announcement marks a strategic move for Ubisoft as we continue to expand our internal development force," said Yves Guillemot, president and CEO of Ubisoft. "We are in an excellent position to grow and after extensive analysis we are thrilled to have reached an agreement with the government of Ontario to open our new studio in Toronto."
Guillemot called Toronto "one of North America's economic and cultural epicenters," and expressed excitement for the local talent pool.
The studio is already two years in the works, Toronto officials said during an unveiling in the city on Monday.
Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat will oversee the new studio. Ubisoft Toronto will work on "triple-A" games, the company said.
"Ontario wants a bigger piece of the action, and it doesn't get much bigger than Ubisoft," said Dalton McGuinty, premier of Ontario. "This is kind of like landing a major Hollywood studio, only the video game industry is growing faster [than movies]."
Part of Ubisoft's attraction to Toronto was the established film production industry in the city. Ubisoft Toronto will play a key role in the convergence of film and games, the publisher said.
"Ubisoft Toronto will contribute to Ubisoft's global plan of extending its brands to complementary platforms and mediums, including books, comics, short films and other products," Ubisoft said.
Mallat said, "Toronto's unique pool of experienced video game and film industry talent will allow us to develop a team with exceptional ability to help us realize our goals for creating brands with universal appeal that extend beyond the world of video games."
The studio is the fourth for Ubisoft in Canada, where Ubisoft employs over 2300 workers.
"It's about jobs," said McGuinty.