WB Games ramps up Montreal studio

Latest foreign player to chase digital tax credits in Quebec

TORONTO -- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is the latest foreign player to chase digital tax credits and other lucrative government subsidies in Quebec.

The WB Games division is ramping up its Montreal development studio after naming Martin Carrier as vp and studio head, and Reid Schneider as vp and executive producer.

Carrier comes over to WB Games from Ubisoft Montreal, a major video game player in the city.

The WB Games studio, which opened its doors locally last spring and aims to get to 300 employees by 2015, is developing video games based on DC Comics and Warner Bros. properties.

Also in Montreal, Edmonton-based BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts, will double the workforce at its Montreal studio to 55 employees as it gears up to produce "Mass Effect 3."

BioWare, like WB Games, also put out a call for more programmers, artists and designers to feed a growing video game pipeline in the French-speaking province.

Quebec, like rival provinces, in recent years has combined traditional film and TV tax credits with new rebates for computer-generated special effects or animation to get, in the case of Quebec, the effective tax credit for visiting producers to a potential 41.2%.

British Columbia also introduced a new 17.5% interactive digital media tax credit for video game development to support Pixar, Electronic Arts and other major video game developers that have set up shop in Vancouver.

And Ontario introduced a computer animation and special effects tax credit, which rebates 20% of labor costs on local green screen work or 2D to 3D conversions, for example.
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