'Assassin's Creed II' wins Canadian awards

Won best console game, game design and visual arts

TORONTO -- After lavishing tax credits on Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and THQ to locate here, Canada's now handing out trophies for franchise games to major video studios.

"Assassin's Creed II," produced by French game maker Ubisoft's Montreal studio, was the big winner Wednesday night at the inaugural Canadian Videogame Awards unfolded in Vancouver.

"Assassin's Creed II" won for best console game, best game design and best visual arts.

And EA's "Dragon Age: Origins" took home hardware for best writing and best game, beating out "Assassin's Creed II," THQ's Relic Entertainment game "Dawn of War II" and "FIFA 10," made at EA's suburban Vancouver studio.

And Toronto's Capybara Games won for best handheld game for "Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, "and best downloadable game for "Creature Crunch."

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada recently pointed to Canada surpassing Britain to become the third-largest video game developer, after Japan and the U.S. markets.

As with film and TV tax credits, provincial governments here have competed with each other to offer global game developers ever sweeter deductions and other subsidies to locate in their respective markets.

Ubisoft is especially big in Quebec and is about to open a studio in Toronto, while EA, Radical Entertainment and THQ dominate the Vancouver market.