Games Publisher THQ to Open a New Studio in Montreal

THQ is the latest games producer to exploit generous digital tax credits in Quebec


TORONTO -- Generous digital tax credits has lured games publisher THQ to open a new studio in Montreal.

THQ Core Games vp Danny Bilson told a Montreal press conference that former Ubisoft creative director Patrice Desilets (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Assassin's Creed) will head up the Montreal studio, which is to create 400 developer jobs over five years.

THQ is the latest games producer to chase lucrative tax breaks internationally, before landing in Quebec.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this summer announced its WB Games division would ramp up its Montreal development studio, with Martin Carrier coming over from Ubisoft Montreal to serve as vp and studio head.

The WB Games studio is developing video games based on DC Entertainment library and Warner Bros. properties.

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

THQ, WB and the rest of the games producers are busily searching for programmers, artists and designers to feed their video game pipeline coming out of Quebec.

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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