We already know that the video game development landscape has undergone massive changes over the past decade or so. A business that was once tucked far away in Japan is now worldwide, far closer to home, and bursting with young, yet familiar, talent.
That makes THQ’s opening of a new studio in Montreal all the more exciting, especially since it’s coupled with the revelation that UbiSoft’s former creative director, Patrice Désilets, will be heading on over to THQ’s brand-spanking new studio next summer.
Désilets is the mind behind Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. That’s quite a resume. What’s more, Danny Bilson, the Executive Vice President of THQ’s Core Games, says that Désilets will be put to work as the head of a new development team that will create new IPs.
Is UbiSoft, the King of Montreal (a title that has yet to be made official by the Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II), a little worried about this interloper? How about the fact it’s headed by a defector?
No doubt the company’s staff is a little rattled, but it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that they’re a bit exhilarated, too. This is some heavy-duty competition, something the games industry always, always needs. Original IPs is something that it needs even more–especially from behemoths like UbiSoft and THQ. The indies are coming out with fantastic ideas, but the big guys are content to lean back on familiar faces. The comfort of a sure sale is a powerful siren song, but it’ll burn out sooner or later. If Désilets really does come up with THQ’s next big idea, no doubt UbiSoft will be motivated to push itself a little harder.
Either way, the opening of a new games studio can hardly be construed as a negative thing. Studios are popping up; the gaming scene is healthy. New job opportunities are budding for young developers in Canada, America, Mexico, and abroad. And we can follow the progress of exciting new projects without flying overseas or running into a language barrier.
Well, except for French, of course. Zut.