Ubisoft has announced plans to open a new development studio in the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi, making it the first major game publisher to establish roots in the Persian Gulf region.
The new studio is slated to open in December, staffed by a "core team of Ubisoft veterans" and local hires managed by 10-year Ubisoft veteran and recent Ubisoft Shanghai HR director Yannick Theler.
At first, the Abu Dhabi location will be focused on developing online companions to established Ubisoft franchises, but it will eventually create original titles "that will appeal to local and international audiences alike," according to an announcement.
The endeavor is a partnership between Ubisoft and Abu Dhabi's Media Zone Authority, twofour54, which will also help establish a full time "gaming academy" to train new developers in the region.
Ubisoft cited Abu Dhabi's technology infrastructure and educational institutions in choosing the new studio location, as well as the pool of skilled technical talent in the region.
"[Twofour54]'s commitment to developing a strong regional gaming industry and their knowledge of the region were the perfect foundation on which to continue building our development teams," Ubisoft executive director for worldwide studios Christine Burgess-Quemard said in a statement.
Last month, startup game publisher Red Stallion Interactive announced its would be focusing its efforts on serving the "growing appetite" for high quality games in the Middle East
Turkish social game house Peak Games has also seen success in the growing Middle East and North African market, recently raising $11.5 million in additional funding
to expand its operations.