Age of Conan Developer Funcom To Open Montreal Studio

Norwegian developer and publisher Funcom, which focuses heavily on massively multiplayer online games, will be opening a new studio in Montreal, Quebec. [UPDATE: Comments from CEO Tronde Arne Aas added.]
Norwegian developer and publisher Funcom, which focuses heavily on massively multiplayer online games, will be opening a new studio in Montreal, Quebec, assisted by Investisseement Quebec, the company announced today. French-language Canadian news sources Les Affaires broke the news, citing "several industry sources." Funcom develops and operates the MMOs Age of Conan and Anarchy Online, and is responsible for The Longest Journey series. Its next project is the modern-day conspiracy-themed MMO The Secret World. No details are yet known about the new office's size, budget, or projects, but Les Affaires claims the publisher will be holding a press conference today to officially announce its plans. The site quoted Stephane D’Astous of Eidos Montreal, another of the city's recently-established development houses, as confirming the news, saying he has met with Funcom personnel and welcomes more local game development. Montreal houses Ubisoft's largest development studio, as well as an Electronic Arts studio, the independent developer Artificial Mind and Movement, and numerous other game companies. "I like competition," said D'Astous of the expanding Montreal scene. [Update 2: According to a Twitter post by The Secret World director Ragnar Tornquist, "a large and important part of the TSW team will be located in Montreal." Added the designer, "I'll need to brush up on my French."] [Update: Funcom has officially announced the Montreal studio, which is being set up with assistance from investment firm Investissement Quebec. The studio will be headed up by Ole Schreiner, previously Funcom's VP of operations. "We are excited about the opportunity that Montreal represents to our company, not only because of the great incentives offered by Quebec, but also the authorities' strong commitment to training qualified video games personnel and building a video games cluster in Montreal and Quebec," said Schreiner in a statement. "Montreal has established itself as one of the world's most important locations for video game production, and we are looking forward to taking part in that success," said Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "In addition to strengthening our North American presence, the new studio will take advantage of the great incentive programs offered by the Quebec region, incentives that makes Montreal one of the most cost effective locations in the world for developing MMO games. This will in turn allow us to better balance our costs, making it possible for us to continue to expand our investments into the MMO segment."]

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