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Eidos' D'Astous Talks Montreal Game Subsidies

As part of a just-published Gamasutra interview about Deus Ex 3 creator Eidos Montreal, GM Stephane D'Astous has been discussing Quebec game subsidies, resp
As part of a just-published Gamasutra interview about Deus Ex 3 creator Eidos Montreal, Gamasutra asked GM Stephane D'Astous about the issue of Quebec game subsidies in the face of recent criticisms of the tax break system from developers such as Silicon Knights' Denis Dyack. "People think that the equation is simply that people come to Montreal for the tax breaks. That mostly comes from other cities where they don't have such things. It's not just because of that. The Canadian dollar has gained more than 20% this year on the U.S. dollar! No one is talking about the fact that companies are still coming in and investing in Montreal. People don't come here only for the tax credits," he argued. The exec continued: "The testing we're performed used to be based in London. Can you imagine the cost, per square foot, for the amount of testers we have? The cost is five times what it would be here." D'Astous did, however, acquiesce that the tax credits were a "significant reason" for developers to move to Montreal, saying, "I don't want to minimize it, but I do want to show that the equation in choosing a city in which you want to develop is quite long... Money is important, yes, but talent is too. It's dangerous to simplify it down to just dollars and cents," D'Astous said, pointing out that 80 percent of his staff was from Quebec. With so many of his staff from Quebec and more still to hire, did he feel the possibilities for growth in Quebec were endless? "It depends on the business model. If someone like, god forbid, Vivendi wants to come here and instantly grow a thousands-strong studio, I would wish them good luck, as I don't think it would work. If I was asked to start a studio working on commercial titles with a twelve month cycle here I would slit my wrists. I wouldn't be able to attract people."

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