Introducing Haven, a new Montreal-based independent studio

1 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:01 ID: m6cdhe
Introducing Haven, a new Montreal-based independent studio
2 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:19 ID: gr4xtcf

Montreal really becoming a hub of gaming in Canada.

ID: gr53x7y

Significantly more affordable than Toronto or Vancouver and appealing to people in their 20's and 30's. Plus, I'm pretty sure the Quebec government has put forth policies that have encouraged development in this sector.

Also, once you have studios with strong track records in the area (and the talent that comes with that) it is easier to hire strong devs. Just look at Santa Monica as a hub.

ID: gr59j1h

Quebec has tax breaks specific for video game industry, which is why so many studio opens in Quebec.

ID: gr5jsr9

Becoming? Montreal has been a gaming hot spot for many years already and by far the biggest in Canada. FWIW, Quebec City is becoming quite big too.

ID: gr8kojy

Yup. It actually dates back to the 90s; Ubisoft (a french company) wanted to expand to the western hemisphere, and they were most interested in, obviously, the city in the US/Canada which had a high number of french-speaking citizens. Simultaneously, the city was looking to recover from some economic issues, and they ended up providing Ubisoft a pretty massive economic incentive package (something like a half-billion dollars). That led to the creation of Ubisoft Montreal, and their first set of hit titles including Laura's Happy Adventures, Alex Builds His Farm, Donald Duck: Goin' Quackers, Tarzan: Untamed, and, well, one year later, Splinter Cell.

ID: gr5qdvd

It's been like that for a while, it's mainly due to Tax breaks and good balance in costs of living vs wages. Quebec is also pretty big for game devs.

ID: gr6x7sp

Yeah, if you are trying to get cheap and young promising talent (combined with commercial real-estate prices) Montreal is a much better place to be headquartered than Toronto or Vancouver. Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, MTL doesn't have astronomical rental prices and is affordable to buy-in. Toronto and Van are both great cities, but how far a dollar goes when it comes to living accommodations makes it a harder sell to entry level employees without a pre-existing attachment to the city, unless you are entering fields where the top of the food chain is located there (such as Media, Finance, Corporate Law firms in Toronto).

ID: gr64frs

Hasn't it been this way for like 2 decades now?

ID: gr6d0kv

Ya I had friends working at Ubisoft/Gameloft in late 90s and then it increased from there

ID: gr6dmri

Yes nothing new

ID: gr61dd8

Even Mythic Quest had head office in Montreal, thought it was funny them calling etc but turns out it really is where the games are at

3 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:19 ID: gr4xuce

Why are Montreal and California the hot beds for developers that they are?

ID: gr4ykeq

Canada has some game-specific tax benefits I think to foster a community

ID: gr4yaxo

Tax breaks and silicon valley, respectively.

ID: gr618zw

Most studios aren’t Bay Area, but LA. Easy to get artists, animators, actors, writers, mocap studios, etc.

ID: gr6i0ds

You shouldn’t just chalk it up to tax breaks, thats just an incentive. Capital alone can’t produce a video game, you need access to capable labour.

There are a lot of good universities and colleges in Quebec and the nearby provinces, producing graduates good enough to do the work. For French firms there’s the benefit of Canadian Cost of living and workforce while also having a generally bilingual work culture.

Montreal is a city with lots of technology innovation in general, with many firms acquired or offices opened by foreign companies in the areas of AI and natural language processing, health tech and crypto.

Also It’s not like Silicon Valley isn’t in large part sustained by government throwing tax dollars at them. Many of the acquisitions the big guys make in robotics, AI and advanced engineering were started at an incubator or using DARPA funds.

ID: gr4yy0y

History for Montreal. They were an early pusher for having the industry there with tax breaks and what not. So once you've got the labour pool already there it's easier to make new studios, etc.

California is a hot bed for everything.

ID: gr5s4jg

It sometimes amazes me that Quebec had the foresight to develop a world class video game industry. It’s just so random.

ID: gr4yudg

Tax breaks, which makes it odd why PlayStation hasn't in all this time tried to set up a new studio there.

It's also partly why PlayStation's first party scene in the UK has been kneecapped over the years. A lack of tax breaks.

ID: gr65ny0

Canada is actually great at offering incentives for entertainment, a lot of shows and movies use Toronto for American cities. By being forward thinking in terms of games and having the right type of economy for it, Canada punches well above their weight in entertainment. Link from Canadian govt with some info. And well California is the entertainment capital of the world. I mean if you take Silicon Valley tech and meet it halfway with Los Angeles entertainment you get massive games studios. Sony's new global hq is in San Mateo, right in the middle of California. Also today if I want a job using unreal engine/maya etc, I could use those skills in LA to do video games, movies, or tv.

4 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:12 ID: gr4ww5v

For Jade's sanity, I hope this title actually sees completion. Can't be good for your morale hopping from cancelled project to cancelled project.

And I wonder what the numbers are like, for this new studio. Like, how many are from the Google / Stadia layoffs.

Additionally, I have always thought it strange how PlayStation has no presence in Montreal. Like, most major publishers have a studio there, and I had wondered when Sony would finally set one up. I mean, they still haven't, but this is pretty close.

ID: gr5f1xt

And I wonder what the numbers are like, for this new studio. Like, how many are from the Google / Stadia layoffs.

You know what would be amazing? If she were to take Shannon Studstill with her.

ID: gr5jxbd

I think theirs a chance Shannon will return to Santa Monica. Just speculating but she did good work on God of War, is currently out of a job(I think), so why wouldn't Sony hire her again if she applies?

ID: gr5jl83

To be fair, she recently was working for Google and they are known to cancel things, and Stadia was doomed from the start imo. PlayStation is Sony's biggest money maker so the chances of them cancelling a game are lower then say, Google. And if they already approved a game from this studio and gave them the funding then the chances of it being cancelled are even lower as long nothing real bad happens in development. So she's going to be fine imo.

5 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:08 ID: gr4wbhn

What games has Jade worked on in the past? I’m wondering what kind of game we can expect from this studio.

ID: gr4wo0u

Splinter cell black list and the OG Assassins Creed 1 and 2, and watch dogs are the notable ones. She was a producer and executive producer.

ID: gr5ude2

While it definitely had it flaws, the first AC was one of the most revolutionary games I’ve ever played. The movement, the parkour, the assassinations - it was a mind blowing showcase in the early HD era. I was probably 12 or 13 and being able to climb... everything was insane to me.

Shame the series got so same-y, but the fact Jade never became an A-list studio off the back of AC 1 and 2 is so unfair.

ID: gr4wsqt

Just had a look on Wikipedia:

The Sims Online (2002) Assassin's Creed (2007) Assassin's Creed II (2009) Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines (2009) Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013) Watch Dogs (2014) The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot (2015)

Producer for the first two, executive producer for the last five.

She was recently in charge of Stadia Games and Entertainment before Google shelved it.

ID: gr4wy2x

2007 - Assassin's Creed - Ubisoft - Producer

2009 - Assassin's Creed II - Executive producer

2009 - Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines - Executive producer

2013 - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist - Executive producer

2014 - Watch Dogs - Executive producer

6 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:16 ID: gr4xgag

Great to see Sony sticking to their word and trying to grow organically. It is a great relationship to build, and a new original IP sounds exciting.

ID: gr5vt87

Sony has always had great second party relationships, it has potential to be great!

7 : Anonymous2021/03/16 20:50 ID: gr5y61j

Seems like Sony may be investing in smaller independent studios, taking them out for a "test drive" before possibly investing in them later.

ID: gr6f95i

They've done this forever. It's how they've purchased pretty much all of their studios

8 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:55 ID: gr52riz

Happened with the rebirth of Kojima Productions and now Haven

9 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:32 ID: gr4zkl0

I hope it's a real new start for Jade Raymond.

She went from cancelled project/side studio to cancelled project (Google never took videogames seriously), at least Playstation is an empire where talented developers/indies CAN blossom (same for the switch)

ID: gr52nsz

I think there's a better chance than ever, Sony tends to lend help from their studios and share technology internally. It's a good development community to be a part of. Good for morale, great for technical support.

10 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:04 ID: gr4vtlu

Hopefully whatever it is actually ships

ID: gr4x0n8

It’s Sony. It’s shipping.

Unlike the fuckheads at EA.

11 : Anonymous2021/03/16 17:23 ID: gr56m1t

So is this an indie studio or is a new Sony studio? I know the article says indie but people is commenting like if this is a new PlayStation studio. (Sorry for the question, I just want to understand).

ID: gr5atc4

Independent studio, supported by Sony, kinda like Kojima. So they'll get an exclusive game out of the deal, but other than that it's mainly people who want or expect Sony to absorb the studio than a sure thing.

ID: gr67qw0

Ok, thanks for the answer!

12 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:45 ID: gr51eky

Good, Jade deserves some stability after all the bullshit she had to deal with

13 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:06 ID: gr4w501

That’s great news. Wish them all the best.

14 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:21 ID: gr4y2d3

Great news! Looking forwarding to seeing what they make.

15 : Anonymous2021/03/16 18:15 ID: gr5dq7c

Hopefully we get to see her full vision for the game she wanted to make. Like how Kojima got the make the game he wanted.

16 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:04 ID: gr4vub1

Jade Raymond is an amazing get for PlayStation. Proud of her.

17 : Anonymous2021/03/17 00:23 ID: gr6o20m

Yep. Montreal is one of the biggest hubs for game development in North America. Maybe just behind Santa monica

18 : Anonymous2021/03/16 16:20 ID: gr4y10k

Maybe if the new IP works out, Sony will acquire them

ID: gr4z4pl

I think that's basically the plan.

You don't go to so much expense in helping the founding of a new studio, and new IP, unless you also have plans for acquisition (providing the game fares well, critically and commercially).

ID: gr52t2h

I'm also curious to know the engine they'll use.


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