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Ubisoft's New Toronto Studio Takes on Splinter Cell

| 25 May 2010 21:07
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Ubisoft has taken the wraps off its new studio in Toronto, where it will be developing the next entry in the long-running Splinter Cell series.

Despite being a new studio, Ubisoft's Toronto facility has been handed responsibility for the creating the next Splinter Cell game and according to general manager Jade Raymond, it will work exclusively on triple-A titles and not pursue smaller projects at all. "Instead of starting a studio and working on small projects, Nintendo DS or portables, we're starting out of the gate with triple-A only," she told Gamasutra. "The reason that I think that's the right strategy is that it allows us to attract the best talent right off the bat."

Along with Raymond, management at the studio will include Ubisoft Montreal veterans Maxime Beland, Rima Brek and Alex Parizeau, and Lesley Phord-Toy, who came over from Montreal studio A2M, the developer of Wet. "Toronto is a very diverse city and it's a great place to make sure we have a culture where we can tap into people's different backgrounds," Raymond said. "I think the challenge is more just in not going too quickly, instead making sure that even though we have these grand ambitions we make sure to choose the right people."

Beland added that the goal of staffing Ubisoft Toronto isn't just to fill seats but to bring in people from outside Ubisoft who can bring a new perspective to the process. "Something I'm looking forward to on working on a big game like the next Splinter Cell is that we'll be able to get really experienced people from outside Ubisoft," he said. "It's going to allow us to learn from different mentalities. Having been at Ubisoft for eleven years, I know exactly how Ubisoft makes games, but I want to surround myself with new people that bring in new ways of making games. I think that's going to be very interesting: As much to teach and mentor new people, but also for us to mature and grow as developers."

Ubisoft Toronto will also be working on another major project alongside Splinter Cell; no indication was given as to what it will be but Phord-Toy said having two teams presents the studio with unique opportunities for hiring and moving people between projects as they're needed. "As we've been doing the recruiting, the kinds of people that we're looking for on Alex's team don't necessarily match up to the kind of people I'm looking for," she said. "We're not competing for the same resources, and from a strategy point of view it forms an interesting opportunity to bring another group of people into the studio."

The studio hopes to build up to a staff of 800 over the next decade and currently has 2000 resumes to sift through. There's not much to see right now but if you're interested in learning more or maybe throwing your name into the hat, take a look at toronto.ubisoft.com.

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