By Gordon Lambie
Video game giant Ubisoft announced Tuesday morning that it will be setting up a new development studio in Sherbrooke over the next year. This will be the company’s fourth studio in Quebec.
Nathalie Jasmin, the Director of the new Sherbrooke studio said that the company has not yet settled on a specific location in the city, but that the hope is to open before March of 2022. She said that the studio will help to develop some of the company’s main gaming franchises and will contribute to the development of the most recent innovations in the fields of entertainment and technology. The studio will bring together a team composed of professionals from many areas of expertise, for a working staff of 80 over the first three years and 250 over the first ten.
“We’ll be creating jobs but we’ll also be investing in the different universities,” Jasmin added, pointing out that part of Tuesday’s announcement included $17 million for three programs to support youth training, entrepreneurship and innovation related to the company’s work.
Speaking of the jobs created by the new studio, Jasmin said that the positions will likely be a mix of new positions and employees relocated from some of the already-established locations. “We might have people who join from the Montreal or Quebec City studios,” she said, sharing that she has worked with a number of people formerly from the area who expressed an interest in moving back to the area if the jobs were there.
“The arrival of Ubisoft in the downtown area is a major development for our city and for our creative domain,” said Évelyne Beaudin, Sherbrooke’s new mayor. “Ubisoft is a model for innovation and community engagement, and the innovation that defines the company will now be found here.”
The possibility of a Ubisoft expansion gathered attention in Sherbrooke in 2018 but the city was ultimately passed over in favour of Saguenay. Asked about what brought them back to the location three years later, both Jasmin and Yves Guillemot, Co-Founder and CEO of Ubisoft, referred to a growing base of expertise coming out of local schools.