Tue, Oct 25, 2011 | 17:48 BST
Ubisoft to open new Abu Dhabi studio in December
Ubisoft and twofour54, the Media Zone Authority in Abu Dhabi, have announced the upcoming opening of a new Ubisoft development studio in Abu Dhabi, which is the first time a major games publisher has established a direct presence in the GCC.
The Media Zone Authority in Abu Dhabi, an initiative by the Abu Dhabi government to create an Arabic media and entertainment hub for the Middle East and North Africa.
The studio’s slated to open its doors in December, with a core team of Ubisoft veterans who will help “train an initial team of local recruits,” while contributing to twofour54′s gaming academy, which is a new, full-time game development academy.
“We are excited by the partnership with twofour54,” said Christine Burgess-Quémard, executive director, worldwide studios at Ubisoft. “Their commitment to developing a strong regional gaming industry and their knowledge of the region were the perfect foundation on which to continue building our development teams.
“The demographics and the pool of skilled technical talent in the Middle East and North Africa region are key factors that will contribute to the success of this new studio.”
Ubisoft’s Abu Dhabi studio will start by working on online gaming titles in collaboration with other Ubisoft studios, and will eventually create original titles which will “appeal to local and international audiences alike.”
“Digital gaming has always been a priority sector for twofour54 and to partner with an international market leader such as Ubisoft is great news for the region’s gaming industry,” commented Wayne Borg, deputy CEO and COO of twofour54. “The digital games played by Arabs have traditionally been developed outside the region, which means that they rarely have a direct relevance to Arab gamers.
“Our agreement with Ubisoft will benefit the region in that it will enable the development of titles that resonate with the local population, whilst also building the skills of young Arabs to allow the region to create its own games and developing a gaming industry base here at twofour54.”
Yannick Theler, a ten-year veteran at Ubisoft, will manage the new studio. Yannick was previously Ubisoft Switzerland’s as marketing and sales director before becoming VP of business development for Ubisoft China and human resources director of Ubisoft Shanghai.