Video game publisher THQ Inc. said Tuesday it is opening a studio in Montreal and has hired a big-name game designer from rival Ubisoft to help run it.
Patrice Desilets, who worked as creative director of Ubisoft's "Assassin's Creed" games, will start at THQ's new studio next summer. THQ said it expects to hire 400 employees in Montreal over the next few years, aided by a government subsidy that will cover 37.5 percent of their salaries, said Danny Bilson, THQ's executive vice president of core games.
As in the movie industry, how much game developers make depends on their experience, but a lot make six figures at the higher end, Bilson said. He added that Montreal, a popular hub for video game companies, will be THQ's largest studio.
Separately, THQ said it has extended two license deals — one with Zuffa LLC so that it can publish Ultimate Fighting Championship games through 2018 and the other with Nickelodeon to publish "SpongeBob SquarePants" games. Financial terms were not disclosed.
THQ has about 1,680 employees, according to Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based THQ slid 5 cents to $4.09 in morning trading amid a broader market decline.