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The studio’s leaders are game industry veterans Stéphane D’Astous (general manager) and Yohan Cazaux (gameplay director). They previously held roles at Square Enix and Ubisoft, respectively.
This is Quantic Dream’s first studio in North America, and it comes after the Paris-based company raised funding from NetEase in 2019. Quantic Dream has become a publisher of third-party games, and it also plans to publish its games on multiple platforms after creating exclusives (Detroit: Become Human, Heavy Rain, and Beyond: Two Souls) for Sony’s PlayStation consoles in the past.
The timing is good in part because Google just announced that it was shutting a studio in Montreal as well as in Los Angeles after it decided to stop making first-party games for its Stadia cloud gaming service.
D’Astous, former head of Eidos Montreal and founder of Square Enix Montreal, will be general manager of Quantic Dream Montreal. Cazaux, previously project lead game designer on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, joins him as gameplay director for Quantic Dream’s new projects in development.
Guillaume de Fondaumière, the co-CEO of 24-year-old Quantic Dream, will be chairman of Quantic Dream Montreal. He said that the studio plans to hire more than 50 people by the end of 2021.
Montréal International and Investissement Québec International are assisting Quantic Dream in their first international expansion project.
D’Astous began his career in aeronautics before joining Ubisoft Montreal as director of operations for a studio with more than 450 people at the time. (It eventually grew to more than 3,000 people). He then founded and directed Eidos Montréal for nearly seven years, where the team worked on games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. He also founded Square Enix Montréal before accompanying several international companies in their establishment in Quebec.
Cazaux worked for 14 years at Ubisoft in Casablanca, Paris and Montreal. In a blog post, D’Astous said he played games such as Heavy Rain and considers himself a “completionist,” having played games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Fallout 4 for nearly 240 hours each.
“Starting a studio is always a rare and privileged moment, the energy it gives me is unique, even if the work is never finished,” he said. “Sure, the logistical set-up is demanding, with building the team being the most crucial step; it’s an exhilarating feeling, I would say. The people at Quantic Dream in Paris help me a lot and I feel very well supported. And that’s important, even if I have expertise in the field, which is why I was offered to join the adventure.”
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