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Video game design company Ubisoft Halifax expands to new studio

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Video game design company Ubisoft Halifax is expanding to a new studio in downtown Halifax and the move is seen as indicative of the growing video game industry in Nova Scotia and the Maritimes.

Ubisoft is the company behind popular games that include "Assassin's Creed" and "Just Dance." The Halifax satellite studio specializes in mobile games for your phone.

"The quality of life in Halifax has been so good and the fact that we can get really good graduates, really good people coming out of the universities around the area is great," said Marcelo Careaga, studio manager with Ubisoft Halifax. "It's a great place to attract talent from around the world and it's a great place for us to build into something new."

There are more than a dozen video game studios operating across Nova Scotia, employing more than 300 people, with 80 of those employed by Ubisoft.

Careaga says there's a level of collaboration right across the industry in the region that you don't see in other places.

"There is a good community of practice in Halifax and in Nova Scotia, of companies that want to jump into it, and individuals as well, that want to be part of the gaming community," said Careaga.

Part of the draw to developing video games in Nova Scotia is the province's digital media tax credit, that's helping to grow the industry and attract new companies.

"There was a risk years ago when the film credit was cut," said Sam Robichaud, a faculty member with the NSCC game development program.  "We were concerned they were going to cut the tax credit as well and we actually funded a study to prove the tax credit is actually a benefit to Nova Scotia."

Halifax may not be as big as Montreal and Toronto when it comes to the video industry but for these insiders, it seems the Maritimes are on the cusp of something big.

"When people come from other gaming hubs I think they are surprised by how much interaction there is between the studios and how much we work together," said Robichaud.

For Ubisoft Halifax, it's time to celebrate the opening of its new studio and they are excited about the direction of the gaming industry here.

"I really want the people here to have the best conditions possible and the best environment possible to make the best games we can make," said Careaga.

For the latest Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated provincial page.

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