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Square Enix Expands Montreal Team + Opens New Studio (Interesting Hitman News Inside)

Things are going good for Square Enix ever since the company bought the remnants of Eidos back in 2009.  Unlike most mergers or major acquisitions, Square Enix didn’t cannibalize what was left of Eidos but instead decided to nurture the company and make it an integral part of the Western centric goals that Square Enix has.  With the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution being a success for both Square Enix and the team at Eidos Montreal, Square Enix has revealed their plans to strengthen the development team in Montreal as well as what the future holds for the team.

Square Enix has announced that they will be expanding the team at Eidos Montreal with over 100 new positions.  Such a drastic size upgrade is required as the studio will now be working on a yet to be announced AAA project in conjunction with their work on Thief 4 and continued development with the Deus Ex franchise (DE4 quasi confirmed).  Not only is Eidos Montreal going to receive a major upgrade in staff size, but Square Enix has also revealed that they will be opening an entirely new studio in Montreal set to open next year.

Square Enix Montreal is being positioned as an entirely separate entity from the core team at Eidos Montreal and will be tasked with creating high-profile games.  The team at SE Montreal will be rather substantial as it’ll have at least 150 positions, which would at least allow it to tackle one major title or two titles at once depending on how things are split up.  One of the titles Square Enix Montreal will be tasked with developing is a future installment in the Hitman franchise. Yes, Hitman Absolution hasn’t even come out yet but Square Enix is already banking on the game being the next big thing, thus both IO Interactive (the original Hitman team) and SE Montreal will be developing Hitman games for the foreseeable future.

I don’t know what to think about Square Enix Montreal developing a new Hitman game.  In no way am I questioning the talent of those lucky enough to get gigs at the studio, but having Hitman become a possible yearly franchise could be a bit much.  Perhaps Square Enix is over estimating the reach and potential market status of Hitman Absolution since so far the game has some gamers extremely split down the middle since it’s a more casual centric and linear Hitman experience.  The one possible good thing about this news is that it may allow IO Interactive to do a random project here and there like a new IP or possibly a third installment in the Kane & Lynch franchise, which as a whole has been rumored for some time.

What I do find interesting is what the new AAA project out of Eidos Montreal will be.  Supposedly the franchise isn’t the long sought after FFXII spin-off game Fortress since Square Enix Montreal will be dealing with Western franchises for the time being.  In a perfect world it would be nice to see Square Enix finally go back to the roots of Eidos and release a new installment in the Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver series, but such a thing may be as far-fetched as expecting Polyphony Digital to stop making Gran Turismo games and do a new Omega Boost title.

It could be possible Eidos Montreal is crafting a new IP for the next-gen consoles since we all know that the next-gen Xbox could be dropping sooner than expected.  After seeing how Deus Ex: Human Revolution came out I feel comfortable in expecting great things from Eidos Montreal so it’ll be exciting to see whatever the studio has in store for us.

With how dire the video game industry can be sometimes, it’s nice to see a company actually grow and add jobs instead of reducing them.  Square Enix may not have had that much of a presence from its Eastern studios, but at least the West is still representing via Eidos Montreal and the newly formed Square Enix Montreal. I just hope in three years I don’t find myself writing a sad article about how both studios have been closed due to poor direction at the hands of Square Enix.