Square Enix is a huge company that was born from not only the merger of Square and Enix, but also purchased other studios like Eidos. Today, Square Enix manages an the impressive catalogue of IPs including Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Tomb Raider. But where can one find Square Enix Montreal in all of this? On the App Store and on Google Play.
Physically, you’ll find them high up in one of downtown Montreal’s skyscrapers. Leah and I were invited to visit their 16th floor modern office to learn more about what they do and to try their latest relase: Hitman Sniper.
While Eidos Montreal is hard at work on AAA titles, the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to be precise, the team at Square Enix Montreal has a completely different mandate: to bring key franchises to mobile. Although it may seem like a more humble calling, Studio Head Patrick Naud is excited to create high end experiences on mobile. Let’s face it, the mobile game market is unforgiving and it’s hard to stand out from the lot. Combined with the challenge of working with well loved IPs such as Hitman, creating a game that mobile gamers will love while staying true to the original franchise isn’t all that easy. The Montreal team rose to that challenge brilliantly as the strategy board game Hitman GO was a great success and found itself among the App Store’s best app of 2014.
Patrick was enthusiastic to show us Hitman Sniper which had just been released on iOS and Android the day before. After playing a few levels of the competitive puzzle style sniping game, we can already tell this game is going to do well. As Patrick explains to us how to unlock and modify our guns, how the deep scoring system works, the challenges, the extra objectives and the many ways one can approach a level, I quickly understood that “high end premium experience” goes well beyond polished graphics and animation.
He explains to us how even though they are part of such a large family of game makers, the Montreal studio is actually quite small, with only about 40 employees working on about two or three projects. He says that, as a result, his team members must be agile and are regularly asked to step out of their comfort zones and help with other aspects of the game development.
So what’s next for Square Enix Montreal? Well find out at E3! Patrick will be on stage during the Square Enix press conference to announce the Montreal’s team new projects. yet another thing to look forward to at E3 2015!