This week, for perhaps the first time ever, the eyes of the gaming world have been on Eastern Europe. Not only has the region exported the star of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto IV but publisher Ubisoft have announced they are to establish a development studio in the city of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
Ukraine has long been of interest to the game industry and has numerous gaming-related companies in operation across the country. The city of Kiev has been chosen over other nearby cities because it has, in recent years, become a hive of activity with 100 of the 300 IT universities and institutions located in the capital. The new studio currently operates with a core team of 12 developers, however they are hoping to expand to around 50 in the near future by attracting some of the 7000 software graduates the city produces each year.
Ubisoft has had a presence in the region since 1992, when it opened a studio in Bucharest, Romania. The group then decided to open a studio in Sofia, Bulgaria in June 2006. If all goes to plan Ubisoft will have a total of 800 employees working in the region by early 2009.
“Having seen the potential demonstrated by the Sofia studio’s first projects [Rayman Raving Rabbids for PC, console versions of CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder], it was only natural for us to pursue our expansion in this region and attract a new pool of highly-skilled talents to the group,” said Christine Burgess-Quémard, executive director, worldwide studios at Ubisoft.
Initially, the Kiev studio will directly collaborate with Ubisoft Bucharest, primarily contributing to projects such as the PC version of Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.
[See also: Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X gallery]