The convergence of video games and digital effects industries is not new. In 2005, Lucasfilm’s new Letterman Digital Arts Center was a way to bring closer together its video game division (LucasArts) and VFX studio (ILM) to share technical knowledge and creative power for added value. A new Indiana Jones title is one of the first projects of this new collaboration, for example by pushing the limits of the Euphoria engine from Natural Motion. Just last year VFX studio Digital Domain announced the creation of a video games division, right after working on the impressive Halo 3 trailer. One memorable result is the “Mad World” teaser for Gears of War. You can read more about it here.
The difference here is having a multinational video games company acquiring an established VFX house. In fact, Ubisoft has been working on building their own CG studio in Montreal (Ubisoft Digital Arts) to refine the cinematics of their production titles, as well as start short and long movie spin-offs using these same titles. The acquisition of Hybride is a huge leap foward.
But I’m no prophet. What will precisely happen with this acquisition is everyone’s guess. Having been an employee of Hybride for over 10 years, of course my thoughts go to everyone at my last employer; I’m more than proud for all the owners at Hybride that I’ve worked for during over a decade. I’m also very happy for my ex-colleagues that have exciting new opportunities with the added support of a new respected corporation.
Finally, as a VFX studio owner myself, this happening is extremely positive. It has brought Montreal in the limelight and shows the vigour of both industries. For Modus, Ubisoft’s ownership of Hybride gives us a new opportunity to differentiate ourselves. Not forgetting the immediate added value this transaction has brought for all VFX studio.
Exciting times are up ahead. Can’t wait to see!