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Video Games | The Korean studio behind PUBG is moving to Montreal



Krafton, the Korean video game conglomerate behind the global success PUBG, opens a studio in Montreal. Its mission: to bring to life a new blockbuster franchise based on a series of fantasy novels by Korean author Lee Yeong-do.

KRAFTON Montreal will be led by a veteran of the Montreal industry, Patrik Méthé, who has held numerous management positions at Ubisoft Montreal since 2005. He notably worked as game director for four episodes of far cry between 2011 and 2018.

Within three years, according to the press release to be published this Wednesday, KRAFTON Montreal will have some 150 employees. A dozen artisans, including veterans Benoit Frappier, Frédéric Duroc and Martin Paradis, have already been hired since last October. The premises have not yet been found.

Independent and financed

Bringing together so many experienced craftsmen, highly sought after by the studios in a context of labor shortage, is a feat that Mr. Méthé is particularly delighted with. “They are superstars in their field,” he said in an interview. The team we are building, I would not have believed that we would have been capable of it at this stage. »


Patrik Méthé, director of the brand new Krafton Montreal studio

One of the convincing arguments, he believes, is to “offer the freedom of an independent studio but supported by a public company. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

For its first project, Krafton Montreal will have the task of bringing to life the four books in the series The Bird that Drinks Tears, which made a splash in South Korea. Connoisseurs knew since September 2022 that Krafton was preparing the transposition into a video game. Particularly vivid – and bloody – footage of the preliminary concept art has been released on YouTube.

Pratiquement inconnue hors de Corée, cette série n’a même pas été traduite, précise M. Méthé. « À part PUBG, c’est probablement le projet le plus important de Krafton. Ils ont un attachement culturel profond. Peu importe ce que ce sera au final, notre critère de base, c’est la qualité. Ce n’est pas un ‟package” rapide pour faire de l’argent. »

PDG développeur

Il y a environ huit mois que des responsables de Krafton ont contacté Patrik Méthé, alors qu’il travaillait encore pour Ubisoft Montréal sur un projet qui n’a pas encore été dévoilé. Ce jeu de séduction a culminé l’automne dernier par une visite à Séoul, où il a rencontré le PDG de Krafton, Kim Chang-Han. Ce gigantesque conglomérat de studios indépendants de jeux est présent dans neuf pays et a une valorisation boursière de 8910 milliards de wons, soit 9,5 milliards CAN.

M. Méthé est tombé sous le charme de cet ancien développeur du jeu PUBG. « Chang-han Kim, ce n’est pas un homme d’affaires à cravate : pour lui, ce sont les joueurs qui comptent […] We are talking here about someone who is at the origin of a disruption in the industry. I had some successes, but that was on another level. »

Founded in 2018, Krafton now has some 2,000 employees. The Montreal studio is its third in North America. His greatest success, by far, is the game PUBG (formerly called PlayerUnknown’s Battleground), which became free to download in 2022. In this military shooter, in its Battle Royale form, 100 players, solo or in teams, fight to the last.

For the game based on the series The Bird that Drinks Tears, Krafton Montreal has a basic manual, a kind of bible of this fantastic universe designed by thirty artists in Korea. For the transposition into a video game, “we will work jointly with the world in place, but it is the Montreal studio that has the lead for the project”, specifies Mr. Méthé.

He gives himself a target of four years to deliver this game, with nuances. “We are so early in the discussions… He is a loose four-year-old.”

Montreal seems to have been popular for a few years with Asian video game giants, notably with Lightspeed Studios, TiMi and miHoYo, which have opened a branch there. How to explain this attraction? “The amount of talent that there is here, answers the director of Krafton Montreal. One of the things compared to Krafton, and compared to a lot of Asian studios, is that they have a lot of experience on mobile and PC, but not on console. We in Montreal have this experience. »

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  • 9 billion US
    Revenue generated by PUBG since its official launch in 2018

    source: game world observer

    1.1 billion
    Number of game downloads PUBG

    source: sensortower

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