In 1997, leadership from Ubisoft’s Paris headquarters was touring Montreal, looking for a new place to expand into North America. While cruising along St. Laurent Boulevard, the car stopped at St. Viateur Street next to the Peck Building.
Later that year, Ubisoft’s Montreal team of two moved into the top floor and has since expanded to occupy the entire building. Today, Ubisoft Montreal employs more than 3,000 people working in six different offices around the city, although the Peck building remains the most iconic.
The massive brick-and-beam denim factory was built in 1904 in the burgeoning garment district, known locally as Mile-End. From here the Ubisoft team works on the biggest titles in console, mobile and virtual reality gaming. This office in particular is responsible for For Honor, which had 6 million players from around the world joining the open beta phase right before the game’s launch.
The teams work from beautiful spaces filled with natural light and open sight lines. Game creation is a passion that the Ubisoft teams take very seriously, which often means long hours and late nights. The industry is driven by deadlines, so despite open concept work-spaces, teams are entirely heads-down in the incredibly detailed digital worlds they are creating.
Modern neighboring offices house additional teams, though collaboration is key for nearly every Ubisoft title—even with other Ubisoft locations around the world like Toronto.
Voice and foley recording studios are tucked inside a soundproofed department. Car-parts, unique floor surfaces and a plethora of mixed materials are on hand to create and record the games’ unique sound effects.
Staying in for lunch is no compromise with 3 independently operated cafés and cozy lounge spaces. Each floor includes a food-truck themed kitchenette, offering vending machines and storage for the brown-baggers. The Mile End neighborhood also offers a wealth of unique cafés and bars for lunch and after work celebrations.
The five massive floors presented both a design challenge and an opportunity. In 2012 Ubisoft opened a competition to the city’s design firms in search of a concept that would build engagement and creativity among its employees, improve retention of staff and attract new talent, and in turn help grow the company’s reputation and reach. In the end, Lemay’s design was selected, and the vision was executed.
Lemay met the challenge with their city in mind as each floor is inspired by a different Montreal neighborhood. The basement floor is the mock-subway, while the above floors are modeled after Montreal’s Chinatown, Downtown, Mount Royal and Mile End neighborhoods.
Ubisoft strongly believes that a more active workforce is a more creative workforce. That is why they offer staff access to a premium onsite fitness facility complete with personal trainers, nutritionists, yoga and spin classes, and massage therapy. There are even onsite doctors to ensure the health and wellness of the Ubisoft team.
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