Considering the fact that MIGS takes place in Montreal, it seemed like a good idea to take a meeting with Quebec International. I mean, If anyone is going to have knowledge about the development scene in Canada, it would be them. Turns out, I was right. Quebec International is taking a keen interest in the indie gaming scene, and I got the chance to find out all about their most recent projects.
According to their website, Québec International’s mission “is to contribute to economic development in the Quebec City metropolitan region and enhance its international status. As a regional economic development agency, Québec International fosters business growth and development, supports key clusters and attracts talent and investment to the region.” In regards to the indie community, Quebec International has played a role in aiding five development studios so far, with more on the way. Those among them include Parabole, Chainsawesome, Nine Dots Studio, and Frima Games (developers of Chariot, seen in the featured image). Parabole is currently developing Kôna, while Chainsawesome just recently released Knight Squad.
Kôna is a good place to start, as the game actually takes place in Quebec (which is rare, for a setting.) In a nutshell, the project is a narrative-heavy episodic game set against a wintry 1970s backdrop. Players assume the role of Carl Faubert, a war veteran turned private detective working a new case which brings him to Atamipek Lake in Northern Canada. His client is a wealthy industrialist by the name of W. Hamilton, who accuses the local Cree community of vandalizing and stealing from his summer residence and hunting manor. The Crees, on the other hand, accuse Hamilton of destroying their land for profit. Kôna combines shooting and driving segments with careful sleuthing as players must uncover clues in what developer Parabole describes as “a modern survival title with the deep storytelling and puzzle-solving aspects of a traditional adventure game.”
Knight Squad, on the other hand, is an 8-player fusion of Bomberman and Gauntlet. The game features online multiplayer and numerous game modes, as well as multiple power ups and weapons. For more information about Knight Squad, be sure to check out the December issue of Indie Game Magazine.
Shifting the focus back to Quebec International, I spoke with Foreign Investment Director Julie Carrier and Business Development Director Mariona Ferrer about how their agency assists indie developers. They told me they serve as an incubator of sorts, giving devs the promotional support they need to grow, and also connecting them with other developers within the organization. Something Quebec International is very proud of, which Carrier and Ferrer point out about Quebec in general, is that development studios are both willing and eager to support each other with peer-to-peer aid. The developers enjoy paying it forward, offering encouragement to other upstart indies.
Montreal is already a major player in the gaming space, with numerous AAA and indie studios alike developing games in and around the city. The double-edged sword there is that it can sometimes be intimidating for an upstart indie studio to be the “new kid at school” in a big city, so it’s nice to know that places like Quebec International exist. For indie devs in the Quebec area looking to get to know their developer peers, I recommend reaching out to the QI community.