Inside Eidos

LogoEidosMontreal

I’ve long been aware that Eidos has a studio near my apartment in Montreal. My Professor for Advanced Seminar in Design, Patrick Fortier, currently works at Eidos as a designer, and always has interesting stories and anecdotes to tell us about life in the studio. But beyond that, Eidos is pretty well known. Anyone who doesn’t already recognize the company itself may recognize some of it’s very popular AAA titles, such as Deus Ex, Thief, Tomb Raider or TimeSplitters. So when an opportunity presented itself to take a tour of the Eidos Montreal studio, I quickly signed myself up.

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The Eidos studio is located in downtown Montreal, just south of the Place Des Arts centre. It’s housed in a rather large urban building, and occupies the sixth and seventh floors (Or fifth and sixth if you’re a non-American). Having toured Ubisoft Montreal earlier in the semester, and my expectations were for something similar. Like Ubisoft (and Minority Media, where I work as an designer intern), the spaces in Eidos are adorned with memorabilia from and inspired by their games. In the lobby that we entered from the elevators there stood a glass case which housed a full-sized Adam-Jensen-Deus-Ex-Cyberpunk-Synthetic-Robot-Arm-Thing (which looked like it was made of real carbon fibre?). Very cool.

As our guide met us and we began to venture through the studio, I began to get a feel for the atmosphere of the place. It was not like Ubisoft. It was quieter, more introverted and introspective. There were no people bustling around the studio or huddled about in conversation. Just a lot of people quietly working with headphones on. We first passed through the QA Tester area, which comprises approximately 90 of the 400 people employed at Eidos. (Quick rundown: 400 employees, 90 full-time QA Testers, 250 Devs, 30 Administrators, and the other 80 were not mentioned but I can only assume they work full time to put up countless Deus Ex and Thief posters on all the walls.) We also visited Eidos’ own in-house motion capture (mocap) studio, which was awesome, and really looked like a room that might exist in the Deus Ex world with it’s line of computers and pulsing cameras that dotted the ceiling.

tomb raider

We wrapped up the tour with a little presentation on the history of Eidos. This included its acquisition of Tomb Raider, its acquisition by Square Enix, and the launching of the Eidos Montreal studio (which I believe to be the biggest branch of Eidos). We had a brief Q&A that was informative but did not last as long as I wanted, and that was that.

Overall, it was a cool tour. As always, I would have liked to interact more with the developers and see some of the work that is being done, but since the developers are busy and the work is probably confidential, that’s probably a bit much to ask. Even still, it was an informative tour of an awesome company that makes some awesome titles, and it was inspiring to see the people behind these great games in action.

 

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