Obvious fact: Montreal is one of the largest video games industry hubs in the world. Behaviour Interactive, EA, Ubisoft are three that many know, but according to one website, there are 140 identifiable studios in the city. No surprise, then, that one the largest technical conferences on the American East Coast, MIGS, The Montreal International Game Summit, takes place here. Developers, producers, exhibitors, and all those who have a stake in Montreal’s marmite of video game creation turn up.
One of the highlights of the fest is the opportunity to see new games by professional (AAA) and indie producers. The companies come here from around the world — Canada mostly, but also the US, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, France, Colombia, and Argentina. There are lots of local companies to keep an eye on. Miscellaneum Studios makes games that focus on marginalized communities in a non-stereotypical manner. North Side was kickstartering its point and click, voice activated adventure game Bot Colony that vaguely resembles Zork. Neonable will be showing Bootleg Systems, a retro sci-fi first person shooter game. Surreal, emotional adventure Anamorphine will likely be the featured game of Artifact 5 studio. MERJ media has a hotly anticipated breakdancing game in the works, called Floor Kids. Manavoid’s game Epic Manager puts you in the role of CEO of your own Adventuring Agency.Q8ISMobile which is releasing Blob Dash. Aquarealms games is offering Under the Sea, a cooperative, tactical adventure. Cardboard Utopia successfully used kickstarter to fund its game Children of Zodiarcs. There are over 91 exhibitors, so that’s just a sampler.
In terms of conference sessions, there are six “conference tracks” at the event: design, production/project management, business and marketing, visual arts, audio, and programming/technology. Each track has multiple hour-long presentations over the weekend, complete with Q&A. In addition, there are two keynotes, the CEO of Iron Galaxy Studios Adam Boyes and Supercell’s Timur Haussila. Boyes’ keynote is The Gaming Goldrush while Haussila is speaking about game development.
One new change is the arrival of the Video Game Bar Association (VGBA). This organization will have two days of sessions on legal topics such as ratings compliance, the drafting/negotiation of contracts, privacy, and intellectual property.
For those industry types, this event provides opportunities to learn how to improve your skills through workshops. One of the most popular is the Women in Gaming Workshop run by Unity Technologies. They fill quickly, though. There is also a Mentor’s cafe, where industry veterans given mentees 20 minutes of time to share their knowledge, skills, advice, and truths.
If video games are your passion or your future, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
MIGS16 takes place on November 13-15 at Palais de Congres. For info and tickets, click HERE. Access to the expo zone is just $30.