Nour Polloni, director of Beenox Studios, has been waiting for this moment for over a year, the new studio was announced in March 2022. (new window)
As the pandemic and the context of remote work have proven particularly profitable for the video game industry, the Quebec company had already started growing in Montreal two years ago to meet certain needs.
It was important for us to have an office where people can come together.” A quote from Nour Polloni, director of Beenox Studios
The choice of the metropolis of Quebec was completely natural for the new studio, especially because of the large pool of talent, not to mention the high status of the video game industry with its universities and numerous training courses. The diversity of Montreal’s population was also an important factor for Nour Polloni, herself a representative of a visible minority.
Nour Polloni (center) has been working in the video game industry for 23 years. She began her career in France at Atari before becoming a producer for Beenox and rising through the ranks.
“For me it is valuable and important to spread this culture and increase diversity so that everyone has their voice,” she emphasizes.
In the heart of the city center
Unlike its cousins Ubisoft Montréal and Behavior Interactif, Beenox has chosen to locate in the city center rather than the Mile End district.
For what? For its dynamism, its accessibility by public transport – access to the Réseau express métropolitainREM, the subway and the train is from the underground city – and the idea of being at the center of everything is lived by the employees of Beenox in Greater Montreal, says the director, who has been with the company for 12 years, including three years at the helm.
You can also do your Christmas shopping right next door! she said laughing.
The new Beenox studio consists primarily of open workspaces, but also features a corner relaxation lounge that offers stunning views of downtown Montreal.
Maison Manuvie also wants to be a strategic choice for Beenox. The Montreal studio currently employs 100 people, bringing the total number of employees in the company to 500, and there is room for more, says Nour Polloni, adding that there are other opportunities in the building.
When asked what the growth goals are for this studio, the director of Beenox simply answers with a grin: We will see the opportunities [occasions] that present themselves to us.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III among the missions
Just like the Quebec studio, the Montreal studio is working on various productions of Call of Duty, one of the most popular first-person shooter games in the world.
The team is primarily working on the PC version of the remastered game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III, which will be released on November 10th, 12 years after the release of the original title. (new window)
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III” is the continuation of the work Activision began in recent years with “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II”, which will be released in 2022.
Photo: Call of Duty
We promise a state-of-the-art title, adapted to different graphics processors, from the least powerful to the most powerful. The studio has also doubled down on accessibility and developed features designed for people with motion sickness, audio sensitivity, and light sensitivity, among others.
“We always want as many people as possible to be able to play it.” A quote from Marc-Alexandre Boulanger-Milot, director of interface (in English: user interface, or UI) and user experience (user experience, or UX) of Beenox
Beenox, however, is stingy with details about the game’s campaign, but Marc-Alexandre Boulanger-Milot assures that it will please those nostalgic for the series. He specifically mentions the return of the Cold War zombie game mode and highlights the return of several iconic characters such as Captain Jonathan Price and Lieutenant Simon Ghost Riley.
When the team uses photogrammetry technology for Modern Warfare II – which offers an impressive graphical update of the city of Amsterdam – they don’t shy away from the landscapes that will be seen in the game’s sequel.
What is certain is that it is intended to be realistic, inspired by real events somewhere in the world, but integrated into fiction, states Marc-Alexandre Boulanger-Milot, remaining enigmatic.
An expected Warzone mobile game
Perhaps one of the most notable projects the Beenox team is working on is the highly anticipated Call of Duty Warzone mobile game. (new window)
I feel like we’re about to turn a page in history with the mobile version of Warzone. A quote from François Reimnitz, head of mobile user interface (UI) at Beenox
Call of Duty Warzone, a free-to-play online battle royale PC game, has had overwhelming success during the pandemic and its mobile version is highly anticipated by players, according to François Reimnitz: 45 million people have pre-registered to play the mobile Version received day one. The bar is high.Enlarge image (new window)
Beenox took advantage of the inauguration of its Montreal studio to present its new visual identity.
The game is more sophisticated than the PC version and will be cross-platform: items unlocked in the mobile version can be restored on the PC version of the game and vice versa, while retaining certain features specific to the smartphone, the team says.
“A person playing on PC will compete against people on PC, and people playing the mobile version will compete against others on mobile as well,” explains Marc-Alexandre Boulanger-Milot.
Activision has not yet announced an official release date for the mobile game, which was co-developed with Activision studios in the US, Spain and China, but there are rumors that a reveal is planned for spring 2024.
Dave Stohl, General Vice President of Call of Duty, accompanied by the Director of Beenox, Nour Polloni, the Minister of Economy Christopher Skeete and the President and CEO of Montréal International, Stéphane Paquet.
The mobile version of Warzone as well as Beenox’s PC expertise are one of the key elements that suggest this [Beenox] is becoming one of the most important players in the Call of Duty series, said Dave Stohl, general vice president of Call of Duty, who was in Montreal on Thursday for the studio’s inauguration.