Recognizing that video game development is a worldwide phenomenon and that crosscultural appeal and reception is paramount, Japanese video game developer and publisher, Koei, decided to establish a Toronto studio in early 2001. Four successful years later, and Koei has since expanded its Toronto studio, entering the domain of software development and increasing to a team of 150 game developers.
Aside from being one of the economic, cultural and social cores of Canada, Toronto is internationally recognized as the most multicultural city in the world – exactly what Koei was looking to benefit from. As Yoichi Erikawa, Koei’s founder comments, “Toronto is a vibrant city with a rich cultural mosaic that provides the company with the necessary talent to develop games for a global marketplace. We want to move people to and from our offices in Europe and Asia so they can experience the cross cultural differences as well as gain skills from working in these different locations.”
While KOEI continues to be one of the top publishers in Japan, it firmly believes that success in the global marketplace requires product offerings that address the shifting needs of each region. KOEI Canada marks the company’s strategic globalization consideration, and the Toronto studio is helping to further their long-term objective to become “The World’s #1 Entertainment Content Provider.”
By establishing its North American operations in Toronto, Koei was able to benefit from a wealth of Canadian talent, closely neighbouring their fellowcompetitors Ubisoft (Québec) and Electronic Arts (British Columbia) to stay atop leading industry developments.
Koei Japan started in 1978 in Yokohama and it now has studios in 9 locations around the world. The company is best known for its “Warriors” action games (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors series), as well as simulation games such as “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” based on historical events in the novel of the same name. Koei has built a large base of titles for different consoles such as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, as well as handhelds such as PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. Subjects covered include action games, historic simulation, strategy games, neoromance games, adventure games, sports games and music games. At its Toronto studio, Koei developed “Fatal Inertia”, a futuristic aerial combat racing game. It also produced “Fatal Inertia EX”, “WARRIORS OROCHI” (Sony PSP version) and “Prey the Stars”.
Ontario ICT and Multimedia sectors
Ontario has more than 5,000 innovative ICT companies, including leading-edge software developers, trailblazing digital media producers, innovative telecommunications companies and brilliant microelectronics firms. Digital media draws on the best from the fields of creative content, computing and telecommunications – and Ontario excels in all three.
Ontario’s digital media industry:
- Employs 5,400 highly skilled and talented writers, animators, graphic artists, musicians, hardware and software developers and programmers
- Includes more than 710 companies
- Is one of the top producers of computer animation software in the world
- Among the better known companies there are Alias, Decode Entertain ment, Koei, Nelvana and Snap Media.
Ontario Education Facilities for the Multimedia Sector:
Institutions of higher learning play a significant role in the industry. In this respect, the Toronto area is uniquely positioned in Canada. Several colleges are particularly active in multimedia training and R&D, including Seneca College (Digital Media Centre) and Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning (Visualization Design Institute).
The following universities are also active in multimedia:
- Ryerson University offers six multimedia-related programs and three R&D centres related to the sector, including the Rogers Communications Centre.
- University of Toronto offers two multimedia-related programs and operates 11 R&D centres related to the sector, including the Knowledge Media Design Institute and the Interactive Media Lab.
- York University offers six multimedia-related pro grams and operates one R&D centre related to the sector (Centre for Vision Researc).
- University of Ontario Institute of Technology is now offering ICT courses.