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Video game: Stars align for new player Yellow Brick Games

Some will say that making the leap into business during a pandemic is bold, even risky. But for the artisans of Yellow Brick Games, a new independent video game studio based in Québec City, the stars couldn’t have been better aligned for their launch.

Original Article (French only) : Le Soleil

With telework becoming more widespread, players are at home. They therefore have more time to test out newly released productions. PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles recently entered the market. “All this converges and has been downright positive for a studio like ours,” says Thomas Giroux, co-founder and president and CEO of Yellow Brick Games. The company will soon have its space in the heart of Saint-Roch.

In an industry that is self-admittedly changeable, this company that has proven itself with the giant Ubisoft was in the mood for renewal. It believes it is able to play the game.

The launch of the studio has had a particularly significant importance for Thomas Giroux. The logo used for Yellow Brick Games is in honour of his daughter Dorothée, who passed away from cancer.

“She fought against cancer for two and a half years and has earned the name Warrior Princess. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to vanquish the disease, so we decided to bring her into the adventure. She is always there, like a guardian angel reminding us to take it one day at a time and make the most of it,” he says emotionally.

The Yellow Brick Games logo is in honour of Thomas Giroux’s daughter, who passed away from cancer. She was nicknamed Warrior Princess.

“Artisanal” philosophy

It’s clear to him that he will make the most of it, surrounded by his creator colleagues. With the aspiration to create high-quality next-gen titles, four “veterans” from major video game studios teamed up in “third gear” to launch Yellow Brick Games.

The foursome includes Thomas Giroux, Jeff Skalski, Mike Laidlaw, and Frédéric St-Laurent B. All have left their mark at well-known studios like Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and BioWare, where they contributed to the worldwide success of franchises such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed.

The team already has a staff of 15 employees. Yellow Brick Games will of course grow in the coming months, before reaching the “ideal number” of 50 workers within the next few years, without forgetting the “artisanal” production approach at the heart of the new company’s vision.

“In a big company, creative decisions become more complex, so we had this desire to go back to taking the project in our own hands. We want to focus on this ‘back to basics’ philosophy focused on the enjoyment of creating new gaming experiences in a more flexible environment that an independent studio can offer,” mentions CEO Thomas Giroux.

The Québec City “flagship” 

“What we’ve just launched wouldn’t have been possible in Québec City 15 years ago, since only big studios were able to develop international-quality projects,” recalls Thomas Giroux.

But since then, the reality has changed, he explains. The growing “passion” for video games has allowed Quebec to carve out a place for itself on the market.

“For the past decade, there has been a strong interest in creation, and major publishers like Microsoft and Sony are constantly seeking new content. Major studios can’t meet the demand, so independent studios are born. And that works since we know that the talent is here in Quebec. We are quite popular these days.”

Yellow Brick Games promises to confirm the province’s position on the world entertainment scene next year. The studio will have its work cut out for it with the development of its first original title for the next generation of gaming platforms.

Although he has remained silent regarding the content of this “colossal-scale” project that should come out in three years, Thomas Giroux hasn’t concealed his enthusiasm. “We’re like kids—there’s a big industry player who totally believes in our project.”

While waiting for its first game to be released, Yellow Brick Games is envisioning a “product equivalent in quality to AAA games.”