Watch Dogs creative director Jonathan Morin joins NetEase’s Montreal studio

Ex-Ubisoft employee Jonathan Morin has joined NetEase Games’ Montreal studio. As the studio’s creative director, he’ll be working on an unannounced game in a new setting for NetEase. 

NetEase opened a Montreal studio in 2019, as part of the Chinese tech company’s efforts to further its global expansion outside of China. It was originally formed for R&D purposes, but since Montreal is a hotspot for developer studios, transitioning to development may have been inevitable.

“I am privileged to join a passionate and talented new team to create our own IP,” wrote Morin in a press statement. “This is the beginning of something special for me and I cannot wait to say more.”

During his tenure at Ubisoft, Morin served as the creative lead on the first two Watch Dogs games. We spoke to Morin in 2014 ahead of the first Watch Dogs’ release about designing emergent gameplay. 

Beyond Morin, NetEase has brought on several industry veterans during 2022. NetEase has been letting these veterans form their own studios, while it’s simultaneously been acquiring (or investing in) already established ones. 

The first of these was back in January, when Yakuza creator Toshihiro Nagoshi left Sega to found his own studio with the publisher. 

More recently, producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi (of Devil May Cry and Resident Evil fame) left Capcom in August to join NetEase. Shortly after, the tech giant acquired Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream

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