Dubbed a “video game Mecca”, though you may not know it, Montréal is one of the most prolific cities in the world when it comes to producing video games! It ranks 5th in the world for video game development, bested only by Tokyo, London, San Francisco, and Austin.
That’s why we decided to come up with our list of the 5 best games to come out of The City of Saints.
In fact, there have been so many great titles to come out of the city that we had trouble narrowing the list down to just 5!
Batman: Arkham Origins
Few characters, fictional or otherwise, can boast quite as rich a gaming history as Batman.
The first Batman video game was released in 1986 on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and there have been at least 50 more Batman titles in the years since. On every console and device you could imagine, from the PS4 to the Commodore 64—if you could play games on it, you could probably play a Batman game on it!
Nevertheless, there have been few, if any, incarnations more acclaimed than those in the Arkham series. The third in the series, Akrham Origins, developed by WB Games Montréal and released in 2013, won the praise of fans and critics alike.
Origins takes players back to the days of a younger, more naive Bruce Wayne. The game sees the Batman still developing his skills and notoriety, and go up against a roster of familiar foes from Bane and Killer Croc to the inimitable Joker.
Featuring an open-world Gotham City for players to explore, and a utility belt filled with Batarangs, smoke bombs, and of course, his trusty grapple gun, the game delivers the Batman experience in its entirety. For anyone that grew up wishing to be Bruce Wayne, cleaning up the streets of Gotham, there can be no other choice.
Since bursting onto our screens and into our collective consciousness in November of 2007, the Assassin’s Creed brand has gone on to become a true industry juggernaut.
In the 12 years since its release, we have seen a further 10 major installments of the game and 20 overall—and that’s not even beginning to count the books, comics, board games, film and even a rumored Netflix series that have all spun off the main series!
Over the course of the past decade, the series has taken players to a wide range of historical settings, from Colonial Era North America to Ptolemaic Egypt, with a quick stop in between for a chat with Leonardo Da Vinci in Renaissance Florence. And that’s just three of the games!
Where, however, would the series be without its initial offering, simply and aptly named Assassin’s Creed? Set across fictionalized versions of 12th Century Jerusalem, Damascus, and Acre, the game introduced fans to the shadowy opposing forces of the Assassins and the Templars, whose struggle would become the core of the series.
It also introduced fans to its signature mix of stealth and parkour used to carry out assassinations. While the game can perhaps look a little rough around the edges when looked back on today, it nevertheless developed a blueprint not just for the Assassin’s Creed series but for an entire genre of stealth-action titles.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
In at number three is another veritable gaming dynasty: Tomb Raider.
Starring, of course, Lara Croft—a figure that must surely rank among the likes of Mario and Sonic in the rarefied halls of gaming royalty—Shadow of the Tomb Raider, released in 2018, marked the final installment of the Origins trilogy reboot of the series.
Largely considered by fans and critics alike as one of the more successful modern video gaming reboots, much as the title implies, the series takes players through Croft’s origin story: as she grows from a young, fresh-faced explorer to a slightly older, still relatively fresh-faced explorer-adventurer.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider in particular garnered significant praise, both for its grounded and engaging storytelling as well as its gameplay, featuring a mix of both puzzle and stealth elements. Set in the jungles of Latin America, both the narrative and environment were based on Aztec and Mayan mythology and developed in consultation with historians and those local to the region.
While certainly not the most well-known title on the list, Jotun is still a unique and fascinating game that may just have slipped the radars of some.
A labor of love from developers Thunder Lotus Games, the game was initially released on PC in 2015 following a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised over CA$ 64,000. This initial launch has since been followed with subsequent releases on PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Based heavily on Norse mythology, the game features a remarkable visual style of hand-drawn, frame-by-frame artwork. While time consuming and costly in production, the result is a visually striking game that “shine[s] with a charming cartoon glow”.
Players take the role of the young Norse warrior Thora, who, having suffered an “inglorious death”, finds herself stuck in a purgatory-like state. The game then follows her as she explores the realms, defeating Jotuns (huge mythical creatures of great power) to prove her worth to the gods and enter Valhalla.
Watch Dogs 2
As slick and stylized a series as you will find, the Watch Dogs Series drew massive attention from the moment it was announced at E3 2012.
The game stood out in the crowded field of open-world video games by offering players the unique ability to hack into their surroundings. From cell phones to traffic lights, players could hack into, and manipulate, almost anything in their vicinity in a number of ways.
While the initial offering in the series was met with warm reviews, it was the arrival of Watch Dogs 2 in 2016 that raised the bar and established the series as one of the most exciting in the industry. Set in a fictionalized open world version San Francisco, the game largely built upon the key elements that gave the original such potential, in the words of one reviewer, redressing “nearly every negative aspect of the original”.
What's more, Ubisoft have recently unveiled the forthcoming third edition of the series, dubbed Watch Dogs Legion. Set in a possibly prophetic, post-Brexit London dystopia, the game has excited fans at E3 2019, and is set for release in 2020.