UPDATE 2:30 (14/11/2020): More elements appear regarding the particular story that involved Ubisoft Montreal in these hours. The Montreal Police has issued a new statement to clearly expose what they know about the alleged attack on the software house. Here is what was officially announced:
“This Friday afternoon, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) mobilized a large amount of resources to answer a call that indicated a hostage situation in an office building on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. The perimeter is was quickly secured and the SPVM confirms that no threats have been identified and no injuries have been identified. The evacuated people have been taken to a place where investigators can collect their statements. An investigation into the call will be carried out. which prompted this important deployment of police forces “.
So what exactly happened? TVA Nouvelles emphatically underlines the fact that it could be a “joke” or, more likely, a probable case of swatting, or the practice of sending the police to a certain place without precise reasons but only to create panic and misunderstandings. We have often witnessed this practice against private individuals, “rival” players but nothing prevents us from exploiting it even against a company like Ubisoft. In the first excited moments the reports even indicated the presence of a ransom request of 2 million dollars and five armed men who were holding about 50 people hostage. You can therefore well understand why the police have intervened with a rather important deployment of forces.
Even LaPresse agrees with the thesis of TVA Nouvelles adding that it all started two anonymous phone calls that have alerted police. Here too we talk about swatting and formulate the hypothesis of the “dissatisfied player” who wanted to attack the company. For now only hypotheses, credible but hypotheses remain.
Beyond the Canadian sources, Ubisoft Montreal itself intervened through the official Twitter profile : “We want to praise the courage and composure our team has shown today, our focus remains on ensuring their health and well-being. We would also like to thank SPVM for their quick and professional intervention that helped bring the situation under control. We are extremely relieved that everything has been resolved without incident and we would like to thank everyone for your support and messages of closeness “.
Of course, we will still follow the story for other updates but for now, it seems that everything has been resolved positively and “only” with a great scare.
UPDATE 23:10 (11/13/2020): The Montreal police have posted another tweet through their official profile highlighting a situation that fortunately seems rather calm:
“No threats have been identified at the moment. We are evacuating the building.”
— Police Montréal (@SPVM) November 13, 2020
An element not to be overlooked is the fact that Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier pointed out that the reports regarding the presence of real hostages would seem anything but confirmed or even false. However, there would be the certainty of the instructions given to the employees of the software house: evacuate the building or hide in a safe place.
UPDATE – Canadian police confirmed the news and urged civilians not to approach the area.
There is an ongoing police operation at the corner of Saint-Laurent and St-Viateur. We ask people to avoid the area. The #SPVM is currently validating information and more details will follow. pic.twitter.com/44PjWzsCOh
— Police Montréal (@SPVM) November 13, 2020
According to the first reports of TVA Nouvelles , the French-Canadian news program, in these precise moments, several employees of the Ubisoft Montreal studios are being held hostage by some unidentified suspects, inside the offices of Saint-Laurent Bvld.
Among the first witnesses of the incident we have Eric Pope , community developer of Hyper Scape , who had declared that he was on a conference call with his colleagues at the headquarters, before witnessing their sudden disconnection.
Is this for real?
— Midiankai arts (comissions open) (@midiankai) November 13, 2020
Thankfully, “thanks” to the coronavirus, most Ubisoft employees had started working from home, so the staff on site was very limited. Nonetheless, the situation is clearly extremely critical: according to the news, the police have already intervened on the spot, together with their specialized tactical teams.
We don’t know how the operation is progressing, but one of the employees managed to send a message on Twitter, in which he confirmed his and his colleagues’ health status, so we can hope for an optimistic conclusion.
I’m safe, team here is safe, going home.
— Anouk Wolf-Kissed Total Landscaping (@Valskuiken) November 13, 2020