Hoax Reportedly Prompted Massive Police Response at Ubisoft Montreal

UBISOFT HQ CA
ERIC THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images

The video game company confirmed on Friday afternoon that all team members are safe after being evacuated from the premises.

A large number of Montreal police, some in tactical uniforms and holding guns and shields, on Friday responded to an unknown situation at the office building of video game development company Ubisoft in the city's trendy Mount Royal district. It was reported hours later that the alleged incident was a hoax, according to sources cited by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Earlier in the day, police tweeted, "Police operation in progress at the corner of Saint-Laurent and St-Viateur. We ask people to avoid the area. The #SPVM currently validating information and further details will follow."

In a later tweet, the city's police force reported "officers have been sent to the location following a 911 call. Specialized #SPVM officers are on-site inspecting the premises. There are no injuries reported." At around 4 p.m., Montreal police further clarified on its official Twitter account that "no threat has been identified for now. We are currently evacuating the building."

"We are aware of the situation and working with local authorities," Ubisoft added in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

On Friday evening, Ubisoft sent an updated statement: "Following the reports of an incident in the studio earlier today, November 13, we are relieved to confirm that all of our team members in Ubisoft Montreal are safe and have been evacuated from the premises. We commend the strength and solidarity of all of our team members in this complex and stressful situation. We are grateful for the prompt response of the police and local authorities. We will continue to provide our teams with all the necessary support to cope with this traumatic event."

Live coverage by local TV station LCN indicated around 40 people were sheltering on the roof of the Ubisoft building, having created an apparent barricade, as helicopters flew overhead and local streets were cordoned off.

According to the CBC Radio Canada, heavily armed police officers and a tactical intervention group were on site. Besides armed units, a number of ambulances and paramedics were also stationed outside the Ubisoft studio building.

Police only noted a call to 911 at around 1:30 p.m. ET reporting an unspecified incident in a building, according to Radio Canada, without giving details.

Ubisoft as a local software and game developer has around 3500 employees in Montreal, many from around the world, but most are understood to be working remotely from home amid the pandemic. Video games developed and produced at the Montreal Ubisoft studio include Assassin's Creed, For Honor, Watch_Dogs, Far Cry and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six.

Ubisoft's Montreal presence is part of the city's drive to be a major multimedia and video game production hub for the global industry.

It's also understood that other companies have offices in the Ubisoft building, even though the video game giant fills most of the property.

2:40 p.m.: Updated that the alleged incident was a hoax.

4:50 p.m.: Updated with latest statement.