A police investigation Friday afternoon in Montreal’s Mile-End neighborhood, near the offices of Ubisoft Montreal, found no threat at the studio, after initial reports suggested that a hostage situation was in progress.
“No threat has been identified for now,” the City of Montreal Police Service (SPVM) said in a tweet shortly before 4 p.m. EST. “We are currently evacuating the building.”
The emergency began in the early afternoon Friday, with local news and some Ubisoft employees on social media noticing that police were in the area and that workers were evacuating, with some going to the roof of a Ubisoft Montreal building. Canadian news program TVA Nouvelles reported that SPVM had sent tactical units — the equivalent of SWAT teams — to the area after a 911 call. Reached for comment before police had finished their sweep, a Ubisoft representative told Polygon that “we are aware of the situation and working with local authorities.”
TVA Nouvelles, citing unidentified sources, reported on air during the 3 p.m. hour that an investigation had determined that the 911 call that precipitated the police response was a “hoax.” SPVM did not confirm that in its all-clear message later in that hour. Le Journal de Montréal reported, citing Montreal police, that the call was made from inside the building, which houses businesses such as a daycare center in addition to Ubisoft Montreal’s offices. A correspondent for TVA Nouvelles reported that the call was made at approximately 1 p.m., and that the caller threatened to blow up the building if they were not paid a ransom of more than $2 million.
Eric Pope, a well-known community manager with the studio who was working from home on Friday, said in a since-deleted tweet that he recognized co-workers fleeing to the roof of Ubisoft’s building in aerial footage shown on television. Others on social media posted eyewitness reports and details from the scene, such as a video showing the police response less than an hour after the 911 call was reportedly placed.
Ubisoft Montreal, in existence since 1993 with more than 3,500 employees, is one of the French publisher’s most important studios. It is the lead developer on Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the latest entry in the long-running franchise, which launched this week.
Update (4:43 p.m. ET): This story has been updated to reflect that a police investigation found “no threat” at the Ubisoft Montreal offices.
Update (8:22 p.m. ET): Polygon received a statement from the SPVM.
This Friday afternoon, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) deployed a large number of resources to answer a call for a hostage situation in a Saint-Laurent Boulevard office building. The perimeter was quickly secured and the SPVM confirms no threat has been detected and no injuries are reported.
The evacuees are being directed to a place where investigators will take their statement. A team of CIUSS social workers is also on hand to support them as needed.
An investigation will follow regarding the call behind this important police force deployment.
If you have information that can help shed light on this event, you can call 911 or contact Info-Crime Montréal at 514-393-1133 or online. The information will be treated anonymously and confidentially.
Ubisoft Montreal also tweeted a statement:
We want to salute the courage and composure our teams showed today, our focus remains on ensuring their health and wellbeing. We would also like to thank the SPVM for their quick and professional response, helping to bring the situation under control. We are extremely relieved that this was resolved without incident and we’d like to thank you all for your support and kind words.