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Employees at the video-game studio Ubisoft in Montreal, Quebec, were ushered to the roof as police officers surrounded the building on Friday afternoon amid reports of a potential hostage situation. But it turned out to be a hoax.
A video feed from Le Journal de Montreal showed the scene as it unfolded at Ubisoft Montreal, on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in the Mile End neighborhood.
Montreal’s police service told Business Insider that a “police operation” was taking place. It did not say whether it was a hostage situation.
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
The police service said that officers were responding to a 911 call and that no injuries had been reported. It said “specialized” officers were “inspecting the premises.”
An armored police truck was seen pulling up to the building, and employees on the roof could be seen barricading the door. Inside the building, employees were reportedly barricading themselves inside conference rooms.
By late Friday afternoon, the police had safely evacuated employees and deemed the call that sparked the investigation a hoax. “No threat has been identified for now,” the police service said. “We are currently evacuating the building.”
Ubisoft Montreal, the main development studio of the French game publisher Ubisoft, is responsible for major franchises like “Assassin’s Creed,” “Far Cry,” and “Watch Dogs.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the office had hundreds of employees. But as many people have been working from home, fewer workers were in the studio on Friday afternoon.
A Ubisoft representative told Business Insider, “We are aware of the situation and working with local authorities.”
The company provided another statement later in the afternoon, which said, “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.”
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