Posted: May 30 2014
by: Neal Haworth

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'Watch Dogs' Promotion Stunt Triggers Response By Bomb Squad

Video game development company Ubisoft may have went a little too far with the promotion for their open-world hacking/action game Watch Dogs. According to mUmBRELLA, Ubisoft sent a suspicious ticking safe to a news agency's headquarters in Sydney, Australia. This prompted reporters to contact the bomb squad, whom ultimately discovered the ticking safe was nothing more than PR stunt by Ubisoft to market Watch Dogs.

The incident occurred on Wednesday, when the Australian news agency ninemsn received a small black safe along with a blacked-out note instructing the reporter (who's name isn't revealed) to listen to his voicemail. Ubisoft noted that the voicmail would have directed the reporter to open the safe and access the game, but here's the catch: this reporter doesn't use voicemail.

The staff at ninemsn working at the time of the incident began to fiddle with the safe in hopes of opening it and unlocking its contents. After tampering with it, however, they noticed a ticking noise originating from inside. Believing this could be part of a larger hoax, ninemsn employees called around to various other news organizations to see if they too had received the ambiguous locked safe. When they discovered that no other news agency had received one, ninemsn contacted the police.

Sydney police along with the local bomb squad division arrived at the ninemsn headquarters in response to the suspicious ticking safe. The bomb squad isolated the safe in the basement, where they were eventually able to open it -- only to discover that it contained nothing more than a copy of Ubisoft's highly anticipated game, Watch Dogs.

"As part of a themed promotion for Watch Dogs, our team in Australia sent voicemail messages to some local media alerting them that they'd receive a special package related to the game," an Ubisoft spokesman said in a press statement regarding the incident "Unfortunately, the delivery to Ninemsn didn't go as planned, and we unreservedly apologize to Ninemsn's staff for the mistake and for any problems caused as a result. We will take additional precautions in the future to ensure this kind of situation doesn't happen again."

Watch Dogs was officially released on May 27, 2014 for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It's expected to hit the Wii U by the end of the year. Watch Dogs has been touted as the most pre-ordered game ever, which is due in part to Ubisoft's "aggressive" marketing strategy.


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