It’s safe to say that the marketing for this title has definitely been better than what occurred in this situation. It was reported by Mumbrella that a bomb squad was called to the Ninemsn online publications office in Sydney, Australia today after the company received promotional material for Ubisoft’s recently released open world game Watch Dogs inside of a beeping safe.
Ninemsn confirmed this story, stating that a reporter was sent a black safe and a blacked out note asking them to “check their voicemail.” As the reporter went to open the safe, a beeping noise began. The company contacted other news outlets to confirm whether or not they received a similar package. After hearing no other news network received such a package, the police were notified. After this, the entire floor was evacuated. Four police vehicles and a “police rescue unit” arrived at the headquaters.
Officers retrieved the safe, scanned it and forced it open in the basement. Inside was merely a copy of Watch Dogs. An odd choice as Ninemsn doesn’t do video game coverage. Ninemsn editor Hal Crawford spoke about the incident. He said, “The PR company no doubt got carried away with their creativity and ended up sending us something the bomb squad had to open up.”
An Australian representative for Ubisoft spoke with Polygon about the incident regarding Watch Dogs. Ubisoft stated, “Our team in Australia sent voice mail messages to some local media alerting them that they’d receive a special package related to the game. 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.”
It’s safe to say this incident got very out of hand. However, despite the overall controversy this PR stunt caused, especially considering the mainstream media has a vendetta against video games, it no doubt gained Watch Dogs some notoriety in the eyes of many. The title doesn’t necessary need it considering it’s received positive reviews and is one of the most successful new IP’s ever. Watch Dogs launched worldwide on May 27 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 350 and PC with the Wii U version arriving later this year.