Bomb squad called after Aussie Watch_Dogs stunt

A PR stunt for a video game has resulted in the evacuation of an Australian newsroom. Police and the bomb squad were called to the Sydney offices of Ninemsn after the delivery of a black safe, which started ticking after staff entered a passcode.

The safe, opened by police (image courtesy Mumbrella)

The safe, opened by police
(image courtesy Mumbrella)

The safe was part of a promotion for Watch_Dogs, and was accompanied by a “suspicious” letter telling a journalist to “check your voicemail”. The problem is, the reporter did not have any messages to check, so the safe remained locked.

After staff entered a code that had been taped to the box, the safe started to beep, prompting fears that it could be an explosive device.

Hal Crawford, editor for Ninemsn, told Mumbrella the delivery was “black, heavy and slightly creepy”:

We did check with other newsrooms to see if they had received a similar package as we thought it was a PR stunt, but no-one else had. We weren’t panicked at any point, but given there was no note explaining what it was, we had to take sensible precautions.

Newsroom staff were sent home, as the safe was taken to the basement under the watchful eye of bomb squad officers. After the authorities forced the box open, the contents were revealed: A copy of Ubisoft video game Watch_Dogs, a baseball cap and face mask matching the one worn by in-game character Aiden Pearce, and a note saying the game was under embargo until 5pm Tuesday.

Several other media outlets have received the game in a safe, and were reportedly delighted by the game’s creative marketing. We have contacted Ubisoft to find out more from the other side of the story. Stay tuned for the Player Attack review of Watch_Dogs, coming just as soon as Jonny re-emerges from the streets of futuristic Chicago.

Earlier this week, a pirated version of Watch_Dogs reportedly contained a bitcoin miner that was compromising gamers’ machines.

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