Blizzard president opens BlizzCon 2019 with Hong Kong scandal apology - Dexerto
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Blizzard president opens BlizzCon 2019 with Hong Kong scandal apology

Published: 1/Nov/2019 19:07 Updated: 2/Nov/2019 5:40

by Brent Koepp

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Blizzard kicked off the opening ceremony for Blizzcon 2019 with an apology for the Hong Kong scandal that broke out in October, after they banned Hearthstone pro Chung ‘Blitzchung’ Ng Wai for protesting against China during a tournament.

BlizzCon is currently underway and runs until November 2 in Anaheim, California. However, fans were unsure how the event would go as the American developer was mired in controversy after banning pro Hearthstone player Blitzchung for showing support for the Hong Kong protests during a tournament in October.

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack began the convention’s opening ceremony by addressing the scandal – which angered many in the community – and gave a speech to fans, apologizing for how the company had handled the incident, while admitting they “failed” to live up to expectations. 

Blizzard EntertainmentBlizzcon 2019 runs from November 1 to 2.

Blizzard apologizes for Hong Kong scandal

Addressing the elephant in the room, the Blizzard executive said, “Before we start the opening ceremony I want to say a few words. Blizzard had the opportunity to bring the world together during a tough Hearthstone esports moment about a month ago and we did not.”

He then explained that the company “moved too quickly” on their initial punishments for the player, and “were too slow” to communicate with their community about the decisions they had made. 

The developer then outlined why he was not happy with how things were handled. “When I think about what I am most unhappy about, there is really two things. The first one is we didn’t live up to the high standards we really set for ourselves,” he said.

He then stated the second point, and apologized to the crowd. “And our second is that we failed to live up to our purpose. And for that, I am sorry. And I accept accountability,” he said, which got a round of applause from the audience.  

The President for the company then shifted towards the power and positivity that gaming can achieve, by bringing players from around the world to play together and “transcend divisions that surround us.” 

“We will do better moving forward. Our actions are going to mean more than these words”, Brack finished.

The controversy first kicked off on October 6 when Hearthstone pro Blitzchung showed support for the Hong Kong protests in a post-tournament interview. The player was swiftly banned for a year, and had all prize winnings withheld. 

While Blizzard reduced his suspension to six months and gave the prize money back, many were still angered. It remains to be seen if the President’s speech at Blizzcon will heal the wounds of those upset by the scandal, but the developer was quick to address it before the annual convention kicked off this year.

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Police hunt for suspect after hoax hostage situation at Ubisoft Montreal

Published: 13/Nov/2020 19:45 Updated: 14/Nov/2020 0:37

by Theo Salaun

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Reports indicate that there is an ongoing hostage situation involving dozens of people at Ubisoft Montreal’s headquarters in the Mile-End neighborhood of Montreal, Quebec. There have been no confirmed injuries.

Update (7:35 p.m. ET): Ubisoft Montreal have released a statement regarding the hostage situation. “We are extremely relieved this was resolved without incident and we’d like to thank you all for your support and kind words.”

No injuries were reported at the offices. Montreal Police are launching a full investigation into the call.

Update (5:04 p.m. ET): All of the Ubisoft Montreal’s building occupants are being safely evacuated by Montreal’s police force and the police have joined local news in suggesting that the situation was, in fact, a hoax perpetrated by a call within the Ubisoft headquarters. No suspect has been identified or apprehended at this point, but the SPVM are actively investigating.

Update (4:04 p.m. ET): While local news outlets are reporting that the hostage situation was a hoax, Montreal’s police force have indeed confirmed that there appears to be no active threat and that the building’s occupants are being evacuated.

Update (3:33 p.m. ET): Little is known about the police force’s ongoing activity in attempts to enter the building, but CTV News reports that Ubisoft’s employees have been told, via company memo, to “hide in an area that locks and to keep quiet.”

Update (3:00 p.m. ET): Heavily armed Montreal police tactical units are approaching the building and preparing to make entry. Dozens of employees remain on roof and no injuries or negotiations with the suspects have been reported thus far.

Update (November 13, 2020 at 2:49 p.m. ET): Police appear to have barricaded off the daycare at Ubisoft Montreal’s headquarters, at least 50 employees have barricaded themselves atop the building’s roof, and tactical police units have blocked off surrounding streets and appear to be preparing to make entry. Current reports indicate that there have been no injuries thus far, according to local news on the scene.

With numerous reports and tweets from local news and Ubisoft Montreal employees, respectively, it appears that a hostage situation is unfolding at the company’s headquarters but that all employees are safe. 

In the afternoon, it was reported by Quebec’s TVA Nouvelles that dozens of hostages were being held at Ubisoft Montreal’s building on Saint Laurent Boulevard. This ongoing situation was echoed by Montreal’s police department, who put out public announcements to avoid the area due to the police’s efforts there.

Shortly after, numerous employees, including Programming Project Lead Gavin Young and a Production Marketer for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, tweeted that they were indeed safe and sound despite what was happening in the building.

Although ‘Valskuiken’ tweeted that they would be going home, it appears that a large conglomerate of employees have made their ways to the building’s roof and have barricaded themselves up there by blocking off the door to the exterior.

Further, reports from TVA Nouvelles indicate that a ransom request has been made by the suspects, but it is unclear what has come of it as police continue to operate in the vicinity.

At present, it appears that numerous employees are safe but it is unclear what is precisely happening with the situation given the multi-floor building’s space and large occupancy. At least 50 employees have made it to the roof, wherereports show they are holding up safely. However, in anticipation of the police force making entry into the building, it seems that ambulances and a tactical police force are arriving to the scene.

As reports indicate, the tactical forces approaching the building include numerous police officers, tactical police units, and heavier vehicles. There have been no indications of injuries thus far, so it appears that the ambulances are predominantly a precautionary measure.

We will be continuing to update this page with updates as they come in and as the Montreal police force and local news provide information to the public about the current circumstances.