In November 2020, police responded to a report of a "hostage taking" at Ubisoft Montreal. It ultimately proved to be a hoax—no actual threat was ever found—but it caused significant disruption and expense, as a large number of employees were trapped on the roof for hours while police cleared the building. Luckily, no one was physically hurt.
The perpetrator of the hoax remains unknown at this point, but a report from La Presse says suspicion has fallen upon a French citizen named Yanni Ouahioune, a Rainbow Six Siege player who goes by the handle Y4nn0XX, and who has been banned repeatedly. (80 times, according to the report, which appears to be based on a claim Y4nn0XX makes.)
He certainly appears to have a beef with Ubisoft: Videos on the Y4nN0xX YouTube channel include a message warning that he'll "punish Rainbow Six Siege with cheats of hell," and more recently, a musical number called the Yannoxware Fuck Ubisoft Rap. Last year, an account going by the same name also offered "private and rage cheats" for Rainbow Six Siege on at least one cheaters forum.
The newspaper says that Ouahioune admitted to attempting to steal the passwords of Siege players, and to involvement in a swatting incident that took place in 2017. He denied having any role in the November 2020 hoax, however, telling the site, "I didn't do anything. I just cheated in their videogames. The only time I called Ubisoft was to insult them for banning me."
“Normally, just for the buzz, I would have said that it was I who sent the police to Ubisoft, but hey, now the buzz is zero,” he said. “If my name came out, it's because I'm known at Ubisoft."
Court documents obtained by La Presse revealed that two more false threats against Ubisoft Montreal followed the November hoax, one on December 18 in which a caller claimed to have placed a bomb near the building's daycare, and another on January 6, 2021, when a 911 call claimed that a group of hostage takers had kidnapped and executed a company executive. Those cases didn't attract the same level of public attention, as police took a "more discreet" approach to investigating the claims before sending in large-scale forces.
A third call, apparently placed on November 7 by the same person, more explicitly indicated that the perpetrator was someone looking to cause grief for Rainbow Six Siege specifically. After it was intercepted by Ubisoft's internal security, the caller threatened to "continue to terrorize [Ubisoft] to death" and demanded Rainbow Six keys and the ability to impose bans on players. Ouahioune denied having a role in those calls as well.
They also demanded that pro player Spoit, a member of Godsent, be permanently banned, which seems to form at least part of the basis for the connection to Ouahioune. Ubisoft's investigation allegedly found links between the perpetrator of the Montreal hoaxes and a prior hack of Spoit's account, which Ouahioune had previously bragged about carrying out. He told La Presse that he was only fronting to impress people, however—which fits with his statement that he normally would have laid claim to the bomb threat "for the buzz"—and said that the effort blew up in his face when "everyone found out that I hadn't hacked the account."
Ubisoft declined to comment on the matter, in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. "Our priority remains to protect the progress of the investigation, which we hope will lead to the identification and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the events of last fall," a rep said via email. "In agreement with the SPVM investigators, we will make no further comment."
It's possible that Y4nn0XX is not an individual at all, but a group: The forum where it offers cheats for sale says they're being developed by four people, and the unexpectedly competent Ubisoft Rap consistently refers to Y4nn0XX as "we," including in the final line, "Yes Y4nn0XX, we the guys." But even if Ouahioune is determined to be responsible for the hoax, individually or as part of an organization, it seems unlikely that he'll face any consequences, as France does not extradite its citizens to face charges in other jurisdictions.
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Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.