On Monday, April 15th, news broke of a tragic fire in one of the most recognizable structures in the world–Notre Dame Cathedral–caught fire and burned through much of the night. Much of the iconic structure was lost or damaged, including the recognizable spire, and the entire roof. The recognizable towers, featured in so many forms of media were spared thanks to efforts of the Paris Fire Brigade. Efforts to rebuild the 800-year-old place of worship are already underway, with nearly one billion dollars already raised from donations around the world, including $500,000 from game developer Ubisoft, maker of the popular Assassin’s Creed games.
More, Ubisoft’s work on their release Assassin’s Creed: Unity may have a greater hand in the rebuilding process. Unity is set in Paris in 1789 and includes painstakingly recreated versions of structures in the city at the time, including Notre Dame Cathedral, both inside and out. The 90% scale model created in-game was fully explorable by players. Representatives from Ubisoft caution that the representation is not a scientific model of the iconic structure, but an artistic representation, and therefore may not be the best source to use when rebuilding begins. Their protestations notwithstanding, there is some validity to the idea that Unity could be used in conjunction with other historical references in the rebuilding process.
It should be noted that senior designer Catherine Miousse spent two full years re-creating Notre Dame for the game, literally putting it together brick by brick. The feat was discussed in an interview in 2014 for the game’s release.
I was pleased to do that; it was very exciting, but there was a little stress at the beginning because you really need to be sure that you’re recreating it as accurately as possible because it’s so well known…I want the player to feel tiny when scaling it.
In addition to donating $500,000 to the rebuilding efforts Ubisoft, which is based in France, is giving away copies of Assassin’s Creed: Unity to players on PC until April 25th. The goal is to give everyone who wants it an opportunity to see Notre Dame as it was. You can click here to download the game for free.