In 2014, Ubisoft released “Assassin’s Creed Unity” – a game set in Paris during the French Revolution which featured many elements including a realistic 3D model of Notre Dame cathedral.
Caroline Miousse, an artist for the game, reportedly spent two years perfecting the model of the cathedral that appears on gamers’ screens – studying it brick by brick including the paintings and spires even though they weren’t in place at the time the game is set.
The New York Post reported late yesterday that those highly detailed 3D models for the game could now hold the key to the restoration of the landmark following the fire which ravaged it on Monday.
The trade said it’s likely that French publisher Ubisoft still retains not just the original 3D models but plenty of reference images that could prove crucial in the reconstruction.
Then, an hour ago, The BBC reported that Ubisoft has agreed to share the design with the French authorities but have noted the in-game representation of the structure was elaborate but not 100% accurate. A spokesman says:
“We would be happy to help. While we wanted to be very precise with details, there are some differences in terms of scale and with some elements. That being said, we would be more than happy to lend our expertise in any way that we can to help with these efforts.”
Ubisoft also announced in a press release that they want to “give everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame the best way we know how”. How? They’re giving away copies of “Assassin’s Creed Unity” for free to PC users via UPlay or the game’s official site. The offer will be available until 9am on Thursday, April 25th.
The company will also donate $565,000 for aid in the reconstruction, joining The Walt Disney Company which has reportedly pledged $5 million in aid. The cathedral was the setting for Disney’s 1996 animated adaptation of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. A live-action musical film adaptation is in the works with David Henry Hwang writing the script.