After the iconic Notre Dame cathedral sustained devastating fire damage last Monday, many pledged to help rebuild the intricate French landmark. Among those offering their help is Ubisoft, which has offered 500,000 Euro to contribute to the restoration and reconstruction.
It won’t be a simple task though, as it’s suspected that it may take years to recreate the portions of the cathedral that received the most damage. But Ubisoft might have means of helping out beyond just money. As publisher of the Assassin’s Creed series, the company has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars creating immaculate digital recreations of real-world places for setting material.
And in the case of 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity – the eighth major installment in the franchise and set in eighteenth century Paris – they already have loads of reference material for Notre Dame. One of the game’s artists, Caroline Miousse said she spent two years finessing the appearance of the cathedral down to each individual stone.
It’s likely that the company has hundreds of reference pieces in its development studio archives including the World Texture Facility that various studios share to build richly detailed worlds in games like Far Cry and Watch_Dogs. Talking about the creation of Unity, Ubisoft said, "We developed an even closer connection with this incredible city and its landmarks—one of the most notable elements of the game was the extraordinary recreation of Notre-Dame."
At the moment, no announcement has been made as to whether Ubisoft’s development studios will reach out and assist, but in addition to the money pledged the company has announced that it will be giving away Assassin’s Creed Unity for free on PC via Uplay and the Ubisoft Store. The company said in statement: “Video games can enable us to explore places in ways we never could have otherwise imagined. We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”
Assassin’s Creed Unity was released in November 2014 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PCs, but earned only mixed reviews. Reception skewed towards negative on the PC where various glitches and bugs became the stuff of Internet memes. Today the game might fare better after several patches, and you can find out by nabbing your free copy of Assassin’s Creed Unity from now until April 25, 2019.