The citizens of Paris and through them, the world watched in horror as the famous 900-year-old historic cathedral of Notre Dame was engulfed in flames on April 15. Notre-Dame de Paris as it is known locally was seriously damaged in a fire and only certain parts of it remain and the French government has jumped into action in order to restore it back to its original form. To this end many known names and brands of the world have pledged funds including the likes of Apple.
And it seems that the reconstruction of the cathedral will get help from an unlikely source which most people may not have expected, and that is from the eighth game of the Assassin’s Creed series by Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed Unity. This game was set in Paris during the French Revolution of the 18th Century. This game contains an extremely detailed version of the Notre-Dame de Paris, which had the critics of the game in ruptures back in 2014 when it was released. Assassin’s Creed has been known to use real life historical locations as references and build the world of the games around those.
The developers of the games put in a lot of research and effort in recreating the popular historical places as accurately as possible. Caroline Miousse who was one of the game’s level artists, apparently spent two years modeling the cathedral in Unity, she spoke to The Verge and said that 80 percent of her work on the game was involved in doing that. According to the report, “She pored over photos to get the architecture just right, and worked with texture artists to make sure that each brick was as it should be. She even had historians help her figure out the exact paintings that were hanging on the walls.”
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In what can only be considered a good thing now, Miousse even added the cathedral’s iconic spires, despite the fact that those didn’t exist at that point in history, and she reasoned that the building simply felt wrong without them. This means that the in-game Notre-Dame Cathedral is a rather accurate recreation of the real building, before the present incident. And this makes it one of the most detailed resources the architects doing the reconstruction work will have. Though it has not yet been confirmed whether it will be used as a point of reference.