Just a few days ago, Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, one of France’s great landmarks, was engulfed in flames.
Whilst some elements were able to be preserved, such as the “18th-century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ”, the main structure has been badly damaged by the fire, and will cost upwards of $1 billion to repair. One of the most unexpected tools that could help repair it is the 2014 video game Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Assassin’s Creed Unity was the installment in the long-running historical sandbox franchise set during the French Revolution. Players controlled Arno Dorian, an Assassin in love with a Templar on the other side of the conflict. At the time, the game received mixed reviews for its highly buggy nature, and a half-arsed excuse from Ubisoft for why none of its playable characters are women.
However, its well-researched and highly-detailed depiction of Revolutionary France’s architecture was praised. Now, it seems like that attention to detail could help with the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral in real life.
In an interview with The Verge, Assassin’s Creed Unity artist Caroline Miousse stated that they “spent literally years fussing over the details of the building. [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”.
As a result, Assassin’s Creed Unity acts as a detailed, interactive model of Notre Dame, which modern architects can use to help restore the famous Parisian location to its former glory.
It is impressive that games are now becoming so intricate that they can guide the reconstruction of a real life building. Ubisoft has a real commitment to realistically portraying locations in their games. This philosophy can also be seen in their recreations of New York City and Washington in the Division series.
Hopefully, this technology can aid in the restoration of Notre Dame.