The world watched in terror on Monday night as the historic Notre Dame cathedral went up in flames. The Parisian landmark has been an institution of France for nearly nine centuries, having witnessed the coronation of Napoléon Bonaparte and the canonization of Joan of Arc.
Since then, several countries, world leaders, and celebrities have pledged millions of dollars for its future restoration. However, an unlikely hero amidst the smoldering chaos has emerged, one that may be sitting in your living room right now: Assassin’s Creed Unity.
Yes, as NME points out, the 2014 video game may benefit any forthcoming restoration efforts, particularly since Ubisoft designer Alexandre Pedneault and his team spent two exhaustive years capturing the Gothic cathedral to perfection — down to its individual bricks (via The Verge).
Reportedly, the French video game publisher still owns the original 3D models and photos. If so, this would prove incredibly lucrative to whoever is tasked in rebuilding and restoring the cathedral; that is, if the institution itself doesn’t have stack upon stack of blueprints and images.
Ubisoft is already lending a hand, too. This morning — actually, as this story was being written — the company donated €500,000 towards any restorations. They also are offering Unity for free to any PC users who want to “experience the majesty and beauty” of the cathedral.
“When we created Assassin’s Creed Unity,” the company wrote in a statement, “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.
“Video games can enable us to explore places in ways we never could have otherwise imagined,” they continued. “We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”
Perhaps they’ll receive a call? We’ll see.
In solidarity with everyone moved by Monday's events we’re donating to the restoration of Notre-Dame & giving you the chance to play @AssassinsCreed Unity on Uplay for free.
— Ubisoft (@Ubisoft) April 17, 2019