Amplifier for Art, Science and Society

Notre-Dame de Paris

'Notre-Dame de Paris VR Experience' based on the 3D assets from 'Assassin’s Creed: Unity' by Ubisoft

On 15 April 2019, the world watched on as Notre-Dame de Paris was almost destroyed in a devastating fire. As the tragedy unfolded, people began sharing memories of the cathedral with photos and videos reliving those moments. Others were able to relive their memories virtually through the video game Assassin’s Creed: Unity. While it is closed for restoration, 'Notre-Dame de Paris' allows viewers to experience the cathedral through a moving game engine experience.

Notre-Dame de Paris, 'Deep Fakes: Art and Its Double' installation view. Photo: Sarah Kenderdine.

Since the 2019 fire, significant research has been undertaken to establish the grounds for the reconstruction and restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris. While ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’ has not been directly used as a tool in this process, many of the 3D technologies and the knowledge utilised to create the game have been fundamental to the digital reconstruction of the building.

In a 2019 interview by Anne Lewis with Caroline Miousse, senior level artist on ‘Assassin’s Creed Unity’, Lewis writes that, after news media began to speculate if the creators of the game could help with towards the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris. Miousse comments that the Ubisoft team ‘were able to find a lot of blueprints showing us exactly how Notre Dame was constructed. She notes however that, ‘from a gameplay perspective’ [they] had to change the inside a bit just to add several layers of navigation. It’s not enough to simply re-create the monument. People need to be able to have fun when they play around, on, and in it.’

Since then, ‘Ubisoft have offered the Paris-centric game for free (amassing 3 million downloads) and donated 500,000 euros to the reconstruction effort’.

Source: Interview with Caroline Miousse, by Anne Lewis: ‘How Ubisoft Re-created Notre Dame for Assassin’s Creed Unity’, SIGGRAPH Conferences, 2 May 2019. Republished with permission from Ubisoft News.