A video game publisher that could hold the key to the restoration of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral has now pledged to donate about $565,000 to the reconstruction of the historic structure.
French company Ubisoft, which publishes the popular “Assassin’s Creed” series, announced Wednesday that it will donate the whopping sum to the repair effort for the medieval-era building, which was ravaged in a massive fire Monday.
The company featured the historic house of worship in its 2014 title “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” which is set in Paris during the French Revolution — and said Wednesday it will also offer the PC game free for a week to give “everyone the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of Notre-Dame.”
“When we created Assassin’s Creed Unity, 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,” Ubisoft said in a statement.
“We hope, with this small gesture, we can provide everyone an opportunity to appreciate our virtual homage to this monumental piece of architecture.”
Ubisoft created a realistic 3D model of the cathedral for the game, and it’s likely that the French publisher still has the designs — as well as some images that could prove crucial in the reconstruction, according to reports.
The company said Wednesday it would be happy to help — but hasn’t been asked yet.
“We are not currently involved in the reconstruction of Notre Dame, but we would be more than happy to lend our expertise in any way that we can to help with these efforts,” a studio spokesperson told The Guardian.
The rep noted, however, that its model was not “a scientific reconstruction” and while it was “very precise with details, there are some differences in terms of scale.”
Artist Caroline Miousse told The Verge at the time of the game’s release that she had studied the cathedral brick by brick — as well as the exact paintings that hung on the walls.
She even included the cathedral’s iconic spires, which were not yet there at the time the game was set.
Help could also come from late art historian and Vassar professor Andrew Tallon — who used laser scanners to create a model of the medieval structure.
Columbia art history professor Stephen Murray, who worked with Tallon on the “Mapping Gothic France” project, told ZDNet.com that he thinks Tallon’s data will be useful in the reconstruction.
“Can it help us rebuild? Yes, it can,” Murray said. “I think it’s terribly important.”
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