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Ubisoft Developing a Firefighting Game About the Notre-Dame Blaze

Ubisoft has partnered with Pathé to develop Notre-Dame on Fire, a location-based VR escape game based on Jean-Jacques Annaud's docudrama of the same name that will put players in the shoes of the Parisian fire brigade as they try to save the world-famous cathedral from the fire that broke out in 2019.

As reported by Variety, this one-hour experience will take players through the events of April 15, 2019, when flames nearly destroyed Notre-Dame. Ubisoft is no stranger to working with the cathedral, as a detailed model of it appears in Assassin's Creed Unity and in its short immersive VR experience Notre-Dame de Paris: Journey Back in Time.

During the production of Annaud's Notre-Dame on Fire film, he reached out to Ubisoft to help him bring this complimentary experience to life.

"He knew that we had a special attachment to Notre Dame,” says Deborah Papiernik, Ubisoft senior VP new business and strategic alliances. “I guess that’s why he came to us. I don’t think he went to see [anyone else].”

Their discussions began in early 2021, and it was decided that, since the film is set for release in March 2022, Ubisoft knew it only had time to create a one-hour escape experience and could not make a "full-fledged game" in such a short period.

"Like any escape game, it’s a question of puzzles and co-operating with your teammates,” Papiernik explains. “The idea is to make your way through the cathedral to find relics and to fight the fire, because you have to save Notre Dame [before the clock runs out].”

Ubisoft had access to the film's screenplay and it worked closely with Annaud and his team to bring this vision to life.

“The fact that we had that access really nourished our team,” says Papiernik. “That doesn’t mean we translated everything to gameplay; rather, it offered our team food for thought for our adaptation.”

Annaud's film will be available in French theaters initially in March, but Ubisoft's VR tie-in will be available worldwide in the same month.

“It’s Notre Dame, so it’s Paris, and it’s a French movie, but this is a worldwide product,” says Papiernik. "We have 630 international partner locations that all have access to our games. [In March] they’ll have access to this latest one as soon as we push the button.”

This is another example of Ubisoft really leaning into the historical aspect of its games and experiences and follows its commitment to releasing Discovery Tour modes in Assassin's Creed games that lets players learn about the time periods these games take place in without the threat of danger.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter
@AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.

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