Ubisoft Building VR Firefighter Game Based on the Notre Dame Fire
Variety reports that the French video game giant Ubisoft has entered into a partnership with Pathé to build a location-based virtual reality escape game known as Notre-Dame on Fire. This VR tie-in is based on the upcoming docudrama by the same name by Jean-Jacques Annaud. Ubisoft is the videogame powerhouse behind some of the well-known titles such as Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed.
The VR game casts the player as a member of the Parisian fire brigade where they will attempt to save the world-famous cathedral from the fire. The real Notre Dame fire happened in April 2019 and caused the collapse of the building’s spire with most of the roof and the upper walls of the building largely getting damaged.
Notre Dame on Fire is a one-hour experience where you put on the flameproof uniform of the fire brigade on the night of April 15, 2019.
Ubisoft’s licensing partnership with Pathé also marks the third time that the videogame company is showcasing the Notre Dame cathedral. A detailed model of the cathedral was developed ahead of the action-adventure game Assassin’s Creed Unity which is set in 18th century France.
In 2020, Ubisoft released a repurposed model of the cathedral in an immersive experience titled “Notre-Dame de Paris: Journey Back in Time” which was released in September 2020 for free.
The virtual immersive tie-in with the film was initiated by Annaud who reached out to Ubisoft in early 2021 while he was shooting the documentary.
The immersive experience will be released in March alongside the documentary. The VR experience will take the form of a puzzle-based virtual reality escape room experience. Players will be solving puzzles and cooperating with their teammates. The idea of this escape room experience is that a player must make their way through the cathedral to discover relics and fight the fire to save the Notre Dame cathedral quickly before they run out of time.
Talks for the tie-in began in early 2021 and due to the limited timeline, given that film is slated for a March 2022 release, the team couldn’t do full-fledged game development. The experience, therefore, combines Ubisoft’s proprietary models and its fast-growing network of location-based partners to give players a one-hour escape experience.
Ubisoft’s designers worked closely with Annaud and his team, relying on the film’s screenplay as a launchpad although Ubisoft says it did not translate everything to gameplay. Ubisoft’s senior VP of new business and strategic alliances Deborah Papiernik said the screenplay gave her team “food for thought” for the VR adaptation.
Annaud’s film, which has been produced by Pathé is coming to French theaters this March. The Ubisoft tie-in is also slated for release in the same month with the VR release set to have instantaneous releases in Ubisoft’s partner locations throughout the world. Ubisoft currently has 630 international partner locations with access to its games.
We will update you as soon as the escape room experience hits the streets.