Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Assassin's Creed Unity' Video Game Offers Up Immersive Trip Back in Time

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Assassin's Creed Unity' Video Game Offers Up Immersive Trip Back in Time

Article excerpt

'Assassin's Creed Unity' a trip through time

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TORONTO - Having spent months working on a virtual Paris for "Assassin's Creed Unity," Ubisoft Toronto producer Lesley Phord-Toy found herself in the City of Lights recently for a promotional event at Les Invalides.

She couldn't resist scratching a virtual reality itch about the historic Paris landmark complex, so she opened up the video game and placed lead character Arno Dorian exactly where they were.

"We were sitting there looking at the dome (des Invalides, a famous chapel) in real life and there was the dome in the game," she said. "It was like this weird 'Inception' moment, with reality and virtual reality."

Dan Sutton, an associate producer of the game at Ubisoft Montreal, had a similar feeling putting the game up against the reality of Paris.

"When you see them side-by side it's just amazing the detail we've put in the game. ... It almost feels like an interactive Google Maps type thing," he said. "You can actually go through and play history."

"I was just overwhelmed," he added. "I think I was awe-struck."

The latest instalment in the hit franchise, which has sold some 78 million copies already, focuses on the French Revolution in the late 18th century.

In the words of Ubisoft Montreal creative director Alex Amancio: "Welcome to the streets of Paris, the most beautiful city in the world, in the throes of a bloody revolution."

Ten Ubisoft studios, including Singapore and Shanghai, combined on the game with Ubisoft Montreal leading the way. Ubisoft Toronto helped create part of the world and poured its co-op expertise into the game.

The result -- the game came out Nov. 11 -- is a sprawling maze of history and humanity fuelled by next-generation hardware.

Using photos, maps and drawings, with the help of two historians, game developers were able to create seven districts of Paris, with a scale of near 1:1 in the city centre.

Notre-Dame, Palais-Royal, the Palais du Luxembourg, Louvre, Tuileries and Bastille (which no longer exists) are just some of the iconic Paris sights rendered in the game.

"You stand in front of a landmark in 'Assassin's Creed Unity,' you stand in front of one in Paris and it feels the same," said Ubisoft Toronto level design director Nitai Bessette. …

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