How 'Assassin's Creed' could help rebuilding efforts at Notre Dame

The devastating fire at Notre Dame caused significant damage to the famed structure, causing the spire to topple and gutting the inside of the Cathedral. There's now an international competition aimed at finding the best way to repair and restore Notre Dame, but those architects and engineers could be getting some unlikely help - from a popular video game.

It's a classic case of art imitating life- using gaming. Ubisoft Game studio makes the massively popular "Assassin's Creed" series, and they're well-known for using real-life historical sites during game play, which is often based on real-life historical movements or events. And now the game's eighth installment, "Unity", is a potential source for help in restoring the centuries-old Cathedral.

The 2014 game is set during the French Revolution, and centers around Notre Dame, which was painstakingly re-created for use in game play. The artist in charge says she took around two years to build a detailed model of the building, which she calls a brick-by-brick digital recreation - even including most of the artwork found inside. It's significantly more detailed than a laser scan, and some experts are now saying the model could represent the best chance for architects to study the original construction.

Ubisoft is acknowledging the game's debt to Notre Dame, offering "United" for free on its online store for a week after the fire. The studio is also donating 500,000 Euros to help with the restoration, writing in a statement, "As the smoke clears on the events that unfolded on Monday at the Notre-Dame de Paris, we stand in solidarité with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused."