Paris, first analysis on the city.
Simonsens, June 14, 2014
Translated by: Markuz

The first statements about Assassin’s Creed Unity considerably emphasized the power of the new graphic engine. The Anvil Next allowed the developers to recreate a wider and more lively setting. Paris in ACUnity is described as the biggest map in the franchise and with this article we are going to analyze the first glimpses of the beautiful French capital that the E3 trailer allowed us to admire and we will try to understand the actual extention of this map.
I’ll start by saying that we will focus our analysis exclusively on the co-op demo that starts with our new Assassin, Arno Dorian, while he is looking at the palace of a marquis, his chosen victim. This building appears to be Palais de Luxembourg, a beautiful palace from the XVII century, commissioned by Maria De' Medici (wife of Louis XIII) and built in Paris between 1615 and 1645, inspired by Palazzo Pitti in Florence. Nowadays the Parisian Senate is located in this building.

Comparison between reality and game
Following the latest news by Alexandre Amancio, Creative Director for ACUnity, in this chapter the monuments are close to the 1:1 scale, something that was never seen in the AC franchise in which the landmarks models have always had a nearly 1:2 scale. This new scale allows us to keep the proportions of the buildings, at least in terms of height, and, in fact, we can immediately notice the proportion with the people in the streets, in the drawing (1) and in the game (2). We can also realize how the vertical dimensions of the buildings respects the original measures.
Omitting some differences about the proportion of some architectonical elements (the dome above the entrance is definitely smaller in the real world), the structure itself does not respect the proportions on the map and, while it can be actually inscribed in a rectangle, in the game it seems to have a more equilateral and squared distribution. The lateral bodies that create the inside court of the building, together with longitudinal ones, are reduced and the same happens for the back gardens. Starting from this, it is important to verify the veracity of the map because, thanks to the picture (3), it is possible to notice how the location of the palace seems to be exactly positioned at the extreme limit of city map. Let’s also consider this, as tradition in our franchise, as topographically correct, even during that period. The garden requested, in fact, a wide area that could be found only at the city boundaries, as we will see later.

Arno's tour in the Palace
Let’s analyze, then, some differences between the interiors of this building from the real counterpart. First of all, let's take a look at the historical inaccuracy about the function of the palace, presented as the home of a nobleman. Actually, up until 1779 the palace was a museum, then it became the residence for the Count of Provence which, during the Revolution, was turned into a prison for a short time and later it was used as the offices of the French Directory. This inaccuracy does not need to be taken into account because, being this a demo, it’s possible that this was only representative story and was not connected to the definitive plot. Continuing our tour of the palace, we get to the beautiful room where our Marquis is trying to reassure his guests from the crowd gathered outside of the building. This area is presented to us as a gigantic ballroom, but it actually was
and still is a library. Besides, the beautiful painting decorating the vault(4) is called L’Enfer de Dante (5) by Eugène Delacroix. The piece shows the Fourth Canto of the Divine Comedy: more specifically, it represents the first circle of Hell, the limbo, in which Dante Alighieri put characters like Homer, Plato and Aristotle, certainly suited to decorate the walls of a library.
The problem is that Eugène Delacroix was born in the 1798 and this work is from 1846, almost sixty years after the French Revolution.

Salle de Conferences (comparison)
I consider the mistake in the creation of this environment an extremely interesting device, with an aesthetic intent. The designers at Ubisoft have actually combined two rooms of the Palais de Luxembourg, merging them into one. It appears, in fact, that the Salle des Conferences (conference room), former gallery of the throne, features the decoration of the ceiling of the library. It's possible, in fact, to see how many architectural elements are there, such as the barrel vaults with lunettes on the sides of the gallery, and how some decorations and stuccos are evoked, such as the shields on the spandrels of the central vault. This subterfuge is not new in the modus operandi behind the development of the brand. In fact, we have already seen an intentional mistake in ACIV: the San Cristobal cathedral in Havana was added to give a richer look to the city, even if it was actually built more than half a century after the events about Edward.

Finally we get to the four Assassins who observe the uprising of the crowd and the lynching of the Marquis. This frame below gives us a view of the city and allows us to hypothesize an initial estimation of the distances and of the scale of the city itself. This estimate will be approximate because, not having any certain and measurable reference points, as of now we have to work on a perspective vision line and the calculation will certainly not be accurate but we will try to find at least a value as close as possible to what we are going to see in November.
First, it is necessary to deal with the way in which the monument relates itself to the city. In the previous chapters, the monuments were the largest structures within the city. They varied their size from a scale close to 1:2 (Santa Maria del Fiore) to a smaller scale such as 1:3 (Hippodrome of Constantinople in Revelations). This reduction of the scale allowed (not always) to keep a balance between the reduction in scale of the city and of the monument, which, if it had been created in a 1:1 scale, it would have appeared overly large and compressed within the city itself.
The fact that in Assassin's Creed Unity the landmarks are close to 1:1 gives us an idea of the possibilities, in terms of extension, that the topography of Paris can offer us.

Let's observe this map from 1791.
Working a bit on the map I was able to define the city boundaries of Paris in 1790 (yellow). The three blue dots are the three monuments that we see in the frame and the optical cone, in red, shows us location from which they are observed, the Palais de Luxembourg and, as I wrote before, it is exactly on the border of the city.

Notre Dame and the Pantheon
We, therefore, have Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle. We know that the cathedral is exactly in 1:1 scale, so we can say that its length is actually 128 m. We then carry its length in the distance between it and the Sainte Chapelle and we can calculate an approximate distance of 200-220 m. Actually the two are distant around 320-330 meters, this means that the scale should be more or less 2:3, something between the 1:1 and the 1:2 scales and I can assure you that for a video game it is really something. If the calculation was correct, it would mean to have a map of surely more than 5 square kilometers of built-up and walkable areas! Almost 5 times Rome in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood.
We look forward to most reliable sources, I will be ready! Finally, I leave you with this comparison here on the side of the page that can help you figuring out how the proportions between the monuments and the city and the urban distances are respected!

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