Ubisoft may have predicted the recent discovery of a void deep within the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt with Assassin’s Creed Origins.
On November 2, 2017, archaeologists uncovered the ascending corridor above the grand gallery that connects the Queen’s chamber to the King’s in the heart of the Pyramid, according to The Guardian. The 30 meter cavity is the first major structure found in the seventh wonder of the world since the 19th century.
Ubisoft’s research team added the fully playable cavity into the Great Pyramid in Assassin’s Creed Origins based on early assumptions during research, according to an email sent to Heavy. The game was released on October 27, 2017.
“We have long believed that Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theories about the inner ramps and royal circuit with two antechambers inside the Great Pyramid are probably the most credible, which is why we decided to use them in the game,” said Maxime Durand, brand historian for the Assassin’s Creed franchise. “We were betting on the fact that these secret locations inside of the Great Pyramid would probably be discovered in the near future, so we wanted to allow players the chance to visit them in advance.”
Heavy reached out to Ubisoft for more information about their research process as well as how players can explore the chamber in the game themselves.
Scientists used particle physics to find the void. According to The Guardian, they used sensors that detect particles known as muons that rain down on Earth when cosmic rays slam into atoms in the upper atmosphere. The muons travel at nearly the speed of light and behave like x-rays when hitting objects. They can be used to reveal rough internal structures of pyramids and other structures. Mehdi Tayoubi of the HIP Institute of Paris told the publication that the void has the same characteristics as the grand gallery.
Peter Der Manuelian, professor of Egyptology and director of the Harvard Semitic Museum, told The Guardian that there may be smaller cavities in the pyramid but the one they found is significant due to it’s size rivaling that of the grand gallery. He said the muons can’t tell them about chambers, form, size, or any possible objects so early speculation is too early. However, he said that it does warrant further non-invasive exploration.
Tayoubi did call on some specialists to propose theories. The cavity may have relieved the weight of the roof of the grand gallery, or it may be it’s own chamber. Tayoubi and the team have no plans to drill into the cavity, but they are developing a tiny flying robot to possibly send in if the Egyptian authorities approve.
“What we are sure about is that this big void is there, that it is impressive, and was not expected by any kind of theory,” said Tayoubi.
The Guardian writes that the Great Pyramid, also known as Khufu’s Pyramid or the Pyramid of Cheops, was built in the 4th dynasty by the pharaoh Khufu who ruled from 2509 to 2483 B.C.E. Assassin’s Creed Origins takes place several hundred years later during the Ptolemaic period between 305 and 30 B.C.E.
Ubisoft went to great lengths to preserve the history of ancient Egypt in Assassin’s Creed Origins, as detailed in another article by The Guardian. Game Director Ashraf Ismail told the publication that they spent years researching ancient Egypt, drawing from the help of Egyptologists and even securing deals with universities. He said that while the ancient setting gives them a lot more creative freedom, they always have a “foundation of research and credible history.”
So much research has been poured into the game that Ubisoft will soon introduce an education mode to the game to share it all, according to The Verge. The “Discovery Tour” will allow players to explore the game through guided tours about ancient Egypt without the distraction of combat. The tours will be curated by actual historians and will cover topics including mummification, the lives of important figures, and of course the pyramids. The mode will come in early 2018 as a free update.