For some time we’ve known that Ubisoft plan not one, but two different Assassin’s Creed titles for later this year. First there’s the one we do know a little about – Assassin’s Creed Unity – which is set during the French Revolution and will be released on Xbox One and PS4. Then there’s the second game, for Xbox 360 and PS3 and frankly, we know next to nothing about it. But if you do some fairly wild speculation, some of the pieces start to fit together.
So first off, here’s some things that we know. At the end of last year when AC4: Black Flag was released basically everyone (aside from me, it seems) loved the in-game sailing and ship battles. So good was the critical reception to the game mechanic that there were even reports of Ubisoft polling gamers on whether they’d be interested in a stand-alone pirate game, outside of the Assassin’s series. That’s pretty interesting, right?
Turning to the actual game, the rumours suggest that the new game will be called Assassin’s Creed: Comet, with Digital Spy saying that it’ll be a “cross between Assassin’s Creed 3 and the ‘Freedom Cry’ DLC for Assassin’s Creed 4″ and that the game “features a playable Templar character, as well as returning favourites such as Haytham Kenway and Adewale”. And most crucially that it will be “set in North America and will let players visit New York and sail along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.”
So it appears sailing will be a big part of it, if that is correct. But why exactly would they call it Comet?
What if Comet were the name of a ship? Say… the HMS Comet, which was the name of different British Navy ships for several hundred years?
As I’m not an expert on ships, here’s how Professor Wikipedia describes them:
- HMS Comet (1695) was a 4-gun bomb vessel built in 1695 and captured by the French in 1706.
- HMS Comet (1742) was a 14-gun bomb vessel in use from 1742 to 1759.
- HMS Comet (1756) was a galley used in 1756.
- HMS Comet (1758) was a 10-gun brig-sloop in India in 1758.
- HMS Comet (1777) was a 10-gun sloop purchased in 1777 and sold the following year.
- HMS Comet was the 10-gun sloop Diligence converted to a fire ship in 1779 but sold the following year.
- HMS Comet (1783) was a fire ship built in 1783 and used in 1800 at Dunkirk Roads.
- HMS Comet (1807) was an 18-gun sloop launched in 1807 and sold in 1815.
Perhaps even more interestingly, not only does the HMS Comet fit in with the AC4: Black Flag timeline.. but the forthcoming French Revolution timeline too. So whether the game would be set towards the start of the 17th century (a la Black Flag) or the end (a la Unity) remains unclear.
But surely this isn’t a coincidence? One of the ships with that name was commanded by a Royal Navy Officer called William Bradley – who was Master and Commander during the French Revolutionary Wars:
“Bradley was promoted to master and commander in 1791, and in 1793 was given the fire ship HMS Comet as part of the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe. In May 1794, a year after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, Howe’s fleet began the Atlantic campaign of May 1794, chasing a French grain convoy deep into the Atlantic. The campaign concluded with the battle of the Glorious First of June, where Howe’s fleet defeated an equally sized French force but failed to stop the convoy.”
So could Comet be the game that joins up Black Flag and Unity? The Comet took part in the Atlantic campaign – literally between Paris and the Caribbean. And slavery was abolished (for the first time) in France and it’s colonies in 1794 – the same year the revolutionary wars kicked off.
So could Comet be a story about slavery and sailing? Will it neatly tie together all of the rumours and speculation? I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks at E3.
By James O'Malley | May 16th, 2014