- "Shay was an Assassin. He was a friend, a brother. Now the man we once called a brother is coming to hunt us all."
- ―Liam O'Brien, Assassin's Creed: Rogue Story Trailer.
Assassin's Creed: Rogue is an open-world action adventure game, released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on 11 November 2014 in the United States, 13 November globally, and 10 March 2015 for the PC. Rogue follows the story of the Assassin-turned-Templar Shay Cormac between 1752 and 1760, during the Seven Years' War, and is the closing chapter in the Kenway saga. A remastered version of the game was later globally released for Xbox One and PS4 on 20 March, 2018.
With the historical Seven Years' War having almost the same level of European naval activity as the Golden Age of Piracy, if not more due to the unmatched power of England's Royal Navy, Rogue appropriately incorporates the naval element previously established in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Freedom Cry. Through Shay, the player controls his ship, the Morrigan, a modified sloop-of-war. Being smaller than Edward Kenway's brig Jackdaw, it can easily navigate the tight bays of the Hudson River Valley and the iceberg-heavy regions in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
The primary locations in the game are New York City, the Hudson River Valley, and the North Atlantic, specifically, the area around Newfoundland and Nova Scotia known as the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The North Atlantic is an icy water-based region, where icebergs can be used as cover during naval combat, as well as broken to reveal frozen cargo and Animus data fragments. With the help of an ice-breaker ram, navigation is supplemented and additional secret areas can be reached. Meanwhile, the River Valley is a hybrid of land-based and naval gameplay, with seamless river navigation integrated into a map reminiscent of the Frontier from Assassin's Creed III. New York is also bigger than its first appearance Assassin's Creed III, as it is 20 years before the Revolution and so the Great Fire of 1776 has not happened yet. All together, the three regions require more exploration than all of Black Flag.
Environmental hazards have been incorporated in the form of poison gas barrels, which drive victims berserk within their expanding radius; Shay can avoid being affected by pulling a gas mask over his face. Accompanying this, swimming in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic damages Shay's health, so underwater sections like those in Black Flag were removed entirely.
Joining the Templars grants Shay considerably different weapons from earlier installments, both ship-based and personal. Being extremely well-financed, the Templars have access to actual and prototype weapons that would usually be restricted to the military. Aboard the Morrigan, two mounted Puckle guns replace the swivel gun. Early machine guns, they have a greater shot capacity than the 5-shot swivels, and a greater rate of fire, with the chamber reloading semi-automatically instead of through single-shot. Oil barrels replace the exploding barrels in Black Flag.
New to the player's arsenal is the air rifle, a ranged weapon that used compressed air to fire various projectiles and silently eliminate enemies. Like a blowpipe, it could fire sleep and poison darts, but it could also shoot firecrackers for distractions, while a grenade launcher attachment allowed it to fire such ammunition like gas bombs or shrapnel grenades. Besides being chosen for its impressive capabilities, the air rifle's silence in delivering its payloads was meant to reflect the Templars' equally silent behind-the-scenes manipulations.
However, having switched wartime allegiances, Shay is now a constant target to the very missions the player performed in past games. During naval battles, the Morrigan can be rammed by enemy ships, forcing Shay and his crew to protect the vessel from Assassin-affiliated attackers. Land travel poses perhaps the greatest risk, with all hiding spots potentially concealing stalkers. Accordingly, some mechanics from past multiplayer segments have been incorporated, such as a compass indicating a target's position being a part of Eagle Vision, and whispers increasing in volume to indicate the presence of nearby hidden assailants. In place of assassination contracts are Assassin Interception missions, in which Shay must intercept the contract on a carrier pigeon, and then subsequently find and defend the intended target from Assassins.
The ability to kill civilians and domestic animals with melee weapons returns, with the desynchronization penalty applying to Shay only during his time as an Assassin. Upon leaving the Brotherhood, bounty hunters will be sent after Shay for killing civilians, similar to pirate hunters in Black Flag. Sea shanties make a return, though Producer Karl van der Luhe confirmed that all the explicitly pirate-themed songs had replaced with Irish- and New York-themed ones, given Shay's heritage and upbringing. Another continued feature was hunting, with new animals unique to the Arctic regions, such as narwhals and polar bears. With new animal resources comes new items and upgrades for crafting. White whales are also fully included and are not community events.
Characters seen previously in the Kenway saga make appearances, such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Haytham Kenway, William Johnson, and Achilles Davenport from Assassin's Creed III, as well as Adéwalé from Black Flag. Brief appearances are made by Charles Dorian, his son, Arno, and Élise de la Serre from Assassin's Creed: Unity, while François Mackandal, Edward Kenway, and Ratonhnhaké:ton are mentioned in some modern day segments narrated by Juhani Otso Berg.
In 2014, a Helix research analyst working for Abstergo Entertainment was in the work of reliving Shay Cormac's memories, but in the process, they triggered a vírus, and the facility was put on alert. After ejecting them from their Animus, Violet da Costa escorted them to Melanie Lemay’s office as the other employees evacuated. While she initially intended to destroy the genetic memories to solve the problem, Juhani Otso Berg intervened, wanting to study them instead. Violet then aided the analyst with reliving Shay’s memories.
The game starts with Shay chasing an Assassin, attempting to attack him, but his target dodged the attack. The Assassin was Liam O'Brien, Shay’s friend. Shay and Liam's conversation was interrupted by the sound of distant cannon fire. Shay and Liam reached their camp, where Louis-Joseph Gaultier, Chevalier de la Vérendrye, was waiting for them. After an arguement and a fistfight between Chevalier and Shay, he and Liam made their way to the British camp. They killed the soldiers and freed the smugglers taken prisioner. Shay took their ship for himself and named it the Morrigan, then took helm and set a course for Chevalier's ship, the Gerfaut, which was being attacked by British ships. Shay sank the enemy ships and rescued the Gerfault.
At the Davenport Homestead, Achilles Davenport witnessed the arrival of Adéwalé. Shay overheard their conversation about the Port-au-Prince earthquake and a Precursor temple sited in the city. They added that the Templars stole two precious artifacts useful to find those temples: a Manuscript of ancient wisdom, and a box that allows one to understand its language. After training under each of his tutors, Liam, Hope Jensen and Kesegowaase, Shay set out with Liam to pursue a lead regarding the location of the stolen Precursor box and Manuscript. Shay and Liam pursued the high-ranking Templar Lawrence Washington, in an effort to recover the artifacts. Shay assassinated Washington at his estate, though the stolen artifacts remained in the hands of Templars Samuel Smith and James Wardrop.
First, Shay assassinated Smith and retrieved the Precursor box. Then, he assassinated Wardrop and retrieved the Manuscript. With both artifacts in hand, Shay traveled to Sleepy Hollow, hoping that the scientist Benjamin Franklin would be able to activate the Precursor box. With his experiment, Franklin successfully activated the box. The artifact projected a map revealing the locations of several Precursor sites, one of which Shay recognized to be in Lisbon. With that, Shay was tasked with retrieving the Piece of Eden located in the city. Although Shay found the Piece of Eden, the artifact disintegrated upon being removed from its pedestal, causing an earthquake that leveled nearly the entire city, leaving thousands of people homeless or dead.
Following the disaster in Lisbon, Shay went to confront his Mentor at the Homestead, believing him to already know the true purpose of the temples, but was sent away by his fellow Assassins. Unwilling to let the Assassins destroy another city, Shay sneaked into the manor to steal the Manuscript, though he was discovered by Achilles. After a struggle with his Mentor, Shay fled the Homestead, with his former Assassin allies in pursuit. Eventually, Shay reached a dead end, coming to a stop atop a cliff overlooking the bay, with Liam holding Shay at gunpoint to prevent him from running away again. Walking towards the edge of the cliff, Shay was shot in the back before falling down and plunging into the bay.
After several weeks of languishing at an unknown location, Shay tried to piece together what happened. Shay was put under care of Barry and Cassidy Finnegan, whose late son was a Templar agent. Shay was handed their son’s robes and returned his weapons, but no Manuscript. Having learned of the gangs that plagued New York, Shay took down one of their headquarters, following which he became acquainted with Colonel George Monro. Monro later gave a new task for Shay. Shay rescued Christopher Gist from hanging and reclaimed his old ship, the Morrigan. Gist then assembled a new crew and volunteered to fill the position of first mate. Along with Monro, Shay and Gist began working to purge the region of the Assassin influence. Monro, trusting Shay enough, revealed that he found the Manuscript when he found Shay marooned, and returned it to him.
Shay discovered Colonel Monro was in trouble in Fort William Henry and decided to come to his friend's aid. He met with Jack Weeks, who informed him that Monro and his men are walking toward an Abenaki ambush. Shay safely escorted Colonel Monro and his men through the ambush, but his presence was discovered by Kesegowaase. Having rescued Colonel Monro, met with his Templar allies, who informed him of Kesegowaase's next attack and their plan to combat it. Shay also returned the Manuscript to Monro’s hands, believing it to be safer with him. To gain support and sabotage Kesegowaase's plans, Shay saved the Oneida villagers and helped Monro's troops. Having sailed to Albany, Shay and Gist found the city in turmoil, with Colonel Monro's troops clashing against Kesegowaase's forces. Shay tracked down and eliminated Kesegowaase, but Colonel Monro was assassinated by Liam, who managed to steal the Manuscript and take it back to the Assassins. Following Monro's death, Shay was formally inducted into the Templar Order by Grand Master Haytham Kenway.
Following his induction, Shay informed Haytham about the temples the Assassins found and the consequences of disturbing them. Their conversation finished, Shay set sail for the North Atlantic, where he would meet with James Cook, a Royal Navy officer. They sailed towards Louisbourg and prevented French reinforcements from reaching there. Shay, Haytham and Gist set a course for the River Valley, tracking down Adéwalé. After a naval battle with the Assassin, Shay and Haytham pursued Adéwalé in land. Shay assassinated Adéwalé while the latter was distracted by Haytham, though his death ultimately did little to hamper Achilles' progress.
Shay and the Templars focused on taking down the Assassin-affiliated gangs that plagued New York. Shay and Weeks disguised themselves as gang members and robbed a British fort, setting the British Army towards combating New York's gangs. With the British Army on the Templars' side, Shay set out to locate Hope and assassinate her. Shay infiltrated the mansion's grounds, finding Hope and Liam in a warehouse. Spying on their meeting through a skylight, he saw Hope successfully replicating Franklin’s experimente, giving them a new temple site. While in pursuit of Hope, Shay was poisoned by her. After a lengthy chase through New York, Shay managed to strike Hope. Wounded, she collapsed, allowing Shay to take the antidote he needed. Shay assassinated Hope, depriving the gangs of their leader.
Shay set out to uncover the destination of the Assassins' expedition. After obtaining Chevalier’s maps, Shay consulted Cook to find him. While tracking him in North Atlantic, they engaged the Gerfaut in naval combat and incapacitated her. Shay assassinated Chevalier, but learned he had only been a distraction, giving Achilles and Liam time to reach the Precursor site.
With the destination of the Assassins' expedition revealed, Shay and Haytham set out to prevent Liam and Achilles from finding and activating the seismic temple. At the heart of the temple, they found Liam and Achilles uncovering the Piece of Eden. While Achilles admitted that he was wrong about the artifact, Liam still condemned Shay for betraying the Brotherhood. After a brief struggle, Liam fell back onto the artifact, disturbing the Temple and triggering an earthquake. Shay pursued Liam through the collapsing caverns, while Haytham followed Achilles to a clearing outside. Shay attacked Liam, but their struggle caused the ice platform they were on to break, sending both of them plummeting down onto the ice below. With the last of his strength, Liam handed Shay the Manuscript, before succumbing to the wounds he had sustained from the fall. To honor his friend, Shay raised Liam's hood.
Shay then returned to the shore, where he found Haytham about to kill Achilles, and stopped him, claiming that if he perished, the Assassins would blindly continue their search for the temples. Haytham agreed with sparing Achilles and made to return to the Morrigan, before turning around and shooting Achilles in the leg, crippling him. With the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins destroyed, and their search for the temples ended, Haytham tasked Shay with finding the Precursor box that Chevalier had sent away. Shay pointed that the box could be anywhere in the world, and that his search could take years. Haytham asked him if he was up to the challenge, to which Shay agreed.
In 1776, Shay’s search for the Precursor box took him to Paris, where he found some criminals chasing Benjamin Franklin. Shay rescued Franklin, and was able to gain access to the Palace of Versailles. Shay entered the Palace and located the Assassin Charles Dorian, who was in possession of the box. Shay discreetly assassinated Charles and took the box from him. In his dying words, Charles claimed that the American Revolution undid his Templar business in the Americas, to which Shay responded that they should start a revolution of their own.
After their task was complete, Melanie, Violet and Berg, praised the analyst for their work. Berg told the analyst that the data they extracted from Shay Cormac's memories conveyed a message to the modern Assassins, stating that when pressed, what an Assassin truly wants isn't freedom, but order. It was then revealed to the analyst that Melanie, Violet and Berg were all members of the Templar Order. From there, the analyst was given a choice to join the Templars, or refuse and be killed by Berg. The game fades to black before a choice is made.
- Steven Piovesan as Shay Cormac
- Andreas Apergis as Juhani Otso Berg
- Lucinda Davis as Violet da Costa
- Stefanie Buxton as Cassidy Finnegan
- Richard Dumont as Christopher Gist
- Shawn Campbell as James Cook
- Adrian Hough as Haytham Kenway
- Danny Blanco-Hall as Kesegowaase
- Chimwemwe Miller as Le Chasseur
- Tristan D. Lalla as Adéwalé
- Vincent Hoss-Desmarais as James Wardrop
- Ralph Prosper as Jack Weeks
- Rick Jones as Benjamin Franklin
- Guy Sprung as William Johnson
- Roger Aaron Brown as Achilles Davenport
- Patricia Summersett as Hope Jensen
- Graham Cuthbertson as George Monro
- Marcel Jeannin as Louis-Joseph Gaultier, Chevalier de la Vérendrye
- Stephen Beckett as Charles Dorian
- Cristina Rosato as Melanie Lemay
- Michel Perron as Barry Finnegan
- Harry Standjofski as Lawrence Washington
- Tod Fennell as George Washington
- Alain Goulem as Samuel Smith
- Susan Glover as Onatah
- Julian Casey as Liam O'Brien
The first details on Rogue came in March 2014, when news leaked that Ubisoft planned to release two games that Fall, one of which was code-named "Assassin's Creed: Comet" and was to be released exclusively for PS3 and Xbox 360. Another leak at month's end revealed Comet's protagonist was a Templar named Shay, and that the majority of the story was set in New York City and the North Atlantic around 1758. The report also stated that since Comet bridged the gap between Black Flag and Assassin's Creed III, gameplay would be an appropriate hybrid and characters from previous series entries would make appearances, with Haytham Kenway and Adéwalé rumored to return.
Following a final leak in August 2014, this time of the cinematic trailer, Ubisoft confirmed the existence of the game and officially announced the upcoming title, Assassin's Creed: Rogue, which was developed by Ubisoft Sofia in collaboration with the studios in Bucharest, Chengdu, Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, and Milan.
In an interview with GameInformer, Rogue's Narrative Designer Richard Farrese said that the idea of a game with a Templar protagonist had been discussed among the brand team for some while, but the right opportunity had never presented itself, elaborating:
We have so many good characters and come of them we just want to use again. One of the reasons we actually picked this time period [the Seven Years' War] is that the characters that were created, they're so rich that we felt that there were more stories to tell.It was only after the release of Assassin's Creed III and Black Flag that Brand Content Manager Jean Guesdon felt the development team had the resources to complete the saga in the New World by using the past research and game mechanics. Guesdon also wanted a chance to portray a more layered Templar who actually believed in and fought for a cause after so many games from the Assassin perspective depicting them as "basic, monolithic villains", especially after reactions to Haytham in Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed: Forsaken. Due to the advertised connection between Unity and Rogue, Unity's development team allowed the Rogue team to create a mission in a parsed-down model of the Parisian streets and the Palace of Versailles. In spite of the plot tie-in, Guesdon was confident Rogue could still operate by itself as a standalone for newcomers to the series.
Not only did the producers want to approach Rogue from the opposite side of the Assassin-Templar War ideology, but also for players to become invested in Shay's story. When asked about Shay's about-face, Producer Karl van der Luhe responded, "It's not a case of I'm going to the dark side. It's a case of I'm more aligned with their approach." Even though Shay would confront and sometimes have to kill former allies, explained Producer Ivan Balabanov, killing them would not come easily and would have an emotional cost, with the ultimate goal of having the players question everything they thought they knew about how both factions were represented. Related to this, the producers added, while the addition or omission of certain characters from Black Flag and Assassin's Creed III was primarily based on the timeline, of greater importance to properly tell Rogue's story was whether they would be worthy opponents to test Shay's convictions on joining the Templars, and so garner emotional reactions from both Shay and players.
Farrese was not alone in writing Rogue, having help from scriptwriters Susan Patrick, who assisted with the main story, and James Nadiger, who covered the modern day segments, the collectibles and the war letters. The most challenging part of writing Rogue, said Patrick, was its niche production date. The events of 2013's Black Flag and 2012's Assassin's Creed III had to be considered, but the tie-in with Unity also had to be kept in mind. Another challenge was giving the game a pro-Templar view, highlighting the Templars' positive attributes like order, while presenting valid criticisms of the Assassins' methods.
For Nadiger, writing Otso Berg allowed him and players to see how Templars viewed their own Order's figureheads, adding that it was interesting how much of a historian Berg was considering his prominence in the field as a member of Sigma Team, a characterization that continued into the Assassin's Creed: Reflections miniseries. In his view, creating the easter eggs in the war letters and elsewhere was important. They helped ease the progression from and connections between Black Flag and Rogue, but also set up in-universe "future" events in Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, and Unity. Giving an example, he mentioned how the student-teacher connection between Achilles and Ah Tabai came about through talks with Assassin's Creed III's production team.
Although New York features heavily in Rogue, it was critical to Rogue's Art Director Eddie Bennun that the concept art not use the same color palette as Assassin's Creed III. The art team followed Raphael Lacoste's example, looking into landscape pieces by Albert Bierstadt and Aldro Hibbard in order to get a feel for the brighter atmosphere of the times. The intent was to depict New York not just as the bustling city from Assassin's Creed III, but as "the true New World's business and industrial center". Likewise, concept art for the River Valley mainly used bright "organic shapes and composition" to reflect the Valley's gentle, rolling topography that is dotted with small trading posts, forts, and Indigenous settlements.
Shay's wardrobe also underwent artistic changes reflecting his changed ideology, from the visually flowing Assassin robes to the regimented, angular Templar coat. The Morrigan's weaponry was not immune either, being just as affected by Shay's Templar leaning, with the Ubisoft Sofia developers revealing that the bluntness and power of the icebreaker ram, the burning oil barrels, and by extension all other armaments acquired after changing sides, had been planned from the onset as part of the greater Templar mindset written across all aspects of the game.
On January 11, 2018, Ubisoft officially announced the upcoming release of Assassin's Creed: Rogue Remastered. Set for March 20, 2018, Rogue Remastered retouched Rogue's graphics for Xbox One and PS4. With Rogue originally released for Xbox 360 and PS3 and Unity for the then-next generation consoles, many players had to choose whether to play one or the other; by upgrading the game for the current systems, people who missed Rogue could play the missing sequence in the Kenway saga. The re-release included all of Rogue's previous downloadable content, from the bonus missions The Armor of Sir Gunn's Quest and The Siege of Fort de Sable to the weapons packs. Exclusive to this edition were legacy outfits for Shay based on Bayek from Assassin's Creed: Origins, Jacob Frye from Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, and Aguilar de Nerha from the movie Assassin's Creed.