Assassin's Creed Rogue is a 2014 action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Sofia and published by Ubisoft. It is the seventh major installment in the Assassin's Creed series, and acts as a sequel to 2013's Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and a prequel to 2012's Assassin's Creed III with its final mission being the prologue to 2014's Assassin's Creed Unity. It is the last of the Assassin's Creed games to be released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Ubisoft announcing that the company will no longer release games for them, except for its casual rhythm series Just Dance. The game was first released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November and December 2014, and released on Microsoft Windows on March 10, 2015.
The plot is set in a fictional history of real world events and follows the centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The story is set in the mid-18th century during the Seven Years' War, and follows Shay Patrick Cormac, an Assassin-turned-Templar who hunts down former members of his Brotherhood after being betrayed by them. Gameplay in Rogue is very similar to that of Black Flag with a mixture of ship-based naval exploration and third-person land-based exploration with some new features.
Upon release, Rogue received a mostly positive critical reaction; most critics praised the game's twist on the traditional formula by playing as a Templar, the mature story-line, the complex protagonist, the sophisticated depiction of the fight between Templars and Assassins, as well as the additions to the franchise's lore and the naval warfare gameplay. Other reviewers criticized it for failing to innovate the series' formula and its similarities to Black Flag.
Assassin's Creed Rogue is an action-adventure, stealth game, set in an open world environment. Naval aspects from previous games return with the player controlling Shay's ship, Morrígan. Morrígan has a shallower draft compared to Edward Kenway's Jackdaw from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, allowing for river travel. New features include new ship-based weapons such as releasing an oil slick which can then be ignited, Puckle guns, and the ability for enemies to board Morrígan during ship-to-ship combat. The arctic environment also features into naval gameplay and exploration, as certain icebergs can be rammed with an icebreaker. The underwater diving missions featured in Black Flag do not exist as swimming in the North Atlantic causes the player's health to rapidly deplete due to the frigid water.
For combat, the game introduces an air rifle, similar to the blowpipe from the Black Flag which allows the player to silently take out enemies at a distance. The air rifle can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, such as firecrackers. The player can also use it as a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads. Hand-to-hand combat has been slightly altered, and now enemy attacks can be countered with timing, similar to the Batman: Arkham series of games. Enemy Assassins feature archetypes similar to previous games, using skills that players have been using throughout the series; they can hide in bushes, blend in with crowds, and perform air assassinations against the player. Poison gas can now be used as an environmental weapon, and Shay has a mask that can mitigate its effects.
Side missions and activities return, with a number of them based on those of the previous games. Reflecting Shay's role as a Templar, the game introduces a new side mission: Assassin Interception. These mirror the Assassination side missions in previous games, in that Shay, after intercepting a messenger pigeon carrying an assassination contract, must prevent an innocent being assassinated by finding and killing Assassins hidden nearby.
The game also includes Legendary ship battles (destroy or withhold) to defeat big legendary ships. The player may also need possible upgrades for the Morrígan as the game progresses.
The modern day plot begins one year after the events of Black Flag, with a new unnamed player character who works for Abstergo Entertainment. While investigating the memories of Shay Patrick Cormac, an Irish Assassin working in the North Atlantic during the French and Indian War, they inadvertently trip a hidden memory file that corrupts the Abstergo servers. With the building being put into lockdown, the player is recruited by Melanie Lemay to continue exploring Cormac's memories in an effort to clear the system.
Cormac is a new recruit to the Brotherhood of Assassins, working under Achilles Davenport. Achilles sees potential in him, but Cormac develops an insubordinate streak that frustrates his mentors. Believing that taking a more active role in the Brotherhood's affairs will shape him into a better assassin, Achilles orders Cormac with his newly acquired ship, the Morrígan, to track down a Templar cell that has been deciphering a Precursor artifact revealing the locations of several Pieces of Eden. The artifact, in the form of a wooden box, had been stolen from the Assassins following a massive earthquake in Haiti some years before. With the help of Benjamin Franklin, a Piece of Eden is located in Lisbon, and Cormac is tasked with retrieving it.
However, Cormac has begun questioning the Assassins' motives after seeing their refusal to engage in dialogue with the Templars, and takes no satisfaction from killing Lawrence Washington, who was already dying of tuberculosis. His doubts come to a head in Lisbon, where his attempt to retrieve the Piece of Eden triggers an earthquake which destroys the city. Noting that similar events occurred in Haiti, Cormac is horrified to learn that Achilles and the Assassins intend to pursue the remaining Pieces of Eden. Cormac steals a manuscript necessary to interpret the artifact and flees, while the Assassins give chase. Confronted on the edge of a cliff at the homestead, he decides to commit suicide and bury the manuscript in the depths of the Atlantic rather than let the Assassins reacquire it. Just as he jumps, Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye shoots him in the back, although Cormac goes on to believe that it was his best friend Liam's doing.
Cormac is rescued by a passing ship and taken to New York City. Once he recovers, he uses the skills he learned from the Assassins to drive out the city's criminal gangs. His actions attract the attention of George Monro, the city's governor, who offers Cormac the chance to help rebuild the city. Indebted to Monro, Cormac assists the British Army in their early campaigns against the French, particularly at the Battle of Quiberon Bay, the Siege of Louisbourg and skirmishes against French soldiers at Valley Forge and discovers that Achilles' chapter is supporting the French war effort. Monro reveals himself to be a Templar, and despite being aware of Cormac's previous loyalties, he offers him a place within their Order. Cormac accepts the offer after defending Monro and his remaining soldiers at the aftermath of the Siege of Fort William Henry by an attack by Abenaki Indians, led by one of Cormac's former tutors, but Monro is killed by Liam shortly afterwards during an attack on a British fort. Cormac is then formally inducted by the Templar Grandmaster, Haytham Kenway.
Cormac reveals to Kenway his belief that the Pieces of Eden sought by the Assassins are not weapons, but instead are being used to hold the world together, and he pledges to stop his former allies before they cause another catastrophe. Among of Shay's victims was Adewale, former Quartermaster of Edward Kenway's jackdaw after he tried to defeat the British at Louisbourg. His efforts lead to the deaths of several senior figures in the Brotherhood, until only Achilles and Liam remain. On discovering that the pair are headed for another Precursor temple in the Arctic, he immediately pursues them. Inside the temple, Haytham and Cormac confront Achilles and Liam over their actions, but Achilles' attempts to prevent bloodshed causes Liam to destroy the Piece of Eden by accident, causing another earthquake. While Haytham pursues Achilles, Cormac and Liam fight throughout the temple, until a high fall kills Liam. Cormac arrives in time to persuade Haytham to spare Achilles, as his testimony will stop the Assassins from trying to locate other Precursor Sites. Haytham nonetheless cripples Achilles as a precaution by shooting him in the knee.
With the Colonial America branch of the Assassin Brotherhood all but destroyed, Cormac is tasked with locating the artifact that was used to find the Pieces of Eden, as Achilles had passed it to other Assassins prior to his Arctic voyage. Cormac's twenty year search eventually leads him to Versailles, where he discovers it under the care of a French assassin named Charles Dorian. Cormac kills Dorian and takes possession of the artifact, taunting the dying man with the promise that while the American Revolution ended Templar influence in the Americas, the advent of a a new revolution may yet hold promise.
In the present day, the player reconciles Cormac's memories. Under the direction of Otso Berg, a senior Templar leader, they upload them to the Assassin network, revealing how close Achilles Davenport came to destroying the world. The result is almost instantaneous, with the Assassins thrown into disarray and, as revealed in Assassin's Creed Unity, retaliating by hacking into the Abstergo's systems and destroying all of the company's Precursor samples as well as causing several of their servers to melt down. As reward for their actions, the player is presented with a choice; join the Templar Order, or die. The game fades to black before a choice is made.
By March 2014, an Assassin's Creed game code-named "Comet" was revealed to be in development, set for release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. By the end of the month, additional reports indicated that "Comet" would be set around 1758 in New York, as well as feature sailing on the Atlantic Ocean. The game would be a direct sequel to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and would feature a Templar named Shay as the main protagonist. Haytham Kenway from Assassin's Creed III and Adewalé from Black Flag would also make appearances.
The game was officially announced on August 5, 2014, following a leak of the title. Game director Martin Capel described the game as finishing the series' "North American saga" and that the game was designed to accommodate specific fan requests, such as taking on the role of a Templar. The game is intended to "fill the gaps" of the story between Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and has "a crucial link" to the events of the previous games. In addition to Ubisoft Sofia's work on the game, contributions are also being made by Ubisoft studios in Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengdu, Milan and Bucharest. Ubisoft also stated that the game was being envisioned without multiplayer components "at this stage", but did not rule out any modes being added after the game launched.
Assassin's Creed Rogue received "mixed" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic. As of December 31, 2014, Ubisoft has shipped a combined 10 million copies of Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed: Rogue.
Ray Carsillo from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 8.5/10, praising its interesting lead character, enjoyable story, new weapons introduced, new mission design, which requires players to prevent assassinations instead of carrying out assassinations like in other Assassin's Creed titles, as well as advanced and improved combat mechanics. However, he criticized poor pacing of the story, frequent bugs, lack of replayability and the lack of inclusion of a multiplayer mode. He concluded the review by saying that "Rogue is a far more pleasurable experience than I anticipated. It does just enough to put its own stamp on the franchise while also giving us critical story details in order to tie up loose ends between Assassin's Creed III and IV. It serves as a perfect conclusion to the series’ time spent exploring Europe’s North American colonies in the 18th century."
Eurogamer drew comparisons between Rogue and Assassin's Creed Revelations—a game which served to resolve storylines from Ezio Auditore's saga as a lead-in to Assassin's Creed III, due to its focus on expanding on characters and storylines introduced in III and Black Flag. Although noting that some settings, weapons, and mechanics had been reused from previous games in the series (such as an expansion of the New York City setting from III, naval combat, renovating buildings to build income, and locating enemies with a radar similarly to the former multiplayer mode), the use of Assassins as an enemy was considered to be a "much-needed new [idea] to the series' fighting mechanics" due to their use of tactics that were used by the player themselves in previous games (such as smoke bombs and hiding), and that Rogue felt the most "fresh" whilst exploring its new North Atlantic overworld. However, the story missions themselves and single player campaign overall were criticized for being noticeably shorter than in previous games.
Matt Miller from Game Informer gave the game a 8.25/10. He praised the huge variety of activities, varied environments and mission types, new additions and well-performed gameplay, despite being too similar to its predecessors. He criticized the repetitive melee combat and the absence of multiplayer mode. He described the game by saying that "Rogue is vast with lots to explore, and while it lacks novelty, it offers a wealth of gameplay and lore to faithful fans." Daniel Bloodworth from GameTrailers gave the game a 7.2/10, praising the return of some old characters in the Assassin's Creed series, stunning scenery and environment, interesting interceptions missions, but criticizing the predictable and dull lead character, poorly-constructed missions in the beginning of the game, disappointing boss battles, as well as numerous bugs. He described the game by saying that "Rogue in many ways feels like an extension of last year’s Black Flag, even down to the menus, but there are some tweaks to the formula thanks to your new role as a former assassin, hunting down his old comrades."
Daniel Krupa from IGN gave the game a 6.8/10. He praised the engaging story, the nuanced lead character, atmospheric scenery, but criticized the lack of Templar abilities included, bland encounters with other main characters, uninspired side quests, empty world, as well as the frustrating combat and traversal system, which he stated has shown no improvements. He also criticized the game for not encouraging the player to explore the world. Mark Walton from GameSpot gave the game a 6/10, criticizing the predictable story, unlikeable lead character, lack of interesting missions, as well as being thin on core content. He stated that the game feels like a glorified Black Flag DLC pack and has done nothing to put the franchise forward. Xav de Matos from Joystiq gave the game a 6/10, criticizing the game for not adding anything new to the franchise. He stated that "Assassin's Creed Rogue is essentially a clone of Black Flag's setting and systems. If you can accept rampant copy-and-paste in another full priced entry, you'll more than likely enjoy what Assassin's Creed Rogue has to offer."
In December 2015, Game Informer ranked the game as the sixth best game in the Assassin's Creed series to date.