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Video Game / Assassin's Creed Rogue

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"Once an Assassin, now their pursuer. The air is still, and I am a hunter."

"History may brand me traitor, rebel or renegade. But in the end, it doesn't matter how history remembers me... what matters is that I followed my own creed."
Shay Patrick Cormac

Assassin's Creed: Rogue is a game in the Assassin's Creed series that serves as the Spiritual Successor to Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and a prequel to both Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed: Unity, released on November 11, 2014 for Xbox 360 (playable on Xbox One via backward compatibility) and PlayStation 3, March 10th, 2015 for the PC, on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in March 2018, and December 6, 2019 alongside Black Flag as part of The Rebel Collection. It has you playing as an Assassin turned Templar named Shay Patrick Cormac as he hunts his former brothers up and down the Atlantic coast during the North American portion of the Seven Years' War, the French and Indian War.

Shay Patrick Cormac is the son of Irish immigrants to New York and a newly minted recruit of the Assassin Brotherhood under the leadership of Achilles Davenport. His new convictions have not yet set in fully when he gets sent to complete a mission that unleashes a disaster of unexpected proportions, which disillusions Shay from the Brotherhood and their heroic purpose. Burdened by his terrible knowledge and rendered a pariah to his former friends, Shay finds allies among the Templar cause and goes forth on a dark quest that takes him to the frozen ends of the earth.

Meanwhile, in the present day, an Abstergo Research Consultant going through Shay's memories accidentally activates a virus that knocks systems out in the building. Working alongside several Templars, the Consultant must slowly bring power back to the building while finding out what's so special about Shay to have such a powerful virus attached to it.

The game revisits the New England setting of Assassin's Creed III, including the city of New York, in addition to featuring the North Atlantic Coast and The Arctic, whose cold waters can be sailed on Shay's brigantine, Morrigan.


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    Tropes A-H 
  • The Ace: Liam was this to the Colonial Assassins. So much so Shay thought he was Achilles' chosen successor. There's hints Shay might have actually been Achilles' planned heir, however. After all, Shay is getting the majority of important missions with Liam serving as his backup. Achilles also mentions the great plans he has for Shay during their first fight.
  • Accent Adaptation: Averted, as is the standard for most characters in an Assassin's Creed game. Averted even during the glitched memories set in Paris, and the last mission, which is set during the beginning of Assassin's Creed: Unity — which jarringly gave British accents to Parisians, presumably to match Unity.
  • Affably Evil: For a somewhat fuzzy definition of evil, but it's next to impossible to not like Christopher Gist, Shay's eventual second-in-command and easily the largest ham in the Colonies. Even his death threats are so jovial you just want to laugh and give him a pat on the shoulder in response.
  • Animal Motifs: The Morrigan bears wolves on its sails and figurehead, and its namesake most often took the shape of a crow, Shay is Gaelic for hawk and Cormac means raven, all birds with darker connotations and portents than the much beloved eagle of the Assassins.
  • All There in the Manual: The audio files Numbskull can hack from computers give a lot of extra information about the modern day story, mostly from the Templar's perspective.
  • Anachronism Stew: The best pistols in the game are a pair of percussion cap pistols that can be acquired in Sleepy Hollow. The cap lock mechanism would not be invented until 1807. Justified by the pistols being made available in-game through an Animus modification.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Shay takes no pleasure (with the exception of Verendrye, who was a major dick to him) in hunting down his former friends and allies and is genuinely remorseful at the deaths of Liam, Adéwalé (who he calls a "good man") and Hope.
  • Artistic License – Geography: The towns and cities of New York do not rest on an insane criss-cross of rivers. The real Hudson River is a fairly straight line.
    • There is no shore a skip and a hop east of Newfoundland. There's just the Atlantic ocean.
    • You get the Animus Database entry for the Northern Passage when going through a narrow channel on the north side of the North Atlantic map. However, that place seems to simply be the waters between Newfoundland and the North Coast of Quebec. There is the entire Labrador region, a piece of land the size of an entire European country, between there and the Arctic Ocean alluded to in the Northern Passage entry.
    • Entering the River Valley gets you a database entry that talks about the St. Lawrence river, which is not at all represented in the in-game locations. The river in question seems to stand in for the Hudson river, whereas you'd expect to see places like Quebec, Trois-Rivieres and Montreal on a St. Lawrence map .
  • Artistic License – Geology: Overlapping a bit with Artistic License – Geography, the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake is treated as if its epicenter is in central Lisbon, when in reality it was about 200 kilometers west-southwest of Cape Saint-Vincent, and a lot deeper in the ground than the First Civilization vault that Shay visits beneath the Cathedral, which is a deep basement at best. To cause the real earthquake, the attached First Civilization device would have to be huge, and that's giving the word "huge" a real workout.. In comparison to other such things in the series, this is bordering on A Wizard Did It.
  • Artistic License – History: The use of sea shanties in this game goes further into Artistic License than Black Flag since Shay operates as a Privateer and not a Pirate. Merchant and Privateer ships featured highly disciplined crews who sang a general chanting hymn and certainly avoided the songs played in the game during the 18th Century, it became more prominent in the 19th Century. This is based on records of seamen aboard these ships. Since there are no records of life aboard a pirate ship and it's safe to assume that discipline was lax, it was more a Justified Trope in Black Flag than in Rogue, similar to how [[Connor aboard the Aquila did not allow sea shanties.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Minor case in the Templar Armor set, a suit of chainmail from the First Crusade that reduces the damage taken from bullets and other ranged weapons. The fact that any kind of reasonably advanced firearm, even humble black powder muskets, punched through this armor type with little resistance, was the very reason it became obsolete long before the game takes place.
  • Anti-Hero: Kesegowaase comes closest on the Assassins' side due to several ruthless actions during the French and Indian War. Then again, given he's a Native American fighting against Europeans, one might understand why he's a bit nasty.
  • Anti-Villain: Shay Patrick Cormac is the textbook example of one in Assassin's Creed. The only reason he joined the Templar Order was that he was disgusted at the Assassin Brotherhood callously causing the deaths of innocent people in the Great Lisbon Earthquake. Even as a Templar, he still seeks to do the right thing even if it meant using unethical methods to accomplish his goals.
  • Ascended Meme: Occasionally you will hear a British guard discussing the time he saw Charles Lee get shot in the chest, only to lose sight of him after taking a fall.
    Guard: So there I was, yelling "WHERE IS CHARLES LEE?!" over and over again. Don't I look like a right arse?
  • Assassin Outclassin':
    • Shay has to deal with multiple attempts on his life by Assassins. If they get the drop on Shay, they can take out ninety percent of his health bar in one hit.
    • You can also intercept assassination messages in pigeon coops in order to stop Assassins from murdering your fellow Templars.
    • Not only that, but lower level "stalkers" are one of the common enemies, kind of an Elite Mook. They hide all over the place and are annoying, not least because they often come in pairs.
  • The Atoner: Shay joins the Templars partly out of disillusionment with the Assassin cause, but mostly because he wants to atone for the horror of causing the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. He is genuinely on a crusade to save the world, but to do it he has to betray and kill all his friends.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Templar Enforcer outfit you get for completing all Assassin interceptions looks unspeakably awesome. It also has the hidden effect of buffing Shay's Stalker detection range. This may sound helpful, but it only makes the whispering sound kick in sooner and the detection meter fill up quicker and from a longer distance, which ironically makes it a lot more difficult to pinpoint the Stalker's actual location.
  • Back for the Dead: Adéwalé, at Shay's hands.
  • Badass Longcoat: Shay is wearing one in the cover. Justified by that he's set to travel through the Arctic circle and needs one.
  • Bait-and-Switch: You begin the game knowing the premise is about an Assassin-turned-Templar. Shay's Opening Narration vaguely recounts his past affiliation with the Assassins, and then your first objective is to kill an Assassin... It turns out the target is Shay's best friend and he was just practicing an assassination. The story begins before Shay allies with the Templars.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: An inventor, Ben Franklin, has met Shay as an Assassin even though he doesn't know about their business. Hearing said inventor has created a new weapon for the Assassins, Shay walks up to the man and picks it up. The inventor never suspects he's handed it over to the mortal enemies of his employers.
    • The reason Ben Franklin is familiar with Shay is because Shay pulled a Bavarian Fire Drill on him before. Shay pretended to be a messenger for William Johnson to find out what the Templar had Ben making.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Black and Polar bears can be hunted in game.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The main reason Shay defects to the Templars. After being hunted and chased by the Assassins, George Munro rescues him and despite knowing he was an Assassin, gave him room and board in New York and had his wounds healed. He was criticized for this mercy by William Johnson, but Munro's kindness and the friendship of other Templars such as Christopher Gist is what warms him to the Templar cause.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Deconstructed. Shay indirectly causes the Lisbon Earthquake, a catastrophe that killed as much as a hundred thousand people. His anguish over this, coupled with the Assassins brushing it off, is what leads him to leave the Brotherhood.
  • Better Living Through Evil:
    • Well, they naturally don't think they're evil, but the Templars have access to prototype weapons like the Puckle Gun (which was too expensive to go into mass production in real life), an air-rifle that works as a quasi-grenade launcher and other goodies missing from the Assassin's arsenal. Ubisoft flat out notes in a demo that Templars have far more resources than the Assassins, which shows when upgrading the Morrigan.
    • It's averted in the game proper though; most of the unique upgrades come from the Assassins Gadgeteer Genius Le Chasseur, which Shay keeps throughout the game, while the Templars merely supply some add-ons. Plus there's always the fact that Shay is still forced to raid countless ships and spend his own hard-earned money to actually apply any upgrades he acquired one way or another.
  • Big Bad: The game has an interesting example of this trope. Considering you are playing as Villain Protagonist Shay Patrick Cormac, a Templar, and do battle with the Assassins, the primary antagonist of the game is Achilles Davenport, though he's portrayed as an Unwitting Instigator of Doom who has caused countless innocent deaths through a mix of recklessness and incompetence.
  • Book Ends: Shay recites the Assassins' maxim at the start of the game, and then the vow of the Templars at the end. Both scenes are accompanied by a shot of an eagle.
    Opening: Stay my blade from the flesh of the innocent. Hide in plain sight. Never compromise the Assassin Brotherhood. These are the tenets of the the Creed. The principles I used to live by. I was a young man then. The Seven Years' War was about to begin. I could not have imagined what the future had in store for me... Nor the cost I would choose to bear... My name is Shay Patrick Cormac. This is my story.
    Ending: Uphold the principles of our Order, and all for that for which we stand. Never share our secrets nor divulge the true nature of our work. Do so until death — whatever the cost. This is my new creed. I am Shay Patrick Cormac. Templar of the Colonial… of the American Rite. I am an older man now, and perhaps wiser. A war and a revolution have ended, and another is about to begin. May the Father of Understanding guide us all.
    • The first memory of Sequence 1 begins with Shay sneaking up on Liam to practice an assassination. In the final memory of Sequence 6, Shay is forced to kill Liam.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The best weapons are unlocked so late in the narrative that there's little use left for them unless you deliberately refrained from exploring and doing side activities.
    • The English percussion flintlock pistols can only be acquired after the main story has been completed.
    • Altaïr's sword can be acquired before going into the final missions, but you need to complete the Naval Campaign to unlock it. This can't be done until very late in the story, and actually finishing the last set of naval missions takes much more time than what the rest of the story has to offer by that point.
  • Broken Aesop: Shay's story argues against blindly obeying orders and criticizes the Assassins for their My Master, Right or Wrong mentality and the story suggests that the Templars are more flexible by comparison. Or at least, were. At the very end of the game, Juhani Otso Berg (who worships Shay), forces Shay's research analyst to join the Templars at gunpoint, proving that himself and the other Templars have learned nothing, or that their ideals have long since been warped since those days... similar to the Assassins, who have overtime become more focused on killing than their ideals. More glaringly, Shay himself seems to have forgotten the lessons he learnt in his younger days by the time he assassinates Charles Dorian.
  • The Brute: In contrast to Shay's more thoughtful, skeptical, apologetic and humourous personality, Haytham comes off as even more cruel than in III, especially when he shoots Achilles in the knees for no other reason than spite. Adéwalé, on noticing this, tells Haytham that Edward Kenway would be ashamed of what he has become and he's not half the man his father was.
  • Call-Back:
    • Shay's Templar outfit is an updated version of an outfit Edward Kenway could grab.
    • The Puckle Gun is either this, or foreshadowing on Black Flag's part.
      Julien du Casse: I long for the day where one firearm carries four bullets, and not the opposite.
      Woodes Rogers: I have a friend in England you may like to meet, Julien. James Puckle... he's working on something extraordinary.
    • Abstergo does one as well. They introduce an optional figurehead of Aveline from Assassin's Creed III: Liberation into the game simply because she was "their" first game they released.
    • In the audio file of the Templar attack of the Florence Assassin Cell, Adriano Maestranzi utters the following word before his Heroic Sacrifice:
      Adriano Maestranzi: Vittoria agli Assassini!
    • The whispering that indicates an Assassin is nearby? Same whispering that occurred in Constantinople when Stalkers were nearby, along with being part of the ambient noise from Brotherhood.
    • Haytham briefly shows the Grand Temple Key from III and alludes to his precursor artifact-based mission which brought him to North America in the first place.
    • The Mysterious Box from Freedom Cry shows up again and it's purpose is finally revealed.
    • One of Reginald Birch's War Letters mentions using Edward Kenyway's notes to find Vaults across Italy, and Alamut. He also mentions the Observatory.
    • One of the War Letters is Francois Mackandal telling Anto to essentially get lost.
  • Call-Forward:
    • After killing Charles Dorian, upon learning that Connor's Brotherhood had pretty much undone everything he did over the course of the game during the American Revolution, Shay notes that perhaps the Templars should try starting their own revolution.
    • The "Tablet" modern-day sidequest has numerous emails about Abstergo Entertainment products in development; specifically mentioned are "Murder in the Levant," "Washington and the Wolf," and "The Liberation of Lady Aveline." These are all levels on the (fake) level select screen that greets you when first playing Assassin's Creed: Unity.
    • One of Melanie's tablet messages is telling an analyst they'll be studying Arno Dorian's history.
    • The War Letters you collect throughout the game references various characters and plots throughout the later parts of the Kenway Family Saga as well as Assassin's Creed: Unity.
      • One letter details the Templars finding the Mayan city from Liberation, along with Madeline D'ilse's application to the Templars.
      • Robert Faulkner is the author of one letter, where he declines being captain of the Aquila, but states he'd be willing to be first mate.
  • The Cameo: Arno Dorian and Élise de la Serre appear during the epilogue of the game, taking place 16 years after the last memory, during the prologue of Assassin's Creed: Unity.
  • Canada, Eh?: A miniaturized version of Halifax, Nova Scotia can be visited via the North Atlantic.
  • Canon Welding: The collectible War Letters provides Story Breadcrumbs that covers all kinds of paraphernalia about the New World titles. These include backstory for Achilles (his youth as an Assassin, his apprenticeship with Ah Tabai and John de la Tour, his courtship with Abigail), Mackandal's self-destructive leadership of the Haitian Brotherhood, Reginald Birch's less-than-commendable leadership of the Templar Order, the construction of the Aquila, with several Call-Forward to Liberation, Unity, and III.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Oh, Achilles... Why didn't you just tell Shay that you didn't know the Precursor temples would destroy Haiti and Lisbon?
  • Captain Oblivious:
    • Benjamin Franklin is totally oblivious that he's serving as the resident scientist, Gadgeteer Genius and The Smart Guy for both the Assassins and the Templars at the same time. Both factions have an unwritten agreement to not involve him in their true nature.
    • Captain James Cook is often enlisted for assistance by Shay and the Templars, and Gist even says he would invite Cook to join the Order, but can't because Cook Cannot Keep a Secret. Berg's String Theory still places him under the Templars.
  • Cassandra Did It: Achilles blames Shay for the earthquake after Shay tells him that tampering with the sites causes destruction.
  • Catchphrase: Shay keeps insisting to everyone and anyone, regardless of when he was an Assassin or Templar, that, "I make my own luck."
  • The Cavalry: A villainous example. After a long and adrenaline-soaked naval battle amidst a raging thunderstorm you've finally managed to whittle down the Storm Fortress to one third of her insanely huge health pool. Congrats. Now go kill those other two Level 70 Man o' Wars that suddenly showed up out of nowhere to lay the hurt on the Morrigan, all the while the Storm Fortress continues to shoot the crap out of you as well.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • British soldiers are red, French blue, and Assassin gangs orange and/or purple.
    • Royal convoy frigates have darker hulls and an inverted color scheme on their sails for ease of identification.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the War Letters and the Tablets, there are scattered mentions of the events of Assassin's Creed: Brahman, along with a file of Berg's recounting most of the events of the modern day segment. Melanie Lemay sends a e-mail to Mysore Tech stating that Abstergo is incorporating their technology, and the war letter has an Assassin grumbling about losing the Koh-I-Noor diamond.
    • In one of the files, Da Costa mentions Abstergo insists Christopher Columbus is called "Christoffa Corombo", and she has no idea why, beyond something to do with Desmond Miles. It's because that's how his name was pronounced in Assassin's Creed II: Discovery.
    • Achilles wears the outfit that Connor inherits from him following his death in III.
  • Continuity Snarl: A minor case in the final memory: as Charles Dorian is dying, he points out that Connor Kenway reverses Shay’s purge of the Colonial Assassins. The problem is that this scene takes place in December of 1776, only a few months after the Colonial Templars could confirm that the Colonial Assassins were even attempting to make a comeback, and well before Connor truly loosened their iron grip on America.
  • Cool Boat:
    • Shay's ship, the Morrigan, which is smaller than the Jackdaw from Black Flag since it needs to navigate rivers and narrow channels.
    • Special mention must go to the Storm Fortress, the game's Super Boss and worth every letter of the title. How the Assassins managed to get their hands on this ridiculously powerful behemoth of the seas and its two escorts, which are immensely dangerous Man o' Wars in their own rights is anyone's guess, but damn if the battle isn't awesome.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The recurring rope dart weapon. It can pull enemies off-balance during direct confrontations, but that can also be done just by tapping the "break defense" button. It can be used to pull enemies into stalking zones, but the process is slow and highly visible, both problems which can be avoided by just whistling to attract the enemy to your location. It can be used to pull sentries off of ledges or out of guard towers, but this is very conspicuous and leaves their body in plain sight, and if you're not trying to be stealthy you could just use a gun. It can be used to hang enemies from tree branches, which is the epitome of this trope because it looks really cool but doesn't confer any kind of advantage over just dropping down on the enemy or staying in the tree and remaining hidden.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Shay bitterly complains to Achilles at the end, when the latter realizes his folly of poking around with dangerous unknown artifacts, telling Achilles that had he listened to him, he wouldn't have betrayed the Brotherhood or killed his friends.
  • Covers Always Lie / Never Trust a Trailer: This game's box art, the front of the game disc, all the promotional artwork of him, and even one of the game's trailers all show Shay wearing a hood with his Templar outfit, as would be expected from this series. But in the actual game, the only hoods Shay ever wears are part of Assassin outfits, from his default robes to buyable color variants. The other outfits, including the Templar outfits, only feature high collars.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Assassin Stalkers come across as these, given they're prepared to hide in piles of leaves in the middle of nowhere just for the slim chance Shay will be nearby at some point.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Had the Assassins not tried to kill Shay for leaving the Order — after Achilles refuses to consider the implications of his involvement with the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake that accidentally made Shay butcher an entire city — he likely wouldn't have joined the Templars.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: None of this game's three legendary naval battles are particularly challenging, so any half-decent player with a well-upgraded ship can easily curb-stomp the living hell out of the French navy. Then a fourth legendary battle pops up on the map, and anyone who tackles that one without detailed knowledge of what they're getting themselves into will probably get their asses handed to them at least once, if not several times.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: When Shay saves the Finnegans, no matter how well the player does, even if they flawlessly curb-stomp the thugs without taking a single hit, the next cutscene still depicts him as having gotten slashed across the chest.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: One cutscene later in the campaign shows some Royal Navy frigates firing a mortar barrage at a French armada. Frigates in normal gameplay don't carry mortars.
  • Cutting the Knot: If you don’t feel like hunting animals for parts to upgrade Shay’s carrying capacity, you can simply use your sizable fortune to buy parts from a store.
  • Darker and Edgier: Since you're playing as a Templar and participating in The Purge of the Colonial Assassins, this is a given. Your protagonist is also the first in the series who is free to kill civilian NPCs without any punishment from the Animus interface.
    • This is borne out in the Sequence 2 mission ""Kyrie Eleison". The cool puzzles and tomb exploration that you indulged in becomes a source of horror when it unleashes the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, you barely escape the mass destruction of the city and when you do, you realize that you unthinkingly are responsible for it. The Assassins' blindness at what they have unleashed and Achilles' refusal to listen to Shay brings about the tragedy of their fall and destruction.
  • Defector from Decadence: How Shay sees his betrayal. The Assassins, as you might guess, don't see it that way.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Shay undergoes a major one after the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and his role in it. Truth in Television, the earthquake unleashed a crisis in philosophy and religion across Europe with Voltaire wondering how it thoroughly refuted the thesis of Leibniz that people lived in the best of all possible worlds.
    • Achilles at the end enters one that will not end until the arrival of Connor, who redeems and reshapes the Brotherhood.
    • Berg's ultimate goal is to inflict this on the modern-day Assassins. He compiles all the footage Numbskull managed to gather to try and demoralize the Assassins by showing them how the Colonial Assassins once almost destroyed the world and it was the Templars who managed to stop them.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Neither the Assassins or the Templars had any idea what the Precursor Box's powers really were or that they could potentially cause earthquakes. Shay finds out first hand and spends the rest of the game trying to convince everyone about it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Abstergo really don't like hoodies. The cost for one of their employees wearing one is an official warning, at the very least, and the high likelihood for being fired. Admittedly, they’ve been getting infiltrated and/or killed by folks in hoodies for centuries.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Juhani Otso Berg believes that Shay chose the Templars because he wanted to bring Order and reject freedom. Shay joined the Templars because he wanted to save the world from Achilles' unthinking manipulation of First Civilization Artifacts and the other Assassins' blind obedience to their Mentor, and that one Templar, George Munro, disobeyed the advice of William Johnson to rescue him and show him mercy rather than kill him.
  • Double Unlock:
    • In order to fully upgrade the Morrigan, you have to find the blueprints for the elite upgrades, then gather enough money & resources to actually install the upgrades.
    • Unlocking the Templar chainmail armor is probably the worst example in video game history. See Fake Longevity below for details.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • The mission that ends in Shay killing Le Chasseur has the optional objective of not taking any damage during their duel. This requires a very specific sequence of combat actions like blocking, evading and so on if you do it normally, but there's nothing keeping you from simply shooting your opponent dead the moment the fight begins. Two shots from a decent set of pistols do the trick nicely and without all the fuss of a scripted melee battle.
    • The same applies when fighting Chevalier de la Verendrye. Instead of dueling him on his crowded ship, simply shoot at him from the masts high above.
    • When chasing Hope, simply run to the right of the elevator she uses and keep going. Eventually, you’ll reach another elevator to your left that will allow you to take her down from her side.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of the Tablets has an e-mail from Melanie Lemay which states that even after all the other things they've done, she still won't make anything about Cesare Borgia.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: More like Assassin cannot understand Templar and vice versa. Shay attempts to explain his reasoning to the Assassins but he might as well be speaking Martian since they more or less disregard everything he says due to his Templar associations. May also double as Good Cannot Comprehend Evil depending on where your sympathies regarding the Templars and Shay.
  • Evil Is Petty: Berg's entire plan, the reason he sends the Consultant through Cormac's life, is so he can get footage for a mean video to send to the Assassins to upset them. Sure, it works and demoralizes some of them, but it doesn't accomplish anything substantial.
  • Eye Scream: The most common kill animation for ground-bound Stalkers revolves around Shay brutally stabbing both his Hidden Blades in their eyes one after the other, accompanied by a Sickening "Crunch!" each time.
  • Fake Difficulty: The final Epic Legendary naval battle. Fighting a level 5 Man o' War? Reasonable. Fighting a level 5 Man o' War in the middle of a storm that makes it harder for the Morrigan to navigate and doesn't affect the maneuverability of the Man o' War? A little unfair, but not at all impossible. Fighting a level 5 Man o' War in the middle of a storm and then having two other massive Man o' War arrive out of nowhere to back her up? Masochistic.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • The Fleet Missions. There are 33 of them, & later missions take 1-3 hours to complete. It’s possible to finish the game AND grab all other bonuses before even finishing this activity.
      • While these missions continue to run even when you’re not playing, sometimes they don’t for absolutely no reason.
    • Unlocking the Templar chainmail armor is also this due to Double Unlock. You have to scour the 3 game maps for 24 treasure maps, then scour the game maps again for the buried treasure shown by those maps.
  • Fatal MacGuffin: Turns the trope on its head. At the end of the first act, protagonist Shay Cormack discovers that the MacGuffins being sought by the Brotherhood cause nothing but disaster. He spends the rest of the game trying to stop the Brotherhood from acquiring any more of them.
  • Flunky Boss: The Storm Fortress. The Formidable you fight earlier does it even worse, though her reinforcements aren't nearly as dangerous.
  • Forever War: Shay is one of the few protagonists to comment how disturbing it is the Assassins and Templars are content to fight for literally thousands of years with no thought to a settlement of some kind.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Shay will succeed in the purge of the Colonial Assassins. Achilles and Haytham will survive, as Assassin's Creed III showed and the Templars will succeed in keeping a foothold in the American colonies up until Connor wipes them out in turn.
    • In-Universe, the first glitched memory is uncovered after Shay had just been shot and sent hurling into the cold sea. Violet is able to date the glitched memories at some 20 years after the current sequence, indicating that Shay survived his injuries.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • While going around New York City, you can occasionally hear two guards talking about unrest in the colonies, which may lead to conflict. The second guard in the conversation dismisses this as nonsense.
    • When Shay confronts Chevalier on the Gerfaut, the latter states in French that this time he "won't miss." This foreshadows Liam telling Shay during their final confrontation that it was in fact Chevalier who shot him in the back when Shay accuses him of betraying him first.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Gangster: Hope Jensen is one of these, at least initially when Shay was still an Assassin. Really, the Colonial Assassins are riddled with them. Both Shay and Liam are ex-street criminals while most of the order's contacts are smugglers, gang members, or pirates. Shay is also implied to be financing the New World Assassins with his plunder from privateering.
  • Game Mod: In universe, no less. Some of the anachronistic and otherwise out of place equipment in the game is modded into the Animus. The description for the katana actually outright states this.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration : As you might expect from the Arctic, when Shay takes a plunge into the water there, his health near-instantly starts dropping because of the sheer freezing temperatures.
  • The Ghost:
    • Achilles' wife and son are mentioned early on in the game, as is their passing, but they're never seen. Shay and Liam discuss their passing at the beginning of Sequence 2.
    • Reginald Birch is the Templar Grand Master, the reason they're even in America in the first place, and has numerous letters addressed to and from him, but he never once appears in person.
  • Grand Finale: It is the final installment of the franchise's colonial era, and of the Kenway family saga. It's also the final entry of the series into The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: Both the Assassins and Templars are fairly morally ambiguous:
    • The Assassins as seen from the perspective of the 18th Century Templars are factitious, unstintingly use criminals, pirates and mercenaries as part of their set-up (though as shown in III, Haytham's associate Thomas Hickey would play a similar role for them), and their alliance with the French during the Seven Years' War does cause problems for people living in the British Colonies as well as the Native Americans allied with the English.
    • Altaïr's reflections of the ironies of the Assassins promoting freedom while blindly obeying and following the orders of a mentor play out when Shay realizes the implications of the First Civilization artifacts that Achilles is messing with, but when he expresses it, Achilles disbelieves him and the other Assassins out of loyalty support and follow him unquestioningly.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Shay himself is this in Unity and III as the man who obliterated the Colonial American Brotherhood during the Seven Years War and murdered Arno's father Charles as part of a Templar plot to start the French Revolution.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Most of the outfits you unlock by completing side activity sets have unique abilities, but the game doesn't bother mentioning this anywhere. The Templar Armor for instance offers increased resistance against ranged attacks, the Native Armor protects against melee hits, the Templar Enforcer outfit makes detecting Stalkers easier, the Hunter outfit gives better stealth while hunting animals, and the UPlay-exclusive Assassin Killer outfit always has Shay's gas mask up and ready.
    • The devs apparently counted on everyone who plays Rogue to have played Black Flag beforehand, seeing how they omit some crucial gameplay hints, like how to deal with rogue waves in the North Atlantic.
  • Grim Up North: You visit the Arctic circle during the game and see the Northern Lights.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: It's actually ambiguous whether Shay does anything wrong by turning against the Assassins. Even those who believe them to be in the right note this could all be chalked up to a colossal series of misunderstandings.
  • Headless Horseman: The Horseman appears in Sleepy Hollow where Shay can only kill him by shooting at the pumpkin over his tombstone.
  • He Knows Too Much: The Colonial Assassin Brotherhood does not take kindly to outside investigators. One of the interception missions has Shay preventing them from assassinating a pamphleteer who's been snooping around Hope's gang hideouts in New York.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Assassins are the enemy this time around. Although, considering how villainous the Brotherhood is in this game, the "hero" part is mostly out of the question.
  • Hero Killer: Shay becomes one by the end, managing to kill all his former comrades, and Adéwalé. Again, depending on whether your sympathies side with the Assassins or the Templars.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Shay's friendship with Liam.
  • Hidden Depths: Juhani Otso Berg is the ruthless Knight Templar boss of Abstergo, working to wipe out all opposition to them. He's also seemingly possessed of a good deal more conscience than most Templars and a sense of honor, as well as being a devout believer in the righteousness of the Templar cause. This goes beyond his Morality Pet daughter.
  • Historical Domain Character: During the Seven Years' War we will meet the likes of George Munro, Christopher Gist, Louis-Joseph Gaultier de la Vérendrye, Captain James Cook, Lawrence Washington and returning from Assassin's Creed III - Lawrence's younger brother George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: The English side get this by default in the conflict of the Seven Years' War.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Conversely, and in large part due to the game's Unreliable Narrators trying to push their agenda on Shay, the French colonial forces are presented as bloodthirsty terrorists plotting to attack British civilians with chemical warfare, and General Montcalm is described as a monster. The reality was... not like that. It's hard to say either of the two colonial empires engaged in this war were "good guys," but the French were most decidedly not vicious aggressors attacking the British unprovoked.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Shay describes himself as a hunter of Assassins. One of his Assassin targets is Le Chasseur which is French for hunter.
  • Hunting the Rogue: Due to betraying the order and joining the Templar cause, Shay finds himself regularly ambushed by Assassins (who can take out most of his health bar if they manage to strike). He has a sixth sense/detector sense of sorts to spot them in advance.
  • Hypocrite: In the ending Shay implies that he's willing to launch a revolution that will claim countless lives just to restore Templar power despite joining to atone for that kind of crap. In essence, he's willing to unleash the same horror he once fought to stop.

    Tropes I-Z 
  • I Know You Know I Know: The Templars know Shay is an Assassin when they save him and begin recruiting him to the order. He knows they're Templars (what with Sigil Spam and sending him after Assassins). Neither he nor they let on until he's been working with them for some time.
  • Ignored Expert:
    • Shay has first hand experience about how moving these pieces are extremely dangerous and will cause mass destruction. The Brotherhood all but ignore him and even go so far as to blame him for all those deaths. The Templars on the other hand listen to Shay though at first it was more because Shay had defected than anything. Until Shay tells them otherwise they were interested in the Precursor sites for the same reasons as the Assassins.
    • Berg as well with the higher ups at Abstergo. He constantly tells them what is needed to be done to stop the Assassins and strike when they are weak, and they continuously ignore him.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: The Storm Fortress' heated shot range is this for the Morrigan. No amount of bracing and hull upgrades will save you from being obliterated if you get caught in even one of her devastating broadsides.
  • Interquel: The Animus portion of the game takes place between Black Flag and Haytham's section of III and before and during Connor's portion of Assassin's Creed III.
  • Irony: Shay keeps saying throughout the game that "I make my own luck" however within the game itself, Shay's fate and actions depend a great deal on personal and Moral Luck. He would have been a street thug if the Assassins hadn't brought him in and later he had the misfortune to unleash the Lisbon earthquake by pure accident. He then nearly dies before being rescued by a Templar who saved him despite other Templars stating that Shay should be left to die. Even when Shay serves the Templars, he does so knowing that they would kill him if he chose to back away. Even at the end, after completing his main mission of safeguarding the First Civilization tombs, Shay gets sent instead on a decades long mission.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Shay spends the majority of the game as a Templar attempting to do good by other people, only fighting the Assassins to stop any harm coming to innocents that he felt would happen if he did nothing to prevent it, and is also extremely remorseful for turning against his former allies all the way through. The final scene, however, shows him to be colder, and his words also imply that he had a hand in personally starting the French Revolution, and does not show any regret, or even final respects, to Arno's father unlike most of the previous Assassins he killed.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Haytham kneecaps Achilles at the end out of sheer spite despite Shay successfully arguing, on perfect logic and sound judgement in the existence of a contrite and chastened Achilles.
    • Achilles, of all people, gets one when his first reaction to finding out about the Lisbon earthquake is to blame the clearly distraught Shay for it. While understandable, since Shay is robbing his house at the time, Achilles also doesn't hesitate to order Shay killed, though of course what Achilles does is no different from what any other Mentor would have done in that situation.
      • The entire Colonial Assassin order and the surrounding Homestead gets one when they, to a man, all turn around to try and murder Shay without hesitation.
  • Knight Templar Parent: A literal example when Berg murders a man for upsetting his infant daughter.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One of the Abstergo Database entries is about a church in New York, one with no particular history or plot relevance. Da Costa snarkily asks who made this entry, and why the hell anyone's bothering to read it (not to mention telling the analyst to get back to work).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Haytham's database entry lampshades that his diary, which is told through Forsaken, doesn't talk about Shay at all (since Rogue was made after the book was written).
    • One of the tablets has an email from Melanie stating that Abstergo couldn't get more than one game from Connor.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Morrigan is smaller than the Jackdaw or Aquila, but is faster as a result. And due to the resources of the Templars, possesses even more firepower then either, plus metal armor for durability.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: In order to compensate for the shorter length of the main story of the game,note  Rogue is filled to the brim with even more sidequests than the previous games. Along with the Naval Combat, Enemy Forts, Trade Routes, Legendary Ship battles, and Hunting that III and Black Flag were known for, this game also brings back the Enemy Bases and Property Management from the Ezio Trilogy.
  • Meaningful Name: The Morrigan is a figure from Irish Mythology, a goddess of war, strife and sovereignty, often taking the form of a crow and at other times, the form of a wolf or an eel. In other words, a really good name for a Templar dreadnought carrying out its imperial mission of benign control by extreme measures, and a sharp contrast to the Aquila ("the Eagle") and the Jackdaw of the Assassin ships we've played before.
  • The Mentor: Achilles, of course, is this.
  • Mighty Whitey: Shay Patrick Cormac becomes a traditional example when after liberating an Oneida village, Onatah shows him a Templar Armour and states that Shay is perhaps the hero prophesied in her spiritual beliefs.
  • Mirror Boss: The Assassin Antagonist NPCs use the same skills (Air-Assassination, Hiding in Bushes, Stalking) and resourcefulness (they use multiple weapons and environmental objects) that players have at their disposal.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Rogue is (with the exception of the Arctic locales) entirely built on assets, features and locations from III and Black Flag with slight modifications and changes to emphasize the Templar perspective.
  • Money for Nothing: No other Assassin's Creed game makes it easier to amass so much money so quickly with so little effort. For starters, every captured ship can be converted into cash straight away, with even humble schooners giving 750 pounds apiece. This makes upgrading Shay and the Morrigan a cakewalk long before the renovation feature is unlocked, which is the point where it gets ridiculous. Renovating buildings only costs a small amount of resources for a very respectable regular payday, and once you're done, chances are you won't have anything meaningful left to spend your ~35,000 pounds per 20 real-world minutes on (for reference: the most expensive Morrigan upgrade costs 25,000 pounds, resources notwithstanding and the most expensive upgrades need White Whale skin which is 20,000 pounds at the General Store).
  • Morality Pet: Berg's ill daughter in the Modern Day is a rather classic example.
  • Moral Luck:
    • Over the course of Rogue, the Templars end up preventing the Assassins from accessing all the pivots and accidentally triggering further earthquakes, which makes them take on the heroic role in their conflict for a change. The problem is that this is entirely by accident since the Templars were fully intending to open the Precursor Box for the same reasons that the Assassins did, acquire First Civilization Pieces of Eden. Had Shay and the Assassins not beaten them to the chase and gotten the rare upper hand, it would have been the Templars who unleashed earthquakes across First Civilization sites. Likewise, Shay would never have defected either.
    • Likewise Achilles ends up being a Hero Antagonist or Anti-Villain simply for doing what all the Mentors before him had done. Track First Civilization technology and unearth tombs. Altaïr tinkered with the Apple throughout his life while Ezio visited four First Civilization vaults in his long career and both of them tinkered with technology which was entirely outside their comprehension. It was Achilles' misfortune that the second occasion that it proved to be an outright disaster was on his watch.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Shay's big issue with the Assassins. From his perspective, for a group which is built on Nothing is true, everything is permitted, they tend to be blindly devoted to following their creed and traditions. This means they've been stuck in an endless pointless war with the Templar over the Pieces of Eden for millennium. Worse, the common people pay the price. It also applies to him as the Assassins absolutely loathe Shay once they discover his Hazy-Feel Turn. The thing is, what did they expect after they tried to kill him?
    • Shay himself experiences this. When he murders Charles Dorian he coldly implies that he has no problem kicking off a Revolution to counter Connor fucking over the Templars. Given how many people died, Shay is now willing to potentially murder thousands to advance his goals. Shay also comes to think well of the Templars despite the fact that their ranks include a slaveowner (Lawrence Washington) and an ethnic cleanser (James Wardrop), both of whom are regarded by Shay as "good men".
  • More Dakka: The Morrigan is armed with Puckle guns, an early predecessor to the autocannon. It also features upgrades such as Throwing Burning Oil instead of Fire Barrels and Carronades, heat-shot fired off the front of the ship.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong:
    • Made explicit about the Assassins in the very first mission. They're supposed to obey their mentor without question, while still claiming they're all about freedom. Shay mocks this.
    Shay: I don't feel very free at the moment.
    • On the other hand the Templars demand blind obedience to Haytham as well and Gist makes it clear that should Shay have second thoughts about the Templars he would be killed by the Grand Master or by Gist himself.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent:
    • Averted. Until now, no Player Character, be they Assassins, Decoy Protagonist Templar Haytham or cut-throat Pirate Edward Kenway, could kill a civilian NPC without a desynchronization warning (Outside of post-game [Assassin's Creed Assassin's Creed], where it was a reward for beating the game). Shay Cormac is the first protagonist without such restraints, fully capable of using berserker darts on NPCs to attack guards in a suicide run and other varieties of Video Game Cruelty Potential that are apparently in-character traits with Shay. It should be noted, however, that you're only allowed to do this after joining the Templars.
    • The game does discourage this by increasing your bounty level for each innocent person you kill, although like in previous games, innocent people killed by berserking enemies don't count as being killed by you whether you're an Assassin or a Templar.
  • New York State: Albany can be visited in the game and at one point you even end up infiltrating the Albany Congress, though it's miniaturized compared to the modern day settlement.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Oh, boy. The Assassins messed up big time when their Arms Race with the Templars to capture and harness First Civilization Tech led them to unwittingly instigate the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake that resulted in the deaths of 100,000 people. Shay also believes that an earlier Haiti earthquake was also a result of the same tinkering.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In "Kyrie Eleison" where Shay must outrun an earthquake in Lisbon. If he runs into a dead end or stops for too long, it's game over as a special cutscene plays while Shay is buried by falling debris.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: An odd example with James Cook. He is given a broad Scottish accent in spite of him being a born and bred Yorkshireman. While his father was Scottish it is likely he would not have spoken like he does in Rogue.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Liam and Louis explain the Templars are evil because they seek the Pieces of Eden in order to manipulate world politics, and murder their enemies. Shay pointedly notes that's more or less what the Assassins do.
  • Obviously Evil: Abstergo Entertainment becomes this in Rogue. The first few hours of the game let you know that Abstergo is a creepy company to work for. In Black Flag, this only becomes apparent towards the end of the game (assuming you didn't know who Abstergo was to begin with), with Abstergo Entertainment coming across as more painfully corporate than sinister.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse:
    • At the end you are presented with an alternative between a Templar Ring or the End of the Gun, you are assured that you can choose to live as a Templar or die. Numbskull's diary even mentions that they don't know if they want to join cause their eyes have been opened... or because they are scared of dying.
    • Christopher Gist hints pretty strongly that should Shay consider leaving the Templars, he wouldn't hesitate to kill him, much as he likes him.
    Christopher Gist: Who knows, had you not, you might have found yourself at the end of Master Kenway's blade.
    Shay: Or yours!
    Christopher Gist: That's the spirit!
  • Older Is Better: The Templar 11th Century Armor is a suit of Templar chainmail armor from the First Crusade that somehow offers better protection from bullets and firearms in general than any contemporary outfit Shay can wear. That's especially weird because the penetrative power of firearms was the very reason this type of armor became obsolete centuries before the events of the game.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Several examples but most jarringly with Shay himself. Steven Piovesan is a Canadian voice actor and his Irish accent is at times even to a non-native Irish player painfully stereotypical.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: A downplayed example since Shay was never the paragon of the Assassins but all indications are Achilles thought of him much more highly than Shay thought. The fact Shay was getting all of the important missions and the others were used as backup goes to show this. Shay, by contrast, thought they were there to keep him in line/make sure he didn't screw up.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Morrigan is smaller than the Jackdaw or Aquila, but can become more powerful than either of them.
  • Playing Both Sides: A rare Assassin example that is lampshaded by Shay. He asks Liam how is it that Assassins can be fomenting a slave rebellion in Haiti against their French Colonial masters while at the same time fighting for the same French Colonial Masters against the English, during the Seven Years' War. Liam shrugs and says that the Assassins are above national partisanship.
  • Polar Bears and Penguins: Played With. You can hunt Polar Bears and Narwhals, creatures native to the Arctic region but you can also find the Great Auk, a penguin-like species that was native to the region (and important to several Native American tribes as a symbol) which would become extinct in the 19th Century.
  • Poor Communication Kills: It seems very likely Shay and the Colonial Assassins wouldn't have come to blows if not for the fact no one was willing to sit down and have a conversation about what the hell was going on. Shay feels that Achilles knew what the Precursor Box could do which he plainly didn't, while Achilles can't wrap his head around the box or an object causing earthquakes since nothing on that scale happened in any of their early interactions with the Precursor artefacts.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: More than cameos obviously, but Haytham from the prologue of III and Adéwalé from Black Flag and Freedom Cry are major supporting characters in the story. Arno from Unity makes a brief appearance as a child in Versailles.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Shay starts off as an Assassin, though he slowly becomes disillusioned with their cause and switches sides to the Templar Order. Though the Assassins trying to kill him definitely helped on that one. Again, it depends on whether you consider the Templars villains at all.
  • The Purge: The purge of the Colonial Assassins, which was only mentioned in III, takes full precedence here.
  • Quietly Performing Sister Show: To Assassin's Creed: Unity. Unity got almost all the press from Ubisoft and played only on the latest generation consoles, while Rogue appeared on previous consoles and got almost no mention anywhere. This backfired on Ubisoft when Unity got a ton of negative criticism and Rogue got none.
  • Ramming Always Works: A naval battle feature returning from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, as the respective game mechanics are largely identical. What's new is that the Morrigan's charged ram attack is far easier to unlock than the Jackdaw's due to having been incorporated into the regular naval ram upgrades. It doesn't sound like much but actually goes a long way toward making one-hit-ramming enemy ships a dangerous yet very useful tactic throughout much of the game whereas in Black Flag it was more of a Bragging Rights Reward because of how late in the game it became available.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was triggered by a Precursor artifact.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Juhani Otso Berg regards the entire game as an elaborate, spiteful one to the Assassin Brotherhood and its Creed. Your final modern day mission is to mail all the memories to the Assassins.
    Juhani Otso Berg : Shay Cormac's story shows that when pushed against the wall, the Assassins will choose order over freedom.
  • Red Shirts: Well, red coats in fact. You have guards at your disposal, although given their tendency to attack you if you disturb the peace, it might be fairer to call them Mooks.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: An in-universe example. Melanie Lemay from Black Flag is mocked by Violet at the start of the game for being a "Super chipper over-achiever". She's also constantly derided by Berg in retrieved audio logs from the Server Mini-Games. However, at the end of the game, it's revealed she's actually now a full-on Templar, and she offers you the Templar ring... while Berg pulls a gun in case you refuse.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Neither the Templars nor the Assassins are going to let their members just quit. The Templars make it explicit in the oath that is taken when Shay joins the order, while the Assassins simply try to murder those that try. One interception mission has Shay stopping them from killing a former Brother who faked his death and retired to live on the frontier.
  • Retcon: A minor one. Assassin's Creed III claimed Connor was the first known Native America Assassin. Kesegowaase's presence proves that untrue, though there is some wiggle room with the database in III mentioning that a lot of the Assassins' knowledge was lost during the purge.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What caused the attack on Abstergo? The game never gives any concrete answers, though Unity strongly suggests it was Juno trying to hide something.
  • Rule of Funny: When Haytham, done with an interrogation, shanks his victim with his Hidden Blade, blood spurts out even if you have the Blood FX setting turned off - largely because some of it gets on Shay's face, and his look of disgust is hilarious.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • In order to save the world from the unthinking manipulation of First Civilization pivots which create earthquakes and which had unknowingly caused destruction in Haiti and Lisbon, Shay must betray his cause and kill his friends which he's kinda stoked about.
    • At the end of Rogue, Juhani Otso Berg offers you another choice — join the Templars or die. The Templars see this as a perfectly meaningful choice.
  • Samurai Cowboy: Frontiersman outfit + Katana = this, effectively turning Shay Cormac into an Assassin/Templar privateer cowboy samurai.
  • Scenery Porn: The North Atlantic is gorgeous (at one point, while traversing an icy cave, Shay even comments that it'd be beautiful if it weren't so cold), and northeastern America looks even better than it did in Assassin's Creed III.
  • Sequel Logo in Ruins: Rogue's logo has a shattered Assassin's symbol to signify Shay's break with the Assassins and The Purge of the Colonial Assassins, and the title screen goes a step further by having the shattered symbol turn to reveal a Templar cross formed from the shards.
  • Seven Years' War: Takes place during this time period.
  • Sequel Escalation: Shay Cormac's arsenal includes everything Edward Kenway had access to, and them some:
  • Inverted with the pistols. Edward can carry up to four, Shay is stuck with two.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending sets up Assassin's Creed: Unity by having Shay kill Charles Dorian. Dorian informs Shay that Connor has undone all the Templars' work in the New World through the Revolutionary War; Shay tells the dying man that the Templars will then start their own revolution.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • More than the series' usual Foregone Conclusions, III has already established that Connor will undo all the Templar influence Shay helps to spread and rebuilds the Brotherhood Shay erased stronger than ever. Lampshaded in the final mission where Charles Dorian reminds Shay of this.
    • Achilles' quest for the Precursor sites is this. He manages to reach a site despite losing almost all of his Brotherhood and when he finally gets there it takes him barely two seconds to realize Shay had been right all along. Then he loses his last Assassin and Haytham kneecaps him.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the fight with Hope. She injects Shay with a poison that stops his heart if he stops moving.
    • Sleepy Hollow is of course one large one to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Seeing the covered bridge mentioned in the book is normal, but what's unusual are the large number of bright orange pumpkins scattered around, especially the one on the scarecrow at the fork in the road. Violet complains that the only reason the town is in Abstergo's database is because of that book.
    • To Doctor Who, of all things, in the Abstergo Database entry for Albany.
    (I’m more a fan of the British Lords of Time, if you know what I mean. -V.)
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Great auks, which went extinct in the 19th Century, are present in the game.
    • The Puckle Gun and air rifle were real weapons though the former never entered mass production due to being too expensive. Even Shay's grenade launcher is based off the very real hand mortar, despite appearing anachronistic.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When told by Charles Dorian that Connor has undone all the Templar's plans in the America colonies, Shay responds that perhaps the Templars will start "[their] own revolution".
  • Sigil Spam: As per usual, the Assassins and Templars put their signs on everything.
  • Spider-Sense: Eagle Vision gives you an ability to detect an imminent attack from Assassins, via sound cues and red-glows at the corners of the screen.
  • Spiritual Successor: To III and Black Flag, as the main character Shay happens to be a sailor with his own ship and its naval elements return and likewise the action takes place in North America just like III, revisiting sub-plots like the formation of the Templars of the Colonial Rite and the Fall of the Colonial Brotherhood.
  • Stealthy Mook: Rogue features a different variation of the Stalkers from Revelations. These ones lie in wait in various hiding places that Shay would normally use — haystacks, brush, benches, even rooftops from which they can air assassinate the player — and wait for the player to approach before they strike. They can be detected by ominous whispering noises, and activating Eagle Vision will display a proximity/direction sensor that allows the player to track them down and kill them first.
  • Stealth Sequel: The game serves as a Stealth Prequel to Assassin's Creed: Unity, with the epilogue of the game taking place during the prologue of Unity.
  • A Storm Is Coming: One of the War Letters, written by Robert Faulkner before Shay's defection, has him saying as much to Chevalier. He has no idea how right he is.
    I have a feeling that dark days are ahead for you lot. I feel a storm coming on, and I'm rarely wrong about the weather.
  • Thematic Sequel Logo Change: The Assassin sigil is shattered to represent Shay breaking with the Assassins and joining the Templar Order. The title screen goes one step further by having the sigil rotate 90 degrees to have the shards form the Templar Cross.
  • This Cannot Be!: Achilles utters this when Shay barges in and shouts out that the Precursor Box caused earthquakes. It's only after he sees the site himself that he realizes that Shay was right all along.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Assassins are shown to have undergone this in the form of the Colonial Brotherhood and is used as a plot point so the player doesn't feel as bad for slaughtering them. They're starting out being shown as dogmatic and downright fanatical in their search for artifacts and hunting Templars over protecting people's freedoms and coldly brush off any collateral damage and the loss of thousands of lives for their purposes. Two in particular are notable examples in the form of Kesegowaase, whose excessive brutality and willingness to hold villages of people hostage the Assassins turn a blind eye to his actions due to not wanting to harm relations between the Brotherhood and the natives and the other being Hope Jensen who becomes a full on example of The Queenpin who controls New York's criminal underworld to produce considerable amounts of poison while her brutish underlings torment average citizens. All of this while declaring Shay a monster for betraying them after they tried to murder him.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Assassin Stalkers are hilariously lethal enemies... or they would be if they didn't announce their imminent pounce attack by screaming "Templar!" at Shay's back. Unless you have very slow reflexes, this should give you all the warning you need to hit the parry button in time to counter the Stalker's attack.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The trailers for the game depict Shay as a ruthless killer but even after he aligns himself with the Templars he never becomes a brutal killer. As pointed out in this IGN Review.
    • Also, to the annoyance of fans, Shay's Templar outfit in-game doesn't have the a hood attached as it does in the trailer, and on the cover of the game itself. There is a "Dark Assassin" costume complete with hood, but it's a moodier version of his initial outfit. This seems to have been removed from the game late in development, as Shay will still move as if pulling a hood up when entering restricted areas, popping the collar on his Templar outfit instead.
  • Undying Loyalty: The Master Assassins to Achilles, as their Batman Gambit was that they knew that Shay was going to kill them, so they went out of their way to have Shay chase them as Achilles went to the Precursor Site.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Achilles in his pursuit of Prescursor sites, ends up causing two earthquakes resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands, causing Shay's defection to the Templars and The Purge of the Assassin Brotherhood.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: All over the place. The berserk grenades especially seem to have been specifically designed to indulge the player's darker urges.
    • The berserk status itself is worse than in Black Flag. In that game, enemies would run up to other enemies (or you), but otherwise they would just run about before it killed him. In Rogue, they can and will go after civilians if there are no enemies within their sight.
  • Villain Episode: The first full entry of the Franchise to tackle the Templar viewpoint, with the only Templar Player Character before this being Haytham Kenway, the Decoy Protagonist of III.
  • Villain Protagonist: As Shay is a Templar, this is a given. Furthermore, the Modern Day portion takes place entirely with the Templar perspective, Otso Berg wants to completely indoctrinate you into the Templar cause and discredit the Assassins by using Shay's case study and a rare example of the Assassins being on the wrong side. It's played with as Shay defects from the Assassins out of a desire to protect the innocent from the Pieces of Eden being misused. Also, his moral objections to the way the Assassins do things, but his lack of such objections to the way Templars do things. His final mission highlights this when he plans to start a revolution in France for the sake of Templar control.
  • We Have Reserves: Standard Templar procedure, obviously, but even Noble Demon Otso Berg subscribes to this view, as one of the database entries notes.
    Agent DaCosta, you are all expendable.
  • Wham Episode: Sequence 02 Memory 04 "Kyrie Eleison:" retrieving the Piece of Eden caused the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. This broke Shay down to break his allegiance to the Assassins as a result of this mission.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Shay's loyalty shift might have been predicted by the Assassins if they noticed he's more or less constantly giving them low-level versions of this. His fellow Assassins always brush off his objections without really bothering to explain why he's wrong. Examples include: Why do the Assassins preach free-will above all but absolute obedience to the Mentor? Why do the Assassins support the French against the British in North America while working against the French in Haiti? Why do the Assassins endlessly hunt the Templars versus coming to some kind of accord?
    • Shay ends up giving an epic one to Achilles after returning from causing the Lisbon Earthquake due to his orders.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: The Appalachian River Valley, New York City, and the Arctic are each supposed to be as big as Black Flag's entire world map, making it the biggest overworld in an AC game yet.
  • "X" Marks the Spot: Standard fare for the Templar Maps, but there's also an example on the actual world map that marks where the best pistol set can be found. Of course, you need to work for it first.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Shay has no problem killing armed men or acting as a privateer but his first two assignments for the Assassins are killing helpless old men, one of whom is already dying and is George Washington's brother. He has this reaction when the Assassins all but high-five him.


Video Example(s):


Shay Patrick Cormac

As an anti-villain, Shay has sympathetic reasons for going against his former brothers, and genuinely thinks he's doing the right thing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainProtagonist

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