Get To Know Shay From Assassin’s Creed Rogue

by Jeff Cork on Aug 06, 2014 at 09:00 AM

Assassin’s Creed Rogue has one of the most promising setups we’ve seen from the series so far: What would happen if a member of the Assassins had a change of heart and left the order? The game delves into what that act of betrayal means to the game’s protagonist, a man named Shay Patrick Cormac, who now hunts his former brothers in the name of the Templars. We’ve got more information in our exclusive character profile, including details about Shay and his transformation directly from the game’s development team.

When players first meet Shay, he’s a 21-year-old recruit who’s already beginning to question why the Assassins operated as they do. “Basically, Shay starts off as a brash young man,” says Richard Farrese, the game’s writer. “He doesn't really take his role seriously as an assassin, not because he doesn't believe in the cause, but because he's young and not quite wise yet.”

The game is set between the years 1752 and 1761, placing it between the events of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s a crucial period for both the Assassins and Templars in Colonial America, as each faction attempts to seize control of the New World. The same kind of power struggle is roiling inside of Shay, too, and it’s only a matter of time before it bubbles over. Ubisoft isn’t saying what exactly happens, but that it’s a traumatic event.

“[Before this event happens], he's still being frivolous and not so serious as a character,” says Ivan Balabanov, producer and general manager of Ubisoft Sofia. “Then, we see his transformation into this very somber, dedicated character who is pursuing his former comrades for something he genuinely believes is the better road.”

“At some point in the game there's going to be something that's going to happen, and this will make Shay rethink his whole philosophy and his allegiance to the assassins,” Farrese says. “Eventually, he will realize that the Templars' goals and methods are much more in line with his own beliefs, and he's got to join the cause.”

If you follow the series, you know that the two factions think they’re both doing what’s best for humanity. The difference is in their approach. The Assassins think that people should fundamentally be free to think and act as they choose – everything is permitted, after all. They perform assassinations to shape history to align to that philosophy. According to Templar thought, people aren’t ready to handle the kind of absolute freedom the Assassins offer. Instead, humanity should be guided (or some would say caged). 

“The Templars aren't in control of the Colonial authorities, but they are trying to manipulate them, certainly,” Farrese says. “I think that's one of the exciting things about playing a Templar, in that you're experiencing all of that from the other side. Now you're part of the order, and you fight against the chaos that the Assassins bring.”

Philosophies aside, one of the most obvious differences between the groups comes down to resources. The Templars are a well-heeled organization, and that manifests its way through Shay’s arsenal. He’s outfitted with a variety of exotic weapons that either existed as prototypes during the era or were actually in use at the time – by those who could afford them. The most noticeable example is his air rifle, which allows him to silently take out enemies at a distance without suffering the indignity of blowing out of a pipe. The weapon can be outfitted with a variety of different projectiles, like firecrackers that distract enemies or help him complete objectives. He also has a grenade launcher, which fires off shrapnel grenades and other loads.

Rogue builds on the naval battles and exploration that Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag successfully incorporated into the game, so it only stands to reason that Shay is captain of his own ship. The Morrigan is smaller than Edward Kenway’s Jackdaw, allowing it to navigate the rivers and bays of the North Atlantic. It’s outfitted with a Puckle gun, an early version of a machine gun that lets him pepper his foes into splinters.


For more about Shay, including in-depth walkthroughs of how his weapons and training will directly affect gameplay, be sure to read the latest issue of Game Informer magazine. And be sure to check out our Assassin's Creed hub throughout August. We'll be rolling out regular feature content, including exclusive interviews, hands-on details, and more from both Assassin's Creed Rogue and Unity.