Way back in November 2007, Ubisoft released a new kind of stealth-action game. It featured a disgraced protagonist who belonged to a secret order of assassins, and was tasked with killing nine targets to pay for his past arrogance.
Gamers and critics gave the game good reviews, praising its originality and fun gameplay. But that was just the start. Since then, we've gotten more than 11 other games after the original, leading to one of gaming's biggest franchises: Assassin's Creed.
The character development in Assassin's Creed is one of the main factors for its popularity and success, and the series features some of the most compelling characters in video game history.
We're diving in and ranking the best Assassin's Creed characters who are our favorites from across the franchise.
9. Ratonhnhaké:ton (Connor Kenway)
Appears in Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed III: Liberation.
In Assassin's Creed III, Connor Kenway was something of a misunderstood gem.
At times he felt too serious compared to the series' other characters, and his everlasting frown distanced him; however, his personal backstory was so riddled with betrayal and lies that his lack of trust was entirely understandable.
Over the course of the game, Connor fought his way through the murky waters of the Templars and, in the end, had grown from a headstrong boy into a proper man.
In hindsight, while AC3 wasn't the best entry in the saga, Connor deserved better because he was a compelling character who needed a better and more cohesive game around him.
8. Jacob Frye
Appears in Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
Assassin's Creed Syndicate remains one of the most underrated entries in the series, and it saw the player take charge of two protagonists through the story: Jacob and Evie Frye.
Jacob wasn't as measured as his twin sister. He was more about force than he was about stealth, and he had a devilish streak in him when it came to handling things.
What makes Jacob so entertaining is his quick wit and ability to annoy his sister, even though they are always in line with one another on the most imperative aspects of their job.
After Syndicate, the series had a soft reboot that changed many of the series' signature styles—but Jacob Frye's story was a good one that's sadly overlooked when compared to the rest of the games.
7. Shay Patrick Cormac
Appears in Assassin's Creed Rogue.
Outspoken and bullish is the best way to describe Shay Cormac. In his game, Assassin's Creed Rogue, he was the one student who questioned the methods of the Assassins and, after having his faith in the Brotherhood tested, he betrayed them.
As a gamer, playing as Shay was a new experience compared to the other games because of Shay's questioning of the Brotherhood and his eventual defection to the Templar Order.
He was responsible for killing the beloved former First-Mate of Edward Kenway (Adéwalé) as well as saving the life of his former mentor (Achilles) who ended up crippled in the fight.
Ultimately, Shay was a complex character who gave the player a new way to see the Brotherhood.
Appears in Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Assassin's Creed: Rebellion.
Like Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Assassin's Creed Odyssey featured a male and a female protagonist. But unlike Syndicate, you couldn't go back and forth between them in Odyssey. You had to pick one from the outset. And if you picked Kassandra, you made the better choice!
Kassandra was the Granddaughter of King Leonidas, the Daughter of Pythagoras, and a critical figure for the future of the Assassins.
Her temperament helped her stand apart from some of the other characters. And on top of having a fiery personality, Kassandra was also strong in her convictions and never cared who got in her way, making her a fearsome warrior.
Her story was an intense affair that took turns that the gamer didn't see coming, and in the end, she was widely relatable.
5. Haytham Kenway
Appears in Assassin's Creed III and Assassin's Creed Rogue.
Haytham Kenway was that character we didn't know was a Templar until the game was ready to show us that fact. All the work the player did at the start of AC3 was to help set up the Templar control in the region, which came as a blow when the player realized the truth.
Haytham's cunning and unrelenting methods meant he would have been a great Assassin—if only he hadn't been a Templar.
The most intriguing part of Haytham is that his father and son were both Assassins, yet due to Edward's untimely death, he was taken and inducted into the Templar's ways.
Haytham was sharp, even-minded, and very intelligent. He didn't possess the renegade ways of his father but had Edward's ability with a sword, and it took all of Connor's might to bring him down.
4. Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad
Appears in Assassin's Creed, Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Assassin's Creed: Altaïr Chronicles, and Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines.
The original Assassin's Creed protagonist remains one of the finest characters in the franchise.
Altaïr was once an arrogant man who thought he could do as he wished because of his immense abilities. However, after Altaïr accidentally led the enemy to the Assassins' doors, he was stripped of his Master Assassin rank and made to pay penance.
On his mission to redeem himself, Altaïr was able to become a new man. He learned patience and wisdom, becoming a formidable Assassin once again, learning the truth of his master Al Mualim, and defeating him in battle shortly thereafter.
Altaïr was a great character who should have had more games dedicated to him than the one he got. Few have ever been as dedicated as he was to his cause, and his redemptive path was the spark that lit the series into life.
3. Evie Frye
Appears in Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
Jacob's twin sister and the more level-headed of the two, Evie was an instantly iconic character. She was a person who had great moral fortitude and was one of the few Assassins able to see through the deceptions that many put in front of her.
Evie was death in the dark. She was able to infiltrate any building without detection, and one could have great fun in moving her around enemies without making a sound.
She was the first female protagonist of the Assassin's Creed series, and she remains one of the best. Evie's methods inspired her Grand-Niece Lydia Frye, who fought in WW1 London.
2. Edward Kenway
Appears in Assassin's Creed III, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Assassin's Creed: Rebellion.
The pirate captain himself, Edward Kenway was more of a fleeting Assassin. When he first came into contact with them, he was more interested in finding his treasure and becoming rich than he was in fighting against the Templars.
But he became aware that his life was indeed fleeting—and ultimately decided to serve something more, thus joining the Brotherhood.
Edward was a mighty Assassin with charm to spare. His actions as a younger man were often brash and ill-thought-out, but as he aged, his cunning and intellect brought him to high status, and he rose to be the head of the London Assassins.
Haytham Kenway's father and Grandfather to Connor, Edward's journey did not truly end until Connor killed Haytham in Assassin's Creed III.
1. Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Appears in Assassin's Creed II, Assassins Creed II: Discovery, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations.
The trilogy of Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations was all dedicated to Ezio Auditore.
His journey with the Brotherhood captured a wide range of emotions: the horror of seeing his father and brothers hanged for crimes they didn't commit; the vengeance he wrought on those responsible; the discipline he learned in becoming an Assassin.
He took the gamer through it all with style and flair, helping the gamer mature alongside him. Ezio isn't just the best Assassin's Creed character—he's one of the best video game characters of all time, and the reason why the franchise is as big as it is today.