Ubisoft have today announced the development of Assassin's Creed Rogue for release exclusively on current-generation video gaming consoles this Winter. Set between the events of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Assassin's Creed III and to the backdrop of the infamous Seven Years' War, the storyline of the franchise's final current-gen outing diverges from its predecessors in a fascinating way, centring on an Assassin-turned-Templar named Shay Patrick Cormac who (with the help of his sea-faring vessel) seeks vengeance for the losses he suffered at the hands of the Assassin's Order.
In all honesty, this is a project that most Assassin's Creed veterans have expected to exist for quite some time now, so if anything, its emergence just ahead of this year's Gamescom event simply marks a welcome climax to months and months of speculation regarding its title (previously rumoured to be Comet) and its game-play features. The latter aspect of Rogue is probably what most readers have come to this article looking for and in this respect, we shan't (we hope!) disappoint. Here's a quick-fire summary of everything that Ubisoft have revealed on the product's narrative, central mechanics and promisingly shady protagonist, with all of the information coming directly from the horse's mouth (so to speak) at UbiBlog:
- At the helm of the main campaign's metaphorical and literal ship is Shay, a construct whose motives are totally at odds with those held by the heroes who've headlined past Assassin's Creed titles. "Betrayal" is apparently a central contributory factor of his departure from the titular Order of hooded pseudo-ninjas, leading to a storyline which involves "tracking down the Assassins and systematically eliminating them" in what will purportedly be remembered as "the darkest chapter in the franchise". He'll apparently even cross paths with one or more members of the Kenway clan (presumably Edward or Haytham, as Connor isn't born until what seems like - if only! - the halfway point of Assassin's Creed III's narrative) and influence the events of Unity in one way or another (perhaps contributing to the Seven Years' War's ultimate detrimental impact upon France, which in itself led to the French Revolution!) Colour us suitably intrigued...
- Tackling the very individuals who trained him head-on will require Shay to possess no small amount of potent weaponry, of course. Thankfully, it looks as if he'll easily come up trumps, since this cunning Irish Templar packs an air-rifle, hidden blades (as you'll see in the haunting cinematic teaser trail below along with two further in-game screenshots) and a ship - the Morrigan - which boasts all of the armaments glimpsed in Black Flag and more besides including the "puckle gun (a machine gun-like weapon)" and "burning oil", the latter of which ensures that vessels such as yours (not to mention your adversaries') leave a trail of fire in their wake to cause chaos on the high seas.
- Seamless ship-to-ship and ship-to-land platforming and combat are still key features of Rogue's gameplay, and thanks to the addition of settings such as the North Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachian River Valley, ice-adorned isles and a revised version of Assassin's Creed III's once-soulless New York, fans can probably ready themselves for a more dynamic and innovative experience than ever before. We're certainly a lot more enthusiastic for Rogue than Unity (this year's equally audacious yet tonally familiar next-gen AC chapter), but as ever, time and the finished products will decide which of this year's two Animus voyages proves to be the most engaging and critically praised instalment.
- Best of all, Rogue (which, in case you were wondering, is currently in development at Ubisoft's Sofia, Singapore, Montreal, Quebec, Chengu, Milan and Budapest studios) will comprise solely of a single-player campaign, thus completely excluding the competitive multiplayer component which cropped up in each successive Assassin's Creed title released between 2010 and 2013 (and thankfully, Unity is ditching those modes too, opting solely for solo and online co-operative missions). Count us well and truly on-board, Captain Ubisoft!
Assassin's Creed Rogue sets sail on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles worldwide this November 11th.