Assassin’s Creed is an action-adventure stealth video game franchise created by Patrice Désilets, Jade Raymond and Corey May, developed mainly by Ubisoft Montreal using the game engine Anvil and its more advanced derivatives. It depicts a centuries-old struggle, now and then, between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control. The series features historical fiction, science fiction and characters, intertwined with real-world historical events and figures. For the majority of time players control an Assassin in the past history, while they also play as Desmond Miles or an Assassin Initiate in the present day, who hunt down their Templar targets.
The video game series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, while building upon concepts from the Prince of Persia series. The series’s eponymous first title was released in 2007, and it has featured eleven main games in total, the most recent being 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
A new story and time period are introduced in each entry, and gameplay elements evolve from the previous one. There are three story arcs in the series. For the first five main games, the framing story is set in 2012 and features series protagonist Desmond Miles who uses a machine called the Animus and relives the memories of his ancestors to find a way to avert the 2012 apocalypse. In games up until and including Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Abstergo employees and Assassin initiates recorded genetic memories using the Helix software, helping the Templars and Assassins find new Pieces of Eden in the modern world. The latest two games, Assassin’s Creed Origins and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey follow ex-Abstergo employee Layla Hassan as she is recruited into the Assassin Order.
Take a look below for our list of the 10 best and coolest Assassin’s Creed characters.
Ezio Auditore da Firenze (1459 – 1524) was a Florentine nobleman during the Renaissance, and, unbeknownst to most historians and philosophers, a Master Assassin and the Mentor of the Italian Brotherhood of Assassins, a title which he held from 1503 to 1513. He is also an ancestor of William and Desmond Miles, as well as Clay Kaczmarek.
A member of the House of Auditore, Ezio remained unaware of his Assassin heritage until the age of 17, when he witnessed the hanging of his father and two brothers, Federico and Petruccio. Forced to flee his birthplace with his remaining family members—his mother and sister—Ezio took refuge with his uncle in the Tuscan town of Monteriggioni, at the Villa Auditore.
After learning of his heritage from Mario, Ezio began his Assassin training and set about on his quest for vengeance against the Templar Order, and their Grand Master, the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia, who had ordered the execution of his kin.
During his travels, Ezio managed to not only unite the pages of the Codex, written by Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Mentor of the Levantine Brotherhood of Assassins, but also to save the cities of Florence, Venice, and Rome from Templar rule.
He ensured the future travels of Christopher Columbus to the New World, liberated Rome from Borgia rule, and prevented the rise to power of Ercole Massimo’s Cult of Hermes, helping spread the Renaissance and Assassin ideals of independence and free will throughout Italy.
In the years that followed, Ezio began a quest to rediscover the lost history of the Order. Travelling to the aged fortress of Masyaf in order to learn more of the Assassins before him, he discovered it overrun with Templars and made his way to the city of Constantinople to uncover the location of the Masyaf keys which, as he discovered, would unlock the fortress’s fabled hidden library when brought together.
A decade later, Ezio had retired and resided in a Tuscan villa with his wife, Sofia Sartor, and his two children; Flavia and Marcello. Sometime after helping teach the Chinese Assassin Shao Jun the ways of the Order, Ezio died of a heart attack at the age of 65, during a visit to Florence with his wife and daughter.
2. Edward Kenway
Edward James Kenway (1693 – 1735) was a Welsh-born British privateer-turned-pirate and a member of the West Indies and British Brotherhoods of Assassins.
Born to humble farmers, Edward always sought to acquire riches and fame. He became a privateer for the Royal Navy early in his life and, once accepted, found himself stationed in the West Indies. However, an abrupt end to the War of the Spanish Succession and the promise of gold, glory and fame eventually seduced him into a life of piracy. It was during this quest that Edward first encountered the Assassin and Templar orders, and became embroiled in their struggle.
Over the next few years, Edward struggled with the internal conflict that arose from his desire for fame and riches—through finding the Observatory—and his duty to his friends. After losing nearly all of his closest friends, he realized the folly of his quest for glory. He then joined the Assassin Order, hunted down the Templars in the region and entrusted the Observatory to the Assassins.
After a decade in the West Indies, Edward returned to Britain and received a pardon from Robert Walpole. He soon acquired an estate in London and married Tessa Stephenson-Oakley, with whom he fathered a son named Haytham. He quickly joined the British Brotherhood of Assassins, rising up to the rank of Master Assassin, and eventually, leader. Continuing his work as an Assassin, Edward researched the First Civilization, and kept the research in a journal. In 1735, he was killed by mercenaries in the employ of the Templar Grand Master Reginald Birch, in order to acquire the journal. Haytham would later father Ratonhnhaké:ton; through this line, Edward is an ancestor of William Miles, and his son, Desmond.
In 2013, Abstergo Entertainment tasked a research analyst exploring Edward’s genetic memories in order to gather footage for a planned video game, Pirates of Nightmares. Three years later, Abstergo Entertainment uses the resources to make a downloadable content for Identity Project.
3. Altair Ibn-La’Ahad
Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad (Arabic: الطائر ابن لا أحد, 1165 – 1257) was a member of the Levantine Brotherhood of Assassins who served as their Mentor from 1191 until his death in 1257. During his tenure as Mentor, through the knowledge of an Apple of Eden, Altaïr made several discoveries and inventions that greatly helped the Order’s progression. His leadership saw to the spread of the Assassins’ influence throughout the Old World.
Raised to be an Assassin from birth, Altaïr became a Master Assassin at age 24, an accomplishment unheard of for one so young. He failed to recover an Apple of Eden from Robert de Sablé in July 1191 and subsequently allowed the Templars to attack the town of Masyaf, headquarters of the Assassins. For this, he was demoted to the rank of novice and sent on a quest for redemption.
Tasked with the deaths of nine individuals who, unbeknownst to him, made up the ranks of the Templar Order in the Holy Land, Altaïr began a quest to change his ways and liberate the Kingdom from their corruption. During his quest however, Altaïr learned of a plot far more sinister than he originally believed. In completing his mission, he also cleansed the Order of its treacherous leader Al Mualim. Altaïr thereafter became Mentor, taking the Assassins in a new, more secretive direction.
With the Apple in hand, Altaïr changed the way members of his Order lived their lives, writing the details in his fabled Codex for later generations of the Order to read. Altaïr’s vision of the Assassin Order was for them to be spread across the world, living among the people, and he began establishing many Assassins Guilds during his tenure as Mentor. Throughout his travels, Altaïr strengthened his Order, stopping various Templar plots over the years as well as halting the inexorable march of Genghis Khan. Altaïr is an ancestor to Desmond Miles, through the maternal line.
4. Haytham Kenway
Haytham E. Kenway (1725 – 1781) was the first Grand Master of the Templar Order’s Colonial Rite, reigning from 1754 until his death in 1781, whereupon he was succeeded by Charles Lee.
Son of the pirate and Master Assassin Edward Kenway, Haytham was converted to the Templar cause at a young age by Reginald Birch, following his father’s death in 1735.
After being sent to the British colonies in America to locate a suspected First Civilization storehouse, Haytham remained and established a permanent organized Templar presence in the colonies. Under his leadership, the Colonial Rite grew exponentially, almost completely destroying their Assassin counterparts, and manipulating the colonial governments at every level.
During this time, he unknowingly sired a son – Ratonhnhaké:ton – with Kaniehtí:io, a Kanien’kehá:ka woman whom he had met during his initial quest for the storehouse. He is an ancestor to Desmond Miles, through the paternal line.
Ratonhnhaké:ton (born 1756), also known by the adopted name of Connor, was a Kanien’kehá:ka-born Master Assassin of the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins during the period of the American Revolutionary War. He is an ancestor of Desmond Miles, through the paternal line.
Born to the British Templar Haytham Kenway and Kaniehtí:io, a Kanien’kehá:ka woman from the village of Kanatahséton, Ratonhnhaké:ton was raised in Kanatahséton. In 1760, while he was still a young child, he was assaulted by Charles Lee and other Colonial Templars seeking the First Civilization temple which the Kanien’kehá:ka were protecting, and lost his mother shortly thereafter during the burning of his village by George Washington’s forces. Ratonhnhaké:ton, however, mistakenly believed the Templars to be responsible for the attack.
Concerned by the outside world’s impact on his people, Ratonhnhaké:ton eventually joined the Assassin Brotherhood under the advice of Oiá:ner, in order to protect his village and prevent the Templars from returning. Finding the Templars had wiped out the Colonial Assassins years prior, Ratonhnhaké:ton convinced the Assassin Mentor Achilles Davenport to train him and adopted the more Western-sounding pseudonym of ‘Connor’.
During his hunt for the Templars, Ratonhnhaké:ton aided the Patriot movement and protected George Washington, unwittingly becoming an important figure of the American Revolution. However, he was conflicted by wanting to reconcile with his father, despite Achilles’ warnings as to the futility of uniting the Assassin and Templar philosophies, and his dogged pursuit of Charles Lee, whom Haytham staunchly supported.
Upon learning that it was Washington, not Lee, who had burned his village, Ratonhnhaké:ton became disillusioned with the Revolutionaries but continued using them to aid in the eradication of the Templars. He reluctantly accepted Washington’s request for help investigating Benedict Arnold and then in disposing of an Apple of Eden he had recovered. The latter incident saw Ratonhnhaké:ton trapped in an alternate reality constructed by the Apple, one wherein Washington ruled as king through tyranny. Eventually, Ratonhnhaké:ton escaped this reality and disposed of the Apple.
Following Achilles’ death, Ratonhnhaké:ton went on to rebuild and lead the Colonial Assassins in the newly formed United States of America. In this capacity, he expanded the Assassin network in the New World and reconnected a number of previously detached Brotherhoods across the region.
6. Desmond Miles
Desmond Miles (1987 – 2012) was a member of the Assassin Order and a descendant of numerous familial lines that had sworn an allegiance to the Assassins; including individuals such as Aquilus, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Edward Kenway, and Ratonhnhaké:ton. He was also the son of the Mentor William Miles and unknowingly the father of Elijah, a young Sage.
By age 16, Desmond became tired of living in hiding and aspired to pursue his own dreams. Using the minimal training of Assassin skills he had obtained from his father, Desmond fled from the Assassin compound he had grown up in and managed to travel from South Dakota to New York City, where he found employment as a bartender in the Bad Weather nightclub.
In September 2012, Desmond was kidnapped and incarcerated by Abstergo Industries, a Templar organization, and forced into a machine called the Animus to relive the genetic memories of his ancestor, Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad. It was Abstergo’s aim to acquire a map that detailed many “Pieces of Eden” spread across the Earth, which Desmond was reluctantly successful in doing. Following this, he managed to escape Abstergo with the help of Lucy Stillman, an undercover Assassin, and joined an Assassin cell in Italy, which consisted of herself, Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane. Utilizing an upgraded Animus of Rebecca’s construction, Desmond relived the memories of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, in order to improve upon his newly obtained skills.
Eventually, with the knowledge gained from Ezio’s memories, Desmond and his fellow Assassins obtained the location of Ezio’s Apple of Eden, which was located in a vault underneath the Colosseum. Though successful in obtaining the artifact, Desmond’s body was taken over by Juno, a member of the First Civilization, and was made to stab Lucy after Juno revealed her to be a traitor. As a result of the shock, Desmond fell into a coma and was placed in the Black Room, the safe mode of the Animus, in an attempt to stabilize his condition. With help from the virtual construct of Clay Kaczmarek, “Subject 16” of Abstergo’s Animus Project, Desmond was able to regain consciousness, and found himself located in the state of New York once more, this time with Rebecca, Shaun, and his father, William.
While in the Grand Temple, Desmond relived the memories of Haytham Kenway and Ratonhnhaké:ton to find the key to the sanctum containing the device needed to prevent a devastating solar flare. He also undertook field missions to retrieve power sources for the Temple, coming into conflict with Daniel Cross. After his father was captured, Desmond rescued him from Abstergo’s Roman facility and assassinated Cross and Warren Vidic in the process.
After finding the key, Desmond opened the sanctum but discovered he had been misled. It was made known that the device would save the world, but also unleash Juno, who had been imprisoned because of her hatred for humanity; using the device would also claim Desmond’s life. Regardless, Desmond chose to sacrifice himself for humanity’s survival, while expressing faith that his fellow Assassins would find a way to stop the new threat.
7. Shay Cormac
Shay Patrick Cormac (born 1731) was a member of the Colonial Rite of the Templar Order during the 18th century.
Born to Irish immigrants in New York, Shay lost his parents at an early age, and was brought into the Colonial Brotherhood of Assassins by his childhood friend Liam O’Brien, where the two served under Mentor Achilles Davenport.
In 1751, the Templars stole two Pieces of Eden from the Brotherhood: the Precursor box and the Manuscript. The following year, after acquiring a sloop-of-war, the Morrigan, Shay was tasked with recovering the ancient artifacts. As he and Liam hunted down the Templars in possession of the Pieces of Eden, Shay began to question the Assassins’ methods.
After recovering the Precursor box and Manuscript, Shay and his fellow Assassin, Hope Jensen, used them to discern the location of a First Civilization Temple in Lisbon. Achilles sent Shay to Lisbon in 1755, believing (incorrectly) that the Temple held an Apple of Eden. Although Shay successfully accessed the Temple and recovered the artifact inside, he inadvertently triggered a massive earthquake in the process, leaving thousands dead or homeless. His faith in the Brotherhood shattered, Shay resolved to prevent the Assassins from finding more temples by stealing the Manuscript from them, nearly losing his life in the process.
The Templar George Monro found the unconscious Shay and brought him under the care of Barry and Cassidy Finnegan in New York. Upon recovering, Shay met Monro and his fellow Templar Christopher Gist, and began working with them to reclaim the Morrigan and bring down the Assassin-allied gangs of the city. After Monro was killed by Liam in the aftermath of the Siege of Fort William Henry, Shay was inducted into the Templar Order, working with Grand Master Haytham Kenway to help the British Empire win the Seven Years’ War and destroy the Colonial Assassins by hunting down his former comrades.
In 1760, a final confrontation in the Arctic left Liam dead, Achilles crippled and without followers and the Manuscript in Templar hands. Shay would spend the next 16 years searching for the Precursor box, leading him to Versailles, where he killed the Assassin Charles Dorian and reclaimed the artifact in 1776. Since reclaiming the artifact, Shay searched for more artifacts and trained both his son and grandson later in life. The date and circumstances of his death are unknown.
8. Arno Dorian
Arno Victor Dorian (born 1768) was a member of the French Brotherhood of Assassins and a Master Assassin during the French Revolution. The only known son of Charles Dorian, an Assassin who was murdered by the Irish-American Templar Shay Cormac, Arno was then made a ward of François de la Serre, Grand Master of the French Rite of the Templar Order, and raised alongside his closest friend, Élise.
In May of 1789, Francois de la Serre was murdered at the Palace of Versailles as part of a coup within the French Templar Rite, and Arno was framed for the murder. While imprisoned at the Bastille, he met Master Assassin Pierre Bellec, who told Arno of his Assassin heritage. Wracked with guilt over his past failures, Arno joined the Assassin Brotherhood in the hopes of avenging his father and adoptive father, while also working to uncover the true instigators of the revolution.
Throughout his journey, Arno gained various allies, including Antoine Lavoisier, Marquis de Sade, Georges Danton, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Élise, who had recently been inducted to the Templar Order and sought revenge against her father’s murderers. Arno and Élise soon discovered that François-Thomas Germain had orchestrated de la Serre’s death in the hopes of reforming the Templar Order, and instigated the Revolution to this end. When the Assassin Mentor Honoré Mirabeau accepted an alliance with her on behalf of the Brotherhood, Bellec poisoned Mirabeau and tried to kill Élise as well, forcing Arno to assassinate his former teacher.
After killing most of Germain’s subordinates, Arno was exiled from the Assassin Brotherhood and shunned by Élise, causing him to retreat back to the now abandoned and dilapidated de la Serre estate in Versailles. Six months later, Élise found Arno in a drunken, depressed state at the Palace and apologized to him before they both returned to Paris. After eliminating the remainder of Germain’s allies, they tracked him down at the Temple in July of 1794, where a final confrontation ensued. Germain killed Élise using the Sword of Eden, and Arno killed him in return.
Heartbroken over Élise’s death, Arno sank into alcoholism and depression once more and ultimately resolved to leave France altogether. To this end, he accepted a mission from the Marquis de Sade in Franciade, where he met a young boy named Léon. Together, they discovered that Napoleon was planning to use an artifact buried beneath the town to take control of France. Initially hesitant to take action, Arno regained his sense of duty and put an end to Napoleon’s plans, recovering the artifact–an Apple of Eden–in the process. Arno decided to remain in France and rejoin the Assassin Brotherhood, eventually rising to the rank of Master Assassin. He would sire a child at some point in the future and is an ancestor of Callum Lynch.
By the year 2014, Arno’s genetic memories had been studied by both Abstergo Entertainment and an unidentified member of the Initiates hacker group.
9. Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452 – 1519), more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian anatomist, sculptor, cartographer, painter, botanist, engineer, architect, and mathematician of the Renaissance. He is widely regarded by scholars, engineers, and artists around the world to be one of the greatest minds in history.
Leonardo played an important role in the struggle between the Assassins and Templars, which raged across his homeland throughout his lifetime, all the while remaining a close friend and ally to the Florentine Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze.
Bayek of Siwa (born c. 85 BCE), also known by the alias Amun, was one of the last Medjay of Egypt and the founder of the Hidden Ones alongside his wife, Aya.
Growing up in the remote village of Siwa, Bayek inherited the mantle of Medjay from his father, Sabu, and dedicated his life to protecting the security and welfare of his people.
This took a dramatic turn in 48 BCE when the Order of the Ancients, a proto-Templar organization, murdered his son, Khemu, because the two refused to cooperate in unlocking the Siwa Vault for them. The grief-stricken Medjay and his wife thereupon embarked on a quest to avenge their son, systematically assassinating every individual who had participated in the plot, only to learn from the exiled queen Cleopatra VII that the Order’s reach and power far exceeded their initial belief. Although wary, Bayek followed Aya’s lead and pledged his service to Cleopatra as her personal Medjay, in the process embroiling himself in the Alexandrine Civil War against Ptolemy XIII.
Following the conflict’s conclusion, Cleopatra and her ally, Julius Caesar, openly aligned themselves with the Order of the Ancients. In response, Bayek gathered their main allies in Alexandria and established the Hidden Ones to counter the Order of the Ancients by fighting to protect innocent people and defend free will.
From that moment on, Bayek led what would someday become the Egyptian Brotherhood of Assassins, recruiting new members from all walks of life, expanding the organization to the Sinai Peninsula in 38 BCE, and combating the oppression and atrocities perpetrated by the new Roman rule. As the forefather of the Assassin Brotherhood, he planted the seeds for their progressive philosophy, devising the Creed and its strict tenets on discretion and never harming an innocent life.