Assassin’s Creed is Ubisoft’s flagship franchise and a legendary series. It has produced some of the most iconic characters in gaming history – more than many people often realise. In this list, we’re breaking down all the Assassin’s Creed protagonists, from Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad to Basim Ibn Ishaq, ranking them by how impressive they really are.
However, a quick disclaimer before we proceed: this list will feature protagonists from the main series and its immediate spin-offs and expansions. Additionally, their ranking stems mostly from the qualities exhibited by the character and not necessarily the quality of the games they appear in.
After all, a bad game can still boast a good protagonist, right?
Ratonhnhaké:ton, or Connor Kenway as he is more commonly known, is the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed III. Connor is the son of Haytham Kenway, a prominent Templar of his time, and the grandson of Edward Kenway, a pirate turned Assassin. Given the promising ancestry, one would think that Connor would have an equally memorable tale.
Unfortunately, Connor’s personality is quite dismal. He has a good reason to behave the way he does following a disaster in his life. However, it would have been great to see Connor come into his more worthwhile qualities. Connor is no pushover by any means, and could absolutely stand toe-to-toe in combat with other Assassins in this list. Yet, we get a pouty personality that doesn’t give way to much else.
Arno Dorian is the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Unity which takes place during the French Revolution. Arno’s story gets off to a good start early on. He belongs to a family of high status but is made an orphan by the Templars as a boy. Sadly, Arno’s personality begins to disappear faster than this game’s buggy character faces. Arno embodies heart, but often to his own detriment. His love interest, Elise, despite being a Templar, ultimately doesn’t reciprocate Arno’s passion.
Arguably, Elise takes advantage of that passion and chooses vengeance above all else. Arno would also set aside the principles of the creed, using its resources and teachings to secure the affection of the woman he loves. In retrospect, Arno’s tale is a compelling one for sure. In the end you can’t help but feel sorry for this guy as he doesn’t get the character development that he should.
15. Shay Patrick Cormac
Technically, you don’t have to be an Assassin to be a protagonist. Shay Patrick Cormac is the main character of Assassin’s Creed Rogue. He presents a unique perspective in that he turned away from the Assassin Brotherhood and became a Templar. Shay is in a moral dilemma. What if the organization you served is not the peace-keeping institution you thought it was?
Shay became increasingly disillusioned regarding his status in the Brotherhood. Believing his mentor, Achilles, was somewhat responsible for pressuring him to recover precursor artefacts that killed hundreds, Shay betrayed the Assassins. He would then go on to hunt down the Colonial Assassins as a Templar in what he believed was a mission to preserve the greater good.
Assassin’s Creed III has a lengthy prologue of a few hours. Of course, it’s Connor Kenway on the front cover of the game’s box so why are you playing as this other character? Haytham Kenway opens the game through actions such as assassinating a slave trader and liberating a tribe of Native Americans. His motives seem to align with that of the Assassin Brotherhood.
Haytham also appears to guise himself in the trappings of an Assassin. However, several hours into the prologue we find that his allegiance is truly aligned with the Templars. It was a stunning plot twist to the series for its time. We couldn’t help but wish to continue playing as this alluring character for the entirety of Assassin’s Creed III.
13. Jacob Frye
Jacob Frye is a co-protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate which takes place during Victorian era London. He can be described as impulsive, careless, and easily provoked. Jacob, and his twin sister, Evie, were brought up as Assassins following the death of their father. Evie flourished in the philosophy and teachings of the Assassins. Jacob, however, would feel entrapped by the principles of their order.
Naturally a man of action, Jacob would have the tendency to leap into situations and let his fists do the talking. This mentality often caused collateral damage in the moment, something that Jacob would shrug off when scorned by his sister. Nevertheless, Jacob was highly instrumental as the founder of the Rooks, an anti-Templar crime syndicate. Although one of the messiest Assassins on the list, Jacob can’t be denied his affinity for strategy and leadership.
Alexios is one of two selectable protagonists from Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. He and his sister, Kassandra, will share mostly similar stories regardless of who you choose. That said, Alexios fills in the expected tough-guy moniker. Should you choose Kassandra over Alexios, then the latter takes on the identity of Deimos. This identity swap happens because the Cult of Kosmos absconds with an infant Alexios and subjects him to brainwashing.
Alexios is further condemned to a vicious life of being moulded into a bloodthirsty champion by the cult and for the cult. It’s this Deimos persona that compliments the qualities of the character best. He can be proud and boisterous in times of battle but carries a shroud of remorse. It’s just that Kassandra assumes the role of the protagonist more entertainingly for this entry in the series.
Adéwalé acted as the main protagonist of the Freedom Cry DLC for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. He is born into slavery working on a sugar plantation. The plantation would be raided by pirates. Adéwalé seized this opportunity to liberate himself of his oppressors and joined the efforts of the pirates. He acted as quartermaster to Edward Kenway aboard the Jackdaw.
In fact, it would be at Adéwalé’s suggestion that Edward seeks out the Assassins. In his solo exploits, he would join a group of freedom fighters in Haiti called the Maroons. The Maroons were formed out of former slaves and would endeavour to fracture the slave trade by commandeering the Experto Crede. Alas, the Freedom Cry DLC was a short but meaningful campaign.
Eivor was a Viking of the 9th century and appeared in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Unlike Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, where players could interchange protagonists and choose one character over another, respectively, Eivor could be only male or female. This means to choose one option would be to cancel out the other.
Both incarnations of Eivor have their merits. The male Eivor doesn’t sound like what you would anticipate from a Viking raider and possesses a lighter euphonious tone. Female Eivor is raspy and fiery, as if about to start a fight for a good cause befitting a Viking. Female Eivor could also be charming, humorous, and passionate when the moment called for it. It’s this blend of temperaments that makes her an optimal choice as an heir to Odin’s legacy.
9. Basim Ibn Ishaq
Basim made his first appearance in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla but it wasn’t until Assassin’s Creed Mirage that he got to come into his own. What’s interesting is that throughout his introduction in Valhalla, Basim is revealed to be to reincarnation of an Isu named Loki. Loki seeks vengeance against the Isu, Odin, who is directly responsible for the former’s family being brought to ruin. Basim’s identity as Loki brings him in direct conflict with Eivor, who’s the reincarnation of Odin.
However, in Mirage, we get to experience Basim’s story prior to the realization of his ancestry. Basim began as a street thief before being discovered by Master Assassin Roshan and inducted into the Hidden Ones. On this side of the spectrum, Basim gets credit for being a steadfast liberator of the oppressed. The most compelling drama of Basim’s tale is how his master manipulated his journey as an Assassin and the morale dilemma Basim must navigate to reach the truth. Basim is quite intriguing as Loki, though his tale in Mirage should have been lengthier.
8. Aveline De Grandpré
Aveline was born into a life of entitlement and wealth in 18th-century New Orleans. She is the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation. She could not stand by her status amidst the unjustness of the slavery movement. This hostility was compounded by her guilt over her birthright.
By happenstance, Aveline would be trained by the Assassin Agaté and brought into the Brotherhood. Her commitment to the creed, and her own personal convictions, would eventually purge New Orleans of Templar influence. If only Aveline’s campaign had been the primary pillar of the Assassin’s Creed III saga.
Evie Frye is the more grounded protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Unlike her hotheaded brother, Jacob, Evie prefers to take an intellectual approach to conflict. They were both raised in the Assassin ways early on, but it was Evie who most cherished her father’s values. Evie is the absolute embodiment of an Assassin, employing stealth over utter chaos. It’s mostly here that the divide between Evie and Jacob was greatest.
The siblings shared a vision of freeing London from Templar influence but their tactics differed. Evie resolved to locate an Isu artefact called the Shroud of Eden to assist their efforts. Jacob focused mostly on eliminating high-value Templar targets. Evie may come off as severe and stoic but remains one of the most selfless Assassins in the series.
Aya is a secondary protagonist in Assassin’s Creed Origins behind Bayek. She is also wife to Bayek and both had a son who was tragically killed by the Roman Flavius Metellus. This loss of life drove Aya to Alexandria where she made strengthening her mind and body her focus. Aya is a firm believer that Cleopatra is the herald of a prosperous Egypt.
Her fierce devotion to Cleopatra imminently drives a wedge between her and Bayek. Players don’t get to play as Aya for long, however. This is unfortunate because Aya’s personality acts as the perfect soil for a fully-fledged Assassin’s Creed game. Perhaps at some point in the future, we can revisit this promising protagonist.
Bayek acts as the primary protagonist for Assassin’s Creed Origins. Like many Assassins on this list, Bayek’s intentions are born out of tragedy. Of course, Bayek and Aya lose their son, but he would also eventually part with Aya.
There’s a reason Bayek has received positive reception. He’s rather likeable, passionate to a fault, and incredibly devoted. Bayek and Aya’s shared passion would form the basis of the founding of the Hidden Ones. The Hidden Ones are regarded as a precursor to what will become the Assassin Brotherhood. With accolades like that to his name, it’s easy to see why Bayek is one of the top Assassin’s Creed characters of all time.
Kassandra is the canon protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Between her and her brother, Alexios, Kassandra has the more appealing character delivery. She’s enchanting, ruggedly mighty, and yet generous to those she comes across. Kassandra also knows how to have a good time when it comes to it. She stands in opposition to the Cult of Kosmos who are intent on controlling all corners of Greece.
Kassandra shares a direct lineage with the Isu race, the precursors to humanity. Her father is Pythagoras and he gives Kassandra the Staff of Eden, yet another Isu artifact that bestows immortal life. Kassandra worked tirelessly to undo the efforts of the Order of the Ancients which would eventually evolve into the Templar Order. The acts of Kassandra laid the groundwork for her descendant Aya and her husband Bayek to form the Hidden Ones. The Hidden Ones would evolve into the Assassins.
Edward Kenway is the main protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and was a breath of fresh air to the series. He is boorish, perverse, and, above all, a pirate. Part of what makes the character so memorable is that Edward doesn’t start off as an Assassin. In fact, he subdues one early on and steals his hidden blade and uniform. It’s by maintaining this ruse that Edward finds himself caught between the Templar and Assassin conflict.
After a few years, Edward’s life of piracy would lose its lustre. A life of seeking glory meant little to Edward as his friends would perish one after the other. Eventually, Edward came to reflect on the creed and dedicate his life to undoing his past misconducts. Edward Kenway truly saw the error of his ways, and his tumultuous story is one of the greatest in the franchise, making him one of the best Assassin’s Creed characters ever.
2. Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad
Altaïr has the honour of being the first playable protagonist of the Assassin’s Creed series. In retrospect, Altaïr may not have had the most promising start. He breaks several tenets of the creed and is stripped of his rank as a Master Assassin. Altaïr has an opportunity for redemption. In doing so he gains a better understanding of the Assassins and Templars.
For Altaïr, there is no good or evil, but what is truthful. This conviction would cement Altaïr as a legend. He rebuilt the Assassin’s stronghold at Masyaf and helped establish guilds of Assassins around the globe. While he got a lot of flak for coming off as dull in the first game, Ubisoft would remedy this in Assassin’s Creed Revelations. Altaïr is one of the few protagonists whose story players can see from start to finish and it pays off.
1. Ezio Auditore da Firenze
Ezio was a step in a bigger direction for this series when he first appeared in Assassin’s Creed II. Ubisoft would create a character who began as a mischievous troublemaker whose life is turned on its head following a catastrophe. Maybe Ezio has an unfair advantage having three main series games to himself but his development as a character certainly wasn’t wasted.
Players can see him gradually transition from a charming Italian nobleman, mentor to the Italian Brotherhood, to a ruthless Master Assassin. By his own admission, Ezio only lives his life as best he can. He doesn’t always understand his purpose in the moment. Yet Ezio is still drawn forward to fulfil what duty requires him to do.
Without a doubt, Ezio is the best Assassin’s Creed character of all time.
Does your list of favourite Assassin’s Creed protagonists differ? Check out our other posts on Assassin’s Creed below. Will you also be getting Assassin’s Creed Mirage at launch? Let us know in the comments below!