In Dungeons and Dragons, the rogue is a popular character class defined by a reliance on stealth and precision to achieve their goals. Assassins and thieves are common professions for rogues, though not a requirement. But while Dungeons and Dragons may have put a name to it, the archetype has been around much longer and exists across a wide range of media. Robin Hood, for example, could be considered a rogue as he is often depicted relying on stealth and ambush techniques against King John and the Sherriff of Nottingham. But the archetype of a rogue has become quite popular in video games.
Sometimes the rogue archetype is by design, the game producing conditions that necessitate stealth over more upfront methods. In others, the player is given the option to choose between going in quietly or guns blazing, or perhaps even a combination of both. Either way, stealth has become a popular mechanic for many video games and, as a result, the rogue has become a popular choice for its characters.
10 Elizabeth – Bioshock: Infinite Burial at Sea Episode 2
While she may have had traces of it as far back as Infinite, Elizabeth becomes a full-on rogue when she becomes playable in Burial at Sea- Episode 2. Unlike other games in the Bioshock series, stealth becomes essential to survive, and she manages it well. Elizabeth is the first protagonist in the series to favor sneaking past Big Daddies over fighting them head-on, but when she needs to deal with splicers, she becomes very good at stealth killing them and reducing their numbers.
Elizabeth is also a rogue in the sense that she works for nobody but herself, ultimately. Even her partnerships with Atlas and Suchong (if they can be called that) were nothing more than a means of getting her closer to her goal of helping Sally.
The best part is that despite her seemingly hopeless situation, Elizabeth manages to subtly influence the course of Rapture’s future. She single-handedly sets up the fall of both Atlas and Andrew Ryan, both equally dangerous people with too much power, simply through discretion and ingenuity.
9 Aloy – Horizon Zero Dawn
Never really belonging to any one of the various tribes she encounters (as she herself notes, it would be more accurate to call her “Aloy, despite the Nora”), Aloy quickly learned to rely on herself and became an expert huntress from a young age. Her earliest lessons were in how to use stealth to her advantage, something she grew exceptionally good at.
Having a device that could track the movements of her prey certainly helped, but Aloy knew how to hide and strike at just the right moment. While hunting may have been how Aloy developed her skills, it was hardly the only way she found to apply them. The same tactics proved a very effective way to deal with enemies. Whether it be bandits or the Eclipse cult, Aloy has a lot of experience with taking them down quietly.
8 Nøkk – Rainbow Six Siege
Of all the operators in Rainbow Six: Siege, Nøkk might be one of the most intimidating due to her seemingly ghost-like presence. A talent for stealth and an ability to keep herself from appearing on security cameras help to reinforce that image.
Nøkk’s rogue characteristics are so prominent, the game deliberately avoids revealing much about her. Her real name is “redacted” and her face has not been seen in any canon source. It is even reflected in the name, as “Nøkk” comes from the Danish name for the water spirits of Germanic mythology.
7 Jess Black – Far Cry 5
Of all the allies to the Junior Deputy in Far Cry 5, Jess Black is one of the most valuable due to her unique talents. While she can handle herself in an armed confrontation and will have the Deputy’s back if things go wrong, Jess’s real skills are in stealth and silent takedowns. While she does have some personal issues, including severely untreated PTSD, Jess is not willing to let that stop her from taking down Eden’s Gate one Peggy at a time.
Up close, Jess knows how to silently take down enemies without being noticed; conversely, at a distance, she is lethal with her bow. Most of the deputy’s allies are better suited for a frontal assault, but Jess is perfect for the player who would rather do things quietly.
6 Yuna – Ghost of Tsushima
A rogue of any kind, let alone a thief, is probably the last person one would expect to find in the company of Samurai. After all, the defining characteristics of a rogue go directly against the Samurai Code, which punishes stealth tactics with mandatory seppuku. And yet, Yuna proves to be one of Jin Sakai’s closest allies.
Yuna certainly knows a few things about trying to survive in the harsh world of medieval Japan, and her talents are visible from the start. Her introduction has her first saving Jin’s life before killing a Mongol soldier while playing the role of a helpless civilian. Yuna continues to show her skill and resourcefulness throughout the story, being one of the few allies to see Jin’s quest through to the end.
5 Mélie – A Plague Tale: Innocence
Mélie is very much a rogue thief in the classical Dungeons and Dragons sense. From fleeing an abusive father to surviving one of the worst pandemics in history – all while taking care of her brother – Mélie has become quite talented when it comes to slipping in and out of places where she is not allowed.
In some ways, Mélie is even better at it than Amica, who also relies heavily on stealth to get by. She has a pretty good set of tools to work with, whether it is picking locks, incapacitating guards, or creating distractions. Mélie’s skill is especially evident by her ability to even evade the best soldiers of the Inquisition, and sneak two people out of a military camp. Whatever the job is, Mélie is not an easy thief to catch.
4 Emily Kaldwin – Dishonored 2
A deposed empress who was overthrown by a violent coup, Emily Kaldwin quickly proves herself to be a lot more than a pretty face in stylish clothing. She is prepared for this exact scenario and ready to dish out justice against those responsible not behind an army, but by her own hand.
Emily works from the shadows, learning to dispose of her enemies in one swift blow and chipping away their power one corrupt leader at a time. She does not even need to kill them, just to know precisely what steps to take to ensure they will no longer be a threat. Having powers certainly helps, but it is not essential. In fact, Emily can outright refuse the powers and still come out on top using nothing but her wit and skill.
3 Kassandra – Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Kassandra is quite a versatile fighter. She is unmatched as a warrior, but she was also an assassin before the Assassin Brotherhood was formed. Her day job might be a mercenary but that just pays the bills for her real job of hunting down corruption throughout Greece.
When it comes to weakening nations, removing corrupt leaders, and especially members of the Cult of Kosmos, stealth is Kassandra’s go-to method. For all her prowess on the battlefield, she knows more subtle ways to gain an advantage like destroying supplies and stealing soldiers’ payments, both things Kassandra knows how to do without drawing attention.
2 Aya – Assassin’s Creed Origins
As the co-founder of an entire secret society that relies on stealth, it is hardly surprising that Aya herself became an exceptional rogue in her own right. While her husband tended to favor a more upfront approach, Aya was using infiltration and deception to outwit her targets. And even when the mission did not go as planned, Aya knew how to avoid detection.
It ultimately became a defining part of Aya’s character when she abandoned her old life and took up the new name of “Amunet” – a fitting name considering it comes from an Egyptian Goddess whose name literally translates as “hidden one.”
1 Lara Croft – Tomb Raider
Lara Croft has always had a reputation for being ruthless, determined, and independent, but the 2013 reboot really saw her starting to go into rogue territory. She already has exceptional survival skills, but Lara also learned how to use stealth and how to take advantage of her environment. Her resourcefulness allowed her to become a one-woman army that tore through her enemies, and her skills only improve in the sequels.
By Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara has become an expert in a variety of stealth-based tactics for eliminating her opponents, from simple knife kills to hanging them from trees. She even knows how to turn her enemies against each other, from making poisons to turning their own bodies into deadly traps.