Assassins Creed: Syndicate Jacob Frye

Jacob Frye: The First Bisexual Assassin

Assassin’s Creed is an action-adventure series beloved by many, including myself.  Ever since the Ubisoft released the first game in 2007, the series has not shied away from exploring uncharted territory. In the first game, you play as a Muslim. During Brotherhood, Leonardo DaVinci comes out as a gay to Ezio and, in a DLC, Ezio meets Leonardo’s boyfriend, Salai. Hell, Assassin’s Creed 3‘s ending is a criticism of religion. Suffice to say, Ubisoft is open to trying new things. They give their writers full creative freedom over the characters.  And so, the writers have given us Jacob Frye, the first canon bisexual Assassin in the series.

Jacob Frye, the first bisexual Assassin

At a simple glance, this might be a controversial statement. The game Jacob appears in, 2015’s Assassins Creed: Syndicate, never explicitly addresses Jacob’s sexuality, and many wave off the kiss scene in Sequence 8 as one-sided. Many will even point out that Jacob has a granddaughter, implying that he settles down, gets married, and has children. At a simple glance, the only gay character is Roth. Many gamers fail to realize that an important part of storytelling is a little thing called subtext and that much of a character’s personality, nationality, sexuality, etc. can be told without ever explicitly stating otherwise.

The LGBT gaming community aren’t strangers to the usage of subtext to present LGBT characters. Everything about Jacob’s character clicks once you realize that he’s a bisexual man in Victorian London, where mainstream society shunned LGBT people. Jacob, unlike his sister Evie, is a restless and aggressive young man who has beef with his father and the Assassins. At first, it’s not totally understood why he holds such anger and hatred for his father and the Creed, but Jacob’s sexuality makes everything clear.

Jacob’s father had always taught him to repress all of his emotions when following the creed, and as a young bisexual man who was already experiencing confusing emotions, this wouldn’t have sat well with him. As a result, he rebels against the Creed and his father’s teachings, instead drawn to the life of a gang leader in London. It’s here that Jacob truly flourishes and comes to accept who he is. Jacob’s not a stranger to the oppressive nature of Victorian London’s society, so he makes it his business to recruit and protect orphans, poor men and women hoping for a better life, sex workers, and even LGBT people. It’s how he finally meets Maxwell Roth and grows a crush on him.

Well, where’s the proof?

At the beginning of Sequence 8, Jacob parlays with Maxwell Roth, the leader of a rival gang. When Jacob asks Roth why he wanted the allegiance in the first place, Roth mentions that he wants “to have a little fun with the bravest man in London”. In response, Jacob looks away and smiles. This is where subtext becomes extremely important. Jacob’s bashful and insecure smile is a new trait for him. One the player hasn’t seen before. Jacob has always been confident and reckless with everything, so why the insecurity? He’s entering unexplored territory. Sequence 8 dedicates itself to their budding romantic relationship. It comes to a climax when Roth kisses Jacob as he dies. This isn’t so gamers can laugh at Roth. It’s the culmination of Jacob and Roth’s relationship.

Again, subtext plays a big role here. You can see many emotions cross Jacob’s face – confusion, hurt, surprise – but never disgust. He never even makes an effort to wipe the kiss off, instead solemnly accepting it before collecting Roth’s blood on a handkerchief.

As for the gamers who absolutely refuse Jacob’s sexuality because he has a grandchild, I would like to remind them that Jacob Frye is bisexual. He’s attracted, romantically and sexually, to men and women. Just because Jacob eventually marries and has children does not invalidate his bisexuality.

Representation matters.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is an important game that’s near and dear to my heart. The inclusion of LGBT characters opens the doors for future LGBT protagonists. It shows that LGBT characters can be important for more than simple romance options in Fallout, Dragon Age, or Mass Effect and proves that games with these kinds of characters can be successful and enjoyable. I hope it encourages other companies to include these types of characters as protagonists in future games.

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Susana Valdes entered the gaming community late in her life, but that didn’t stop her from fully devoting herself to the hobby. An English major in college and aspiring novelist, she enjoys games that take time to flesh out their narrative and characters since this usually allows her to analyze every aspect of the game. She also hopes that the gaming community opens up more to female and LGBT gamers, and hopes that game companies further diversify their cast of characters.

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10 responses to “Jacob Frye: The First Bisexual Assassin”

  1. Still haven’t played this. Damn, really looking forward to it, but I’m still trying to power through Unity; which I don’t hate but don’t enjoy either.

  2. Not the Master Avatar
    Not the Master

    Really good read, I will admit to having missed this, since I got sidetracked and never finished AC: Syndicate.

  3. James Jude Reyes Avatar
    James Jude Reyes

    I disagree with this assumption. Gamers looking for hints in Jacobs sexuality only have this as proof? Really? There is much stronger evidence that Jacob has Daddy issues. Roth was probably one of the most important male role models in his life. He also gave him affirmation and positive attention, which was something Jacob didnt get from his father. Roth probably exemplified alot of traits Jacob sook to acquire himself. Why you folks have to always turn everything into a sexual conversation is just as ridiculous when a black person claims that everything is racist.

    1. Despotato Avatar

      Yes EXACTLY! well said!

  4. sntmnshz Avatar


  5. Jacob Frye Avatar
    Jacob Frye

    This is, without a shadow of a doubt the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. I mean like, really.

  6. It’s left to interpretation so nobody is offended, if you want to believe Jacob is bisexual you can, but it’s more likely he’s straight. I’m guessing he respects Roth’s sexuality, which is why he wasn’t openly disgusted.

    Basically this is a theory that isn’t supported by any evidence, and therefor it gets the Stamp of Bullshit.

    1. Zach Taylor Avatar
      Zach Taylor

      “It’s left to interpretation but I don’t agree with your interpretation so it’s bullshit.”

      It’s actually been confirmed by the producers, but thanks for playing. The queer kids have this one.

  7. I like this theory, but for an entirely different reason than the idea of representation- Jacob being bisexual isn’t an important character trait for him, and that’s incredibly important. It shows that a character can be LGBT without letting it define them. When we look at Jacob as a character, we first think of reckless, confident, and violent. As far as its role in-story, Jacob’s bisexuality is as defining a trait as his height or his hair color. Representation is huge, but even more importantly is representation that is natural and human.

  8. Anya Belikova Avatar
    Anya Belikova

    Except for the fact that if you read the tie in novel you learn more about the backstory as far as the Ethan/Jacob dynamic. Ethan’s wife died in childbirth and Jacob was the younger twin—pretty clear indication that his attitude towards his son and his son’s rebelling against everything his father stood for have more to do with that little tidbit than with anything else. Not to mention the fact that Jacob looked absolutely disgusted when Roth kissed him—that’s not exactly positive representation for a bisexual character.

    I personally find it a little offensive that Ubisoft never mentioned/indicated/affirmed Jacob’s sexuality (even the actor voicing him had NO IDEA that Jacob wasn’t straight) until after his sexuality was brought up on TUMBLR of all places, (by whatever intern they had manning the official tumblr acct that day). Am I seriously the only person who thinks they automatically saw dollar signs and realized that it was a way to sell more games to a certain demographic (a year after the game was released, when sales typically have dropped).

    Representation IS important, but only when it’s made clear from the start and isn’t an ‘after the fact’ marketing ploy to make more money.

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