Assassin’s Creed 3 Dev Says PC Players Need Controller

By John Walker on March 28th, 2012 at 9:15 am.

No, don't W! For your family, just S.

According to an interview with Gamespy, Assassin Creed 3′s creative director, Alex Hutchinson, has declared that Ubisoft won’t be “investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup”, instead suggesting that PC gamers use a controller to play the game. Which at first may look like another reason for us to hitch up our skirts and stomp angrily to the protesting grounds, but I’d argue that perhaps he’s right.

“We’re definitely supporting PC,” he told the green IGN offshoot. “We love PC, but I think it’ll be PC with a controller. I don’t see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup. I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin’s Creed, you have a controller.”

At a certain point, I think it’s reasonable for PC gamers to accept the necessity of investing in a decent game controller. In the days of the Spectrum I fully understood the requirement of adding a Kempston joystick (even if I did blow up my dad’s 128K by wobbling the Kempston port while it was switched on), and I think in our world of cross-platform shared games, which were built from the ground up designed for a controller, it’s fair to assume some games will not work optimally with a typing interface.

Oh, and here’s another thing to bear in mind: this isn’t new. None of the AssCreed series have been specially catered for in this department, and people have gotten by with mouse/keyboard. To the best of my knowledge, he’s not saying, “The game will ignore your peripherals,” but rather that the game will be optimally played on a controller.

Edit: Yup, Ubisoft confirm that it will of course have mouse/keyboard support, as with previous games in the series. But still won’t tell us a release date for the PC version.

So, if the game comes out and can’t be bothered to have implemented a mouse cursor for the menu options, I’m down with kicking off a fuss. That’s just rude. But if the developers believe their game is designed from the ground up to be played on a controller, that seems entirely fair to me. Would I prefer there to be investment in superb mouse/keyboard controls too? Yes I would. Do I hate it when writers pose questions to themselves to offer balance? Absolutely. And while I realise that many can’t afford to just add a 360 PC controller to their arsenal, I’d say it’s becoming an essential piece of equipment for the modern, well-groomed PC gamer.

If you’d prefer to read an angry version of this news story, check out Dark Side Of Gaming, who call it “horseshit“. Naturally there’s a petition to sign. And thanks to neon_25 for alerting us.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

314 Comments »

  1. airtekh says:

    The point to this is not whether any one control scheme is better than another, it’s that PC gamers should be given the choice of which control scheme to use. Whether one is better than another is a matter of personal preference.

    I’ve used KB+M for the entire Assassin’s Creed series, and I love it. I could quite easily play the game using the 360 pad on my desk, but I don’t because I prefer playing these sorts of games with mouse and keyboard.

    • Llewyn says:

      Then you should be fine, and it’s probably a non-issue for you. This doesn’t appear to be any different from their stance on the previous AC games – the mouse works but they believe it’s better with a controller, and that’s the interface they’ve designed it for.

  2. RegisteredUser says:

    Of all the things, this oddly enough is something I can’t get worked up about.
    Not only is this a non-news item(we’be been getting fed “press start to begin playing” and “don’t turn your machine off while you see this” and button mapped tutorials for YEARS, this is hardly any news at all), its neither something new nor something ultra-sensible to begin with.
    The sad fact is that pressing 3 or 4 keys at once leads to a beeping error on a keyboard, but not any issue with a controller.

    Things like checkpointing vs anytime saves are a much bigger console vs PC issue, or not being allowed to customize settings, mappings, FOV, mod the game, etc. Not with which device it plays best.
    We used to have steering wheels for driving sims and Thrustmasters for flight sims!

    I agree though that while playing with gamepad the mouse and kb shouldn’t be disabled. If you are going to have guns or anything at all to aim with, having a mouse(like e.g. in GTA or saints row) to quickly flip to for shooting is near indispensable, because controllers just plain suck for quick precision aiming.

    TL;DR: A controller doesn’t have to be a console thing; its just another HID.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      >The sad fact is that pressing 3 or 4 keys at once leads to a beeping error on a keyboard, but not any issue with a controller.

      Buy a better keyboard. 3dollar keyboards save on button logic by not allowing lot of keys to be pressed at once. You can press up to 10 and more keys at the same time on a gaming keyboard.

  3. CaspianRoach says:

    Controllers are SLOW. I can’t stand the camera slowly panning around when you need to do a 180 degree turn. To suddenly change the movement/camera direction I need to shift the stick from one position through the center to the mirror position. It just takes loads of time. It takes zero effort to start moving your mouse in a different direction and the movement is recorded instantly and precisely. Gamepads are shit for camera movement. Playing with controller is akin to playing 3D game with arrow keys on a keyboard. It’s just inferior.

    • mendel says:

      You ought to get a stick that is not operated by a crank.

      • CaspianRoach says:

        Even if it is easy to shift around, you can’t argue that it isn’t instantenous. All the camera movement on gamepads is also acceleration-based as opposed to velocity-based mice. I don’t want to have to wait or guess when will the camera reach the spot I need especially since when it speeds up it’s impossible to stop it in the spot you want. There’s no such issue with a mouse, it’s a constant smooth direct velocity copy multiplied by a specific not changing sensitivity factor.

        It takes more time to turn precisely on a gamepad and it sucks.

        • Beva says:

          Ok sure, but it’s not like instant camera movement actually matters in a game like AC, or for that matter Batman, DMC or any other 3d person game that isn’t based on looking straight forward (like Skyrim).
          This means that analogue movement is the important bit, which regardless how you look at it, is better on a gamepad.

          • CaspianRoach says:

            I’ve played through Batman, AC and DMC and never have I found the urge for analogue movement. Okay, sure, fine, there was one time and one time only in AC2, there was a rooftop race that handled horribly, Ezio was always sticking to the walls I didn’t want him to stick to and I think analogue directionality would help there but NEVER have I ever found the reason to “move slower” to be an option. 8-direction movement choice COUPLED with great and precise camera to compensate for lesser degree direction worked really great. I have an analogue movement thanks to my mouse.

            And yeah, you can’t do that kind of thing in DMC but you don’t really need to since 95% of the times Dante just sticks to the closest enemy in his vague general direction and that’s all you really need.

          • Beva says:

            Fine, it works for you, I on the other hand find that it works as well as gamepads work for FPS games, ie. not as good at all. You are WILDLY off on DMC (and now that I think about it Darksiders as well, seeing as both those games have you lock onto enemies rendering the camera movement practically useless, also if they do port Dark Souls, and you have any interest in it you WILL care about movement speed as well), you don’t need Dante to just vaguely attack the enemy closest to him, seeing as that would kill you on anything resembling a fun difficulty setting, and even more importantly suck all the combat engine nuance out of the game.

          • CaspianRoach says:

            Well I guess that’s because I find the DMC camera mode not to be very effective. It feels wrong for me to have the direction keys to change their direction based off camera when you depress a button. I guess I’m just not a console fan.

        • mendel says:

          You lament that you cannot turn your avatar as smoothly and accurately with a gamepad/joystick as you can with a mouse. That is not caused by the gamepad being “slow”, but by the way the game interprets your inputs – moving my thumb from left to right is pretty much instantaneous, as fast driving games would suggest, and noticably bad camera controls are mostly due to digital inputs. Analog sticks allow my to intuitively control the rate of turn if they’re well-implemented; it may be slower to do a 180° turn, but it doesn’t feel “arrow keys” clunky.

          Your talk about velocity and acceleration is off, though.

          • CaspianRoach says:

            Well I guess different games implement it differently but the thing is gamepads are where mouse acceleration came from as in the longer you move the mouse the faster your movement on screen is. That is bull. Even if the camera is implemented in a smart non-accelerating way it’s still limited by the amount of how far you can shift your stick to. There’s a lot more choice of camera speed with a mouse. I can turn it a few pixels a second or do a 720 degree spin in a moment if I want. That just feels liberating.

            And as I said you can achieve the same directional variety if you use your mouse to correct the camera while you move. Granted you can only move in 8 directions based off your camera view but it still can be precise if you shift your camera say 10 degrees and just walk straight from there. How many times you honestly needed that ability to look 0-45 degrees to the side? I’m okay with trading that off for better targeting.

            It would be really awesome if there could be some middle ground, as in analogue movement controls plus mouse targeting. I would buy such a controller if it was widely supported.

    • MrStones says:

      Eh is playing with the arrow keys that much different from WASD? Not counting other surrounding buttons?

      • CaspianRoach says:

        Left and Right are usually bound to “Turn Left/Right” as opposed to “Strafe Left/Right”. I’ve seen people playing Doom and DN3D with these and it was just pathetic. And I’m not talking about using arrow keys + “,” and “.” or Alt+direction to strafe, I’m talking about just not using strafe at all.

  4. skinlo says:

    Because I’ve never owned a console and hate controllers with a passion, I’ve learnt how to do most things on a keyboard and mouse. I found Assassins Creed 3 quite easy on a keyboard, as long as its like the previous ones I’ll be fine.

  5. poisonborz says:

    I think most of us PC gamers realized it a long time that a controller is more or less a must. And honestly, I really couldn’t play a platformer or a racing game with mouse/keyboard anymore. If this is the price of PC ports (and I think implementing a new interface/control scheme is no small feat) then everyone should invest in one.

    • Vorphalack says:

      If, like me, you play predominantly FPS / RPG / RTS then the 360 controller is very much still optional. In the vast majority of titles that I own, I would consider a controller to be a hinderance.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think your just mapping your own beliefs to larger market of PC gamers. I for one hate dual-analogs and its one of the large reasons I never liked consoles, but that doesn’t reflect PC gamers in one way or another.

  6. Harzel174 says:

    I think it’s a pretty fair compromise in the larger view of things: more console ports to the PC, but PC owners are expected to have a gamepad (or at least not expect a polished keyboard interface). Especially since the original game was designed with a controller in mind. And when PC users use that modular design and versatility (re: ability to even have the easy option of a gamepad) as basis for why their platform is awesome.

    Just don’t go all Darksiders on us.

  7. Jarol says:

    Am I the only one who actually loved playing AssCreed with a keyboard and mouse? As more things got added, things started to become a little finicky (selecting weapons out of a huge radial menu), but it never hindered my enjoyment or play through.

    When I go ahead and switch to my 360 controller, it feels unnatural and slow. The idea here is that I love having the camera move where I want it to go and precisely at that. Movement, combat, and menus all seem pretty damn well done even after all these renditions. The only thing I fail at with these controls is the ability to walk at a given speed, but that never seems to be a problem, just a minor blip.

    As long as they retain the same old controls from the very first game I’ll be fine. Having a dev tell me how to play the game outside of my comfort zone isn’t going to make me change it.

  8. Carra says:

    I’ve played Ass Creed: Brotherhood a few months ago with my X360 controller. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this game runs on my 4 year old PC. Definitely a good port.

  9. Symbul says:

    It’s crap. Not because it’s new, because anyone who’s ever played an AC game knows that it’s a pretty basic port and has never worked ideally with KB/M, but because there’s no reason it shouldn’t work well with a keyboard and mouse. I’m so fucking tired of games that still only offer analog controller-style targeting when you have a completely functional mouse. AC isn’t the worst offender, this is a classic port issue (Darksiders, Prototype were worse for example) but it’s not the symptom of a superior peripheral. They’re just lazy/cheap devs/publishers.

    I have a 360-style controller. It’s not that. I’m just really tired of sloppy and lazy port jobs that under-utilize the platform’s advantages and I am voting with my wallet.

  10. CaLe says:

    Some games are just better with a controller. This makes sense.

    • CaspianRoach says:

      Racing games and platformers. Not Third Person “Shooters” (Stabbers?).

      • mondomau says:

        Bullshit. Plenty of third person action games are as good, if not better with a controller.

      • RakeShark says:

        Are you suggesting that Third Person games such as Sly Cooper or Metal Gear are hindered without Mouse and Keyboard?

        I’ll admit in a perfect world every game coming to PC would have had full and comprehensive M&K control schemes that have been tested and tweaked over and over again to make the best use of them, but let’s be a little practical here. I can’t fathom fighting against a badly implemented control scheme when a much smoother and tailored control option is available.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Assassin’s Creed is a platformer at heart.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Some games are, but not Assassin’s Creed. If PC people wanted a port of something where the input method is a huge deal, like Red Steel 2 or DDR or Once Upon a Monster, it would be safe to say that the input would not translate. But this is a platformer, a platformer with guns, and platformers are at about the same disadvantage on a PC that shooters are on a console.

      Instead, we’re getting a shit port by a group of people that don’t understand or want to take the effort on it, and they’re saying that midway through development.

  11. Dominic White says:

    I’d just like to point out that a USB-cabled 360 controller (the most natively supported gamepad in existence, with almost all modern PC games even changing the button prompts to match the color-coded buttons) is £18 at Play.com – http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/19278992/Microsoft-Xbox-360-Wired-Controller-for-Windows-Black/Product.html?searchstring=360+windows&searchsource=0&searchtype=allproducts&urlrefer=search&cur=257

    If you’re playing something like Assassins Creed 3 at anything other than minimum detail, chances are you have a £500+ gaming PC, not counting monitor and peripherals. If you’re too cheap/grumpy to spend £18 to vastly increase the range of games you can comfortably play, then you deserve every frustration you find.

    • Moorkh says:

      Of course a game designed for/around a specific (even if inferior in precision, ergonomics and fidelity) input device will work best on that. (They would, however, work a lot better yet if they supported a more precise, ergonomic device.)

      But you’ll have to see that justifying this development highlighted by Ubisoft is a slippery slope.
      The joypad is, for various reasons, the least common denominator among gaming input devices.
      Next, someone could argue that:
      - you’d best use a TV for a game designed to play on a TV
      - you’d best sit on a couch for a game produced for couch sitters
      - and of course that it’s best to be a clueless consumer to optimally enjoy games designed for clueless consumers.

  12. RagingLion says:

    Just to say I really want to play this game and almostly certainly would want to play with a mouse and keyboard since I don’t own a controller.

    This does make me wonder if I should buy one, but maybe I’m put off by 10 years of perfecting using this interface compared to be quite amateur with a controller – nowhere near as deft. But should I force myself to learn?

  13. MD says:

    At least they’re being up-front about it. Better than pretending to have KB+M support, but somehow fucking up the mouse input completely, as with a lot of console/PC games.

  14. Suits says:

    So.. basically the same as the other AssCreed titles

  15. Oritxupolite says:

    I hope someone invents a keyboard and mouse that is comfortable to play from a couch. I solved this problem with a custom table …. . I put my PC in my living room with a 720p projector 9 years ago and a custom table to play with mouse and keyboard . I played games in HD from the time of the XBOX – Doom 3, Far Cry, Half Life 2, Splinter Cell, Chronicles of Riddick Mafia or GTA3 …. in a 100-inch screen . After Crysis , Stalker , Arma 2 in 1080p with mouse and keyboard

    With my table you can even lie down in the couch and use the keyboard and mouse , I used the PC in the projector to surf online, write in forums like in this moment , edit text, video, photos, watching video, TV …. . I do not need a IPAD, I’m more comfortable with my table in my chair and large 100 “screen.

    I think that is impossible to bring the PC – a complete PC – to the HDTV without keyboard and mouse , will only be a bad substitute .

    For some years I see many PC gamers use a 360 gamepad to use the PC on the HDTV to gaming . Is the reality , gamepad cannibalized PC gaming space in many genders , and will be very dificult change the trend .

    This is the first big barrier to PC gaming and PC real use in the TV .

    It is not fundamentalism or fear . Right now I’m writing lying on the couch with mouse and keyboard . I do not like wasting time with interfaces designed for defective imput , as the interface on the Xbox Live, Skyrim or The Witcher 2 and other games.

    Not fear of the future, on the contrary, the industry needs to find a driver to use the PC on the TV . A gamepad, a TV remote control or even Kinect is not the solution. We’re wasting time if we do not use a mouse or a keyboard , at least one touch screen to interact on the web and PC, it is a substitute that never worked and will never work.

    This does not mean that the keyboard is the best way to control movement in a game, an analog stick is better. But no one has created a keyboard with analog control or at least a pressure-sensitive keyboard for operation with a mouse.

    But I know this is not the solution for everyone. People need something more simple than a table. So for years I follow the topic on the Internet. Unfortunately, nobody solved the problem correctly. Phantom keyboard was a bad solution. Logitech keyboard for Google TV is another poor solution, with a touch pad.

    The best solution is often the simplest. Just a small keyboard with a mouse tray, with the bottom padding to be comfortable. The mouse can be connected to the keyboard, to not fall.

    There are another options … like a small mouse in a finger combined with a small controler like the controler Wii 2 etc . Or the trackball in a gamepad . Or a touch screen with 1ms of latence …

    I can not believe that anyone in the industry has addressed this need. Perhaps more interesting is to sell other input devices, to have a not complete experience of PC on HDTV and to inducing the people to have a laptop, a desktop PC, a tablet, a HTPC, a console, a handheld and a mobile phone , each with different accessories.

  16. Unaco says:

    I agree with John, on this one, singular thing.

  17. terry says:

    I own and use a 360 controller, but pretty much exclusively for games that have terrible keyboard bindings, and 2d games with momentum that favours analogue control. Something about having free control over your viewpoint in a 3d environment feels instinctively right to me, and thumbsticks are a poor substitute for that.

    I think it probably makes sense in the context of the AC series where fluid control over freerunning is more important than aiming fidelity.

  18. Xiyng says:

    Oh what nonsense. Personally I was just fine with PC controls in the first game, as well as in Revelations – maybe even more so than with a controller (II, Brotherhood). To put it short, there was nothing wrong with controls in the game and mouse look is just that much better to me.

  19. Khemm says:

    AC creed games – at least 1, 2 and Brotherhood, because these are the ones I played – work perfectly fine with K&M, I never ever felt the need to hook up my 360 Controller for Windows – I did try to play with it for a while, but I could never rotate the camera fast enough.
    Like I said, I already have a controller (and a joystick for sims), so it’s not an issue. PC gaming is about diversity and the possibility to use every peripheral under the sun.

  20. Ridnarhtim says:

    “While I realise that many can’t afford to just add a 360 PC controller to their arsenal, I’d say it’s becoming an essential piece of equipment for the modern, well-groomed PC gamer.”

    Why did you have to add the 360 there? Why should everyone have to have one of those cursed, wretched, low-quality things? After going through about 3 of them in a few months, I bought a Logitech Rumblepad 2, and it’s superior in every way.

    That sentence would have been perfectly written as “many can’t afford to just add a PC gamepad to their arsenal…”

    • Llewyn says:

      I have to wonder what you were doing to them. My Xbox is a month shy of four years old and its original controller still works just fine.

      • Ridnarhtim says:

        Using them the same as every other controller I’ve ever owned. My PS2 controllers from 10 years ago still work fine. My xBox360 controller all break through use. Not dropping them, or throwning them, or excessively mashing them – bumpers stop working, sticks start squeaking, wireless connections keep dropping … They are dreadfully, horribly poorly built.

        In all my years of gaming, which include a SNES, N64, PS2, Gamecube, xBox360, PS3, Wii and a few computers, the only controllers I have ever broken are one PS2 controller (by throwing it at a wall in a fit of GTAIII-induced rage) and about 5 xBox360 controllers through what I would consider normal use.

  21. Runs With Foxes says:

    Seems like a lot of people are missing the point here. The issue is not whether everyone should own a gamepad nowadays or not.

    I remember RPS being very critical of Skyrim’s poor PC optimisation. Yet here we have Ubisoft openly admitting they’ll do a half-assed job of the PC port, and everyone nods and approves? We’ve grown accustomed to settling for PC ports, and now we’re growing accustomed to sloppy PC ports.

    Now when AssCreed3 comes out with a terrible PC interface and control scheme, all the reviewers will say, ‘Well, the controls aren’t great, but they said as much before release, so it’s totally fine, 10/10 great spectacle!’

    Open your eyes and stop eating the shit Ubi’s feeding you. I have a 360 controller and use it quite a bit, but I can see this for the preemptive PR crap that it is.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely this. Keyboards are at a disadvantage when it comes to platforming, but the gap can be significantly closed with good playtesting.

      Take Shank for instance, a terrible console port where they didn’t even bring your keybindings into the hint messages, and they bind to weird stuff like the j key. The game became fifty or sixty percent easier once I played with it a little bit, and remapped the settings to the number pad because that worked better. Or Ultimate Spiderman, where the QTE’s for one fight were impossible for me unless I rebound the controls.

      They’re just saying that they won’t do that process of finding optimal controls because it takes time and they don’t care.

    • John Walker says:

      It’s not about being a bad port, it’s about the controls the game is designed to be played with.

      If the game was poorly optimised for PC, or had no mouse for menus, or had no mouse/keyboard controls at all, then we’d loudly complain. If the menus were as atrocious as Skyrim’s, then we’d rightly kick off.

      • Moorkh says:

        And yet you support their decision to design a game around an input device that is clearly not as suited to navigate a 3D space as another, as widely available one by arguing that further interactions are more suited to the device the game was designed around? That’s called wagging the dog, you know?

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        But poor mouse and keyboard controls is part of that poor optimisation. This quote

        “I don’t see us investing hugely in a mouse and keyboard setup.”

        is an admission that they could put more effort into it, but they simply won’t invest in making their product better. That shouldn’t be acceptable. It might well be true that analogue sticks are a better control method for this game, but that’s also an excuse to half-ass the port.

        It’s like Remedy’s old excuse that Alan Wake wasn’t suited to the intimacy of PCs so they weren’t going to release it at all. We didn’t buy that for a second.

  22. rocketman71 says:

    I have no problem with the game being polished for controllers as long as keyboard + mouse support is decent. Controllers are not exclusive to consoles.

    I DO have a problem with shitty DRM schemes and lack of LAN support for the multiplayer portion, which is why I very probably won’t buy this one either.

    Oh, and I have zero trust in Ubi’s word, so whatever they do say today can be the contrary of what they say tomorrow.

  23. Iskariot says:

    If I could get used to those ghastly linear console controllers I would have bought a Playstation and an xbox years ago. I have tried many times and each and every time I gave up in disgust and despair.
    When you are used to non-linear ultra fast and precise pc controllers using console controllers feels like going back in time 20 years. I feel like a surgeon who is used to a scalpel, but is suddenly limited to the use of a sledgehammer. I simply can not do it.

  24. Moorkh says:

    I won’t play this, but then I didn’t play any of its earlier instances, not least because of their clumsy controls.

    That said, I absolutely agree with the logic to support innovative new input devices.
    Unfortunately, joypads are not that.

    Joypads had been Nintendo’s attempt to put proper arcade controls in the hands of tv gamers. Given the restriction that they had to work if you sat on a sofa, they worked just about ok. Several evolutive stages on, they have improved a bit and have become a lot more versatile.
    Of course, you wouldn’t want to have to actually drive a car, fly a plane, shoot a gun or do some work with them, because they are simply not precision tools.
    What joypads are is adequate crutches for couch players to interact in a broad variety of game enviroments. They are certainly not the best input device for any one type of interaction unless the game has been specifically designed (and thus, arguably, crippled) for their use.

    I applaud real innovations like Project Natal and the Wii remote, but, again, they suffer from their “general purpose” requirement.

    PC input devices, meanwhile, have suffered from an appaling lack of development. Joysticks and steering wheels have all but been abandoned. With the huge advantage of a fixed surface (your desk) available, the mouse has proven superior in controlling motion- and position-based inputs. The keyboard remains unchallenged in its sheer variety of digital input options. I daresay there has not been marketed a more precise means of freely navigating in a spatial enviroment than by their combination, and the mouse is still on par with the best at navigating on a 2d surface.

    But there has hardly been enough evolution in these devices. Sure, we have the mouse wheel and extra buttons, increased precision, the switch from balls to lasers in mice, and, well, macro buttons for keyboards, but that is not a lot. At the very least, I would have expected analogue keys and rotational sensors for mice.

    I’d be hardcore/obsessive enough to invest not just into those but in more specialised devices for individual game / interaction types that took advantage of the playing enviroment of a PC gamer. I already have a collection of gaming keyboards and strategy controlers at home, but they never quite succeeded in their aim. I’ll give any sensible new thing a chance.

    But I’ll never buy a joypad again.

  25. Heliocentric says:

    Not much to add beyond I played all 3 games so far with the pad, but while the implementation in ass creed 1 was lacking its been perfect in the later 2.

  26. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Seems silly to make a statement about this at all. If it means that they will be doing exactly what they’ve been doing with the past AC games, then all’s well (apart from that damnable mouse acceleration). This will just ignite the internet for no reason.

    The only weakness of M/K in the AC games is that the navigation is limited to 8 directions. I’ve long thought that the optimal gaming device would be a half-gamepad that is held in the left hand, for navigating with a stick, and a mouse in the other hand, for looking and aiming with high precision.

  27. Eldray says:

    I never found a console game not using motion sensing that wasn’t easily playable with suitably bound keyboard and mouse on an emulator.

    The only thing you lose is analog buttons/stick, but generally you want to press them fully most of the time and a brief press tends to work like a (longer) light press.

    And of course you can bind modifiers or the mouse to manage the pressure amount if really necessary.

  28. chackosan says:

    I guess it’s easy for me to be blasé about it, since I bought a gamepad for PES and have used it for most of my PC games since, including GTA IV, Alpha Protocol, Witcher 2, New Vegas, Arkham City and Skyrim.

    Unless it’s heavily dependent on point and click (like Diablo, adventure games, or strategy games) or hinges on fast movement and quick aiming (Quake III, Serious Sam), I prefer the controller – easier on the hands, the buttons are much springier than on the keyboard, and aiming with the analogue stick somehow produces more tension for me than with the mouse.

    Even FPS games that are multiplatform have to be designed to be playable with the controller. Sure, playing with the k/b + mouse is obviously more effective in those situations , but less challenging and usually less fun for me. I mean, if the ‘console kiddies’ can finish those games using a controller, there’s no reason an experienced PC gamer couldn’t master the peripheral in short order.

  29. MadTinkerer says:

    You know guys, you can get a decent controller pretty much anywhere for ~$20 nowadays. You don’t have to shell out for Xbawks or PS3 controllers or any of the fancier PC ones. Just go over to Target, or whatever the nearest equivalent is, and pick up a cheap, serviceable PC controller. The console ports (other than VVVVVV, Cavanagh), emulated games*, and Japanese imports will thank you.

    *Obviously I mean legitimate compilations of classic games such as the Taito Legends collection, the various Genesis/Mega Drive games on Steam, & et cetera.

  30. jjujubird says:

    I wonder if they have a gaming keyboard that has an analog stick sticking up from where the space bar is (you could still have the rest of the space bar split off on either side of it). That would be a pretty natural spot for it (if your left hand is resting on asdf then that’s roughly where it would be on a controller) and give the best of both worlds.
    /shrug

    • InternetBatman says:

      Personally I’d like a mouse and nunchuck. I think with a few more iterations the wii controller could have been the best ever made. Right now we have grumpy console players sticking to dual analogs because that’s what they know best (like I feel about my keyboard and mouse).

      • jjujubird says:

        lol. I think there’s a couple annoying things about “needing” a controller.

        a) 99% of games can be more effectively played using mouse and keyboard. There just aren’t too many exceptions.

        b) of the small amount of games where a controller is more effective, it’s only one part of the whole controller that makes it so, and that’s the little analog stick. It’s not due to the shape/design of the controller, or that it has little buttons all over it.

        Just makes sense to me to take that one little tiny part of the controller that is superior (in rare cases) and slap it on a keyboard. Easy fix, now you have a device that is superior (or at least equal) 100% of the time.

  31. copernicus_phoenix says:

    It’s nice that they’re being up front about it. It would be a hell of a lot easier to give us some of the soft soap ‘the PC is our number wun platform’ PR guff that we usually get.

  32. InternetBatman says:

    It says something about the sheer incompetency of Ubisoft’s management that he says something like this within days of the Ubisoft DRM interview, where he’s clearly trying to change the perception of Ubisoft. The feudal hierarchy comment from the last thread really strikes me as accurate since the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.

    • jjujubird says:

      Agreed. It doesn’t make much sense to throw PC users a potential bone and then turn around and say something that a lot of them will hate. Unless he was trying to soften the blow or something, lol. Probably not going to buy another Ubi product until they completely banish the DRM nonsense, so I’m gonna need more than some philosophy from their PR about DRM – I’m gonna need an absolute “no” to it.

  33. Adekan says:

    Ubi can continue not caring about PC players, and I’ll continue not caring about the games they put out.

  34. Zanchito says:

    - “I think if you want to play on PC and you want to play Assassin’s Creed, you have a controller.”
    - I think you are wrong.

    I can’t stand camera control with controllers, it’s bad enough to make me quit playing altoghether. Character movement and buttons, I can get used to (sometimes), but camera rotation…. UGHHH!!!

    • Shortwave says:

      I totally agree, I was trying to use the controller for the last Creed game and kept finding myself going back to the mouse when free-running cause I could actually see what was going on around me. I’ve been trying to play a lot of third person single player games lately with a controller because I have really bad wrists from carpentry work. But, it simply just doesn’t do it in the end of the day. With a mouse you “feel” like you are naturally looking around because you can move as quickly as you think nearly, with a stick you are always waiting for that input, thus halted in thought and de-immersed from the game..
      Yeaaa, just my two cents on that thought.. >.<

  35. phylum sinter says:

    It’s total pants to think any third person game involving STEALTH and FREERUNNING would work better with a keyboard and mouse. running/walking on a shift-key toggle is hardly better than the degree of control you get with two analog sticks.

    I think ultimately that the bulk of pc gamers are hopelessly devoted to their control apparatus of choice, and it’s sad that they won’t see outside the bubble even on factual grounds.

    The larger issue, mentioned or hinted at by a lot of the commenters here is that they feel the PC is neglected if it doesn’t have a focus on this control scheme – well, in this game, it makes sense to optimize for controller from a design standpoint, and has nothing to do with “consolitis” or any other paranoid delusion that pc games are going down the drain because they don’t focus on what they hold holy.

    Get over it, it’s a design choice and nothing more.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Shift key toggle? All the AC games have used the right mouse button to enter high profile, and spacebar to freerun when in that. It struck me as an excellent solution right from the start.

      • phylum sinter says:

        Oh it has that? I wonder if Ubi will have that in place for this game too.

        I just remember awkwardly trying to sneak through a crowd and look behind myself, bumping in a guard, and then plugging in my controller. That’s when it all clicked for me.

        Personal preference ultimately though, right?

    • Shortwave says:

      I totally understand what you are saying, it’s not illogical by any means.
      But what I think ultimately what it comes down to for many people, including myself is..
      That if they start doing this, they will do it again. And then other companies will follow.
      Setting the example it’s okay to remove support for keyboard and mouse for ports/PC games.
      That everyone will just comply and play with a controller.
      Which isn’t cool, it’s not hard to implement proper PC controls..

      Just like games dropping support for FOV settings..
      It’s all these small things that make PC gaming unique and so great.
      And if we let them pluck them away one by one, it’s done!

  36. Xan says:

    I’v bought a Logitech F310 for the sole purpose to play third person action games such as Assassin’s Creed or Darksiders.

    It was cheap, works great and can use both x-input and direct input modes so it can be programed to work with games that don’t natively support a xbox controller.

    There is nothing wrong with getting a gamepad for the PC, it’s no different then getting a joystick for flight simulation games.

    Now let’s just hope Ubisoft wisens up and drops their retarded DRM, DRM dosen’t increase sales, a good product and service does, just look at GOG.

  37. ShadowGamer says:

    i always prefered keyboards/mouse than controllers..

  38. VoEC says:

    I always found Assassin’s Creed to be best played with the mouse and keyboard (with the 5 keys setup). I have a pc controller but I still like it better with mouse controls.
    The problem for me most often is that the pc version of the game doesn’t support controllers properly (at least the one I have) which forces me to play it with mouse and keyboard.

  39. Urthman says:

    I understand most people like controllers best for these kinds of games, so I’m not going to cry about this kind of thing.

    But personally, I don’t own a console and almost every game I want to play is fine with K+M, so I’ve never had the opportunity or desire to develop any proficiency with a gamepad. I’m just way more comfortable using my fingers than my thumbs. I managed AC1 & AC2 with M+K, I’m sure I can manage AC3 as well. I just hope the interface isn’t any less mouse friendly than the previous games.

  40. Frank says:

    Meh. Since the days of Sands of Time and BG&E, Ubisoft have had a pretty good track record in porting for keyboard-mouse, so I’m not worried. He’s just the creative director; what does he know, eh?

  41. Robin_G says:

    I played the second one with mouse and keyboard. Seemed fine. I’m sure a controller might have been slightly better. But at a certain point, not being aware of the standard input on a platform you make games for is just lazy. Like all those terrible games they cram onto handhelds and phones that clearly were made for another control scheme. Luckily, AC2 bored me to tears about half way through so I can hold off spending any more money or fiddling around with adapters to make my wireless controller connect properly.

  42. CelticPixel says:

    If you drove around Liberty City or rescued Bandage Girl with a mouse and keyboard, you’re an absolute loony.

    May all your key mappings be reset.

  43. Shortwave says:

    They don’t have the time to effort to support and keyboard and mouse on PC, cool.
    I don’t think I have the time and effort to pay for this game to be honest.

    A PC game that doesn’t support keyboard and mouse, really?
    The funny thing is, I have two xbox controllers just for PC.
    But I just don’t feel right letting Dev’s think they can do that.

    In one sense, they are forcing people to need a controller.
    In another sense, they are cutting off their market for those who can’t afford one or want one.
    In another sense, they are setting an example to other devs that keyboard and mouse support isn’t important anymore and they can get away with not caring about it.

    I dunno’ no matter how I look at it, it’s not a good thing.
    And yea’, a day of age when keyboard and mouse support isn’t standard on PC is a sad day.

  44. rapier17 says:

    I’ve managed fine with the other Assassins Creed games up till now with a keyboard & mouse, AC3 will probably be fine.

    However if it didn’t I’d be in a pickle. I can’t use controllers for periods of time as my finger joints start to lock up. When I helped a friend complete RE5 (for the umpteenth time – bloody trophies), there was one dreaded quick time event I couldn’t do because my joints had locked up. He spent several attempts doing it himself with both controllers whilst I tried to massage life back into my fingers which remained stiff for the rest of the day. I do realise I’m an oddball case in that respect but I do hate using controllers.

    Actually this reminds me of MW2, in a way, where the back cover of the PC version, if I remember correctly, had Mouse & Keyboard support listed as a main feature of the game.

  45. Zenicetus says:

    “But if the developers believe their game is designed from the ground up to be played on a controller, that seems entirely fair to me.”

    Sure, it’s their game and they can do what they want with it. If they’re not going to support mouse and keyboard (i.e make it just as easily playable), then it’s also fair for me to pass on it.

    What they’ve done here, is to guarantee that a certain percentage of their potential audience will now wait to read reviews on how it plays on M&K, instead of pre-ordering or buying on release day. Nice move, guys.

    “Would I prefer there to be investment in superb mouse/keyboard controls too? Yes I would. Do I hate it when writers pose questions to themselves to offer balance? Absolutely. And while I realise that many can’t afford to just add a 360 PC controller to their arsenal, I’d say it’s becoming an essential piece of equipment for the modern, well-groomed PC gamer.”

    Horseshit. It’s just lazy programming and an excuse to streamline console porting.

    Some of us “well groomed PC gamers” still have a pile of other controllers attached to our USB bus, like a joystick, throttle, pedals, and TrackIR for flight sims. I have enough trouble as it is, keeping those things from fighting each other or loading in different order on bootup. I’m not going to add a gamepad just because one game company, or one RPS writer, thinks this is now an “essential piece of equipment” for PC gaming.

    Signed, Grumpy PC Gamer.

    • gwathdring says:

      You bought a TrackIR for flight sims, but won’t buy a controller for games that are designed to be more streamlined for a controller (note: it will still have at least basic Keyboard/mouse support, apparently, which sounds like most other major multi-platform releases I’ve played).

      You are welcome to your preferences and opinions, I just hope you understand why that is strange to me. PC gamers buy expensive computer parts, buy specialized peripherals for niche games and so forth but seem to have a rather large contingent of vocally anti-controller folks despite this. It baffles me. Is it that their are so few controller options for PC and that so few of them are of decent quality? Because I agree there; if your hand type is not really well matched by PS3 or Xbox controllers, you have few (if any) high quality options remaining. Logitech has a spotty record with controllers (their drivers have a lot of issues and I had to return a controller from their most recent line due to this really bizarre dead zone complication that as far as I could tell was not a purchase-specific manufacturing defect), and a lot of the other companies make with cheap knock-offs, short lived products, or products that don’t play nice with nearly as many games as Logitech and Xbox controllers.

      So that’s a serious issue. But beyond that … what is so much more objectionable about using a controller than going out and purchasing a head-tracking device or a joystick? Specialized equipment for games designed to take advantage of different peripheral types. These games happen to be optimized for console controllers which work fairly well on most PCs even if PC gamers seem adverse to them.

      • Zenicetus says:

        “… what is so much more objectionable about using a controller than going out and purchasing a head-tracking device or a joystick?”

        Well, the main objection relates to what I mentioned above, about already having to tap dance around USB controller assignments and conflicts for the 4 different flight sim gaming peripherals I’m already using. One more controller means more potential conflicts, and more headaches. I don’t want to go through that hassle for a single game that decides mouse and keyboard are no longer worth fully supporting.

        If that tide turns, and more “PC game” developers take this route, then I might be forced into it. But we’re not there yet, by a long shot. Every non-flight sim game I’ve played in the last year has worked just fine on mouse and keyboard. This makes it very easy to pass up a single game that doesn’t work that way.

        The other objection is more philosophical, I guess. Flight simulations are, duh, simulations, and they’re designed to support hardware that also simulates (very closely, in some cases) the real thing.

        The Asscreed series is not a simulation, and it has no dedicated controller. Until the day that they start selling little Assassin puppets we can stealth around our computer desks, and make them climb up and down our monitors as control inputs to the game, there is no direct comparison to the way flight sim controllers work with flight sim software. Although those Assassin puppet controllers would be neat. The devs are probably missing out on some hardware tie-in promotions there.

        Since there isn’t that type of dedicated controller for a virtual Assassin, a gamepad isn’t intrinsically any better than mouse and keyboard. So, support both equally..

  46. Radiant says:

    If I’ve bought a 200 pound peripheral to play Steel Battalion I don’t really give a crap about using a 15 quid pad to play a game I don’t think I’ll even buy.

    How is this even an issue.

  47. sinister agent says:

    In the parallel world where PCs came with a controller instead of a mouse from the start, and consoles with a mouse, everyone who’s making a big deal out of how inferior controllers are here is saying the exact opposite there.

    Yes.

    Also in that world I a have a bacon sandwich and lovely cup of tea already, instead of having to wait for waffles to cook because some bastard stole my bread.

    It is a marvellous world.

  48. Jahandar says:

    I don’t mind using a controller for games that don’t require me to aim, I just hope it doesn’t eventually become a requirement.

  49. tkioz says:

    I honestly don’t know what the fuss is here. Some games play better with a mouse and keyboard, some play better with a joystick, some play better with a controller. Use what suits for that game style in question.

    A standard corded 360 controller like I use on my PC (purchased originally for my 360) is $20-30, doesn’t even need drivers and works perfectly on a lot of games without any configuration.

    Don’t much mountains out of molehills, just use a what control interface suits the game.

  50. Xaromir says:

    Playing AC with mouse+keyboard really sucks, there are few games that make no sense to tackle with something else than controller, and to be honest, in that context i wouldn’t mind if it would require a controller of sorts, that copy protection stuff is worse than this – far worse.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>