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.