Here at Kotaku, we're of two minds on Assassin's Creed III. But whether we think the game is a success or a disappointment, we're all interested in how it came to be the way it is.
Over at Reddit, several of ACIII's developers are currently participating in a Reddit ask me anything thread. They're defending the game from some of the most common criticisms as well as dropping all sorts of interesting tidbits about the game's development and the decisions they made.
Here's Steven Masters on the omission of a crouch or stealth-button, and on the stealth system in general (which is certainly one of my main gripes with the game):
our stealth is primarily "social stealth", and we've been debating having a crouch button since pretty much day 1. It was always the vision that crouching in public spaces is not "hiding in plain sight"—if anything you're calling attention to yourself. We found that the "stalking zones"—the low vegitation where you can crouch down while low profile—are a good compromise since it allows you to crouch but only in circumstances that make sense.
Sounds like Ubisoft is bringing a lot of bug fixes to the game soon, and that the PC version will have the first two patches on day one. Here's Alex Hutchinson:
Lots of bug fixes incoming! PC release will include the first two patches on release.
Gabe Graziani gives more info on the PC version, which one questioner refers to as "delayed":
Not actually delayed, but that's being kind of nit-picky... really, we've added a lot more detail to the PC version and support for DX11. Stuff that we didn't really need to think about for the console versions. Considering the amount we're adding, you aren't really going to end up waiting all that long (not even a month!)
So, the PC version will come with additional patches, both those that have been or are just about to be released on consoles as well as some specific for the PC. I would say it will be less buggy than the console versions AT CONSOLE LAUNCH, but that the console and PC versions will be comparable at PC launch.
They decided not to have the water freeze or hurt the player in the winter, which was probably a good call. Here's Aleissia Laidacker:
We originally were going to have an element where you & NPCs lose health points while navigating in water during the winter, but decided against it in the end. It would be more realistic yes, but a pain in the ass to the player if you desynced because of navigating in water in the winter.
Hutchinson on why killing kids isn't an option:
There are lines we don't want to cross: there's only so much publicity bonus you get from being on Fox news, and it doesn't add anything to the experience.
He also defends the combat system, which at least one questioner felt is overly simplified:
Actually we feel it's the opposite: in previous games you could literally counter your way to success endlessly, basically only using a single button, where now you need to make second decision after a counter, and if you want to kill an entire mixed group of enemies in one kill chain, you need to use basically the entire controller.
Steven Masters directly addresses the janky inventory, which he says was a late-game concession, and a frustrating one to ship in the game:
Thanks for the feedback... for the controls, a lot of it was to do with going into the trees with the freerunning. Trees are a much more complex environment than cities; you have many more valid possibilities, and it's way more frustrating to jump to the ground, so we needed to do something—hence Safe Freerunning on RT.
The UI had some technical issues very late in development that meant we had to slow down access to the weapon wheel particularly; it pissed me off as well. Sorry. We're trying to improve it in the patches!
There's a whole lot more in the AMA, and if you're interested in the game, you should really go check it out. It looks like it's still going on for a little while, too, so you can also ask your own questions.
It's great to hear developers be so open about the process behind their games, and if anything, this has got me more optimistic that the PC version will, at least, address some of my more cosmetic issues with the game. If only it made the stealth work a bit better...