#1) This is a grey area. I don't think there's really been any cases of who owns the copyright on a work made by a non-person.
#2) In all these cases, the copyright would belong to the one who started the camera (or the one who directed it to be started in a work for hire situation).
No, taking a photo of something is not stealing from the public domain. Anyone else can still go out to take and publish all the monkey pictures they want. The copyright only exists for that particular photo and all its derivative works.
Yes,the creativity is intrinsic to the fixed expression. But that has nothing to do with the copyright--which applies from the moment that the work is fixed (pressing the shutter button--no creativity there). The creativity comes before the work is fixed. With a photo, lighting, setting, framing and camera settings--those are not copyrightable (but I guess you can get a patent for them now) and can be used by another to take a functionally identical picture with a separate copyright. The copyright is not on the creativity--but on the fixed expression (the actual photo taken).
The copyright goes to the person that set up the camera, or the one that paid for it to be done (work for hire). They set up the camera to take the picture (pushed the shutter button), no matter how delayed.
Nope, with photos the copyright goes to the person who pressed the shutter button. The amount of creativity used to take the photo is irrelevant--whoever pressed the shutter button owns the copyright. Of course, this case is in a grey area because the monkey who pressed the button is not a person who can own a copyright.
There's a big problem with that whole "setting up the environment" argument--too many entities can make that claim on any specific work. I wouldn't want Canon claiming copyright on photos taken with their cameras, or Adobe because their software was used to edit the final image.
Uh...I'm not sure why you're arguing about the cost of printing on Xerox printers. I highly doubt that Hachette is printing James Patterson's latest bestseller on a sheet-fed laser printer. I'm pretty sure they're still using the same roll-fed offset lithographic printers they've been using for decades--you know the ones that fill a building. And, yes 2 dollars a book sounds about right for a large publisher--Mill City Press will print a paperback for you for about $3.90 a book plus somewhere between $1700 and $10,000 one time fee for editing and proofreading.
Since Assassin's Creed: Unity is using the same engine as the previous game in the series (and I'm certain that Far Cry 4 is the same), the great majority of the assets probably already exist, or can be easily converted.