The massive Xbox Duke controller will soon be making its return almost two decades after it was launched with the original Xbox.
Original Xbox designer Seamus Blackley collaborated with video game accessory manufacturer Hyperkin for the new Xbox Duke controller, a near-final version of which was on display at CES 2018.
The Return Of The Xbox Duke Controller
When the original Xbox was released in 2001, it came with the massive controller named the Duke. It was cumbersome to use for most players and was eventually replaced by Microsoft with Controller S, which remains the basis for today's Xbox One controllers.
However, after more than 16 years, the Duke will finally return.
The revival of the Xbox Duke controller was first announced by Hyperkin in June of last year. The controller was designed to be a replica of the original version, including its bulky form and button layout.
Blackley then received official approval from Microsoft in September for the new Xbox Duke controller's final prototype.
A few months later, the price and release date for the returning Xbox Duke controller has finally been revealed. The bulky piece of nostalgia will be launched in late March for $69.99.
Seamus Blackley On The Return Of The Duke
In an interview with CNET at CES 2018, Blackley discussed the new Xbox Duke controller.
One of the most prominent changes between the original version and new Xbox Duke controller is that the central "jewel," which used to contain a motionless Xbox logo, has been fitted with an OLED screen that displays the Xbox start-up animation whenever it is pressed. According to Blackley, he wanted such a feature in the original Xbox Duke controller. He also wishes to allow game developers to utilize the screen for their own purposes, but Microsoft has not yet issued approval for that.
In addition to the OLED screen, other changes to the new Xbox Duke controller include the USB cable, the removal of the slots for memory cards, and the addition of a pair of shoulder buttons on top of the triggers for compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows 10 games.
Blackley revealed that he took the blame for the original Xbox Duke controller, which he admitted was too big. Many years later, he was surprised to find that many gamers, even Microsoft itself, would support a revival of the controller.
"I discovered to my horror and fascination that The Duke was an object of nostalgia and comfort and happiness and childhood memories, and all these people with big hands saying it was the only controller that was comfortable," Blackley said.
Aching hands aside, the new Xbox Duke controller will surely bring a shot of nostalgia for hardcore Xbox fans.