Microsoft has partnered up with console accessory and replacement part seller Hyperkin to relaunch the original Xbox’s huge “Duke” controller near the release of the Xbox One X console later this year. The retro-style controller will be a faithful recreation of its original incarnation, though we’re told it will also feature a few modern updates to make it compatible with the console refresh.
Although it never quite captured the market share of the PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s original Xbox console innovated in a number of interesting ways. Most notably, it was a graphical powerhouse and it came with a built-in Ethernet port. One area where it also stood out from the competition though, was its “fatty,” controller, later called the “Duke.” That’s what Hyperkin is looking to resurrect with the Xbox One X.
Although not as strange looking to a modern eye as something like the N64 controller, or older designs from other systems in the ’80s and ’90s, the Duke controller is an interesting design. Large enough to secure a Guinness world record as the beefiest controller ever released, it wasn’t well received, even if many still have a nostalgic love of it.
Hyperkin will be looking to tap into that when it rereleases the Duke design later this year. It will, however, be an updated version of it, with Hyperkin and Microsoft working together to add a new logo display screen, left and right bumpers, and a 9-foot detachable cable (thanks MSPowerUser).
To make sure that the controller is faithful to the original design, Hyperkin even roped in the person who proposed the Xbox project in the first place: Seamus Blackley. He hasn’t worked at Microsoft in over 15 years, but he’ll have a hand in bringing the Duke controller back to the fore, so gamers young and old can experience what it’s like to play with a giant gamepad once again.
As exciting as all of that hardware nostalgia will be though, it will only augment the software nostalgia Microsoft will enable with its announced backward compatibility with original Xbox games. Xbox discs will work as a digital signature to give you access to an emulated copy, and you’ll even be able to system link Xbox with Xbox 360 and Xbox One for classic LAN action.
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