It’s been a while since a stray tweet from Seamus Blackley turned what had been one of gaming’s most notorious controllers into an actual revival project. The Duke was the very first Xbox controller, noted for its size and heft, and a certain section of the gaming market found it super-comfy to use. The average controller nowadays is about half its size and designed to fit the average user, which is great if you’ve got average-sized hands, plus there are plenty of options for smaller-handed gamers as well. Anything bigger in the hand department, though, and you’ll just have to make due right up until The Duke returns this month.
The new Duke isn’t a direct one-to-one conversion, of course, because it’s 2018 and we expect a little more from our controllers than in 2001. Not much more, of course, with the main upgrade being a pair of bumpers above the left and right analog triggers that mirror the functions of the classic black and white buttons, but there’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack and a swanky mini-screen that runs the classic Xbox boot-up logo when the controller comes on. It also has a required nine-foot detachable USB cable, useful for hooking up to Xbox One and PC.
The Duke is up for pre-order on a number of sites with different release dates for each, and while the official press release says April 30 the actual distribution seems to depend on who you order it from. Gamestop has it for May 15, Amazon UK lists it May 8, and Amazon US doesn’t seem to have The Duke at all quite yet. It’s almost here, though, and once revived its legend shall only grow stronger as lesser controllers end up crushed beneath its unforgiving mass.