Peripherals manufacturer Razer has unveiled a preliminary design for a controller built for a single game: the long-awaited MechWarrior Online massively-multiplayer on-line giant-robot-fighting game.
Dubbed the Artemis, for the huntress daughter of Zeus and sister of Apollo in Greek mythology, the controller combines a flight stick, keypad and large colour display into a behemoth of a customised gaming controller created specifically with the needs of MechWarriors in mind.
It’s not the first time a gigantic, custom controller has been created to help gamers controller building-sized heavily-armed mechs: Steel Battalion, released for the original Xbox console in 2002, came equipped with a dual-stick, 40-button, triple-pedalled controller which was exclusive to the game and its multiplayer sequel Steel Battalion: Line of Contact. The game’s latest incarnation, sadly, ditches the device in favour of tying in to Microsoft’s depth-sensing wave-your-arms-around Kinect system.
Back to the Artemis: from the left-hand side of the controller it features a 12-key keypad with mechanical switches for tactile feedback, an analogue throttle slider with button, an integrated LCD screen which displays the in-game map – and, if Razer’s got any sense, will be touch-sensitive – and a force-feedback flight stick with adjustable grip and more buttons, triggers and hats than you can throw a Kodiak at.
Sadly, Razer is being slightly coy about when the device will hit the market and how much it will cost. It readily admits that the current Artemis is a non-functioning prototype, but claims that it has every intention to bring the design to production and – hopefully – release the controller in time for the launch of the game.
More information, and a sign up form to be alerted as and when the device is launched, is available on the official website.