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343 Industries Looking to Resurrect the Original Xbox's Massive 'Duke' Controller

Studio hopes to have controllers playable at PAX, then auctioned off for Child's Play.

343 content producer and Bombcast Hall of Fame inductee David Ellis holds the ol' Duke.

When 343 Industries first showed off Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, an HD remastering of the original Bungie shooter, someone asked if the studio had looked into producing some new original Xbox "Duke" controllers as a funny throwback. There wasn't a clear yes or no answer.

Then, franchise development director Frank O'Connor dropped into a NeoGAF thread today, saying 343 Industries was looking into producing some limited edition controllers.

No, those controllers weren't very enjoyable to hold. Remember those black and white buttons?

To find out more, I got in touch with 343 Industries producer Alison Stroll, who clarified 343's attempts to recreate the original Xbox controller with some Xbox 360 guts, a project that's still being hammered out and, for now, is not assured. Stroll did walk me through the current plan.

343 is talking with several folks known for taking forgotten devices and shoving them into formats never intended. As uncomfortable as the old the controller was, the idea of playing Halo again with the "Duke" is too damn cool. So long as the contracts work out, 343 hopes to produce a handful of new-age Xbox controllers, and have them hooked up to kiosks at the PAX-timed Halo Fest.

There's precedent for this. Notorious hardware manipulator Ben Heck, for example, pulled it off.

There are no plans for this to become a mass produced device, if that's even possible. After PAX, the controllers will be boxed up. They'll emerge once more to be featured as part of the annual Child's Play dinner auction. Stroll said they're looking to have the team sign the controllers, too.

So, technically, you'll have a chance to buy one, but it's not a simple as pre-ordering early.

Microsoft doesn't have boxes full of these controllers laying around the office, either. Stroll picked up the controllers from a local Goodwill for a few dollars, but they'll be working to clean them up--as much as those hulking pieces of black plastic can look brand-new at this point, anyway.

Halo Fest, billed as "largest and most expansive live Halo experience ever," will take place right alongside PAX Prime in Seattle this summer, from August 26 through August 28. Even better, having a pass for PAX Prime is the only requirement for also gaining admission to Halo Fest.

Stroll told me more information on plans for the controller and the upcoming Halo Fest will be available shortly, as 343 continues to establish itself as the new leaders of the Halo franchise.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
343 content producer and Bombcast Hall of Fame inductee David Ellis holds the ol' Duke.

When 343 Industries first showed off Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, an HD remastering of the original Bungie shooter, someone asked if the studio had looked into producing some new original Xbox "Duke" controllers as a funny throwback. There wasn't a clear yes or no answer.

Then, franchise development director Frank O'Connor dropped into a NeoGAF thread today, saying 343 Industries was looking into producing some limited edition controllers.

No, those controllers weren't very enjoyable to hold. Remember those black and white buttons?

To find out more, I got in touch with 343 Industries producer Alison Stroll, who clarified 343's attempts to recreate the original Xbox controller with some Xbox 360 guts, a project that's still being hammered out and, for now, is not assured. Stroll did walk me through the current plan.

343 is talking with several folks known for taking forgotten devices and shoving them into formats never intended. As uncomfortable as the old the controller was, the idea of playing Halo again with the "Duke" is too damn cool. So long as the contracts work out, 343 hopes to produce a handful of new-age Xbox controllers, and have them hooked up to kiosks at the PAX-timed Halo Fest.

There's precedent for this. Notorious hardware manipulator Ben Heck, for example, pulled it off.

There are no plans for this to become a mass produced device, if that's even possible. After PAX, the controllers will be boxed up. They'll emerge once more to be featured as part of the annual Child's Play dinner auction. Stroll said they're looking to have the team sign the controllers, too.

So, technically, you'll have a chance to buy one, but it's not a simple as pre-ordering early.

Microsoft doesn't have boxes full of these controllers laying around the office, either. Stroll picked up the controllers from a local Goodwill for a few dollars, but they'll be working to clean them up--as much as those hulking pieces of black plastic can look brand-new at this point, anyway.

Halo Fest, billed as "largest and most expansive live Halo experience ever," will take place right alongside PAX Prime in Seattle this summer, from August 26 through August 28. Even better, having a pass for PAX Prime is the only requirement for also gaining admission to Halo Fest.

Stroll told me more information on plans for the controller and the upcoming Halo Fest will be available shortly, as 343 continues to establish itself as the new leaders of the Halo franchise.

Staff
Posted by Make_Me_Mad

I could have ruined the first quest for someone, but I waited.  Please, think of the other users.

Posted by Vinny_Says

Really?

Edited by ManiacMaysin

Didn't all original xbox controllers have black and white buttons to the right of the letter buttons? Or maybe they changed it to below the letter buttons. I can't remember much about original xbox . . . besides panzar dragoon oorta.

Posted by McBEEF

looks cool

Posted by PhatSeeJay

The controller should come with the game in it, so you just plug it in and it installs to the HDD.

It could certainly fit a memory in it.

Posted by LethalKi11ler
@Make_Me_Mad: too kind =D
Posted by MindOST

Slightly larger than the Wii U controller.

Posted by Doctorchimp

ALWAYS BET ON DUKE

Posted by Sammo21

You know what...this is not a good idea. Maybe 343 should be more worried about handling the Halo franchise and not worrying about controllers that were replaced for a reason.

Posted by MachoFantastico

Hated that controller, was awful.

Posted by Sil3n7

Die 2001 style?

Posted by gla55jAw

I want one.

Posted by MrKlorox

I liked the Duke for one game only: Unreal Championship. As soon as I put my hands on the S controller at a gamestop kiosk, I knew I was never going back except to play games I already had muscle memory with the Duke for.

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

Man, I SO want a Duke 360 edition.

Posted by dagas

I had no problem with the original XBOX controller, but the 360 controller is better.

Posted by dvdhaus

I think this is a great idea. And I'd get one if they'd come with 6 buttons on the face. Really miss that feature from the Sega generation of consoles.

Posted by Jesus

Fuck. Yes.

Posted by Falconer

I'd buy the shit out of a new Duke.

Posted by MayorFeedback

I would absolutely buy one.

Also, I find it totally awesome that he had to go to Goodwill to find any.

Make it happen, Microsoft!

Posted by phish09

I thought they were kidding.  That was easily one of the worst controllers ever.  S-controller was just fine...I'd have no problem with them releasing that as a limited edition, but this one is right up with there with the Atari Jaguar controller for worst-ever.

Posted by Enigma777

Oh man, I totally forgot about the black and white buttons!

Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff

I really liked the original Xbox controllers and hated the Japan ones that everyone started using. I used them once or twice in situations where I had to.

Posted by Scrawnto

Back when I first used a Duke, I had tiny, tiny hands (I was in eighth grade and hadn't hit a growth spurt yet). It was pretty funny how awkward I was holding one of those. I'm actually kind of curious how well I could use one now.

Posted by kollay

Time for Nintendo to bring back the N64 controllers.

Posted by rmanthorp

Ok that is beautiful!

Moderator
Posted by Subjugation
@ManiacMaysin: The black and white buttons in the center were implemented on the S controller, the later revision of the original Duke that reduced the size and altered button layout. 
 
As for the topic, I still have a Duke in my closet all wrapped up. While I vastly prefer the 360 controller, the Duke wasn't as unserviceable as everyone made (and continues to make) it out to be. I have small hands and I can manage the controller just fine. The 360 controller is a fantastic improvement but the Duke worked without issue. If you want to talk about an awkward controller I'll point you toward the N64 controller. Why did it have three protrusions??? 
Posted by Napalm

I thought this was about Duke's controller in the beginning of DNF.

Posted by Zippedbinders

As much as I maligned that controller back in the day, it'd be kind of cool to actually have one and use it to (poorly) play modern games. I'd totally buy one.

Posted by MEATBALL

As someone who has no nostalgia for the xbox potato pad whatsoever I wished they were making S Controllers instead. Still, this is completely insane and pretty awesome.

Posted by Cirdain

lol

Posted by Vexxan

Kinda cool but I really hate that controller.

Posted by Brendan

The joke will wear thin when I'm sitting by myself using it to play the game.

Posted by Slaker117

I would totally buy one if they where going to be made widely available, but it's it's going to be super limited run of custom made controllers like it sounds, I'll pass. Don't have that type of money to just throw around.

Posted by Dezinus

Who the fuck would want this? The face buttons were crap.

Posted by Dixavd

Seems pretty cool but as my interest in Halo is lingering and my overal neutrality to the original xbox controller is still there I won't be getting this - unless it was close to the playstation controller than the opposite I woudl get it since I don't really leikt he 360 controller.

Posted by AnEternalEnigma

I still have two of these beasts. They were awesome. 
 
No, wait...in fact, they were the worst controllers I've ever used.

Edited by Kyle

I love the look of the original duke controller, but playing games with it? Man, that thing fucking blew. Hard.

Posted by Hector

Now all we need is the 360 XBOX case!!!

Posted by MisterMouse

haha that is awesome that they are considering doing that.

Posted by Landon

I've never actually been in the presence of this controller. When I did get an Xbox, It came with the smaller controllers.

Posted by DG991

@kollay: I did not enjoy the n64 controller... I know many people did but I wasn't one of them.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Has anyone forgotten how totally awful those old controllers were? Seriously. There's a reason why the 360 pad is designed the way it is.

Posted by Veektarius
@dezinus: You're right - people talk about the size, but the size was only really daunting at first for an adult.  The buttons were so hard to press, though, that playing Dead or Alive killed my thumbs after an hour or so.
Posted by Tesla

I don't have the biggest hands, but I fucking love the Duke. Bring it back!

Posted by ericdrum

I'd pay a lot of money for one. My hands loved that controller. I love some people just dismissing the controller. Does it ever occur that different sized hands might actually like different sized controllers? I wish all controllers had an XL version or something. The DS3 is especially uncomfortable for me.

Posted by Korne

Awesome. I loved the duke, as it fit nicely in my hands (unlike the S controllers). Just soften up the face buttons and add bumpers (make them softer too) and you have a sale for me.

Posted by Korne
@ericdrum said:

I'd pay a lot of money for one. My hands loved that controller. I love some people just dismissing the controller. Does it ever occur that different sized hands might actually like different sized controllers? I wish all controllers had an XL version or something. The DS3 is especially uncomfortable for me.

You have to hold it differently with large hands... it takes some getting use to. But I agree, large controllers are not a bad thing. 
Posted by ReddenBlack

The duke controller did suck. But the original HALO was the only game where it kinda sorta vaguely worked. God, those vertically oriented face buttons, ugh.

Posted by AjayRaz

i hated that controller. so much.  
although owning one just for the novelty would be pretty alright 

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