This spring, much to everyone’s surprise, the Duke returns in all of its double-extra large majesty. Despite a bit of hostility during its initial release with the Xbox in the early 2000s, there are a huge number of fans today who are thrilled for its re-release around late March. One of those fans is me.
Coming in at $69.99 and compatible with both the Xbox One and PC, the Duke boasts all the classic features we remember and then some. The diamond-configured ABXY buttons, the “squishy” D-pad, and the black and white buttons are all making a comeback on this hulking, beautiful piece of machinery, but it's also getting some new features. The creators, Hyperkin, included shoulder buttons and a nine-foot detachable charging cable. But the showstopper on this bad boy is the OLED center screen, which we have footage of booting up. As the controller turns on, the startup animation for the original Xbox plays in all of its green glory.
Why am I so excited for the Duke? By most accounts it was an unwieldy mistake. But for me, a large part of my excitement is that childlike joy resurfacing from when I was a kid sneaking in just one more level of Halo. The Duke was my controller and it took me to worlds I never dared dream of. Yes, it was an island-sized behemoth. We get it. It isn’t the most refined controller, but it represents the portal to some of my favorite titles of that time.
The Duke is only being brought back thanks to creator Seamus Blackley and nostalgic Twitter fans, so I thought I'd end this post by showing what they have to say about it.