Seamus Blackley, co-creator of the Xbox, shares a series of images of prototype controllers for the console – and the early designs look rather different from the final product.
When Microsoft created the Xbox 360 controller, it launched one of the most well-received devices in the history of video games. On the back of this success, the company helped develop more impressive controllers, with the Elite for the Xbox One potentially the best on the market. However, things could have gone in another direction had the original Xbox controller been different – and as it turns out, Microsoft did once have some very left-field choices in mind.
These early designs have recently seen the light of day, courtesy of Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley. The designer took to Twitter to share some very early prototypes of the controller for Microsoft’s step into the home console market. Some gamers may notice a little similarity in some of these designs to that of the Sega Dreamcast controller, and these comparisons are actually more than just a coincidence.
Blackley explained that in these early days of Xbox development (or the Direct X Box, as Blackley and co. initially referred to it), much influence was found with Sega’s cult console. “These look as they do because at the time Dreamcast was king,” stated Blackley when the similarities were noted by a follower.
The co-creator of the Xbox also acknowledged that these prototypes are far from the quality that long-time Xbox fans may come to expect in terms of design. However, Blackley freely admitted that they were never taken all that seriously, explaining that “they were fairly bizarre to see at the time.” However, these designs were never likely to make it into production, as the designer has stated that “we didn’t almost go with any of these.”
Nonetheless, it is interesting to see exactly where the original Xbox came from, and how Microsoft managed to make its way to the final Xbox product. The original console turned out to be a hit, providing the solid ground for Microsoft to then develop one of the best consoles of all time. Of course, it’s a lot of fun to wonder exactly where the Xbox brand would be had these designs made it into production.
Nowadays, of course, Xbox users have a huge variety of controllers at their disposal, and Microsoft even revealed customizable controllers for the Xbox One during E3 2016. Meanwhile, the console side of things is also seeing further flexibility through the launch of the Xbox One S and the powerful Project Scorpio. Let’s see whether the next generation brings with it some more wild designs, though.