Fresh off the back of a dramatic first-look reveal of the PS5 and Xbox Two next-gen console rival, the Mad Box, its maker Slightly Mad Studios has followed up almost immediately with yet another big announcement, with chief executive Ian Bell unveiling the system's controller concept design.
The design of the controller was unveiled on Bell's Twitter account, with the CEO posting a Tweet that said, "First look at the Mad Box controller concept. Enjoy! (opens in new tab)" along with four images of the controller and Mad Box, before posting two follow-up Tweets that said "Sexy is back! (opens in new tab)" and then, with a further controller image attached, "Sneaky additional image… (opens in new tab)".
Here are the revealing Tweets in full:
First look at the Mad Box controller concept. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/7vlEgcTckC21 January 2019
Sexy is back!21 January 2019
Sneaky additional image... pic.twitter.com/PjS9NHE5LT21 January 2019
Looking at the controller images it appears that the Mad Box controller looks set right now to feature a screen built in front and centre, which can then show game-specific information and content, a bit like the Sega Dreamcast controller could when inserted with a VMU, as well as the controller's battery life and connectivity status. One image also shows an in-display keyboard, which indicates that the controller's screen looks set to be touch sensitive, too.
Other information gleaned from the images include the fact that the Mad Box controller looks set to feature "precision triggers" and "rear paddles", as well as light-up panels and a glowing Mad Box logo. In terms of layout and style, the Mad Box controller concept seems to carry a similar layout to the Xbox One controller, with two thumbsticks, a d-pad and four X, Y, B, A buttons, with each capable of being lit up by a surrounding circular light zone - a bit like Nacon PlayStation 4 Revolution Pro.
As with the Mad Box system itself, which CEO Bell noted "might be slightly amended over time", we're guessing that what we're looking at here is not how the final Mad Box controller will look, and especially so considering that the system is not due to ship until "around three years time".
However, for Bell to be sharing these controller concept images, as well as those for the Mad Box console itself, which is being specced to be a PS5 and next Xbox rival, it suggests some confidence on behalf of Slightly Mad Studios that this is the sort of thing it is looking to bring to market.
Can the Mad Box break the slated next-gen console duopoly of the PS5 and Xbox Two? For now that definitely remains to be seen, however if Bell's earlier comments that Slightly Mad Studios are "not playing around here" and that it is "time to raise the bar, substantially" with a system that will truly be "beyond next gen", then anything is possible.
One thing is for sure, though, with the PS5 and Xbox Two currently called by industry analysts to be getting reveals in 2020, if the Mad Box does indeed come out in 2022 then it may be facing a market with two already established major players.