The last time we got a look at specialized gaming controllers, it was for the Hori Fighting Commander 3 Pro fightpad and the keyboard-and-mouse Tactical Assault Commander 3 for FPS titles.
With the release of not one, but two major fighting games in the next few months, MadCatz is stepping to the plate to deliver authentic, competition-grade controllers for SoulCalibur V and Street Fighter X Tekken.
First up is the Street Fighter X Tekken Fightpad S.D.--yes, it stands for "Super Deformed"--which is now 15% smaller than the original design of the Street Fighter IV Fightpads. Retaining the look and feel of a Saturn pad, the $39.99 Fightpads are a nice option for people who want a specialized controller without going all-out for a stick.
If your tastes run a little more toward stages of history, souls and swords, and hilarious ad campaigns, you might want to check out the $159.99 Arcade Fightstick SOUL Edition, with identical parts and build to the Arcade Fightstick TE. The major difference is that now the buttons are arranged to match a NAMCO cabinet, so you'll be playing with a more authentic controller, and all that arcade practice and muscle memory won't go to waste.
In what would be the most impressive of the announced controllers, the Street Fighter X Tekken Arcade Fightstick V.S., is massive, sturdy, easily customizable, and has the absolute coolest feature I've seen in a specialty controller:
YOU CAN REMOVE THE SIDES AND CONNECT THEM TOGETHER SIDE-TO-SIDE.
Of course, you need a special adapter, but it took me a second to rub my two brain cells together hard enough to make a spark and figure out a real reason why you would do this (Destructoid suggests making a twenty-foot long chain of arcade fury), but the best reason to connect two V.S. sticks together would be that it's the exact same size as a two-player Japanese arcade cabinet. It also costs $199.99, so I'm going to have to figure out a very creative way to smuggle it into the house.
What about you, fighting game fans? Stick owners, are you going to upgrade? Everyone else, have these new options inspired you to make the move from a standard pad to a specialty controller? Or are you just going to make like WolfKrone and stick to a standard pad?