Razer, the mad scientists who want to change gaming forever with peripherals and gaming systems, have joined forces with Piranha Games, makers of MechWarrior Online, to make something truly brilliant, and truly absurd. The kind of something you hear talked about years later with a kind of hushed reverence. Old bespectacled men hunkered over dusty iPads talking about how, one day, they saw an Artemis, and it was glorious.
Artemis is Razer’s attempt to turn your desk into the cockpit of a Mech, throwing joysticks, strategical displays and customisable keypads into the mix, to create a long strip of hardware goodness that makes me salivate just a little bit. Back when Mechwarrior 4 Mercenaries was still current, I used to have this hulking Saitek Joystick/Throttle combo that turned what should have been just a pretty great game into an almost out of body experience. The joystick even had a little cover over the main missile button, just for that added feeling of imminent explosion.
Looking at the design for this new controller, it’s hard not to be reminded of the absurdity of Steel Battalion, the mech game from the last generation of consoles, that came with a truly ridiculous controller that had upwards of a hundred buttons, cost upwards of a hundred pounds, and would befuddle you for upwards of a hundred hours. Luckily it looks Razer haven’t quite gone off the deep end in such a way here, but that screen in between your hands could get awfully distracting.
Although if it frees up some real estate on my screen, I’m going to be pretty happy. Watching Mechs explode in Cryengine 2 gets priority over pretty much anything else on my screen. Just look at the heat trails left by the ECMs from that Atlas. Beautiful stuff.