Mad Catz has really been bringing it when it comes to fight sticks in recent years, having developed a great relationship with Capcom and making an effort to listen to the desires of the fighting game community. With Street Fighter x Tekken on the horizon, the accessory maker is at it again with two new sticks to further cement their position as a company that's serious about making a great controller.
I met up with the Mad Catz folks at their CES suite this week to have a gander at the Street Fighter x Tekken Arcade Fightstick Pro and Arcade Fightstick V.S. models they're gearing up to release alongside the game.
In terms of components, nothing's really changed. Mad Catz is using the same Sanwa Denshi buttons and analog sticks they've been using in their arcade-style controllers for years now. The bigger difference lies in their chassis, which have been redesigned to be sleeker and sexier than ever, with more customization options.
The Arcade Fightstick V.S. is probably one of the most impressive designs they've ever come up with in those terms. With a simple accessory kit, it's possible to daisy chain multiple V.S. sticks together and solidly connect them to one another. Metal plates on the bottom, front and back keep them securely connected, so there's no way they're coming apart without your hex key.
Mad Catz tells me that you can connect any number of these together if you were so inclined. That gives me a vision of a twenty-foot long chain of fight sticks so awesomely impractical that I'd really like to see it happen. If you stick with your basic two (sissy!), the width of the pair is exactly the same as you would find in a Japanese Street Fighter arcade machine.
If even that is a little more than you (or your wallet or your partner) can handle, there's always the Arcade Fightstick PRO controller. Available with two different artwork styles, it's the slightly more affordable option. Really, unless you plan to put some sticks together, I little reason not to go with the PRO. It's a little bit thicker but the guts are the same and you'll come out of it with a little more cash in hand.
That said, both products look great and I'm sure they'll make quite a few fighters happy when they release this March.