Wait what? You read that correctly, Mad Catz — grown into the biggest peripheral maker in recent years — has announced the formation of ThunderHawk Studios, a studio focused on developing a series of MMO flight simulator games to be published by Mad Catz. The first game is expected to launch in 2012.
Flight simulators are one of the most peripheral-intensive genres out there, especially now that the music game genre has lost the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises. And there’s not much point in a Dance Central peripheral, is there? So it makes perfect sense for them to get into flight simulators and popularize the genre to sell more joysticks, although the announcement of a development studio comes as a surprise.
Mad Catz also owns Saitek, considered by many to be the creators of some of the finest joysticks out there. At least, back in the late ’90s when I still kept track of them. Maybe they can fill the void left by the popular era of Jane’s combat flight sims, F-22: Air Dominance Fighter, F-22: Total Air War, Falcon 4.0, X-Wing Alliance and Freespace 2? Good luck to them if their first game is a World World II game that has to compete with the IL-2 Sturmovic series or Cliffs of Dover though.
Pssst ThunderHawk Studios, we could use a new F29 Retaliator. Zulu Alert! And set it in space while you’re at it. Pretty please?