The ambitious team behind Star Citizen has been working on a series of “bespoke” flight sticks for their spacefaring game for some time now, and one of those models finally has a release window. The peripheral, which could be one of the best new HOTAS concepts in a decade, may also have one serious flaw.
Polygon has learned that the $350 set won’t feature mechanical keys.
Last week during its anniversary livestream, Roberts Space Industries let on that one of its custom flight sticks would be available for preorder in December. Made in partnership with U.K.-based manufacturer Saitek, the Mad Catz-branded device will feature a modular design. The throttle and stick will have integrated trackballs, and it will be compatible with a matching ten-keyless keyboard and a separate keypad with an interactive, OLED display.
“The idea,” Carl Jones, Roberts Space Industries’ chief operating officer and head of business development, said earlier this year, “is thatyou can split it apart and combine it with other devices.” With it, players will be able to fly with a joystick and keyboard, a joystick and throttle, two joysticks, or any combination of custom-made, Star Citizenbranded accessories.
Polygon reached out to the Star Citizen team for more information and found out that the system, called the Atom, will be based in part on the Mad Catz STRIKE 7. Instead of Cherry mechanical switches seen on many high-end keyboards, the Atom will feature a “specially engineered membrane which mimics the tactile feel generated by the mechanical keys … without the resultant excessive noise.”
The Atom will be sold in two parts starting Dec. 16. The stick and throttle alone will run $149.99 — comparable to Saitek’s existing X52 model — and the keyboard will run $199.99. The first 2,000 units will be signed by Chris Roberts, the designer of Star Citizen. Delivery is scheduled for May.