updated 11:20 pm EDT, Thu April 21, 2011
Razer prices and dates Hydra game controls
Razer helped start a long weekend Thursday night by setting out its launch plans for the Hydra, its dual-stick motion game controller. Pre-orders for the peripheral we first saw at CES are due to start in May with shipping in June for $140. A full version of Portal 2 will come with the game and give access to a special Hydra-enabled add-on that lets users move and spin mirror boxes and other objects they can pick up in the game.
The system works through a pair of near-identical magnetic sensor wands that have both analog sticks as well as triggers, bumpers, and face buttons. Unlike Nintendo's Wii, it doesn't need strategic placement to work properly, although it's limited to a 12 feet range. A base station coordinates the two and can track six degrees of movement up to movements as small as 1mm apart. Although Portal 2 is the only game built with the Hydra directly in mind, about 125 games will already support the controls from the start, helped in part by an app that lets users remap controls.
We saw the system working in January and were fairly impressed with how it worked in Portal 2, although it unfortunately won't work as fully for the main game. Gamers can adjust the sensitivity much like they would on one of Razer's mice. We were also told a wired version was coming, although that hasn't been seen so far.