Back at E3, Nintendo announced that it would be bringing back the classic GameCube controller for the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this December. But Nintendo won’t be the only company with a new retro controller this year, with Hori announcing its own, officially licensed GameCube-style controllers for the Switch, too.
Unlike Nintendo’s upcoming reissue, which are original GameCube controllers through and through, down to the proprietary connector on the end (you’ll need a USB adaptor to use them with the Switch), Hori’s controllers — officially the Classic Controller for Nintendo Switch — are a lightly updated and modernized version, retaining the basic design but adding a few changes and additions for it to better work as a Switch controller.
Chief among those changes is the addition of several new buttons for the Switch that simply weren’t around in the GameCube era. Hori has added the Switch’s +, -, Home, and Screenshot buttons to the center where the start button used to be (along with a rapid-fire button that can be configured to press a button five, 10, or 20 times per second). The triggers have also been redesigned — gone is the Z button on the right side, and the oversized, concave plungers, in favor of dual L / ZL and R / ZR buttons similar to those found on the Joy-Cons and Switch Pro Controller. Users will also be able to remap the R / L and ZR / ZL functions between the front and rear triggers as they wish.
Instead of Nintendo’s proprietary GameCube plug, the Hori controllers use regular, standard USB Type-A ports, although given that the Switch dock only offers three USB ports, you may still need to buy a USB hub to play with more controllers. Lastly, and on a purely cosmetic level, Hori is adding some texturized grips and a slightly different font for the buttons, along with the Mario, Zelda, and Pikachu stylized color schemes.
The big — and as yet, unanswered — question is whether or not the Hori gamepads will live up to Nintendo’s quality when it comes to the actual hardware itself. Hori has a great reputation in the controller world, which, along with the official Nintendo seal of approval and the fact that Hori already made similar GameCube style controllers for the Wii U, is encouraging. But until players get a chance to try the controllers in person and see how the buttons and sticks actually feel to use, we won’t know for sure.
The Hori Classic Controller for Nintendo Switch is set to release sometime in October for 2,980 yen (roughly $27), although the company hasn’t announced any US release plans yet.