A Chat with Howard Chen Designer of the new Mad Catz EGO Fight Stick

CES 2020 is a crowded landscape with companies from all over the world showing off their technology to the world at large. Not to be outdone by the likes of Sony and Samsung, Mad Catz Global Limited was on hand to show off a surprise of their own for the first time publicly: The EGO Fight Stick.  I had a chance to demo the EGO while playing Dead or Alive 6 and chat with its designer Howard Chen, Director of Product Strategy Development Department.

So what can you tell me about the EGO?

Well, we are using all Sanwa Denshi parts, including the action buttons and the ball-top. It has an 8 button arcade layout for fighting games and a turbo mode for all the buttons. It also has a key lock to prevent accidental button presses. You can also switch between the D-pad and the left/right analog stick.

Is there a touchpad?

No, no touchpad.

What made you decide on Sanwa parts?

I wanted quality parts, that were durable and that players would enjoy.

A Chat with Howard Chen Designer of the new Mad Catz EGO Fight Stick

What platforms does it support?

Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

A Chat with Howard Chen Designer of the new Mad Catz EGO Fight Stick

One thing unique about the Xbox One Support is that you actually have a second cable that connects to the Xbox ONE controller, and you allow the controller to broker the connection to the system?

Yes, we use the original controller as a bypass bridge as it has a decoder inside. I decided to use a portable bridge connection to have the EGO be played on Xbox One and PS4 to shorten development time for bringing back the MAD CATZ arcade stick with the significant fight stick features for all gamers to enjoy each combat. PS4 and Xbox One licenses were very concerning as Sony and Microsoft are planning to release new consoles like the PS5 and the new Xbox soon. The EGO is back at this transitioning moment between new and existing consoles, so I decided not to carry huge costs over to EGO development and a long schedule to release the EGO due to licensing.

EVO Japan will be coming up later this month. And EVO World will be this summer back here in Las Vegas. Any plans to bring the stick to events where players can get their hands on it?

Yes, it is something we are thinking about.

What price point are you targeting for this stick?

$179.

Customizing a stick is important to a lot of players, can the plexiglass be removed for custom artwork. What about modding the stick for example and swapping buttons? Is it easy to get inside?

Yes, the plexiglass can be removed for custom artwork. working with engineering to make this easier, or maybe we can change it out for them or provide a template for them. In 2020 I will be working more on the design of the stick. Having the ball-top removal for players when they travel, making the plexiglass easier to remove. As far as getting inside, yes, it’s very easy to get inside. On the bottom we have screws that remove easily, so you can make changes. In the future, my plan is to make it even easier to get inside.

A Chat with Howard Chen Designer of the new Mad Catz EGO Fight Stick

The main USB connection is also detachable, only the Xbox connection is hard-wired make it easier to move. Also, if the main USB cable is broken, it’s easy to replace.

Sounds like you’ve definitely given the stick a lot of thought.

I am trying. But we definitely plan to get feedback from players to make the stick better. I want to know what players like and what they feel. I will continue to work on the stick and improving the design in 2020. I will stay more focused on the new EGO compatibility with PS5 and new Xbox.

As a casual fighting game player who owns a couple of arcade sticks, I took the EGO for a test drive with Dead or Alive 6 demo they had on hand. For reference, Dead or Alive 6 was on Xbox One. In the time I had with it, the Sanwa buttons and joystick felt solid–back dashing, forward dashing, and chain combos felt the same as they did on my other stick with Sanwa parts. I didn’t detect any perceptible lag being connected to the Xbox One controller (which I was concerned about), then communicating wireless to the console. The stick was light–I would rate it not as heavy as TE2 but not as light as a Hori Real Arcade Pro. 4 Kai.

No release date yet, but we’ll stay in contact with Mad Catz and update you when we have one.


Jermaine Tyson

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