Prototype controllers can go through dozens of iterations before a final design is decided upon. Here is a look at some of the wackier designs. These are all pretty unknown, so hopefully you find some of them interesting! Many are completely different, and we thank the companies for those calls.
With longer handles, this slender prototype of the GameCube controller kept the general layout of the final product with the exception of a B button that was shaped similarly to X and Y.
This N64 protoype looks like the final product, but actually features longer handles, a flat analog stick, and tiny shoulder buttons.
The stubbier design of this prototype suggests it is closer to the final product, but at this stage, Nintendo continued to design the controller with the similarly shaped B, X, and Y buttons.
The clear plastic on the back allows the user to see the internals of the GameCube Prototype.
The GyroPod was designed by Gyration for the Nintendo Wii. It featured a breakaway gyroscopic remote that slightly resemble the final WiiMote, but attached back to a more traditionally shapped controller.
This image shows a progression of Wiimote designs from Prototype to E3 2006. Each design has an iteration of the button layout, with the E3 2006 design showing the built-in speaker.
This Frankenstein of prototype is one of the earliest concepts for the WiiU GamePad. This design features a screen with two WiiMotes attached to either side and the joystick of the Nunchuck soldered in a dual analog stick fashion.
In 2015, an unreleased Sony/Nintendo console was discovered. The controller looks identical to the SNES design with Sony PlayStation branding on the front.
Of all the PlayStation 1 protoype controllers, this one holds closest to the SNES and Sega Genesis designs featuring 4 face buttons, a D-pad, and two shoulder buttons.
Taking a different spin on flat, handleless design of controllers before, this prototype breaks convention with the U-shape, placing the D-pad and face buttons higher than the center of the controller.
This prototype added handles to the PlayStation 1 controller bringing it ever-closer to the final design for the original PlayStation controller.
In terms of shape, this prototype is the most similar design to what ended up being the original PlayStation controller. However, this design lacks the now standard, circular face-button that PlayStation has featured on every console they’ve released.
This PlayStation 3 controller is almost identical to the final, retail version. The only difference being that the home button was back-lit by an LED.
Some of the Xbox One prototype controllers had insane features. This concept controller featured a projector that would display ambient visuals around the player.
The controller pictured below is actually a mock-up of an original concept for the PlayStation 2 controller called the Reflex Control. This design takes the basic shape of the DualShock controller and replaces the right analog stick with track-ball.
The Steam Controller underwent many different prototype phases. Some designs that closely resemble the final product are pictured below.