ID @ Xbox
Larry Hryb: Hi, it's Larry Hryb of Xbox lives, majornelson. Welcome to the show. We're here... Well, we. There he is.
Jeffrey Reuben: Hey, there we go.
Larry Hryb: You feel better now? I mean, it's no-
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah, I was left out.
Larry Hryb: It's no sophisticated set with animals and Gary's animal talking thing. By the way, I'm going to work on getting Gary on either next week or the week after. Gary what I'm talking about is show Animal Talking.
Jeffrey Reuben: The tables have turned. Yeah. So just this week, I don't know if you saw what you're referring to is Phil Spencer was a guest on Animal Talking about Lisa Loeb. And I don't know if you remember The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Zack aka Dylan Sprouse. I also remember him from... He was in... I think it was Big Daddy, which was a Adam Sandler vehicle. I think you would have said right after-
Larry Hryb: I say Hollywood, it's an Adam Sandler vehicle. So that's very Hollywood of you.
Jeffrey Reuben: I try. I try. Yeah, that was right after Happy Gilmore, which I was at the right age for Happy Gilmore when that came out.
Larry Hryb: Oh, right. So well, I'm just sorry, I'm just looking at... Just signing into my console here as you could see. We both have Hyper Scape in the back. Hey, we're going to talk about that in a minute. But in the greenroom as we say in the entertainment biz we have a very special guest and through the wonders of modern television switching I'm going to bring him in here. Jeff, do you know who we have with us today? Ladies and gentlemen-
Jeffrey Reuben: My neighbor.
Larry Hryb: Can we park the curtain for Mr. Chris Charla, ladies and gentlemen? Chris, good to see you.
Chris Charla: Hey, thanks. Yeah. Thanks for having me. And yeah, Jeff we're neighbors who haven't seen each other in months.
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah. There was a couple of times I know we've got a drink out at the former Chinese restaurant bar that used to be around but it's been too long granted, I don't really see anyone anymore. So.
Larry Hryb: This is the only way I really get to... We have meetings during the day of course, on teams but Jeff and I this is are really some of our only social time. But Chris it's great to see you. We want to have you on the show because the program that you run ID@Xbox hit a major milestone this week and we're going to talk about that later in the show. You got a lot of really cool stuff to talk about. So I wanted to get you on but it's great to see you anyway. I haven't seen you in months. Right?
Chris Charla: I know it's good to see you. It's good to be here. I feel like come back in the office almost.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, it's a bizarre way of working and but we're making the transition. We transition the podcast, I've had you on the show in the past when it's been just audio now I've got audio and video. I remember when I was sending you email I'm like, "Hey, Chris, can you come on the show?" I was very clear video. I think had to mentioned video like three times because everyone thinks, is this video? Yeah, yeah. It's video, but it's great to see you. But we usually start off the show by what we're playing and with all due respect, we're going to... Jeff, I'm not going to ask you right now. Chris, what are you playing?
Jeffrey Reuben: No, I'm not the guest.
Larry Hryb: What are you playing today?
Chris Charla: So I've been playing some Swim Sanity for... Because it's a kind of a milestone game. And the other game I've been playing a lot... It came out a couple months ago. Well, I've been playing Dunk Lords. But then Yes, Your Grace, which is a game from No More Robots publishing and it's a really intense. It's a strategy game where all you're doing is making choices about what to do but you have to make some horrible choices and so it really makes you think. And it's a... I don't know if it's the best game to be playing in 2020 or not, but it's a really intense, compelling experience.
Jeffrey Reuben: As you said that sounds like real life, all I do is make decisions and immediately regret them.
Larry Hryb: I don't know if I need another life simulator. Everything's a simulator nowadays. Has anybody come out with the pandemic simulator yet, Chris? Have you seen... I know you see games that are...
Jeffrey Reuben: There's a game called Pandemic, you have the game on-
Larry Hryb: I know there's a game called Pandemic, but I didn't know if there was one based on... I mean, what's in a game and what we're experiencing, are they all that different? I don't know. But anyway. So yeah, and that's good to hear. Jeff, what are you playing? I mean, we're playing... You and I are playing a couple of similar things. I want to go full screen on you because you have one of the games we're playing in the background there which is?
Jeffrey Reuben: Which is Hyper Scape.
Larry Hryb: Hyper Scape.
Jeffrey Reuben: So right over here this is... We were big Apex Legends fans, we're big Battle Royale fans I think in general. I've certainly put in my hours in Fortnight and Call of Duty Warzone. And so Hyper Scape just came out this week, it's a free to play Battle Royale from our good friends at Ubisoft. And so we've been checking it out. It's very fast paced, it's very... Some really interesting visual design instead of like a ring coming in which we've seen since PUBG. Instead, parts of the city start to dissolve and you see them start to pixelate. I think that what they've done is-
Larry Hryb: It's like the matrix.
Jeffrey Reuben: The story behind it. Exactly. Everyone in the game... It actually takes place in sort of a Ready Player One esque, near future where everyone is just spending most of their time in virtual reality. And what do you do? You're competing. And so it's a game within a game. And so you see parts the city starts to pixelate and I think they're voxels may be. Where did the triangular voxels? I remember that was a big trend there for a little bit. And they start to disappear and then all the buildings gone. You don't want to be caught out there at that point because then you're sniper fodder. So we're still getting a feel for it, but it is very fast paced.
Larry Hryb: Moves pretty... Have you... Now Chris, do you play Battle Royales? I mean, I know you play all sorts of games. I didn't know do you play Battle Royales?
Chris Charla: I do. Yeah, I play... Honestly. I'm a big PUBG guy still...
Larry Hryb: The original.
Chris Charla: Yeah. And it's... I love it and it's just, it is a very tense game.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I mean, we played PUBG. I still play it a little bit but that game is such a different style from any of the others sure it's all the number one always wins kill or be killed. But the pace and the intensity of PUBG because those matches can go 30, 40, 50 minutes is so much slower versus some of the other ones that are out there. So there's, I love the fact that we've got games that are a little bit more slower and tactical like PUBG. I know we got things that are faster like Fortnight and then we go up to something like Apex and then on the right over to this one there's a lot of different ones. So that's good to hear.
Chris Charla: Yeah, this sounds awesome. I really want to try it out. But yeah, I'm still I'm one of those people who spends most of their time in PUBG hiding in a closet and then just waiting to the end and just being tense. It's just kind of what I like about it. And I don't play teams and always, just one on one. I like... And yeah.
Larry Hryb: Do you have a place you like to drop? Do you go school? Do you go hospital? What's your...
Chris Charla: I actually go for river and my dream in PUBG is like get a good weapon, get in a boat, get under a bridge and just hang out.
Larry Hryb: Wait. Wait. Okay. So the headline here is Chris Charla is a camper. That's it.
Chris Charla: Yeah, that's pretty much.
Jeffrey Reuben: We should put a fishing minigame in there for you just to give you something to do-
Chris Charla: That would be so awesome. I would like a PUBG just like fishing mode where all the stuff is happening but your goal is just to fish. But you're in like a fishing competition and all those other things are happening.
Larry Hryb: It's kind of like those crazy-
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah, whoever is the last to survive. Yeah, go on.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, it's like those crazy photos you see of during the wars in World War I where there's this moment of solace solitude that someone's doing. They're fixing something or helping someone when chaos reigns all around them, right? That's what we do.
Jeffrey Reuben: [inaudible 00:07:36] then you win.
Chris Charla: I would... You know what? We need to talk to PUBG about this. Like getting just a 10 person or 20 person like Battle Royale fishing game happening in the middle of the map like while everything else is going on. Just totally orthogonal goals, I think it would be... That would be fun.
Larry Hryb: Battle royale fishing game.
Jeffrey Reuben: If there was one like large mouth bass and if you caught that you win.
Larry Hryb: It's the win.
Jeffrey Reuben: Why doe it have to be the last one standing? Actually, Hyper Scape has an alternative. It's not just... You can win without firing a shot if you get the crown first, which shows up late in the game. So I think, I like the idea of even if it was just a mode... I think there's something there.
Larry Hryb: I know. Yes, so that's... We're playing that. We've played a little bit of Apex. What else am I playing up here? I got to take a look at my dashboard.
Jeffrey Reuben: Flight Simulator, Larry.
Larry Hryb: Oh, Flight Warrior, Flight Simulator. I fired up Heck Sick. You could see heck sick back here.
Jeffrey Reuben: Oh, wow. That shit is great.
Larry Hryb: Which is for those of you that don't know, heck sick is... Well, Chris you know it was designed by Alexey who was the original designer of Tetris. And it is also is the claim to fame that that is what the very first games a lot of people got their first achievement on because for Xbox 360 it shipped quote, unquote in the box, right? So you-
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah, on the hard drive.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, on the hard drive so you could play the game. So I just I was getting back into heck sick for some reason and of course, with back compat it looks great.
Jeffrey Reuben: It's classic.
Chris Charla: That's awesome. Yeah, all the early X relay stuff is fun. I was just... Because of everything that's going on I had my 360 on, I was playing XBLA and it was... It is a trip to see this 360 dashboard again. It's just like a total trip down memory lane and obviously we can play all these games on Xbox One with back compat but playing them on my R2-D2 360 was a super fun experience.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's... I mean, everybody always wants, oh, bring the blades back, bring the blades back. Just it's... They were... Don't get me wrong. I loved doing that we worked a lot on that team, but I just that was a moment in time. The other game that I'm playing Chris, I don't know if you've seen this it's from Lozange Lab called Swim Out. I talked about it last week, have you played this?
Chris Charla: I haven't played it yet. No.
Larry Hryb: It is you... And it's kind of cool because you dive into a pool and it's a puzzle game. You're like in a pool and you have to swim around other swimmers and I... The art style of this game and the music and of course the puzzles I just adore this game. I mean, I'm just having a blast with that. It's just so relaxing to kind of swim around and you hear that the lifeguard whistle when you made a mistake. So I just love Swim Out. So that's a lot of fun.
Chris Charla: That's cool. Yeah. And now I don't try to... It's really stylized art style. It's really really cool.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, it's... Is this in game pass? I can't remember. I think I mentioned it last week. I don't think so. But I-
Jeffrey Reuben: You've mentioned it now three weeks in a row. We know you're a fan of this game.
Larry Hryb: Well, I love I love swimming. So I'm as you know, so I just I adore it. So that's one of the things I'm playing. But yeah, Jeff you talked a little bit Flight Simulator, which is out. Is that out now? I'm trying to remember when we recorded.
Jeffrey Reuben: It comes out on the 18th, so next week.
Larry Hryb: On the 18th, next week.
Jeffrey Reuben: And what you're going to start to see is over the weekend, starting over this weekend, you're going to start to see some of like the big simmers, the big creators who are big in Flight Simulator starting to play a string stream at live drop VODS on YouTube. And they go wherever they want. So it's going to start to really I think, get you warmed up. You're going to start taxing towards runway in your mind and start thinking about where you want to go. And I've been seeing a lot of the footage and it just looks beautiful. So I've downloaded it. I believe you'll be able to start... By the time you hear this you should be able to pre download it if you-
Larry Hryb: And that's a path game pass.
Jeffrey Reuben: Preordered it. Yeah. Or yeah, if you have Xbox game pass, you can pre download and get ready. And then you're going to be able to take off coming Tuesday, which is going to be phenomenal. So excited for this.
Larry Hryb: I've played a little bit over the past few days. And it's, I was in an icon aircraft. I flew over your house with kind of your neighborhood Chris were you and Jeff live and flew over to my neck of the woods and it's just a beautiful game. And there's something relaxing about just kind of flying here in the tower chatter. You're watching this and you can choose real time there's so many ways to configure from the plane to what airport what's your destination. I mean, it's the world is your oyster. It's unbelievable what you can do in this so you need to check it out. I don't know if you guys ever played Flight Sim. Chris I assume you did like I did when you were when you were younger and you played it on... I used to go up a friend of mine.
We didn't have a computer growing up and a friend of mine his dad was an engineer for Sikorsky, they make helicopters. When I was growing up in Connecticut and they had one of the first IBM PCs in the neighborhood. With the green 80 column screen and we would go up there and watch the Sears Tower go by and the the horizon it was amazing. So that was now it's... Looks unbelievable. Hopefully, you're going to play Chris.
Chris Charla: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, to me that's one of the games I've been looking forward to the most. I mean, I keep talking about these stressful games I'm playing. I need something where I just chill out and relax and I want to just play... I don't want to go in a fast plane, I want to go to slow plane and just chill out and look at things I'm... I was a geography major and I'm one of these people... I was just on a flight recently, like during quarantine time and I'm flying over northern Michigan I'm looking down I see like a river open up maps and I'm like, figuring out where I am. I love that stuff. So just being able to fly over things and know where I am is just kind of like fun for me.
Larry Hryb: Well, you and I share a passion.
Jeffrey Reuben: Totally, hear that.
Larry Hryb: I love maps as well. And I was... I've always talked about how I had maps on my wall when I was growing up. So yeah, I'm right with you. I'll tell you this though about Flight Simulator that a lot of people don't know is I bet... Let me go to Chris full screen. I bet it was available on that little machine behind you that little beige box.
Chris Charla: Definitely. This my Apple II. This has been kind of my COVID hobby. And yeah, definitely. The first place I played Flight Sim was absolutely on the Apple II.
Larry Hryb: Which was I believe it was microprose at that time, right? I can't remember. I'm pretty sure it's something like that. Or sub logic.
Chris Charla: I think it was such a like a...
Larry Hryb: Go to Wikipedia.
Chris Charla: I want to say it was sub logic, but I'm not 100% Sure.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. But anyway, so that's... Is that... Wait a minute, could you turn around and let's... Could you... You've got a joystick too.
Chris Charla: Oh, yeah, yeah. No, I have the Apple branded joystick and everything like yeah, it's a... I mean, this is-
Larry Hryb: Apple once did things in games, gaming.
Chris Charla: Yeah, [inaudible 00:14:10]. So.
Jeffrey Reuben: That was the first computer I ever used. I learned to code basic on that.
Larry Hryb: You did? 10 print Jeffrey Reuben's team 20.
Jeffrey Reuben: Go to... Whatever.
Larry Hryb: Go to 10.
Jeffrey Reuben: You would move the little turtles, we would use logo and you would move the turtles around. And then and then when Apple II GS, which was like world better of first ever played Tetris on you could actually make crude animation. And I remember I would do... You would have these little things they were called turtles and you could animate them and create sprites.
Larry Hryb: So a lot of people don't know that.
Jeffrey Reuben: And I made it interactive baseball game.
Larry Hryb: When you were young, how old was this Jeff when you were doing this?
Jeffrey Reuben: I must have been like 10.
Larry Hryb: So at 10 years old you're coding logo to animate teabagging. That's impressive.
Jeffrey Reuben: I did. Actually, now I'm thinking about it. I made a choose your own adventure. I was like, a lot of kids that age I loved to Bo Jackson because he was just like the most famous athlete. Not that I'd ever been to Kansas City or Oakland at the time. And...
Larry Hryb: Oh, no.
Jeffrey Reuben: And you had to chose whether or not he would swing or or take the pitch and I made it because I was trying to galaxy brain this as a kid. So I figured everyone's going to pick swing and I actually made it be a wild pitch. If you swung then you know he was mad at you and then he would fight you and actually it was almost like a crude Mortal Kombat. And it was like a mentality-
Larry Hryb: I want to play this game. I want to play this. Bo Jackson...
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah, but if you took the pitch it was a pitch then somebody Kevin Mitchell came around to score like the 86 Mets or something and then you won. And then I forget and then there was like fireworks and a like-
Larry Hryb: I don't know.
Jeffrey Reuben: Yeah, that was-
Chris Charla: Wow, we need more chose your own adventure baseball games like in the world.
Jeffrey Reuben: It's just not enough. This is baseball really just to choose your own adventure like 90% of it's up here.
Larry Hryb: Well, wait a minute. If we... So Jeff, you've got this idea you've done this. Chris, you've got the hardware. Gentlemen, I have to get you together.
Chris Charla: We can do this.
Jeffrey Reuben: I can [inaudible 00:16:07].
Chris Charla: You're right cook you up a little choose your own adventure, Bo Jackson. And then maybe you can even have intermissions, where you choose who you're going to be sponsored by whether it's Nike or whoever and...
Larry Hryb: Who would it be? Who would did it be back then?
Jeffrey Reuben: Oh, hell. We can go with the [inaudible 00:16:23].
Larry Hryb: Yeah, who would it have been back in the day, but anyway, that's a-
Chris Charla: Yeah, [inaudible 00:16:28] something.
Larry Hryb: That's a great machine you got anyways. Yeah. So but thank you for joining us, Chris. And I want... The reason that we got you here. Otherwise, in addition to you being a friend of the show, and we're always a big fan of what you're doing with ID@Xbox. Is ID@Xbox you guys had some big announcements this week, and I wanted to talk about that and really have you come on the show and deliver the news yourself. So tell us the headlines.
Chris Charla: Yeah, so the biggest news is we just shipped the... Or I shouldn't say we. We helped independent developer ship the 2000s game that's come through the ID@Xbox program. So since we started and the first game shipped in 2014 from an independent developer and Xbox One, 2000 games have now shipped. And we also announced... We don't talk about money that often. But we announced it, we had paid out more than a billion and a half dollars in royalties to independent developers over that time. Which to me is just like a great milestone because it just shows how successful developers have been on Xbox. I mean, obviously, video games are a hit driven business. Not every game is a giant success but developers have had life changing amounts to success on the platform.
And I think for us as players we've gotten to play a ridiculous number of these really amazing games in every genre imaginable. I was talking about it and was like, "When you've got like, Black Desert, Amazing MMO, like Warframe which is just super cool PDE action game. Human Fall Flat, Action Puzzler, Celeste. Like a platform and there is totally new things. And the only thing these games have really in common is just how different they are and how much they just really do reflect like the creative vision of a really small group of people. And to me that's like just really really cool and it's cool for me and for the ID@Xbox team. It's obviously not just me I just I'm the face if they push forward to have gotten to do that, and been a small part in helping bring all these games to Xbox and as fans and as players we just love getting to see them and getting to play them.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, there's a great... [crosstalk 00:18:42]. There's a great blog post that you have over on Xbox wire and we can link to that but I was looking at this graphic, and it's amazing. Because 2013, '14 you launched, you hit 1000. It looks like mid 2018 and then it took you a year and a half to reach 2000. So that's that's tremendous in terms of the progress there, right?
Chris Charla: Yeah, I mean developers are just... They've gone wild and we're seeing more and more cool games and it's just been... It's... I think when we think back and the blog post kind of takes a historical look and goes well, it starts all the way back with the Apple II but then we really talked about Xbox Live Arcade. It's kind of the dawn of when indies broke into the cultural consciousness and kind of like a mainstream way and console gaming. And that is a long time ago now. That was like 10 or 12 years ago-
Larry Hryb: 12 years ago now.
Chris Charla: The Castle Crashers Ship. But those games still feel... I mean, if you just like load... I'm very sorry, I'm pointing my Xbox. If you just load Castle Crashers today it still feels super fresh. It's still super fun.
Larry Hryb: Well, this is actually a funny point because whenever... And I know you've been to and we haven't been in the past six months but whenever we go to PAX or any of these other big events Castle Crashers is always there. They still have it the Dehima still has it and people are still lining up the play and it's unbelievable.
Chris Charla: Yeah. It's amazing. And it's just cool to see that I kind of made the point in the blog that like for we're now starting to see the first developers come up. Young developers doing typically, their first game, and for them games like Castle Crashers and Limbo, and Super Meat Boy, Braid those are history. You know what I mean? Those are games that maybe like, they actually didn't play when they came out because they were too young. And it's so cool. I remember obviously, when those games came out I was making games back then. And I remember thinking like... And really feeling this with that Summer of Arcade like we're entering a golden age of indie. And I remember talking to a friend and being like, "Look, dude, this is a golden age. We need to be making these games." And then and having the conversation like well, when's it going to stop?
How long is this party going to last? And what happened was instead of the party stopping or the Golden Age ending the whole industry changed and these games are now just a crucial part of the mix. In the same way you can't imagine Xbox without Halo or Call of Duty or Madden you can't imagine Xbox without Inside or Limbo or Castle Crashers and well, Cuphead and so it's just been amazing to see how this kind of what it's a time we thought might be just this golden season turning to like a completely industry changing paradigm shift and to still be part of it and to see so many cool people be part of it from the developer side and the platform side. It's just ridiculous, it's amazing.
Jeffrey Reuben: One of the things-
Larry Hryb: When you look at the games that... I'm sorry, Jeff, but when you look at the games that have come out what are some of the themes that you've seen kind of over the past just few years and and how things have changed from when you first started the program?
Chris Charla: So I think the biggest thing we've seen is just we're now seeing games at all sorts of different levels of I'll say scale. Is maybe the right word to use because I was going to say polish, that's not right because we see really polished games at all levels. But we see games that come from single creators. One man, one woman, games like Celeste where it's a really, really small team. And then we see games that are coming from four person teams, 12 person teams, 50 person teams that are still truly like indie games with complete creative freedom. And that creates like a sense of diversity into types of games that is really, really cool to see. The other thing that we've seen recently, which I think is really, really fascinating is we're getting into the second third, fourth spin [inaudible 00:22:49].
We're starting to see like regional scenes develop where Seattle games starting to have a Seattle flavor. And games from Melbourne and I always use Melbourne example because I think they have a really great style. If you see a bunch of different games that are all made in Melbourne and nobody tells you that you might not think that that will occur to you. But if I tell you like, "This game was made in Melbourne, and this game was made in Melbourne, and this game was made in Melbourne." You're like, "Oh, that is exactly right." And there's just something about those games that is like really reflecting what you'll see.
Larry Hryb: That's a really interesting, can you give us an example of whether it's Melbourne or Boston or Orlando or Seattle? What are some of those themes you see if you could?
Chris Charla: So I think with Melbourne, there's just something about the color palettes that they choose and it's hard to say exactly why but yeah, there's just something about the games that just like have some good... It's hard to put your finger on but when you see it, you know it and...
Larry Hryb: Right. All right. Jeff sorry, you have a question there?
Jeffrey Reuben: Sure. One of the things I think is really interesting is how the... I don't know if it's the definition, but so much as the sort of perception of what an Indie game can be has changed. Where maybe at the beginning of this generation a lot of the stuff you cited from the 360 era, maybe were kind of like pixel art 16 bit or sometimes 32 bit. But I kind of like they had like a look and you were looking and go, "Oh, that's what an indie game is, Super Meat Boy," or just something like that. And then we still see some of that today even Carrion which just came out recently.
Granted it's running it like 60 frames a second and just super smooth and never could have done that on like a Sega Genesis or something, but it kind of has that throwback. But now you see games that are full motion video or you mentioned like what's like TennoCon Warframe that looked stunning. And so indie game doesn't necessarily mean a small game, doesn't mean a small team like you said, but it also doesn't mean a small scope or a small visual budget anymore either.
Chris Charla: Yeah, that's exactly right. And that's been one of the really interesting things. There was this period where... And sometimes we use this term derisively, where there was this kind of like indie as genre. Like indie was genre and now we've kind of expanded past that. There's still games that you just mentioned like Carrion and that just like are pixel art games that just like kill it and are amazing. But now you've got like Ooblets which is full 3D game with this incredibly cool dancing combat mechanic and monster growing. You've got Black Desert, which is this full 3D amazing MMO. Even PUBG is an example of a game that actually started in the idea of Xbox program as a single vision of a single person working with a team and I personally always define indie sometimes people ask is creative freedom.
And if you've got creative freedom, you're independent. And PUBG Corp and Bluehole certainly had creative freedom. That was an indie game that went on to not just realize incredible success but spawn a whole like world changing genre. So yeah, it's been really cool to see how indies have... I'll say, taken over and I don't mean it in a mean way. And certainly games with big publishers are still amazing and everything like that. But it's been cool to see how every single kind of like walk of development there's just now like indie entrance there.
Larry Hryb: I actually think it's more... You talked about them. I think it's more just the maturing of the market and the maturing of what the games are. It's also ties into the tools. The fact that your team works on these great tools because developers can have these great ideas, but they don't have the right tools and the development kit and it's going to be a real big uphill battle but your team actually does a lot of work to build tools to make it easy so that they can rev quickly and get stuff posted and look at it and test it and refine, refine, refine. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Chris Charla: Yeah, that's exactly right. And obviously, this is not something we do in a vacuum when we're working with all sorts of teams at Microsoft. But what we kind of bring is the voice of the developer in saying, "Hey, how can we make this a little bit easier for these guys? How can we..." If we can shave a day off the game development process it's only spent working on Xbox stuff, that's a day they can spend making the game better or polished. And you think about when we partner with folks like Unreal or Game Maker, Game Engines to get those things on Xbox and make sure that it's easy for developers to use, our northstar is always just like, let's just make it as easy as possible for developers. Let's make sure that we Microsoft are doing the hard work so it's easy for devs, that's just going to result in amazing games.
And so yeah, I've had people ask me what does a typical day look like? And obviously talking to developers is part of it and it's like the fun part. But talking internally about just like, how can we improve processes? How can we do things better? And we've made huge leaps and bounds in the last seven years and we've got like huge leaps and bounds to go so it's never boring. There's always more we can do. And as we bring in things like the power of Xbox series X, how do we make it easier for developers to take advantage of that power? How do we make sure we're getting dev kits out in the field as fast as possible and everything like that? So it's never a dull moment?
Larry Hryb: Well, in that case, so I'm gong to go back on something I said. I don't want the Bo Jackson simulator on that beige box. I want it on the Xbox. Jeffrey, I need you to work with Chris.
Jeffrey Reuben: We can do it now I just need the tools. So really, this is on you, Chris.
Chris Charla: I think if you just get me those I can code it up.
Jeffrey Reuben: In logo.
Chris Charla: All right. We'll get something going in either unreal or possibly game maker and get the Bo Jackson Choose Your Own Adventure hiding game going.
Larry Hryb: It's been-
Jeffrey Reuben: I think it's the market is crying out for it.
Larry Hryb: Well, certainly after they hear this show they will. So I actually want to point out to because you mentioned Swim Sanity at the top of the show, according to this blog post that is... I mean, does that have the distinction of being the 2000 game? So, hooray.
Chris Charla: Yep. That was 2000 and it couldn't... It's a great... It's a two brother team. It's led by two brothers and they're just such cool people and they had joined the program and then Sarah Conde who's on the ID team method at the game does a color Expo and got to know them and we brought the game to PAX. I think Mary, you got to meet them when they're at PAX one year and then they've just gone from like a sort of success to success. It's a local multiplayer game. So it's super fun. So it's like get friends together and play and it's just a really cool one.
Larry Hryb: I also want to point out that I was reading your blog posts obviously, when you posted it and the one thing that really rang through to me was the games and the Ziploc bags. I mean and that was such a thing for me when I would go to my local... When I say local computer store, it was 20 miles away in Connecticut. And I would go there and I remember we'd go in the back and it was exactly that. It was all these this wall of Ziploc bags and you'd pull them down and you open it up and there was sometimes it was a manual sometimes it wasn't. And it was and of course, it was even more complicated than because did you have the right disk drive? Was it a double density disk drive to run? Or was it a single density? Right?
It was all those other things and so you had to make sure you had the right hardware to run it. But that was such a special time for me not only to go to the computer store and have that experience but also to meet other people because that was really... That was the moment. Those were the original message boards was that computer store and Chris I'm sure you probably had that same experience.
Chris Charla: Oh, absolutely. That feeling of going to the store, computer stores back when people went to stores and just like you typically didn't happen to know a lot even if you got the computer magazines there was so much there that wasn't there. And a lot of these games were made by indie creators who duplicated them at their home disk drives and then just dropped them in a Ziploc with like a mimeographed maybe manual and-
Larry Hryb: With hand written notes in the margin.
Chris Charla: Yeah, notes and I was just playing the first game I ever got for the Apple II a couple days ago, I found it again, and-
Larry Hryb: Which is?
Chris Charla: And [inaudible 00:31:31] off it because I knew that it had just like a regular store label underneath and I wanted to see it and...
Larry Hryb: What was the name of the game? What was the name of the game?
Chris Charla: It's called like Sumar. And it's one of these like ancient Sumerian civilization simulators. It's pretty cool. I think it's-
Larry Hryb: I think it was a genre onto itself, wasn't it?
Jeffrey Reuben: The Sumerians had very interesting computers. Yeah. It's...
Chris Charla: Yeah. And, but what's cool to me... And I've made this point to a couple of people and they kind of got it and I think you will too. When I think about Game pass, Game Pass takes me back to that because when you have like an Xbox game pass all of a sudden you have access to like hundreds of games on pc and on console and you are going to find... We always say you will find your next favorite game and absolutely, you're going to find your next favorite game. You're also going to find a bunch of weird stuff. You're going to find a bunch of games that you never would have downloaded otherwise.
And for me, I go back like you to that old computer store like go in the 20 miles to the Apple II Store and looking around. I think for Jeff your generation like people a little bit younger, it's about going to Blockbuster and finding any S game to rent for the weekend. And that is a special moment. And I feel like Game Pass brings that kind of novelty back where you're just like hunting around and you know you're going to find something cool.
Larry Hryb: Well, not only that but with Game Pass to your point, I completely agree with you Chris is you... It's kind of like you own the store. You can play anything you want you don't have to buy it. And it's... And that's the beautiful part. It's funny I was sitting here as you said that about the computer store I think there was this... And Jeff you're a little too young for this but I don't know about you Chris but all the computer stores I remember they always had the name bite in it somehow, right? It was always something bite, bite something, last bite.
Chris Charla: You had bite shop or...
Larry Hryb: Right. Right. Right. It was always something like that. But I just, yeah, that was Meriden, Connecticut that's where it was. That's where mine was in Meriden. So anyway, yeah, it was and it's interesting you say that about Game Pass because that's exactly what that feeling is. Is that you can just go. Go experiment, go try something. Although I do kind of want to have a mimeograph manual every now and then games are seriously lacking in manuals. I think we can all agree on that.
Chris Charla: I would love that. I would love it. I would love a game that let you send in like a self addressed stamped envelope to get a manual or something like that.
Larry Hryb: That was always the best thing to do because when you're... And again this Jeff, this is two old guys going back. But you go home and while you were waiting for this to copy to your hard drive, at least you had something to read. Right? You're like read and...
Jeffrey Reuben: The manual is what you read while your mom was driving you home from the electronics boutique, which was what was my version of that our software, et cetera. Yeah, you would read the book and then by the time he got home it was like, okay, I finished it-
Larry Hryb: You knew what to do.
Jeffrey Reuben: Now I'm really ready. Yeah, right. I remember just bringing the manual into school one day when I got Zelda. I managed to get Zelda before everyone else because Hanukkah came before Christmas that year and score one for Hanukkah. And so I got Zelda before a lot of my friends did. Just bringing that in I was popular for... Well, popular for a couple of days and then Christmas.
Larry Hryb: You were the in kid.
Jeffrey Reuben: I was. I was.
Larry Hryb: The thing I miss most about manuals is you get to the back and there'd be that notes page. Like you're supposed to take notes there really they didn't have enough content and someday I want to work on a game again has a notes page at the back of the manual.
Chris Charla: Well, and of course, the other thing was the... I think they were called physicals or physio balls. What was that stuff that Infocom used to put in the games? All those puzzles and the DRM stuff were essentially in the game, it would say, "Well, what's on page 27 of the witness guide, right?"
Larry Hryb: Yeah, right. Exactly.
Chris Charla: Yeah, so if you happened to have the wish Bringer which literally, we didn't talk about this beforehand, but I have it next to me. So I've been playing it. You see games have come with like things like a glow in the dark stone or like a special matter that-
Larry Hryb: Yeah, stuff that made sense in the lore of the game and the story. And then in the story themselves as you were progressing Jeff, this was the DRM. You'd have... It would like randomly pop up.
Chris Charla: If you didn't have it you couldn't get past that.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. It would say, "What's this?" And you'd be like, "You did not..."
Chris Charla: And there was no internet to look it up on.
Larry Hryb: So you'd have to flip to the page. Those were the days. Anyway, I didn't even realize you had that Chris.
Jeffrey Reuben: I got a question for you. Let's bring it back into now just because I want to ask the summer when we tend to see a ton of indie games hit, it's also the opportunity when there's maybe fewer sort of triple A big budget, annualized titles they're not out yet. So I'm curious, I was looking ahead in the calendar there's just a lot of games dropping over the next few weeks. Is there anything that's caught your eye? Anything, we should keep our eye out for Chris?
Chris Charla: There are a ton of cool games coming. I don't want to single anybody out. I'm going to dodge that question gently but I am going to say I've been playing... Or I've installed I haven't played it yet. But Heroes of Hammerwatch, which is kind of like a rogue like, I think is really cool and I'm kind of stoked about that one. But I'll also give one a couple shout outs to It Lurks Below and Undermine and then but also Swim Sanity. I think the guys at Decoy did a really nice job of that and people should check it out. I'm bummed that we don't have packs this year because they always had for Swim Sanity, you could get like this sort of foam shark element from playing the game and I'm bummed we can't do that this year.
Larry Hryb: Well, not only am I bummed that we're not having packs but we always invited people on the campus and your team did the idea of Xbox reception where people could come out to campus and we'd set up 30, 40, 50, 60 different places for people to play games. So yeah, let's... It's a drag but here we are.
Chris Charla: Yeah, next year.
Larry Hryb: Next year. But we just came off this interesting demo fest that was just a few weeks ago, with all the demos, did that go well? For those who don't know Chris, tell us about the demo fest.
Chris Charla: Yeah, so that was something really cool. So it's kind of part of summer game fest. We invited developers to share demos with the world. And so we had them available for a week and these were games that were in progress. They weren't finished games and so people kind of got to experience what it's like to be at E3 or be at PAX and play like the short pre release games. And it was really, really popular. I think it was like the most likes I ever got on a post when we talked about it. And it was cool to be able to share that with everybody and we've... Before I was at Microsoft. Microsoft did it way back in the past with like, I think like lost planet extreme condition.
They release the E3 demo. But it hasn't happened in a long time. And so it was really cool to have people check it out. It was really popular and we're getting a lot of requests to do it again so maybe we will. I thought it was really neat. It was cool for devs to get that feedback from players and it was cool for players and fans just to get to check out a bunch of games.
Larry Hryb: And we know a lot of people are at home right now and they're playing games and so why not check out stuff that's in progress. So that's great to hear.
Jeffrey Reuben: Kind of replicated that GDC experience that we typically have at indie show. And something that I feel like privileged to be able to experience by attending GDC and I felt like we brought that home for the first time. I love that.
Chris Charla: Yeah, absolutely wouldn't when GDC got postponed we released a bunch of videos of the games that we're going to have playable, but now we can let people actually play the games. I think it's just a really nice... It's a nice thing to do. So we're definitely looking to do more of it.
Larry Hryb: We're kind of cruising along here. Jeff, do you have some news you want to go over here? I mean, we got a lot of news. Chris, you're welcome to stay with us. We're going to talk about some news. I don't know what your schedule is but you're welcome.
Chris Charla: I will hang out and listen.
Larry Hryb: Awesome. Jeff.
Jeffrey Reuben: We'll be brief here.
Larry Hryb: You've got some headlines.
Jeffrey Reuben: I think that... Yeah. A lot of you probably saw that we have confirmed that the Xbox Series X is coming out in November. That was something that came out earlier this week and Phil was on Animal Talking, talking about that a little bit more. And also that Halo Infinite will be coming out in 2021. So you can check out Xbox Wire and also Halo Twitter for more on that. You know what getting a lot of buzz? And I think this would be very much up your alley, Chris. Is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2, it's getting remastered remade. And I'm hearing a lot of great things. There's a... If you preorder it you can access this demo that lets you skate around Alcatraz right now. So I feel like this works on for you on a lot of levels. I know you're a skater see at the skate park in the neighborhood, also a Bay Area guy and probably, maybe I'll leave a logic here, maybe a Tony Hawk fan?
Chris Charla: I am a Tony Hawk fan, both of the real guy and of the Pro Skater game. Way back in the day when I was a journalist, I got to interview Tony Hawk when I worked at the Dreamcast Magazine and we set up at his like home ramp and Carlsbad and we... I was set up but he ended up... We ended up trying to interview him while he did a 540 over our heads or it's like sort of sitting on the lip of the ramp. It was really kind of a fun thing. I pre order but I didn't preorder digitally, so I can't play that level but I should be getting a skateboard is my preorder bonus. I did the Deluxe Edition and so it's going to come with a birdhouse skateboard. So I'm so ready for this. I'm super, super stoked about it.
Jeffrey Reuben: A demo was temporary, the skateboard last forever.
Chris Charla: That's right.
Larry Hryb: In fact I had Tony on a few months ago when they announced the game was coming. So you can scroll back on the podcast and take a look. It's one of the very first video interviews we did right, Jeff?
Jeffrey Reuben: Good friend of the show.
Larry Hryb: Good friend of the show. That's right.
Jeffrey Reuben: So Minecraft Dungeons is game I can't get enough of. The first DLC Pack, the Jungle Pack that released last month. Well, we now have a date on the next one which is coming out September 8th which sounds like it's far away but in the world we're in it's actually a couple weeks away. And so that will be the creeping winter DLC. These DLC maps have been just phenomenal, like really big, meaty maps with a lot too. But what's really important is a free game update is coming that's going to add a lot to the core game plays.
So even if you're not interested in the DLC there's going to be new merchants, daily trials. We have a rescue merchants and bring them back to your village so definitely looking forward to what that's going to enable you to do. And just a couple things for the weekend. One is Injustice 2 and NASCAR Heat 5. They're free to play, they're free for Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass ultimate members. Injustice 2 quite an excellent game. So I really enjoyed that one.
Larry Hryb: I think Xbox has a... Is sponsoring one of the cars Jeff in the NASCAR. I know you're a NASCAR fan, you're from that area.
Jeffrey Reuben: I've made a lot of lefts in my day but let's see. Yeah, J. J. Yeley's 27 car-
Larry Hryb: There it is.
Jeffrey Reuben: Is on Sundays NASCAR in Daytona is going to be and I know who I'm rooting for. So sorry, other NASCAR people we're Team JJ this week.
Larry Hryb: Yes. We are.
Jeffrey Reuben: And last but not least just want to announce for our friends in Brazil that we have announced that we have released now Xbox wire in Portuguese and that came out last week. You can if you're over on Xbox Wire and use .xbox.com you'll see in the upper right corner a little globe you can click on there, you will see Xbox wire in Portuguese my accent is terrible. So if you're in Brazil or in Portugal and would prefer in your preferred language to be able to read it, all the news is going to be there so joins the stable of international Xbox wire teams. I'm glad we were able to finally get that out there for you let us know what you think.
Larry Hryb: I'm sorry, Jeff. I have the window open here at my house and I just this plane just went over I'm talking about Flight Simulator and I have an app on my phone. I can tell what's going over my house it's the dream lifter. Have you ever seen this thing?
Jeffrey Reuben: What app is that? Cool.
Larry Hryb: It's an app. It's... What is it called? It's called Flight Radar 24. So every once in a while this... Because I live north of Seattle near Boeing field and the dream lifter is this airplane that delivers parts. It's just I mean, you saw it's huge. Go look it up on the internet. So that's what all that... Sorry, that's all that racket was over my house. So I highly recommend it.
Jeffrey Reuben: I thought you were just playing the game in stereos sound and you were flying one or something.
Larry Hryb: The big question is can you fly the dream lifter in Flight Simulator? That I need to find out.
Jeffrey Reuben: Well, with that [crosstalk 00:44:22].
Larry Hryb: So anyway, what else we got there Jeff? So guys were going to wrap things up next week, coming weeks we got a lot of folks coming on. We get Gary Whitta from Animal Talking in here. He's... I'm going to turn the tables on him. I'm going to put him on the spot. He's always putting people on the spot.
Jeffrey Reuben: Right. You should do the interview inside like Minecraft Dungeons or inside or in Flight Simulator or something like that. You should bring him into a game.
Larry Hryb: I think that's a grand idea. I think we should... We'll take your suggestions hit us up. But if you want to find us on Twitter, I'm going to throw all of our stuff up here. Now you can find me @majornelson, Chris @iocat, Jeff is the complaint desk @jeffrubenstein.
Jeffrey Reuben: @jeffrubenstein. Thank you.
Larry Hryb: There you go. Anyway, all right, gang we're going to wrap it up here. Chris, congratulations to you and the entire team. I know there's a whole team behind you that works on ID@Xbox. On behalf of all the Xbox gamers everywhere thank you. And thank you, your team for bringing us these amazing games. And I know you've got a lot, a lot of stuff in the pipeline. So we're looking forward to seeing what you're going to do with Series X.
Chris Charla: We have thousands more coming. So thanks to all the developers who helped out and everybody you guys for getting the word out. And obviously, the ID@Xbox team or all super rad folks who work tirelessly to help developers get their games out. So thanks to everybody on the team as well.
Larry Hryb: All right. Well, with that note go download some great games and Swim Sanity, right Chris? That's the number 2000. So you should all check out Swim Sanity.
Chris Charla: Yep, that's 2000.
Larry Hryb: The release and celebrate if you want to hit Chris up on Twitter, congratulate him @iocat. All right, gang. We'll see you guys next week. Have a great day. Bye bye, everybody.