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Larry Hryb: Welcome back. Welcome to the show. Got a great show for you this week, as always. I don't know where... Oh, here's Jeff.
Jeff Rubenstein: Were you thinking I was gonna be in the house I've never been invited to, Larry? [crosstalk 00:00:13] I'm a vampire.
Larry Hryb: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait. I just miss our interaction together. This is the limited interaction other than the me teaching you Windows tips on Twitter, this is the only interaction I get with you each week.
Jeff Rubenstein: We haven't had a teriyaki Tuesday since February, something like that.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. We haven't gone to teriyaki. We haven't gone [crosstalk 00:00:34] to any of our favorite haunts, I believe would be the appropriate thing to say right now during this Halloween season.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's true. Having the same turkey pastrami sandwich every day for the last 180 days and counting.
Larry Hryb: Turkey pastrami. You realize that your relatives in Florida are just like, "Ah, Turkey pastrami. How could he?"
Jeff Rubenstein: How could he? Got to get the real stuff. But it'll kill you. It'll kill you. My relatives, [crosstalk 00:01:01] they would attest if they were still alive.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:01:02] But you'll certainly be going down with a smile on your face and a dill pickle on your lips.
Jeff Rubenstein: Is that a bit of deli mustard there? Let's clean that up.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, good to see you back this week. I gotta tell you, people that are watching or are paying attention, this is quite the good show. I have some exciting news later on. Mister-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:01:24] What? What is it? I can't wait.
Larry Hryb: Well, Mr. Tim Schafer, the extraordinary, the legend Tim Schafer is going to come by and he has news.
Jeff Rubenstein: Ooh. [crosstalk 00:01:35] You ever just sit there and go, "I can't believe we work at the same company as Tim Schafer?" Usually that will occur to me, and I'm just like, "That's awesome."
Larry Hryb: It does occur to me, but when he talks about what he's going to talk about, and obviously it's about games, and the games that I played when I was growing up? I'm like, "Wait a minute. I get to talk to these industry icons and legends and so forth." So yeah it does, and the fact, you're right, that they work at the same company as we do is something that is pinching myself every day.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. And the idea that we could aid even one percent, a fraction of a percent in the success or an announcement or something like that of something that they've worked on that comes from their mind and their team, of course, is pretty cool. I like it. [crosstalk 00:02:24] I like it. That's why I'm here.
Larry Hryb: So we have him coming up later, and then later on in show I have an audio expert from Bose. These are not Bose headsets because I need them for this, but the Bose headsets which are world renowned... Yep. Those exactly. So they have decided to enter the gaming space and we're going to talk about that. So you never know what you're going to get with this show. We're going to talk TVs, we're going to talk toilets, we're going to talk headsets, we always talk about games. But you just never know-
Jeff Rubenstein: Basically, those are the big three, toilets, TVs, and [crosstalk 00:02:57].
Larry Hryb: Teriyaki.
Jeff Rubenstein: Teriyaki. There we go. I needed a third T.
Larry Hryb: And I came through for you. Anyway, how's your week been? What are you playing? Because I've got a little bit of time to play this week, but what are you playing?
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, I don't know if you can see over that shoulder. I've gotten into... well, there it is. It's Halo 3: ODST, which as been out as part of the Master Chief Collection on X-Box, but has recently, as of I want to say last month, come to Windows 10 PC as part of X-Box Game Pass for PC, and of course part of X-Box Game Pass for console. And as someone who relatively recently got a gaming PC, I blew through Wasteland 3. Blew through. Took me 50 hours.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:03:41] You blew through.
Jeff Rubenstein: But I wasn't playing anything on my PC recently. Actually, that's not true, I'll get to it. But I decided to fire up, because I had never played... When ODST first came out I was working at Sony. And I did pick it up. I think I played Firefight [crosstalk 00:03:55].
Larry Hryb: Did you pick it up, or at that point were we sending you the code?
Jeff Rubenstein: I think you actually gave me it, now that I'm thinking about it. No, I do have the disk. It's up there in that cabinet.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. That's right.
Jeff Rubenstein: I think you gave it to me at like a PAX or something like that, or you might have brought to GDC one year. Very nice of you by the way.
Larry Hryb: I slipped it into your hand like, "Here, take this."
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, we always do a thing. You would call me, you'd bring me around the Sony booth at E3 every year and I'd be like, "Let me check. I guess. Maybe?" And you would take me around. I remember you invited me out to a Comic Con. You all did a cool thing at Comic Con one year-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:04:31] That's right.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:04:32] Alan Wake I want to say. Anyways, so I'm slowly but surely going back through the games that I didn't play during those days, like the Alan Wake earlier this year, Halo: Reach I want to say last Christmas. And so ODST I'm playing through now. I had no idea the star power in the voices. Nathan Fillion is the main guy, Buck. And then I heard Nolan North's voice. There were some other big, big stars, so I'm playing through that right now. And so that's-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:05:03] It's funny because I didn't realize it, because I was playing it as well. I don't know what level-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:05:07] Really?
Larry Hryb: ... I was going through, but I just was like, "Let me play OSDT." I think it was towards the end of the campaign, so I was playing that. But yeah, we should do some Firefight if you want to.
Jeff Rubenstein: That'd be great. I would reckon by the time we talk next week I will have already finished the campaign, so over the weekend if you want to Firefight it up, [crosstalk 00:05:21] let's go ahead and do that.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:05:22] I can co-op it in with you if you want?
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh. I mean, absolutely. I mean, you want to do that tonight? We'll do that tonight.
Larry Hryb: Look, I don't want to insert myself into your private time.
Jeff Rubenstein: You know what? Let's do it.
Larry Hryb: Anyway-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:05:36] Let's get in there and shoot.
Larry Hryb: We'll have some fun.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:05:38] What else? I beat the Star Wars Squadrons campaign.
Larry Hryb: You did?
Jeff Rubenstein: It's really cool. I did.
Larry Hryb: I think I'm only about the fourth mission in there. I mean, I'm having a good time with it, I just [crosstalk 00:05:48]-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:05:48] I think-
Larry Hryb: Yeah. I've got a long way.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I think there's 14 or 15 missions. I didn't do all the optional conversations, but by the end of the game a liked a lot of the characters on both the rebel and actually really on the other side, on the Empire's side. They have their own twisted sense of honor that I actually came to respect. So I thought the story was really well done, and I'm still wondering how that red faced alien has a Texas accent. I've been trying to figure that part out. But you know what, don't think too much. This is a game. This is a video game. I'm not going to think about it. Now the last thing, and you're not going to be interested in this at all.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:06:28] Not true.
Jeff Rubenstein: But there's a game that a lot of people have been talking about. It's a free-to-pay game on PC and a few other places called Genshin Impact. And a lot of people made a lot of allusions, allusion with an "a", to it having a vibe very much like the Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Larry Hryb: Now be careful there, that's blasphemy.
Jeff Rubenstein: But if you say that-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:06:55] I know you know I love that game.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:06:55] and they're saying it about the game that Ubisoft is coming out with in December that used to be called Gods and Monsters, and I can't remember its new name right now, so I apologize, because that game's going to be great. But yeah Genshin Impact, and actually for a free-to-play game, I think it was made in China, and so this is going to be one of the biggest hits ever in the west that was made in China, and it is a beautiful game. And I'm playing it on my widescreen PC here, and it's free. And I'm like [crosstalk 00:07:21]-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:07:22] What's going on?
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:07:22] I don't know how the math works and all this other stuff, but it's-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:07:25] Is it siphoning all your personal data back to China? What's going on there?
Jeff Rubenstein: If the personal data involves which anime character I'm picking, then I guess they got me.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:07:39] I'll have to check that out. No, I'm sure it's fine. I'll check that out.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm sure it's fine, too. But anyway, very cool game. What are you playing?
Larry Hryb: Well, you're talking about Star Wars, it's funny, Star Wars, ODST, the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Beta, that's actually this weekend, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. By the time you are hearing this I believe it will have already started. We'll get to that in the news. But the bottom line is, you can pre-load it today and-
Larry Hryb: You can see that over here. Playing a little bit of Apex, Forza Horizon, because I just love that game. I should go in here and take a look at what I've got loaded in here. But I just haven't had a lot of time to play this week. Been working on the show, of course having to line up the interviews that we have on the show which takes some time, and just been a lot going on. We're getting ready for launch, right? We're getting-
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't do any work, so I was just playing games, but yeah.
Larry Hryb: How far away are we from launch, Jeff? I feel like every show we should have a countdown clock.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:08:31] The tote board. You should have the tote board up there.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:08:34] Right? All right, let's go. What do we got? Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:08:34] All right. We have three-and-a-half weeks, Larry. Oh my God. Three-and-a-half weeks. Yeah. So three weeks from Tuesday, this coming Tuesday. So depending on when you're listening to that, November 10th, this is the day. I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. I did shower for the show, Larry. Don't think [crosstalk 00:08:49]-
Larry Hryb: Oh, I appreciate that. I appreciate that.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... I don't take it seriously. My weekly shower happened today. I was thinking what do I tackle first? Because on the 10th we're getting Yakuza: Like a Dragon, we're going to get Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. So the day we're taping this, a lot of previews came out for Valhalla, saying a lot of stuff that I wanted to hear. Just-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:09:10] Singing my song.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes. Exactly. It's rare that the Assassin's Creed franchise takes a year off, but when they do, we saw Assassin's Creed 2, which many people consider the best one. Assassin's Creed: Origins was after a year off, and now another year off here. It was sort of like in the old days, the Eagles always won after a bye-week in the Andy Reid era, those days are long gone. But it's after a bye-week, I think we're going to see a pretty darn good Assassin's game. So anyway, how do I choose which one I play first? And then-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:09:42] What do you do?
Jeff Rubenstein: ... we'll have Falconeer that day, which very excited for.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. We talked to the developer last week. We've got-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:09:50] And then Cyberpunk.
Larry Hryb: Cyberpunk.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm very worried. I'm very worried that I'm going to start all three games. But those big three larger games, Yakuza, Assassin's, and Cyberpunk. But you don't want to do that. You don't want to be playing three hands at once at the poker table. You're going to drop the ball somewhere.
Larry Hryb: Something's going to happen, and it's not going to be good. So Cyberpunk, as somebody who adored The Witcher and loves what CD Projekt Red does, I'll probably just jump into that. I hear it's going to run fantastic on an X-Box Series X and S. So I'm really excited for that.
Jeff Rubenstein: Man, we're in for a treat here, Larry. We're [crosstalk 00:10:26]-
Larry Hryb: We are.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... in for a big treat.
Larry Hryb: We are. We are, Jeffrey, we are. So that's what I'm playing. Hey, by the way, speaking of games playing and I know we're going to talk about the news, but did you see this post on X-Box Wire just talking about the back and pack games, and some of the technology that goes into it. You should check that out, because I'm telling you, if you've got this beautiful digital library of games on X-Box, you're just going to love it, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I would say something that's really stood out to me, we're testing a lot of these games, is the auto-HDR where this wider colored gamut, this really bright things happen, and games that came out before HDR was a thing. And I would say the pro-tip is we do have a little tool that is built in, there's a couple actually built-in to the X-Box architecture, where you can optimize your TV and set the settings the right way for HDR.
To make sure you're seeing the right on the high end and the low end, so you're not washing out things by making them too bright, and you [crosstalk 00:11:28] still seeing the dark, but you still want the dark to be dark. Anyway, once you calibrate and once you see these things happen, you're like, "Whoa." Those big moments, you almost shy away. They have a lot more impact than they used to. Also, found that a lot of my settings on my TV, I didn't have them in the right place. I had certain things too high, and certain things too low, and-
Larry Hryb: Do I need to come over and fix them?
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:11:48] well worth it to do it. Look, I'm getting there. We're giving you the tools to be able to do that. [crosstalk 00:11:52] Some of those tools exist on the X-Box One, too, so it's worth it to do that. Especially if you get a new TV.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. I'm trying to remember-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:11:58].
Larry Hryb: Oh, yeah. [crosstalk 00:12:01]-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:12:01] up here, Larry.
Larry Hryb: This is the LG CX series. And first of all, I have to give a shout out to our friends at LG for sending me this CX series. This is the OLED. And I have to tell you, I know people have heard about OLED. "Oh, it's great and it looks good." But you really don't understand it until you have it in your home. This picture is just... my eyes are melting. Everything I've played on this is just oh my wow. It's just blown me away. So I'll share more about that, in fact I've been trying to get somebody on from LG to talk about OLED because this is great. It's got the 120 hertz, it's got all the stuff. It is primed and ready for X-Box Series X and S. I will tell you that. It's got auto mode and auto-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:12:46] Yeah. Yeah. Auto Low Latency Mode.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Auto Low Latency Mode.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:12:50] refresh rate support. All the acronyms. ALLMs and the VRRs.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, not only that, but I got to tell you, I mean I've owned other TVs in the past, the web OS is really good on this. The TV operating system.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:13:06] Cannot say that for all TVs. Sort of a wide-ranging [crosstalk 00:13:11].
Larry Hryb: Anyway, of course they got a great... So I'm going to see if I can get somebody on the show, because this is an amazing thing. But to your point about calibrating it, I haven't even had a chance to calibrate this shit, and it's mind blowing. But the thing that I have, and I don't know where it is, Jeff, I think it's in the other room, but I have these DVDs... actually, Blu-rays that I bought years ago, which are these calibration Blu-ray disks, which have the little blue filter in them, so I'm going to go through them on this thing. But don't underestimate calibrating a TV. You can do it yourself, which I recommend, or you can go down the rabbit hole which is AVS forums, and if you're any type of nerd, you don't want to go there, because then you won't be seen for years. It's just an amazing amount of wealth of information and intelligence over there.
Jeff Rubenstein: I want to call something else out, because I learned this the hard way. Now when you buy a TV, and bought a TV in the last five years or so, there are so many logos and crests on the box, and they say a lot of things. And I can tell you the one that I bought, I think it said something like 240 hertz motion flow or something like that. And I'm like, "Well, all right. I guess I'm all set for 4K, 120 hertz gaming." And then, I'm not. And I found that out because there is a site called R-T-I-N-G-S.com, ratings minus the "a", rtings, and when you look in that, you punch in your TV, you can punch in the model number and all that stuff, it will show you all the different output resolutions. And it turns out my TV can output at a higher refresh rate, but at like 480p.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:14:52] 640 by 480.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:14:53] Exactly. Like I'm running Windows 95 or something. Actually, even that I think I had a 1024 by 768. Weird how those numbers stick in your head. So I would say take a look at that site, because the reality is unless you've gotten a TV since 2018 and you've got HDMI 2.1 and there's a number of other things, you may not have all the capabilities that you think you do, based on just looking at the box. And I highly recommend. Because I'm looking at your TV over there and I'm like, "Do I need it? Maybe I don't need it. But maybe I do. Maybe I do."
Larry Hryb: I will say this, the other thing I forgot to mention is obviously this has HDR, but this also has Dolby Vision, which is Dolby's version of HDR and it just... the non-gaming content that is Dolby Vision, you can really tell. We have a TV in the other room, my wife walked into my office here and she stopped dead in her tracks. She's like, "Wow." And she doesn't do that very often, so there you go.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. And we're just starting to see a lot more content in 4K. I was watching Ted Lasso this week. I binged through that series season one, which is a fantastic show. Even if you're not a big soccer fan, I think you might appreciate it. It has Jason Sudeikis who's very funny. It's like a guy from Kansas becomes the head coach of a Premier League football team, and hijinks ensue. But my wife was like, "It looks like we're just looking through a window into the next room." Because we're starting to see a lot more really optimized video content across these services, especially when you're streaming them in at a bit rate. Sometimes it's better than your cable box, if you still even have cable.
Larry Hryb: What I'm really excited about is my wife and I, I'm sure like a lot of different couples, have their movie night or they're going to watch TV. I know you and your wife, well anyway. They have their partners, and we watch stuff. But my wife and I are really excited because we're going to watch this movie that she is so excited about. I think it's on Netflix. Have you heard of this? My Octopus Teacher?
Jeff Rubenstein: No.
Larry Hryb: This is-
Jeff Rubenstein: Is this an anime or something?
Larry Hryb: No. No. [crosstalk 00:17:03] So my wife loves octopus, because-
Jeff Rubenstein: Like to eat it?
Larry Hryb: ... they're so intelligent. No. No. No. She's fascinated because they're so smart.
Jeff Rubenstein: They're delicious.
Larry Hryb: Stop it. Anyway, this is about a gentleman by the name of Craig Foster and he basically befriends an octopus. And this is a true story. It's not fiction. And he goes to visit her den and they become, as you can, friends with an octopus. So my wife and I are going to watch this. I'm really excited to watch it.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's got good ratings, a lot of ratings. I guess it just came out this year, but man-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:17:41] See if I can get you just to stop watching the anime, there's a world to discover out there Jeffrey, a world.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I mean, this seems cool maybe we'll watch it. Although, man, a lot of octopus' consumed in this household, so we may-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:17:55] Well, yeah. You-
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:17:56] have a crisis on conscience.
Larry Hryb: And I've got news for you, I don't think... this is on Netflix by the way, My Octopus Teacher, I don't think after this you're going to be able to eat octopus. Maybe you will because you're [crosstalk 00:18:07] cold.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:18:08] Maybe we'll go to squid. I feel squids are dumb.
Larry Hryb: I don't know. Anyway, My Octopus Teacher, looking forward to watching that. Wow.
Jeff Rubenstein: I just imagined, I don't know, My Neighbor Totoro, but My Octopus Teacher. It was like the sequel.
Larry Hryb: I saw this, and I saw it pop up into my feed and I'm like, my wife has been fascinated by octopus because they're so smart and they can get out of anyway, and they have eight arms or eight legs, whatever you want to call them. And so she loves them, and so when this came up I'm like, "I got the movie for us." She's like, "What?" And I said, "My Octopus Teacher." And I explained it and she's like... So we're going to watch it this week.
Jeff Rubenstein: Let me know how it is during our [crosstalk 00:18:47] Firefight session.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:18:47] You know what? I'm going to let you know how the movie is, you're going to let me know how the dish is.
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, takoyaki. Just...
Larry Hryb: Lovely. Just lovely.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:18:56] So good.
Larry Hryb: All right. Anyway, I don't know where we can go from here, but we need to go somewhere.
Jeff Rubenstein: Why don't we go to Tim?
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Tim Schafer. @TimOfLegend is his Twitter. He is a legend. And do you have anything you want to say about him? Because I'll let you do the introduction.
Jeff Rubenstein: No, no. You're the one having the conversation. Look, I said earlier, I'm just amazed we get to come to work and that we're all on the same team. I know he's down in San Francisco, and we're up here in Seattle, but I'm a huge fan. We've seen a tremendous variety of types of titles that have come out of his brain. We're Halloween right now, and I'm thinking about Costume Quest, because one of the most interesting and cool RPGs ever, and of course it came from Double Fine, and I was very big on a lot of the games from let's say the 360 generation. Stacking is another one that I really loved. There's countless others.
Larry Hryb: Ooh, check this out. You mentioned Stacking.
Jeff Rubenstein: What?
Larry Hryb: Hold on. You'll love this.
Jeff Rubenstein: Do you have a matryoshka doll?
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:19:58] I still have them.
Jeff Rubenstein: Of course you do, Larry. He's going to have the doll in side the-
Larry Hryb: My Russian dolls.
Jeff Rubenstein: See? Yes.
Larry Hryb: I've got them.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes.
Larry Hryb: I totally forgot about these, the nesting doll. Sorry. Sorry. There's one more. Look, they're inside. Look. Look. And they're still inside. There's another one. There's another one. Anyway-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:20:21] Very clever.
Larry Hryb: All right. Do you want to talk to him?
Jeff Rubenstein: The dolls?
Larry Hryb: No. Tim. Do you want to talk to Tim?
Jeff Rubenstein: What, is he just sitting right over there? Yeah. Yeah. Let's do it.
Larry Hryb: Exciting news this week, and I was thinking about how are we going to deliver this news? We've got some pretty good stuff to talk about it. So I figured the best way to do it is to bring in the man, the myth, the self-proclaimed legend, Mr. Tim Schafer. Tim, good to see you.
Tim Schafer: Great. Thanks for having me here, self-proclaimed. Yes. That's true. That's true. I did name that. You know why I had that Twitter handle?
Larry Hryb: Well, tell me.
Tim Schafer: It's because I got into Twitter just to promote. I needed to promote Brutal Legend. And so, my Twitter handle is @TimofLegend. And Brutal Legend, which is on Game Pass now.
Larry Hryb: Right. It lit people up because they were like, "What? Brutal Legend?" You have made some of the most extraordinary cult classic games. How does that feel?
Tim Schafer: It's fun. Well, we have really dedicated fans. Today, I don't know if I can say that, but we're recording this on Rocktober 13th. Rocktober was the release date of Brutal Legend 11 years ago if you can believe it. And every year I still [crosstalk 00:21:34]-
Larry Hryb: I still got that shirt going there.
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Well, I wear this every day. But I still play the game with fans every year on this date, and I've been playing all day with matchmaking. Now that it's on Game Pass it's like wow, you can get a lot of matchmaking players out there, so it's a fun day to play Brutal Legend.
Larry Hryb: But one [crosstalk 00:21:53] thing-
Tim Schafer: Even when this comes out, it'll still be a fun day to play Brutal Legends.
Larry Hryb: It's always a fun day to play Brutal Legend. But I want to talk to you about what we have coming up, because you have some pretty neat news to share. I mean, I don't want to go all Geoff Keighley, but world exclusive with @TimofLegend-
Tim Schafer: World premiere.
Larry Hryb: World premiere.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, go ahead and-
Tim Schafer: I'm not telling anyone but you, Larry. Just between you and me, I hope no one's listening, but we're super excited because we are... Do you remember the 90s?
Larry Hryb: So well. Yeah. Yeah. I do. I remember IRQ conflicts and...
Tim Schafer: I used to work at a company called Lucas Arts Entertainment where we made adventure games, and three of their best, the latest ones I made were Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. And then, a few years later recently we were able to remaster them and make really beautiful, lush versions of them. And October 29th of this year, we're going to be bringing them all to X-Box, Windows 10, and Game Pass. All three of them.
Larry Hryb: Wow. Wow. Now that-
Tim Schafer: [crosstalk 00:22:56] remastered, Grim Fandango remastered, and Full Throttle, remastered.
Larry Hryb: Which one do you want to look at first, because I have a bunch of screen shots and whatnot here. So I don't know if you want to go-
Tim Schafer: Let's go Grim. Grim was the first one we remastered.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Let's take a look at it here. Because people are going to look at this and... Here he is. I mean, this is going to bring back a lot of memories. I noticed it's in the four by three which is critical isn't it? Because it's classic.
Tim Schafer: The best version of the game, but not really a change to the game. So a lot of the compositions were done for 4:3 by the storyboard artists who wanted to keep the composition exactly so. So we didn't really want to change that a just add a bunch of nonsense on the side of the screen. There's Manny Calavera, the hero of our story, the grim reaper. And you saw the venetian blinds. I was super excited about that in the remaster because we wanted to do that for the first game back in '98, because in film noir venetian blind shadows are just an iconic film noir thing, but we didn't the tech. And all of our early programmer got the dynamic lighting. Also, his cigarette lights up his face now, all these little touches that make the remaster really fun.
Larry Hryb: They just make it richer, right? It just feels like a richer experience. Has that been good for you to go back and look at some of these old titles, and I don't want to say clean them up, that's not fair. Because-
Tim Schafer: No, we're cleaning them up.
Larry Hryb: ... they were so great back in the day. But I mean, some of these you're able to add that extra level of oomph to, right? It just feels better.
Tim Schafer: Yeah. We put in a metric ton of oomph as a matter of fact. I mean, what it is is it felt like we were rescuing something from the edge of a cliff. Because we had the original audio recordings for the voice and for the music and it was on magnetic tape that was about to crumble for the last time. I feel like we read it off the tape the last time it was ever going to be read off tape.
Larry Hryb: You could hear the tape go, "Ugh, I'm done."
Tim Schafer: Ugh. My work here is done. And we were able to then uncompress it. Because a lot of the stuff that fit on floppies was compressed, so we were able to uncompress the voice, uncompress the music, and then some of the music we re-recorded and did an actual like symphonic orchestra, which we couldn't have for the first game. It was all samples and MIDI and stuff like that.
Larry Hryb: Right. So but now-
Tim Schafer: [crosstalk 00:25:07] So we were not just cleaning it up, but really just going back to the source and making it look like it does in your memory. You remember it looking better and then you turn it on and you're like, "Oh, I forgot, but..." [crosstalk 00:25:18] if that makes sense.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:25:19] Have you noticed that when you go back? Because you've been in the games industry for much longer than I have and you talked about the 90s, and when you think about everybody wants these classic games, and you go back and play them and you realized your memory made them look better than maybe they were, or that they played better.
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Your memory has anti-aliasing for one thing. You know what I mean? Your memory smooths out old games. And when you go back to play them you're like, "Oh, I forgot how sharp the edges were. Ow." And also, the jumping on a lot of things. You're like, "This is much less forgiving than I'm used to." And so, the first game had tank controls only, and that was very popular back then. Resident Evil and a lot of Tomb Raider had tank controls. And now people are like, "Tank controls. What are you talking about?" So we were able to put really intuitive directional controls for Manny as he walks around now.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Because he's walking around in the environment. He's doing his thing here. The other this is there's also a lot of puzzles in here as well, so you had to go revisit those. Did you leave those all alone as they were, or did you touch any of them?
Tim Schafer: Oh, no. All the puzzles, the content is exactly the same. We fixed some bugs that made some of the puzzles harder to solve because you get stuck on an edge. There was an elevator in the casino that a lot of people got stuck in and we were able to fix some of those bugs. All of those bugs, let me just say that. But I noticed when we were remastering them, it's really funny to play one of your own games that you designed the puzzles for and just have to look them up on the internet how to solve them, because I could not remember. "What do you..." [crosstalk 00:26:45]-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:26:45] you remember the 90s, Tim. Because that's interesting, is that you're the author and you're like, "Hey, I don't even remember." So you're actually telling me during the game, again the game that you directed, that you're having these surprise moments?
Tim Schafer: Totally. I completely forgot big chunks of it. A lot of times when you finish a game, you walk away from it. You never look at it again because you can't stand to look at it, because if you see a bug you can't fix it. Nowadays there's patches and stuff like that. But back in the days of the floppy disk, we'd be like, "There's no patching." We wouldn't patch anything back then unless it was a really big emergency. So you hate to play a game after it ships because you dread it. But enough time has gone by, I was able to really enjoy it and really be surprised by it. And so, even if someone's played it in the 90s, I bet it'll be like a new game to you, because you'll have forgotten all the puzzles.
Larry Hryb: So we've got Grim Fandango. Which one do you want to show next? I've got Full Throttle and Day of the Tentacle. Which one do you want to roll with?
Tim Schafer: Assume the order we made them. The next one we did was Day of the Tentacle.
Larry Hryb: Okay. So here we go.
Tim Schafer: Oh, Day of the Tentacle. Oh, look how pretty. Yep. The story of Bernard, Hoagie, and Laverne.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:27:51] This one's wider. This one's wider.
Tim Schafer: Yes. Yes. We were able, you know what? Because the screen in the old version, the original version had the bottom half of the screen was all interface. The bottom half of the screen was all-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:28:03] You can see it here.
Tim Schafer: Oh, there's a shot. They're all verbs so you can see the top half of the screen is a widescreen kind of image. So we did a newer interface that is more cursor driven where the verbs pop up around the cursor. So it's an updated interface that makes it smoother and easier to play, but also fills the screen with art. Here's Full Throttle. Look at that. Speaking of full screen. Yeah. Full Throttle is where we started doing that. We got rid of the verbs on the bottom of the screen. So here you see Ben coming out of the dumpster.
Larry Hryb: We're going to talk about Full Throttle in a second, but I want to go back to Day of the Tentacle. Now is this the one, because I was doing a little bit of research and I can't remember, Tim, you would certainly know. Well, maybe you didn't because you can't even remember the puzzles.
Tim Schafer: Don't remember. Yeah.
Larry Hryb: But was this the first one that shipped on CD and floppy? I think it was, I'm not sure.
Tim Schafer: Yeah. This was the first CD Rom we had because this was the first talkie game I think in the industry. It was the first game that had full beginning to end voiced characters, thousands of lines. Because Chris Brown our voice produce actually had to help write the union contract for SAG and AFTRA actors, because they were, "Video games, what?"
Larry Hryb: What are video games? I don't understand that. Yeah so you [crosstalk 00:29:12] bring it in a little bit here just so you can see it. But what was it like shipping on two different formats. Maybe it's different because it's like today where you're shipping on multiple platforms, but this is making one disk versus do you remember how many floppies it was?
Tim Schafer: I want to say five. I don't remember. It's embarrassing. Some fan's going to make fun of me if I don't have that right. But it was like we made the floppy version first, and then we made the CD version with we added voice and we added better sound effects and other data-hogging things. And so it gave us time to make both versions the best they could be. And I think there was some voice on the floppy version, actually. We had just the intro be voiced, so you had the characters voice in your heads when you played the rest of the game.
Larry Hryb: Right. It's interesting you say that because I was thinking about that when you said, "Oh, do I remember the 90s?" And I was thinking about that with the whole CD Rom thing. We all remember Mist, that was TV reason we bought a CD Rom, because we had that interactive-
Tim Schafer: And Rebel Assault, to defend Lucas Arts, Rebel Assault.
Larry Hryb: Yes. Rebel. Thank you. But people forget that as game developers you had an entirely different class of challenges because you had to squeeze the data on the disk, and put the data in a right position. I mean, there was a lot more involved, wasn't there?
Tim Schafer: On the floppy version or on the CDs?
Larry Hryb: On the CD version. I mean, they were both challenging I guess I should say.
Tim Schafer: Because you couldn't jump around as fast on a CD. You had to wind up and read it all. It was easy to stream stuff once you got going, but to jump around on the disk took more time, so yeah you had to organize things a little differently.
Larry Hryb: And I just remember even I think in my first CD Rom, maybe it was even this game, I just remember the head. Remember the head would go back and forth inside there [crosstalk 00:30:59] and just make this awful racket. Anyway [crosstalk 00:31:01] well that's exciting.
Tim Schafer: It's better now. It's better now. It's remastered, the voice is better. Speaking of things you won't remember, the voice of Bernard Bernoulli was played by the actor who played Les Nessman WKRP in Cincinnati, [crosstalk 00:31:11]-
Larry Hryb: Oh, great.
Tim Schafer: ... which no one listening to this probably remembers, but there you go.
Larry Hryb: As God as my witness, I thought the turkeys could fly.
Tim Schafer: There you go. Thank you. I feel validated. Thank you.
Larry Hryb: So that's Day of the Tentacle. Now we showed a little bit of Full Throttle. Let's talk about Full Throttle. Because if my research is correct, was this the first game to sell over a million units for Lucas? I can't recall. Maybe I've got my facts mixed up.
Tim Schafer: I remember it that way. Well, first adventure game.
Larry Hryb: Sure.
Tim Schafer: I think they had sold some Star Wars games that had sold a million on the SNES. But adventure games, we were always competing with Sierra because they were selling hundreds of thousands if not millions of copies, and we were always competing with them. But we were winning the awards. It was like a Pixar versus Dreamworks kind of, and they were mad because we were winning the awards and we were mad because they were selling a lot of copies. But the great thing about the remasters is that because I think we really tried to make these games memorable, we can still remaster them. Grim in particular, more copies of the remastered version have sold than the original game. So if you make something good it lasts, Larry. That's what I'm saying.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Well, and you are responsible for so many of these. What's it like, we talked about going back and solving, having trouble with the puzzles and what have you, but what is it like to go back and just walk down such a vivid memory lane? I mean, such an amazing part of your professional history is it's digitally encapsulated. And you've got this amazing time capsule. It's got to be exciting to go back and just revisit those.
Tim Schafer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, you know what's fun for the remasters is that we did developer commentary, which was like a reunion of the old team. We got the whole team back together in the studio and we recorded us talking about our memories. And the team remembered things I didn't remember, and so we were able to put all those in the remastered version so you can hear all that. But it's just important to remember who we were when we both made and when we played those games in the 90s. It all felt different, but we did a lot of stuff that is important to remember I think.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. No, I mean, I keep looking at the Library of Congress, and they're always like, "This film is culturally significant." I feel like such a vast array of your portfolio should be in the Library of Congress, so can we make that happen?
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Let's call someone up.
Larry Hryb: That old broken tape or maybe I'm sure you have some CD Roms kicking around there that we can capture for future generations, right?
Tim Schafer: I think Monkey Island was in the Smithsonian's video game show that they did a couple years ago.
Larry Hryb: I remember [crosstalk 00:33:59]-
Tim Schafer: So we made it. We made it.
Larry Hryb: ... when I talked to Ron about that, that he was excited about that. But it's the fact that you've got these remasters, they're coming October 29th on X-Box, Windows 10 PC, and X-Box Game Pass. So if you're an X-Box Game Pass member, these are coming. They're going to just pop in, you just go over to your console, you download them. We're used to these much larger gigabyte games, these are probably pretty small, too, right, Tim?
Tim Schafer: Yeah. They're coming pretty fast. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Larry Hryb: I mean, this is just really exciting and I'm so glad you were able to come in and just tell us about it. I know you and your studio are working on a lot of fun stuff. How's that going? I mean, now that you're part of X-Box Game Studios, how's that going?
Tim Schafer: It's great. They both brought us in, but also give us a lot of freedom so we can do the same creative work that we were doing before. We're making Psychonauts 2 and it's great to be able to know that we can make that a great game and we don't have to... It was great to be independent, but it was also like, "When does the money run out? Can we finish this game before we go out of business?" It would occupy your mind. We don't think about that, we're just thinking about, "How can we make this game great?"
Larry Hryb: Right. Yeah. It's interesting you say that, because I remember talking about, at E3 with you, about that a couple years ago. That was the meta game to running it. It was like, "We've got to keep going and shipping this game, but the bank account is getting a little bit lower," or "how are we going to fix that?" But now, fortunately, we solved some of those problems for you. Now you can just, as Matt Booty likes to say, "Go make great games."
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Yeah. And so, of course they're forcing us to make nothing but Forza DLC. That's the downside. I made that joke on the stage when we got signed, because they wanted us to make Excel documents and stuff. But just because that's the opposite of what they told us. That's the last thing they wanted to do is stop being Double Fine, stop making Double Fine games.
Larry Hryb: I remember that, and that's a funny little story. I remember in one of the rehearsals you made that joke. You were going to write some Excel jokes, or you were writing some Excel things.
Tim Schafer: [crosstalk 00:35:59] We're down for whatever.
Larry Hryb: Right. And I thought it was hysterical. Unfortunately because of time or what have you we couldn't talk about that, but it's great to see that you guys... And your team, which you have an incredibly creative team, is going to be able to focus on not only bringing back some of the classics like we did here, but also to be able to look forward and bring us some future exciting things. All right, there we go. Grim Fandango remastered, Day of the Tentacle remastered, Full Throttle remastered. For those folks that haven't played them before, because again there's people that are probably younger than the games they're about to play, is there an order they should play, or how should they think about playing these?
Tim Schafer: Well, if they want to play them in order that Lucas Arts made them, they'd play Tentacle first, which we did in '93, and then Full Throttle was '95, and then Grim was '98. So I would play them in that order.
Larry Hryb: Play them in that order. When you go back, can you see moments of, and it sounds so silly, but here's a technological leap that we tried and it worked, which may be adding two more characters on screen. Remember back in the days you had those small wins, right? So do you look at those and do you remember some of those that move the technical bar for you?
Tim Schafer: Well, yeah. It seems so silly now, but they have these three shots in Day of the Tentacle where the whole screen animates, like the Edison's jump out a window, and hang, and then fall. No, no, it's the founding fathers of America jump out a window and crash when the Edison's scream. And it was just like, "Can we animate an entire screen per frame? That's incredible." Because on Monkey Island we had to draw the ship sailing off into the distance, and it was, relative to the screen, about this much of the screen, and it would just slow the 286s down incredibly. And so, we moved the whole screen by showing a static image and just wiggling the eyes and the tongues of the people and stuff like that. A huge leap.
And then Full Throttle was important because it was the first time we had messed with 3D. So there's no 3D in the game, but we modeled all the vehicles in 3D. And so when you see Ben's bike moving around, it's a 3D image that we then painted over in 2D. But still, it was that era of Rescuers Down Under, when you're just getting into 3D a little bit. And then Grim was of course our first full on 3D game. The backgrounds are pre-rendered, but the characters were dynamically moving in 3D. And each one, a huge technological leap for us because we were always pushing it, always trying to get into new audience and technically innovate.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And you talked about the 3D, but it's moving a camera around, it's the lighting, there's so much more to consider because before it was just a static image, and you're moving objects around, right?
Tim Schafer: Yeah. But hopefully now that enough time has gone past, no one is going to be wowed by our moving the whole screen at once. No one's going to be like, "Oh, wow. 3D graphics." What's going to be memorable is that we worked on the story, and the acting, and the characters, and the jokes, and the puzzles, and the art design. Hopefully that stuff transcends all the technology to be still really entertaining today.
Larry Hryb: Well, it creates these timeless classics and the classic moments. I mean, that's what you guys at Double Fine do. All right.
Tim Schafer: [crosstalk 00:39:05] Well, thank you.
Larry Hryb: Tim, I'm going to let you go. Thank you for bearing with me in showing off some of these classics remastered. So excited to have them-
Tim Schafer: My pleasure.
Larry Hryb: ... October 29th. That's almost here.
Tim Schafer: October 29th.
Larry Hryb: It's almost here. All right. I know you said this earlier, you got to get back to Brutal Legends, so I'll-
Tim Schafer: Yeah. I'm going to go play Brutal Legend right now.
Larry Hryb: So all right, man. Thanks again, and can we have you on the show again?
Tim Schafer: Yeah. Anytime. Maybe someday we'll see each other in person again. Who knows?
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:39:33] I look forward to it. Thank you, my friend.
Tim Schafer: All right. Good to see you. Thanks for having me.
Jeff Rubenstein: All right. Huge news with these Lucas Arts remasters that are coming to X-Box and X-Box Game Pass of course, for both console and for PC, this month, October 29th. So we're going to see Grim Fandango remastered, we're going to see Day of the Tentacle remastered, Full Throttle, wait for it, remastered. And that's pretty awesome. Those are going to be $14.99 each, or of course, X-Box Game Pass got you covered.
Larry Hryb: Game Pass, and if you have Game Pass Ultimate on PC you'll get them there as well. But you heard that all from Tim. Thank you, Tim, for coming by. So great to talk to him. What's funny is, I got to tell you this funny story, and you're going to laugh at me because I tell you this all the time. We were about five minutes into the interview and we had a wind storm here and I lost power. And it completely killed my computer. I thought my computer was plugged into a UPS and it wasn't, so I quickly ordered one and now I'm plugged in, but it was just-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:40:30] We've moved from smoke season to wind season here in Seattle.
Larry Hryb: And it was pretty windy earlier this week, wasn't it?
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:40:37] There are branches all over the place.
Larry Hryb: Your hair was standing up sideways. In fact, I've got to get a haircut. This looks terrible. I got to do that this week.
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't really like how you talked about my hair and then talked about your hair. I don't see you like this too often, it's fine [crosstalk 00:40:53].
Larry Hryb: When my wife says, "Go get a haircut," I'm like, "I got to go. I got to go."
Jeff Rubenstein: Just mask up and do the thing.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, thanks to Tim. Great news for Game Pass fans or fans of any of the classic Lucas Art remasters titles. So thank you for that. And by the way, you're hearing that news first, right here, right from Tim. You heard it first.
Jeff Rubenstein: You only had to sit through octopus talk and everything else for 20 minutes first.
Larry Hryb: But we got there.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's okay. We buried the lede like no one else.
Larry Hryb: But we got there. Do you want to do some news before we go into Bose, or do you want to talk to-
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: Okay. Why don't you go ahead and [crosstalk 00:41:27]-
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. Let's do that.
Larry Hryb: All right. Let me pull you up here. You know what, I think I have a ticker for you, so standby. We'll bring that up.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:41:34] Oh. Oh. Just bring it up.
Larry Hryb: Go ahead and get started.
Jeff Rubenstein: All right. Well, did you happen to watch any football this weekend, Larry? I know you're a big Seahawks fan.
Larry Hryb: No, I did not. I'm not a Seahawks fan.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:41:46] Well, if you did, if you watched the Seahawks, I think they had a big comeback or something. I don't really like the Seahawks either, which is by the way blasphemy when you live here, but there was the launch of the Power Your Dreams commercial with Daniel Kaluuya, you might know from Get Out, he's in Black Panther, he was in an episode of Black Mirror as well. So this title was called Us Dreamers, this video, and it's just really cool. It shows a very dreamlike state and he's inside Master Chief's armor, and really is Master Chief.
And really, when you're playing a Halo game, you're Master Chief. It's a first person game. So I don't know, it was just really cool visuals and you're going to see more from this team across the Power Your Dreams campaign. But this was a really cool start and I'm sure you're going to be seeing it around all over the place. So it's that time of year, that time of month, that time of the week, when we talk about more games, yet more games coming to X-Box Game Pass for console and PC.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:42:46] More games. More games.
Jeff Rubenstein: So some really fun ones here. One is a new release I wanted to start with that's coming just to PC, which is Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition. We talked a little bit about this last week, but that is coming out really by the time you hear this, it's available. So just go download it, it's part of Game Pass which is pretty great, and I will be downloading it and playing it on this PC. And of course it is the Definitive Edition, so it includes all the previously released expansions and civilizations, and there's even a couple of new ones, the Swedes and the Inca. So that should be cool, and of course-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:43:20] The Inca weren't in there before?
Jeff Rubenstein: Never.
Larry Hryb: That's interesting. I didn't-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:43:23] I want to say there was another group that you might be confusing it with, but the Inca are new to Age of Empires III: DE. Also coming to PCs since we're talking about it is Heave Ho. Where is that? I'm sliding down. There's a game called Ditto that's coming out. And then, coming to console and PC, we have Katana Zero, and I'm a big fan of this one, which is Tales of Vesperia.
Larry Hryb: Oh, you're a huge fan.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:43:55] It's a game I already have on disc. I prefer getting the disc. Look, if that's what you like, great. Go for it. But I'd rather just hit the button and go. And so, coming to console as well will be Tales of Vesperia, Katana Zero, ScourgeBringer, Supraland, and I think this one might have been Satya's pick, Cricket 19.
Larry Hryb: Satya, our CEO.
Jeff Rubenstein: Satya Nadella, [crosstalk 00:44:22] yes, big cricket fan.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:44:23] Big cricket fan. There's a cricket field near me, and I often go down there-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:44:28] Is there really? A pitch? Is it a cricket pitch?
Larry Hryb: I believe so. And I'll go down there and I just sit on the sidelines sometimes and just watch it. I have no idea what's going on. I want to learn it, but I have no idea what's going on. I'm like, "Oh, this is cool." And then I'm like, "Okay, so they're going to do this next," and then all of a sudden everything changes and I don't know, a picnic basket comes out.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:44:46] No-
Larry Hryb: I don't know what's going on.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's kind of baseball-ish, but I think there's just one giant inning, and you score like 100 runs or something like that-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:44:55] And it goes for like two days, I don't know.
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't know if cricket came first. I feel like it might have. And I feel like baseball definitely took some-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:45:05] Before what? Oh, it had to come way before baseball.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, baseball was 1850s or something like that.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:45:11] Fair point.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm sure people have been hitting balls with sticks for thousands of years. But I feel like there's a connection there just like there is with rugby and American football, there's definitely certain things that they have in common. But anyways-
Larry Hryb: According to Wikipedia, from the 16th century.
Jeff Rubenstein: So that would be older than baseball. I just remember the name Abner Doubleday.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:45:33] picture here of people playing 1836. Yeah. So this is-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:45:38] baseball.
Larry Hryb: You don't know it, but do you know who would know that cricket was that old?
Jeff Rubenstein: Tell me.
Larry Hryb: I bet you the octopus.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, it's his octopus teacher, not my octopus teacher. The octopus has not taught me anything other than-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:45:55] Be careful. Be careful.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... the delicious crunch of a beautiful okonomiyaki with bonito flakes on top and [crosstalk 00:46:02]. Okay. Okay. Give it to me. All right.
Larry Hryb: Greenpeace, @jeffrubenstein.
Jeff Rubenstein: Okay. I ate a squid. I mean, or an... all right. Fine. I'll watch the show. I'll watch the show, Larry. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War open beta that is taking place this weekend. Let me just scroll this so I'm looking directly at the camera. So during this beta-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:46:24] You can't see it right over here on my screen, but I can't really.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 00:46:28] there's going to be a six v. six mode, a 12 v. 12 mode called combined arms, and a brand new 40 player mode called Fireteam: Dirty Bomb. The beta will feature a selection of the game's multiplayer maps set in distinct global locations during the Cold War. I'm very interested to see the soundtrack on this. I feel like the Black Ops games always have a classic soundtrack that you know is going to be some sort of time where you're going to be piling in a chopper and there's going to be the Rolling Stones playing or something like that. So that should be interesting. Anyway, from the time you listen to this, all the way up through 10:00 AM on Monday, October 19th, is when that beta happens, it's the crossplay beta weekend, and here's how you get into it. That's the really question.
Larry Hryb: How do you get into it?
Jeff Rubenstein: So those who pre-ordered the game for X-Box One, X-Box Series X or Series S can begin playing the game Thursday and on Friday. You do need X-Box Live Gold for X-Box.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:47:24] Depending upon when you're listening to this, it's probably available already.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes. Exactly. Now the rest of the weekend, Saturday the 17th all the way through Monday the 19th that morning, it's accessible to all X-Box players regardless of whether you've pre-ordered the game or not, and so everyone can hop in and play together. I'm going to get doing it. I don't play a lot of Call of Duty multiplayer, but I don't know, this one seems kind of cool. So there's some cool stuff in there, and they usually have-
Larry Hryb: I think you'll prestige in this one.
Jeff Rubenstein: I've never prestiged. If you reach a level 10 in the beta, then you get a certain weapon blueprint at launch, which I always like when they carry over something from the beta over into the final game. So there's a lot of information. All the little details over on X-Box Wire, so take a look there. But it was interesting, even my cable company was offering access to the beta-
Larry Hryb: What?
Jeff Rubenstein: ... which I thought was really interesting. Yeah. I mean, look, it'll be open to everyone-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:48:19] My how far we've come, Jeffrey, in the games industry, right? It's so mainstream now.
Jeff Rubenstein: Exactly. Couple games to talk about that are now available. One is Torchlight III is now available on X-Box One. We have a guide from the game designer of Torchlight III over on X-Box Wire. Everything to me is X-Box Series X. FIFA '21 is out this week. The ultimate edition was out last week, if you were just going for the standard edition, well that is out now as well. Of course if you're a EA Access member there's usually a discount there, so you're going to want to take a look at that, save some money. Played my first game with my brother, and-
Larry Hryb: Did he win?
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, he always wins. He's better than me. But it was four-three. It was a back and forth game. And so, I'm sure especially when the game becomes enhanced for X-Box Series X-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:49:12] And us.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... that's when I think we'll really be playing, and we'll be playing a lot of that I'm sure over the holidays. Another game that's announced is going to be enhanced or optimized for X-Box Series X and S is Mortal Kombat 11. They're releasing a Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate SKU. It's coming out on November 17th and they asked so what makes it Ultimate. Well, it's the main game plus Kombat pack one which is the Aftermath expansion, and the recently announced Kombat pack two, that includes some characters. You'll remember Mileena if you're a long time Mortal Kombat fan, going back to MK2, Rain, Hoorah showed up, MK4 maybe for the first time? And then, Rambo, of course. [crosstalk 00:49:59] the load. Young Rambo. So it'll be a total of 37 playable characters, plus the extra story campaigns.
And MK stories are pretty darn cool and also super challenging. So worth taking a look at that, and I am very interested to see what it's going to be looking like and to update. So if you do buy it for X-Box One and later you upgrade to an X-Box Series X or S, there is a free upgrade on this Ultimate version to that optimized version. And there is going to be krossplay support in Mortal Kombat style it's crossplay with a "K" because [crosstalk 00:50:33] this way Series X and S players, and X-Box One players can still play against each other in certain modes. So there you go. Take a look over at X-Box Wire and see Sly Stallone in MK style. I have to see what his fatality would be, because he will draw first blood.
A couple other little facts here, one is Gears Tactics which is going to be coming to X-Box Series S and X console for the first time on launch day, on November 10th. Just so you know, Gabe Diaz who is... There's a number of main characters, I love that game, there's a number of character's in that game, but I feel like it is Gabe's story when it comes down to it. He is, of course, Kate Diaz's father and the story that it leads to, 20 or whatever years ahead of time that leads to the events, really, of Gears 5, are really hinted at pretty strongly in the story. It's a really good game. So anyway, Gabe is coming to Gears 5, which is really cool.
Larry Hryb: We should do an interview with the Gears team about that. You know what, let me line that up.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 00:51:42] I would love to. I've played through this SRPG on PC and I really loved it, and they're adding new stuff to the game that'll make it worthwhile to play through a second time on X-Box Series S or X which I think is going to be really fun and that's coming out in just a few weeks, three-and-a-half weeks, can you believe it?
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:52:00] Almost here.
Jeff Rubenstein: And one last thing is Ty the Tasmanian Tiger HD, it's now available for X-Box One. Talk about a game that's developed down under. There's just not enough games developed from-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:52:14] Tasmania's a small island off the south of Australia, for those of you that don't know.
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't think it's that small. I mean, you can see it from space.
Larry Hryb: Well, relative to Australia it is.
Jeff Rubenstein: Relative to Australia.
Larry Hryb: Sorry.
Jeff Rubenstein: As I'm told by an Australian, it's not an island, it's a continent.
Larry Hryb: Right. Fair point. Yes. Thank you.
Jeff Rubenstein: It is. It is. It's a continent.
Larry Hryb: Well, one of the things with gaming is audio and when it comes to audio you have lots of headphones, I've tried every single gaming headphone known to man, so I'm really excited, because I'm going to talk to an audio expert, the head of wearables at Bose. Now Jeff, you're familiar with Bose headsets, aren't you?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. Yeah. So right now I'm using the Microsoft Surface headphones and I love them, and these are my indoor headphones that I use whenever I'm working. I use these all day. But when I go outside, I use these Bose, I think they're the Quiet Comfort. I think these are just some of the best-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:53:07] QC 35s, yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... one of the best wireless headphones ever made. I mean, you see these everywhere. The battery lasts a long time and they're really rugged. I was walking through the park and I hit a branch and they flew off my head and landed on the ground. This happened last week.
Larry Hryb: Was your hair okay?
Jeff Rubenstein: Is my hair ever okay? Let's be honest. And then I popped them back on, my podcast was still playing. Listening to Kind of Funny X-Cast. Good show. KFX. [crosstalk 00:53:32] big fan.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:53:32] So Bose is getting into the gaming headset, and I wanted to get the head of wearables on. So let's go ahead and talk to him right now and then we'll learn more on headsets than you ever thought possible. How's that sound?
Jeff Rubenstein: I'd love to.
Larry Hryb: Now you may know the name Bose, because everybody's heard of Bose headsets, but did you know that Bose makes gaming headphones? I didn't either, until recently. So I'm really excited to have joining me today is Mehul Trivedi. Now Mehul, you are the headset guy at Bose, is that right?
Mehul Trivedi: That's right. That's right.
Larry Hryb: I got to tell you, that's really exciting. I know that you've been in the tech industry for quite some time, but tell us a little bit about your background and what you do there at Bose, and then we'll take about this great new gaming product.
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah. Absolutely. I've been pretty much obsessed with audio my whole life, my whole career. I went to school for electrical engineering, and then did my master's in music. Found the one world where those two intersect. So I briefly worked at Apple, part of the audio team there on the iPhone. Started actually after that focusing on audio software and building a Pandora meets Spotify streaming service. Went over to Jaw Bone and to work on audio devices there, both speakers and wearable devices. And then came over to Bose about four years ago and started from the Bose frame side of the world, so concepting that and building it. Got really excited and we turned that into a full on category as we saw adoption pick up. And then it recently picked up the broader wearables portfolio, so kind of responsible for-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:55:07] And I've got mine here.
Mehul Trivedi: Exactly.
Larry Hryb: That's amazing, because it's funny, you talk about being an audio fan. And I've been working in the games industry for almost 20 years, and I'm an audio guy who used to work in radio, ironically out there near Bose. And so you and I came at audio from two different sides, me as a producer and somebody who is a nerd who doesn't know a lot, and you're more formally trained. I know just enough to get me in trouble. So I was really excited. I've had Bose products forever, and I love my noise-canceling headphones, so when you guys announced that you were getting into the gaming space I was like wait a minute, my peanut butter and my chocolate are now together. What's going on here? So I wanted to get you on here and talk about this new product. I've got some photos here of it, so tell us about this new product.
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah. So what you're looking at is the QC 35 gaming headset. As you mentioned, it's really our first foray into gaming. I have to be honest, when I came to Bose I asked the same question, right? Which is I'm also a big gamer and I always kind of wondered, it's like, "What's the deal? Why aren't we in this space?" As you mentioned, what we find is the gaming audience and the audio aficionado is very tightly overlapped. There are a lot of folks who really want just really great, immersive content. And the answer, which I think was really representative of how Bose looks at product which is, we wanted to build something worth our customers. Right?
If you look at the current space, there's a lot of offerings. They're typically on the lower price bands, they're fairly simple affairs. If we were going to go into it, we wanted to do it right, and we wanted to build something that was really high quality that customers really loved. And so, we started to think about what's the best way to get there, and for us that really started with taking our best product and QC 35 was a product that folks really, really love, and then we thought about, "Well, how do we make this something gamers would really love?" And obviously one of the first thing is what matters to gamers is comms.
And so, we looked at really improving mic pick up. And this is an area where Bose has been focusing for a long time. Obviously any football fan is going to recognize this bears a lot of resemblance to what you'll see on a sideline, right? With our coaching headset. And so, audio pickup has always been a big deal for us and making sure that you can be heard as well as you can hear was important. So we looked at that. And then the other piece we really looked at is how do we deliver something that's still really valuable to customers. And so rather than building a one-off product that would only work in gaming, we wanted to focus on something that could be dual use.
We know how much people rely on their noise canceling headphones while they're traveling on a plane, outside, while they're working from home, so we wanted to make sure we could build a product that would bring both of those. So the module actually detaches so that you can actually use them no different than your normal noise canceling headset, and you can get a really premium experience there, and then you can plug in the mic and you can gain and still feel very good about getting great experiences in both of the worlds.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, it's interesting because as I was looking at this, let me bring it up here, so it looks as you said people will know the QC 35 and anybody who's ever traveled in an airport on an airplane, you've always seen all those folks with the Bose headsets, because frankly, they're some of the best noise canceling in the business. So now, you've taken it and you've put this great boom microphone on it, which is you're absolutely right, as a gamer and you said you were a gamer, that's the most critical. I want to back up a little bit and let's talk about this little guy right here. What is this that I'm showing on the screen? Because some PC gamers may be interested in this.
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah. So this is the rotary dial. So as we mentioned, we wanted to make sure it was a really great experience, so as you're gaming the two things that really matter to you are side tone and volume, and so we wanted to make sure we could allow customers to configure the product as they would for a high end gaming headset. So that's actually something unique to the gaming headset versus what you'd get with a classical QC 35 that allows you to adjust that. I know you're going to be getting the product soon, but we wanted that to have a really premium feel. So it's an infinite knob, it floats, and kind of gives you that really nice, precise control, without having to necessarily look at it so that you can adjust mid-game without being distracted.
Larry Hryb: When you looked at the gaming space, I mean we talked about there's certainly a lot of people in there, there's price points from $50 all the way almost as high as you can go, when you look at the price points or the products that are out there, there's clearly an area where Bose can step in. And I'm sure some of the other manufacturers are going, "Wait. Bose is in here now? Uh-oh (negative)." Because you guys have been in the headphone business for so long, and it's not a far leap from headphones to gaming headphones.
You've already got a lot of the elements. You talked about seeing every Sunday, at least here in the United States on the sidelines we'll see NFL headphones. But a lot of people don't know this, because the only reason I know this is because I was doing some work on Flight Simulator, you also make avionics headphones, pilots. So do you work with that a little bit at all?
Mehul Trivedi: We do. A lot of the technology, a lot of the inspiration for that, was borne from our aviation division. Actually one of their things that's interesting to see, so we did also do a deal with Riot, and part of that is their pro-gamers will be using a headset that's actually a variation of our aviation headset. [crosstalk 01:00:23] To make sure, again, in large crowds, you'd be able to be heard. If you can knock out the sound of the helicopter that you're in, stadium crowd has become more manageable. So there's a lot of inspiration drawn from both of our spaces of the noise canceling headphone side and the aviation side.
Larry Hryb: So you've brought them together, and what were some of the design tenets as you were working on this? You obviously wanted to have great audio, but what are some of the other things that maybe folks may not think of when you're designing a headset, if you can tell us a little bit of your secrets?
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah. And as I mentioned, we wanted to make sure we could build something that was really high quality that was going to do this job right. And we thought a lot about this idea of dual use, how do we make something that's not just a gaming headset, but actually a really great premium audio headset. As you'd imagine that boom mic, great while you're sitting on the couch and gaming, not so great when you're trying to get onto a plane or train with a big giant-
Larry Hryb: Thing's [crosstalk 01:01:16] floating over your head.
Mehul Trivedi: So we spent a lot of time making sure that we could build a really good boom mic, but that was also detachable, and that way it holds on very well. It's never going to fall off while you're gaming or if you get particularly into it. I know a couple cheap touchdowns and I'm pretty likely to want to throw the headset or jump up and down. But we wanted to make sure that it was easily removed, but stayed in place when it was on. So as you can imagine, it was a fair amount of mechanical challenge to do that quite right, alongside the microphone that stayed consistent to your voice even if you're moving, or if you move the mic up and down.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And then the other thing you talked about is the mic monitoring, which any audio nerd who's been in audio for any time knows that, what engineers that I work with at least call it, side tone.
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: I know mic monitoring is the friendly term, but that means that you're able to control what voice you're hearing. In most telephones you have side tone. It's one of those little things that when it's gone you miss it and it screw your experience up. Tell us a little bit about the mic monitoring.
Mehul Trivedi: That's right. And I'll confess, that's maybe the secret to the sausage making. As we first designed it, we originally planned to just have it be the boom mic itself. And what we realized was that side tone was really critical for gamers, and we had to do right by them. And so, we actually then built from scratch that volume control knob with the side tone control, because we knew that was going to be necessary.
Again, that kind of situation where in a pure noise canceling environment, you're not going to bring a knob with you to adjust that while you're out in the real world, so we needed it to work as side tone within the noise canceling headphone system, like a normal QC 35, but then in a gaming context to allow you for something slightly different. So we actually pulled into the program the ability to build and integrate the volume knob as something you could use, but then you unplug from, as opposed to being fixed to the device.
Larry Hryb: And then, the other area I got to talk about is noise canceling. Because that is a little bit... when people think about it, it's a little bit of black magic. Because there's microphones on your head that are listening outside, and they create an alternate... I mean, I'm using all the wrong terms. Please, feel free to correct me, you're the expert, but they create basically an alternate sound wave to cancel it out, thus the name noise canceling. I mean, and this is happening hundreds if not thousands of times a second, right? So tell us just base to explain... I mean, I did a terrible job. I'll let you explain a better way of how it works.
Mehul Trivedi: No, I think you actually did a great job. So the way that noise reduction works at a high end is you start to monitor what is going to come to your ear, right? And then you generate a signal that can basically remove it, right? It's what they call superposition. If you take a sign that looks like this, and you take one that looks like this, you add them together, and you get nothingness. In practice, it gets quite complicated because there are nuances as simple as, "Well, your cup of the headphone is right here, but your ear canal is a few millimeters away." So you start to think about, "Okay, I actually have to sample fast enough that it can monitor, not just at where it hits my cup, but where it's going to hit my ear canal."
And then you start to [crosstalk 01:04:16] worry about things like that. And so, one of the reasons you sample so fast is you've got to be able to generate a signal that accounts for that distance, right? And you start to get into the, "Well, the speed of sound means that a wavelength is this long, and I need to sample fast enough that I can be faster than that distance." So I'll admit that there's fortunately a whole bunch of PhDs at the company significantly stronger than I am at this stuff, but as you mentioned, it gets to work like magic for a lot of the folks, including myself.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And when you use it in gaming, because I've had a chance to try noise canceling in gaming, it's kind of life changing. Because really, your background fades away, and then all of a sudden, the sound as anybody who's listened or watched my show for a long time knows I'm a huge fan of game audio, the only way I can describe it when you're using noise canceling is it's almost like going from standard def to high def audio. Now all of a sudden the game audio is so crisp and clear because the noise canceling is taking out the garbage truck down the road, or the air conditioner, or the fan, or what have you. It's taking all those things out so it really allows the game to shine. Is that what you find out as well?
Mehul Trivedi: Absolutely. This was an interesting one, because we thought about this when we started and really asked ourselves, "Do you need noise cancellation?" Right? We wanted to make sure it wasn't a situation where we're a hammer and the world's a nail, right? But as you dig into it, you run into something similar. What we see more and more, the value of noise cancellation for folks that are traveling, your normal standpoint, it's not necessarily, "Oh, block out the outside world because the outside world's no good." It's you want your content to shine, right? You want to be able to hear all that richness and depth of your music no matter where you are. So it's a neutralization option for all these other things that will color your music.
Now when you translate that to gaming, it starts to make a lot of sense which is, when you're gaming, you want the game audio, right? That's how you get your edge, which is the ability to hear the footsteps off in the corner, right? A window breaking off on the side, and all that detail becomes really important. That detail will get lost if you're hearing the air conditioner kick on, or something outside, or the garbage truck that's rumbling by. So we realized that ended up being a very similar tool. How do we create, what we call the jet black canvas, to rebuild the world? And with gaming [crosstalk 01:06:30] the subtly is actually even more critical, because it's the competitive edge.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. That's a perfect way to describe it, I mean you're the engineers over there, so I'll let you guys talk about that. But the other thing I loved about this headset was you talked about the removable mic, and the reason it's removable is because, and I'm just showing it right here, the reason it's removable is because people aren't gaming all the time. And I know a lot of people think I game all the time, but I don't. I have a real job. But you can use Bluetooth to connect to your mobile phone so that you can take it when you go out of the house, if anybody's going out of the house nowadays, or you're working around the house. So this really is not just a gaming headset. It's a mobile headset and a gaming headset. So you're kind of getting two-for-one. Would that be accurate?
Mehul Trivedi: Absolutely. Right? We wanted it to be not a cost question, but a value question. And what you can invest in a gaming headphone, great. What you can invest in your standard daily driver noise cancellation headphone for travel, for work from home, now if you can get both of those, there's obviously a convenience element. There's also a value element. So we wanted to make sure it was just as good in each one.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. It's fantastic. I'm looking forward. I know that you guys are trying to send me one, but there was some delivery issues. So it'll be here soon, and I'll make sure I'll tweet out some photos of that as well and I'll give you my experiences. Mehul, I really appreciate your time today and coming on the show, and I'd love to have you back on again. I know you guys have a lot of ambitions in the gaming space, so I know hopefully this is just your first attempt, but I'm really excited to see what you guys are going to do in this space, so thanks for your time.
Mehul Trivedi: Yeah. Thank you so much. It was great. Thanks for having me.
Jeff Rubenstein: All right. Now you know all about the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II gaming headset. I do think it's pretty smart taking that really comfortable form factor with really long battery life and adapting for gaming. And I would like that. Mr. Bose, Mrs. Bose-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 01:08:22] I'm going to get a pair of them to try out because they tried sending them to me, but there was a problem with the delivery. So I'm going to try to get a pair and try them out, and then also I'm going to try and get a pair and see if we can give some away, because I like to give things away. [crosstalk 01:08:32] Free Code Friday or whatever, I'll find a way to do that. So anyway, more details-
Jeff Rubenstein: You always match the trends. No matter what's going on in the world, it's like major news events and I'll look at trending topics worldwide and number-
Larry Hryb: Free Code Friday.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... one is Free Code Friday contest or giveaway whatever it says, that hashtag. And then number two is [crosstalk 01:08:52] meteor explodes.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 01:08:52] Yes. Twitter. Well, people like to have some fun. It's Friday, they want to let some steam off and tell us what they're playing. [crosstalk 01:09:02] Big week this week with those two interviews, so thank you to both of my guests for coming on, especially Tim with breaking that news. So it was such a great-
Jeff Rubenstein: Very cool.
Larry Hryb: ... great to see him. We're going to come back next week. Do we have anything else to go over, Jeff? Because otherwise, I feel like we're going to wrap up the show here. We've been going long. Phew.
Jeff Rubenstein: Let's play some Firefight, Larry.
Larry Hryb: Let's play some Firefight. I like that idea. By the way, we're still trying to get some crossplay going with our friends over at PlayStation 4 on Apex, Sid-
Jeff Rubenstein: Sid.
Larry Hryb: Sid Shuman. You're on notice.
Jeff Rubenstein: But we're going to be on the same team as them. We're not going to play competitive-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 01:09:37] Oh, I know.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 01:09:37] It's great to see the crossplay, because it's-
Larry Hryb: He never responded to me though.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... [crosstalk 01:09:38] cool, did you see? We teamed up. I got a win. Teamed up with some PlayStation folks. It was me and my daughter on X-Box. You know what? I think we're advancing... Look, console wars suck. All right? There's good people that are fans of lots of stuff.
Larry Hryb: To quote Phil, "When everybody plays, everybody wins." So that's the most important thing, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: I fully agree, so looking forward. Sid, though, make some time. It's not like you're launching a console or anything. [crosstalk 01:10:08] You can play with us.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. What's he doing over there? Jeez. Not even responding to me. All right, gang. We're going to wrap it up. We'll be back next week, we got some more reviews. Actually, I think next week, I'm going to have an interview that is just out of this world next week. That's all I'm going to say. Okay? Out of this world.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk 01:10:24] Is it the octopus? Is it the octopus?
Larry Hryb: You know what? It is not. But I feel like I need to book someone from that show, obviously. I would love to get the octopus on, and put you and the octopus side by side so he or she, I think it's a she, can talk to you. And you can bond with it and you're just going to start sprinkling things and eating.
Jeff Rubenstein: Sit right here on my grill.
Larry Hryb: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Okay, gang, if you want to reach out to us on social media, you probably know how to find me, @majornelson, you can find Jeff @jeffrubenstein. Follow X-Box Wire for all the latest information, majornelson.com will have all your game releases up there, all the sales, all the news, everything that's happening. Anything else you want to say before we go, Jeff?
Jeff Rubenstein: I can't believe we're only three-and-a-half weeks away from launch.
Larry Hryb: And next week when we do the show, we'll be two-and-a-half weeks away from launch. So there's the tote board right there. All right, gang. We'll see everybody next week. I look forward to playing with you online, and thanks for listening. Bye-bye, everybody.
Jeff Rubenstein: Have a good weekend.