Larry Hryb: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Showtime, here we go. What do you think? Should we bring him in? Okay. There he is. Oh, he's practicing his YouTube thumbnail. We did that last week and nobody commented about the thumbnail.
Jeff Rubenstein: But they clicked. We were joking because if you look at the thumbnail for the YouTube video last week, it was ads. Off camera, we were having a conversation that that's like every, like YouTube has to have someone reacting and they're either like, "Ugh, I can't believe whatever", or "I'm quitting YouTube" or "You wouldn't believe." And so we did it.
Larry Hryb: You know, I'm going to end up be quitting YouTube one day when I show up and I don't have any makeup on and my hair's not done.
Jeff Rubenstein: You're wearing makeup today?
Larry Hryb: That's every apology video you ever see, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, yeah. Yes, exactly. I'm going to do something real this week.
Larry Hryb: Right. This is real every week here with Jeff and I. Jeff, good to see you.
Jeff Rubenstein: Thank you.
Larry Hryb: We are recording this in midweek. We've got a lot going on here in the United States at least. We have a new administration, that was just sworn in recently this week. It's been a crazy week here in the US but looking forward to seeing what happens.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm looking forward to sleeping and not having to worry about, like not having to think about politics. That'll be nice. Not having to worry that-
Larry Hryb: Having to pull your politics news instead of being pushed at you, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Exactly. Not, "He said what?" And then we can just talk about video games and vote every four years, two years, whatever.
Larry Hryb: I've changed a few things up. I've been playing, you can't even see it on my screen, but I have been playing, which is out this week, Hitman.
Jeff Rubenstein: Tell me about it. I've never played a Hitman. So I don't know what to expect. I just know that I tend to play stealth games where I try. I try to be stealthy. It goes to hell and I hope I can shoot my way out. How does this work?
Larry Hryb: Well, I've not played all of them. But in this one, I've played a couple levels and it can be that if you want it to be. We have an interview with someone from the IO Interactive team up later in the show. We'll talk a little bit more about that. But it's a lot of fun because this is Hitman one, this is two, this is three. I mean, this is a really, really great experience.
Jeff Rubenstein: I was reading, it's actually pretty interesting if you've played Hitman one or two on Xbox One. It not only just automatically bring your progress into Hitman 3, if you're playing on next-gen, but then also it will pop the achievements, if you had gotten... It's almost like less of a sequel and more of like an extension of the Hitman oeuvre. And so it seems really interesting. I've never played it, but the ratings are great. And so I think I shall.
Larry Hryb: And of course the game leverage is smart delivery and allowing you, if you buy it now in your Xbox One. If you get a Series X or S in the future, you'll get the best version for whatever hardware you're on. That's kind of what I'm playing this week Jeff.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's good.
Larry Hryb: My earphones are being a little weird today.
Jeff Rubenstein: Sorry. Also, can you button up that shirt this is a family podcast here?
Larry Hryb: Am I a little too pizza parlor?
Jeff Rubenstein: It's all the way down. Yes, exactly. So I finally, I think you'll be proud. I beat Immortals Fenyx Rising.
Larry Hryb: I love that.
Jeff Rubenstein: And you know what? One of the best games I played in the last year for sure.
Larry Hryb: I feel really good because that's one that I got behind early before anybody else was really pushing it. And I was like, "You got to play this, you got to play this, you got to play this." So I feel pretty darn good about that. I got to tell you.
Jeff Rubenstein: You're influencing the influencers, Larry. You're America's first influencer and you influenced me, because he kept telling me how good it was. And you know what? You were right. I loved it. Start to finish just really enjoyed it, even went back after I... You could do a new game plus. And they're adding work content. There was a season pass, which most of it hasn't come out. They was sort of a new area, that's near where you first start the game. That sort of thing.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that popped up. A friend of ours is playing it, [Blaine 00:04:09] and he was playing it. He and I, we were in a Teams call and he's like, "I don't know where to go." And I said, "Show me." And I showed him my map. And he's like, "Well, I'm in this area down here." And I looked, I was like, "Oh, this is a new area." There's something going on. I got to go back and play this.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I think that's like a super extended sort of a race, like a steeplechase, if you will.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Jeff Rubenstein: Like an obstacle course and you have to make it in a certain amount of time. And apparently it's the most challenging one yet. But I was reading some briefs on some of the future DLC stuff that seemed to be like much different. Anyway, I'll keep an eye out for it, I'm sure we'll be talking about it.
Larry Hryb: Did you recognize some of the music by the way in Immortals Fenyx Rising? I meant to bring this up to you.
Jeff Rubenstein: No. Should I have?
Larry Hryb: Yeah. It's Gareth Coker. Who does all the Ori's?
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh! those are phenomenal. Those soundtracks are constantly on play here in the house. Along with the Mandalorian one.
Larry Hryb: They are?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. My daughter loves it. She's more musical than I am. I'm just listening to-
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk 00:05:02].
Jeff Rubenstein: She does what?
Larry Hryb: Nothing gets you relaxed like that soundtrack.
Jeff Rubenstein: Or the Sandworm track. Because we all heard it a lot, because we died a lot on Sandworm.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: Can't believe that was less than an year ago, by the way. Gareth Coker, I believe also doing Halo Infinite.
Larry Hryb: Was he?
Jeff Rubenstein: He was announced. I believe that's the case. I'll look it up to make sure that I'm not just making that up, but I could swear that I heard that that was the case. So I'm a big Gareth Coker fan.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing what they're going to do there. But yeah, Gareth is great. I've had him on the show before, I should get them on again and we can talk about whatever, I mean he's working on stuff all the time. Maybe I'll just [crosstalk 00:05:41].
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I'm looking at Halo Waypoint. They even have one of the tracks that was there called Set a Fire in Your Heart over on Halo Waypoint. But yeah, he's, I don't know if he's the composer or just a composer. But anyway, everything Gareth Coker does that's awesome. And you can check Gareth Coker Halo to search for that, you'll end up on Halo Waypoint in short order and hear what he's working on.
Larry Hryb: I'm trying to remember, like all the times I've been to your house and I haven't been inside it and over a year. I just, I don't remember any ambient music playing.
Jeff Rubenstein: I mean,-
Larry Hryb: I just remember going in walking past that huge Grecian fountain that you have in the foyer.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes.
Larry Hryb: And then past the winding Scarface staircases.
Jeff Rubenstein: The spiral staircase, of course.
Larry Hryb: The Scarface staircases. I don't remember hearing any music in there.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes. Say hello to my watch. Watch your step. I'd sprayed the first house we looked at when we moved here. So we didn't really know the area that well.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Jeff Rubenstein: And we ended up the one place we looked at was into your campus. It actually was built like a courtyard style. It was like a square. And in the middle, there was like a little fountain and I was like, "That is crazy." Like the rest of the house, we didn't really like, but I almost wanted it just for that.
Larry Hryb: Why do you say it's crazy? Because, I mean, I don't know how big that fountain was.
Jeff Rubenstein: A fountain in the house. I grew up in a row house in Philly. I mean, I mostly lived in effectively row houses my whole life. That just makes sense, it's just weird to not have someone on both sides of you.
Larry Hryb: I have a fountain.
Jeff Rubenstein: You have a fountain?
Larry Hryb: Yes.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's the difference between me and Major Nelson?
Larry Hryb: It's not like 10 feet wide. It's like just this little. It looks like a glorified bird bath.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's like Trevi Fountain, but bigger.
Larry Hryb: I do have to clean the coins out. The kids come by and throw those coins in, I'll tell you.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's half of your income right there. You got to declare that on taxes.
Larry Hryb: Oh boy.
Jeff Rubenstein: So, just be careful. Let me talk about another game.
Larry Hryb: Let's talk about another game, please.
Jeff Rubenstein: So I finished Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which I think I talked about last week.
Larry Hryb: You said another game, not that game. You keep going on about that game.
Jeff Rubenstein: And I finished Immortals. So those are two major game. I've really played enough to beat huge games, like in a row. Assassin's Creed and Watchdogs.
Larry Hryb: Hashtag, hit after hit.
Jeff Rubenstein: Right. But all games that take a minimum of 30 hours, maybe 40 hours to beat the game. So I was like, "Let me play some indies, let me play something that I can beat in five hours. And that game this weekend was Carto, for me. So I've read something about it, had Carto caught my eyes. I like maps. I'm a map nerd.
Larry Hryb: Oh I am too.
Jeff Rubenstein: I know you are. And so you might like this. This is why we're talking about it. So, basically the conceit of this game, it's in Xbox Game Pass, is that you can hit the Y button and it zooms out to the map. The map of that you go to is actually manipulatable. You can rotate pieces and move it around. And effectively, the entire game is like, "Okay, you need to get from here to there." You don't walk from here to there necessarily. You might just move the piece you're in to make it fit. And there's 10 chapters and-
Larry Hryb: I'm interested in this.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... of corse they get more complicated. The puzzles are, some of this you have to think about it, but they're not like super stompers. I never had to go to YouTube, I was close, once or twice. Because I feel smart. It was just a durable game. And someone that I had worked with back in my Sony days, Nick Suttner, he used to co-host the PlayStation Blogcast with me back in the day.
Larry Hryb: Where's Nick?
Jeff Rubenstein: He was the writer for this game.
Larry Hryb: Oh! Good for him.
Jeff Rubenstein: Saw him in the credits. I know he's not watching but, great job Nick and team. So really fun. I'm going to sneeze. I apologize. It's going to happen. I'm just going to sneeze-
Larry Hryb: You can't sneeze in there, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Here, perhaps.
Larry Hryb: While you're doing that, I'm going to go over here and try to find Carto, which as Jeff said, it's in Game Pass. So if you go into your my games and apps and then go into see all, and you go down a full library and over to Xbox Game Pass, then you'll see it in here. So I'm going to see Carto. Carto, here it is.
Jeff Rubenstein: Carto. Yeah. And like, I mean, there's a story there. It's very heartwarming. I'm generally not the heartwarming sort. And that's fine if you don't care about it, then just skip through it. And just enjoy the map. So I don't know. I'm enough of a map nerd that after I beat Yakuza: Like a Dragon, I actually figured out where in Yokohama, the game is set.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Jeff Rubenstein: And I found it and now I want to go, that's the plan.
Larry Hryb: And then you pinned it as a safe place.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, of course. Yeah, I dropped a pin. Exactly.
Larry Hryb: How came you didn't tell me about this? You know I'm a map nerd? I thought we've-
Jeff Rubenstein: Because I wanted to play through it first. So I played it over the weekend and I haven't really talked to you since. We played Apex last night,
Larry Hryb: Being a map nerd is so much easier or less interesting now because you've got Google Maps and Bing Maps. You could zoom in and street view and everything else.
Jeff Rubenstein: That makes it more fun to go-
Larry Hryb: I know.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... and I had to look and I could see it.
Larry Hryb: Fair point. I guess I just-
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't own a single map.
Larry Hryb: Well, nobody does. I mean, our kids are never going to know what a map is. It's all going to be on a phone or a device, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: That's a map. It's not going to be written on vellum or on scroll. And they're not going to point their astrolabe at the third star to the left and go on until morning.
Larry Hryb: So what you're telling me is I shouldn't be out in the backyard behind the fountain with my daughter and a sextant?
Jeff Rubenstein: You have... Look that up, it's nothing dirty. You got bears out back there, coyotes.
Larry Hryb: We have coyotes.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. You should keep an eye on her, all right. They pick the small one. Where you looking for one right now?
Larry Hryb: I'm looking out of the window. I look right out onto it. They walk right by here all the time, and my daughter's terrified of them. But let's keep getting back-
Jeff Rubenstein: She should be, it's called self preservation. Good job.
Larry Hryb: Well, do you remember the video I sent you?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes.
Larry Hryb: With the-
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, yeah. Of your night view. They just walk-
Larry Hryb: There was one walking down the street with the chicken in its mouth, in the middle of the day.
Jeff Rubenstein: Where'd they get the chicken from? It's a good question.
Larry Hryb: Oh, I know exactly where they got it from down the street.
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, you got neighbors with chickens that wake you up at four in the morning.
Larry Hryb: No, no, no, no, no, but it's the only guy in town with chickens. All right, let's talk about something else.
Jeff Rubenstein: All right. So Hitman 3, as we know, it launched this week. It's the big game launch of the week. But we've got some more stuff coming up real soon. And one of the things we're looking at that we're pretty excited about next week is The Medium. So we had a hands-on write up, Will Tuttle, good friend. Good friend of the podcast, good friend of mine.
Larry Hryb: He's a good friend of the show.
Jeff Rubenstein: And a great writer. He used to write for IGN and GameSpot and some other places. Anyway, so he got hands-on, he actually told me he beat the game and really enjoyed it. And so by the time we talk next week, all of you will be able to play.
Larry Hryb: And the game's [inaudible 00:12:37] as Jeff said.
Jeff Rubenstein: A thing to keep in mind, this is in Xbox Series S and X exclusive. And so you can only play it on next-gen Xbox console or on PC because it does some really cool stuff. And we've had articles about how they've tackled that and how they're utilizing the hardware. The good few people at blue routine looks like you've got the game right there.
Larry Hryb: I was just going to say, we also got to talk about our way out experience.
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh yeah. We talked about it last week. We have to beat it is what we need to do. I think we would've done it last night, you've got The Medium right there.
Larry Hryb: There it is. [crosstalk 00:13:17]
Jeff Rubenstein: I hear it's more atmospheric. Well, yeah. It probably won't unless you've got some like unlocking-
Larry Hryb: There we go.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. It's telling you're too early, I think that's what it probably says right there.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: But anyway, that comes out on the 28th. Also, you know I couldn't go more than about 10 minutes without talking about Yakuza.
Larry Hryb: Again.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yakuza 3, 4 and 5 Remastered are coming out on on Xbox Game Pass for PC, for Xbox consoles and for the cloud.
Larry Hryb: That is the FTC on the line, they're pretty convinced that you're an affiliate of the Yakuza right now.
Jeff Rubenstein: So I was reading the reviews for those, about a hundred hours worth of Yakuza there. And then Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, which sort of wraps up Kazuma Kiryu sort of a song, it's called The Song of Life. His story will be coming down the line in the Spring. So there's those. And then Donut County, which I had a really good time with a couple of years ago. That's just a fun little game.
Larry Hryb: You get a smile when you hear the name Donut County.
Jeff Rubenstein: And all you do is you basically, you move a hole around and things fall into the hole. There's some puzzle-
Larry Hryb: Wait a minute, there's no donuts?
Jeff Rubenstein: I think there might be. It's not real life. You don't get to eat the donuts.
Larry Hryb: Oh!
Jeff Rubenstein: There's someone on our team where we bought donuts. It was the birthday of Sean, Sean's birthday. I bought him a dozen donuts from, like the Lard Lab, there's like the giant donut in LA.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: I didn't say it. I ordered him donuts from there. I could go for a donut. We always do this right before lunch, we never learned.
Larry Hryb: We never learned.
Jeff Rubenstein: We never learned. So anyway, Donut County is available. On PC, Control. Control had been on consoles, it's now out on PC. Desperados III. I'm not familiar with it, but I'm assuming if you're looking to scratch that Red Dead itch or you've-
Larry Hryb: If you like one and two, then we've got your three.
Jeff Rubenstein: Or if you really love Antonio Banderas. Did you ever see Desperado with Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek?
Larry Hryb: Yep.
Jeff Rubenstein: Back in the day, a Robert Rodriguez classic.
Larry Hryb: That is quite a deep cut there.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's true. Although, Robert Rodriguez directed what may have been the best episode of the Mandalorian this year.
Larry Hryb: Which one was it? No spoilers.
Jeff Rubenstein: It was the third to the last one. There's no way to really talk about it without spoiling it. It's very action heavy episode and it was just a really good one. Anyways, a lot of them were action heavy this year.
Larry Hryb: I forgot which one that was.
Jeff Rubenstein: It was the one where-
Larry Hryb: With the fuel truck?
Jeff Rubenstein: It was the one right before that. That was also a great episode. It's the one where they go to a planet and where the child, actually I can not spoil that.
Larry Hryb: Oh, I know which one you're talking about.
Jeff Rubenstein: They go to the planet, he puts the child on the rock. That one.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And then hilarity does not ensue.
Jeff Rubenstein: No, but there's some really cool moments and everything's a spoiler. My brother came over, he comes over. he's the only person really we see anymore. Basically just to watch our Disney plus. And so he blew through the whole season on Monday, I want to say. I was watching it, anyway Robert Rodriguez, Desperado. We got a long ways off track here Larry. Anyways some great games coming to Xbox Game Pass next week.
Larry Hryb: Yep.
Jeff Rubenstein: The Medium, again. A few other things just to talk about out this week, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. It's actually a remaster or remake of a game that came out last gen. And I'm a big fan. I actually have all of the Scott Pilgrim-
Larry Hryb: Are you a Scott Pilgrim fan boy?
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, so when the game came out, there's six of them. I could only reach four. I got into it because knew I was going to be meeting. So Edgar Wright directed the movie and the game came out around that time. The comics had been going, and that was right around the final book came out and I got to meet Edgar Wright and Bryan Lee O'Malley who wrote them. And so, and I like, beat 'em ups, like old school beat 'em ups, like Streets of Rage. Which this is just an excellent beat 'em up. The movie happens to be really funny. I got to go to the premiere of the movie that year. Actually, I ended up meeting some people from Xbox. It may have spun things up that year.
Larry Hryb: Was that Comic-Con?
Jeff Rubenstein: That was Comic-Con that year. I think we might've ran into each other that year as well, now that I'm thinking about it.
Larry Hryb: I think you are right.
Jeff Rubenstein: That would have been like 20-
Larry Hryb: 12. 11
Jeff Rubenstein: 11. Maybe 11.
Larry Hryb: I don't know.
Jeff Rubenstein: Maybe 11. Anyway, in that-
Larry Hryb: Either way you look at it, it's 10 years ago.
Jeff Rubenstein: It was 2010. It was about 10 and a half years ago. Anyway, the complete edition is out now on Xbox One, and Series X and Series S. It's a fun beat 'em up multiplayer game. Fuser, that was a game that sort of slid in a little bit under the radar, a music game made by Harmonix.
Larry Hryb: Yep. I tried a little bit of it.
Jeff Rubenstein: Published by NCSOFT.
Larry Hryb: I had my wheels of steel.
Jeff Rubenstein: You did? And heard good things. Well, if you've heard good things about it and you haven't had a chance to play, there's a demo out now. And so you should definitely try that out. There's a lot of good songs in there from Dua Lipa. Of course, you've got Warren G and Nate Dogg, Regulate. Cardi B, Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish. There's a lot of stuff just right there in that demo. So you can give it a shot, see if it's for you.
Larry Hryb: You got to mix things together.
Jeff Rubenstein: I've just heard excellent things about it. And then last thing, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. This is a game that we showed last summer. I want to say as a game coming to Xbox. Yeah, it was at the Xbox Game Showcase last July. And so they gave an update over on Xbox Wire just a couple of days ago. Basically what they said is the exact release date of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 is yet to be announced, but you can be confident the game will come to Xbox Game Pass on day one. Also, they are going to support ray tracing on Series X and Series S.
Larry Hryb: Yes, that's nice.
Jeff Rubenstein: And they're really pleased how it's coming together. But they don't want to announce a release date until they're ready to and I respect that. So good stuff from the good folks over at GSC Game World. And of course, here on the show and on Xbox Wire, we'll continue to talk about it as there is more to share.
Larry Hryb: We got a lot.
Jeff Rubenstein: So good things aligned, good things next week, good things later.
Larry Hryb: Well, let's talk about now. I mean, I've got this interview with Hitman. So do you want to tee that up?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. So it's funny, you were telling me you were doing an interview with somebody named Forest Large on Hitman. And I recall the name because we met her, she worked on Kalimba.
Larry Hryb: She was in campus.
Jeff Rubenstein: Which was an excellent an ID Xbox game. That is a really fun puzzle game and it's cool. Because it really, when it comes down to it, Hitman is something of a puzzle game.
Larry Hryb: It's actually referred to that in the interview.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, that's awesome. So why don't we cut to it Forest Large from IO Interactive.
Larry Hryb: Hitman 3 is now available and I'm excited to talk to, here she is, Forest Swartout Large. You are the Executive Producer there at IO Interactive. Forest, great to see you. Thank you for joining me.
Forest Swartout...: Thank you so much for having me. It's a real pleasure to talk with you today.
Larry Hryb: Well, first of all, I have to congratulate you on the launch. I mean, launching a game is no easy feat and launching it in the pandemic is an extra difficult feat. So congratulations. I've got Hitman 3 here. Tell us a little bit about Hitman 3 and what people can expect it. I mean, there's a lot of people playing it right now, but why don't we queue people up to get them started?
Forest Swartout...: Well, this is Hitman 3 and it is a closure on the trilogy, closure on the storyline. In this outing we have six different missions, five different sandboxes and an epilogue mission at the end. It's a dark journey. Totally, it's very different. Story-Wise, we're really trying to bring the story into the game play experience. So yeah, Hitman 3.
Larry Hryb: Tell us a little bit about the gameplay, because the gameplay, is there seven or eight Hitman games out? I mean, it's been an incredible journey. But tell us a little bit about the gameplay, because it's very interesting, it's very unique. You can't just jump in. Like, I made the mistake when I fired up the game, I just jumped in, and I've played a lot of Hitman's. So I jumped in and I start shooting and things didn't really go well, it was mission over pretty quick. But there's a lot of planning that you kind of need to put into it, really a lot of thought, right? This is not your average. It's not stealth, or would you say this stealth? You tell me.
Forest Swartout...: I would call it a stealth puzzle game. It's a game where patient players are highly rewarded. It's a game where you need to observe, where you need to experiment, where you need to hopefully be creative as a player. And you have this wonderful sandbox within which to play. So obviously you have mission objectives, but you have all kinds of ways that you can experiment and play within the sandbox. And we support freedom of approach. So if players want to go hard stealth, suit only, that's cool. If they want to go social stealth and really focused on disguise gameplay, that's cool. We have in-game environmental puzzles that we really spend a lot of effort on and hope that players enjoy. And if you really want to be brave and go guns blazing, you can, but I really only recommend that approach for extremely skilled players who know how to get themselves out of tricky situations.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Like I said, I've had a chance to play it for a few days here, just as it comes out. There's a lot going on here. I mean, the environment's very rich, you got to really look at everything. Tell us about some of the new mechanics that we have it within Hitman 3.
Forest Swartout...: Yeah. So we have a camera that we've introduced with this outing. The camera is also backwards compatible. So you can take camera into Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2 as well. But with the camera, we're hoping to encourage players to engage with the world in a more tactile way. We're using the camera in missions. Players can also just take it out and play with it as they want in the missions. So that's a fun new element, I would say.
Larry Hryb: You said something there that we have to dig in a little bit on, there's the backwards compatibility thing. And this is not like back and back with the game. This is really, you can import your previous games in here. Tell us a little bit about that, how it works and what that means to players.
Forest Swartout...: So if you own Hitman 1 and Hitman 2, you can bring it into the executable of Hitman 3. We have the Glacier 2 engine, so we're always working on the renderer, we're always working to improve the audio experience and so on and so forth. So all of those new bells and whistles are applied to Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2. Another actually, new element that we're introducing with Hitman 3 is additional ways to celebrate, different play styles. I'm not going to share what those different styles are. We're hoping that players will discover them for themselves. But those play styles will also be celebrated in there, in Hitman 2016 and Hitman 2, within the Hitman 3 executable.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's really great to see as it's just the continuation. Where does this fall in the timeline of all the Hitman's as a were? I mean, does it really end or is it of one of those prequel things we have to stop and think about it? Tell me about that.
Forest Swartout...: Actually, our main writer, Michael, I think him and a number of the core fans are probably the ones who have all of the details about the full lore and everything. As far as this trilogy goes we are respecting the lore, but if you can't be bothered to study all of the details, it's okay.
Larry Hryb: There will be no test. It's not necessary to go in completely schooled up on what's going on. You mentioned the fact that all of the locations, and I've kind of have some information here, but I mean, there's quite a few locations here. The new locations, Dubai, and that's one of the levels I was at. Dartmoor, Berlin, Mendoza, and there's a couple of others as well. But these are really very different. It's not like you just took some urban environment and copy paste, copy paste, and put new lighting on. These are very different environments. Aren't they?
Forest Swartout...: Definitely, I mean, with every environment, we always try to surprise players, offer something fresh and new. A location, a tone, an experience, a feeling that players maybe haven't felt before in previous locations. The other thing is that we put a lot of energy into twisting or offering a new game play mechanic with every mission.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Forest Swartout...: And again, I don't want to spoil it. But oftentimes we get asked about, "What features are you introducing?" And with Hitman 3, we really wanted each mission to just feel completely like we were offering something entirely new. And I think we've achieved that.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's what I noticed. At least, I was in the Dubai level at the beginning and there was a lot of new mechanics in there, and certainly the lighting and the environment and the characters and the story and there's a lot going on there. I will say, that I tend to get a little bit of an itchy finger. So I have to replay quite a few missions because I maybe literally jumped the gun a little too early in a few parts of it. But it's interesting, you call it, the stealth puzzle game, because that's exactly what it is. You really need to stop and take your time and look at all of these environments and what you can do. And whether you'd want to become one of these, kind of assimilate into the environment. Earlier on, we saw where the Agent became a bartender and was kind of listening in on some things there like that. And again, I don't want to give too much away. But there's a lot of different ways, with Hitman, that you can kind of approach it. There's not one critical path, right? There really isn't at all. It's a different type of gameplay, isn't it?
Forest Swartout...: So for each, actually that's not true. For most of our mission we have three, what we call mission stories. So these are three guide mission stories where if players don't necessarily want to invest the time to discover all of the different routes and paths and ways of completing the objectives, they can follow the mission stories. Of course, they have to be uncovered and then you follow them. But actually, each main mission has between, I would say six and a dozen mission stories. So only three are guided.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Forest Swartout...: But there was a whole bunch more ways that players... And of course, there's systemics as well. So if a player just wants sniper target or like a generic set piece kill or something like that. But we actually have between six and a dozen story ways of taking out the target.
Larry Hryb: As I was going through the game, there was a lot going on. Certainly, there's a variety of gadgets and things you can use, again, I don't want to give away too much. But trying to figure out and puzzle how to do it is really, that's the game. I noticed there's also, we've got some difficulty levels. Tell us a little bit about the difficulty levels and what does that mean?
Forest Swartout...: So we have three different difficulty levels in Hitman. And we do have systemic changes from the... Basically, it's a hard, normal, and easy. So we might have more security cameras on hard, we might have more enforcers on hard. But we really try to make sure that it's a systemic difficulty change so that players, whatever difficulty they've chosen, they're able to read the game and know what to expect of the behavior of the game systems, but also of the AI.
Larry Hryb: Now Forest, you mentioned that it wasn't necessary to know all of the lore going into Hitman 3 and we talked about the importing. But if people are new to the Hitman franchise, should they go back and play one and two or some of the previous ones? Are you okay with them jumping in? If they are just jumping in and they're new to it, if you could give us a couple of tips on how we should think about it.
Forest Swartout...: Well, if you are truly new, I would definitely recommend playing the tutorial and really play the tutorial. And then give a mission a try. If a player feels frustrated you can always go back to the tutorial. As far as jumping straight into Hitman 3, a new player would be offered the tutorial, which is the ICA Training Facility. And then you could go into, you mentioned Dubai, you could go in there. We did want to make the experience not too punishing if players wanted to go tutorial Dubai. But I would encourage all new players to start from Hitman 2016 and play through in continuity order and follow the campaign.
Larry Hryb: That's a great tip. You talked about the training. I did the training the other day and you're right, it's tremendously helpful. And it's not just like a singular training mission, it is, but you can actually go back and decide to play it a few different ways, which again, is Hitman. That's what it's telling you exactly what to do. It's like, "Okay, you can go back into it. Do you want to try something else, maybe a different approach." And I did like that. I could go in there and I had this contained sandbox to play around with it and understand how to use the environment to get my to get my target. Let's just say that.
Forest Swartout...: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: So it's a lot of fun there. Well, I really appreciate your time Forest. Congratulations on launching the game. As I said, at the top of the interview, launching a game in a pandemic is ridiculously challenging. You guys have done it. I know I've some of their reviews and people are very excited about the game. Any last thoughts before I let you go?
Forest Swartout...: Oh gosh. Well, I don't know. I really hope that players will pick up this game and love it as much as we do.
Larry Hryb: Well, that's fantastic. Forest Swartout Large, the Executive Producer for IO Interactive. Hitman 3 now available on Xbox. Appreciate your time for us. Have a great day and stay safe.
Forest Swartout...: Thank you. You too.
Jeff Rubenstein: Thanks so much Forest and Larry, of course. That is Hitman 3, it is out this week. It's getting phenomenal reviews. This is going to be the one. I was talking to one of my co-workers and he said that, "You don't need to have played Hitman 1 and 2 previously. And the fact that you can bring them in and I hadn't. But I'm a little bit caught up in the hype as I am prone to do. So I'm going to give that one a go and we can talk about it.
Larry Hryb: The one thing that was nice is that, because using quick resume, it's a nice game that you can just kind of pick up, play for a little bit. And I was like, I think I did one mission and it took me like a day and a half. Not that it was that long, but I would stop it and go work and come back and wait for you to join the conference call, because you were late. And I'd be playing it and then, just keep going, did you see how I got that in there.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: It's fun to have that nice single-player experience again, right? We've always got tons of multiplayer stuff, but just to be able to jump in, work on it for like 15 minutes, pause it and come back later is great.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, I'm hearing the levels are just like amazing, that the first level is incredibly vertical. And that there's just hugely expansive worlds-
Larry Hryb: Check it out.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... and it's visually impressive especially on next-gen consoles. So I'll be checking it out and we'll compare notes.
Larry Hryb: Well I look forward to it.
Jeff Rubenstein: Maybe I'll get hooked.
Larry Hryb: Are we selling these by the way. Are we selling these masks?
Jeff Rubenstein: Are we? I don't have that.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. This is a mask I got, when we were doing the episode of Inside Xbox.
Jeff Rubenstein: Did you give that one to me? We do sell masks. But I haven't seen that one.
Larry Hryb: This is one of my favorite ones, because it's just so lightweight. And it's the only one that kind of has that little metal thing at the top to stop my glasses from falling.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. You want the clip there. Because masks even with getting the vaccine, masks are going to still be important. So I'm just going to go to gear.xbox.com.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, and see what they have there.
Jeff Rubenstein: And we'll see what we've got there. There are always refreshing stuff.
Larry Hryb: Do you have a favorite mask?
Jeff Rubenstein: I do. I have a Gators mask. I donated to the University of Florida funds and I was part of the Gators wear masks initiative. It's just a really good fitting mask. Look at that, look how big that nose is. And so a lot of the masks are made for a less nasally blessed person as myself.
Larry Hryb: A less well and out face?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. And so they'll end up pulling my ears forward, these are big enough and adjustable enough that it doesn't hurt my ears. I don't-
Larry Hryb: gear.xbox.com
Jeff Rubenstein: ... see anything on there. So I'm going to have to look. I found this-
Larry Hryb: We've got to [crosstalk 00:35:59] from the gear store, they're working on some cool stuff.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. Usually as we get into summer, they're usually really planning a lot of those things. So yeah. Well, will have to-
Larry Hryb: Summer, its not even the end of January. I love your style. It's just looking right forward.
Jeff Rubenstein: The fashion industry, my wife works in fashion, they're working on summer like 2022 or 23.
Larry Hryb: What's the hot color Jeffrey?
Jeff Rubenstein: I can't tell you that Larry, that's a trade secret. Just like you can't go to her work at tell her what's coming out in 2023.
Larry Hryb: Fair enough.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, there is a mask, the meta threads Xbox cloth face mask, I have two of those that is, if you just type an Xbox mask, it's the first reply. And it is a cool looking mask, it's subtle, has the [Ulman 00:36:43] and a couple of stripes. I haven't seen the one you've got and I kind of like it.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, like I said, it was a production one. So I think it's got the different colors on it, the different tone on top.
Jeff Rubenstein: It looks like, I don't think that I have that controller. It was an early-
Larry Hryb: One of those controller we had.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. I'd have to rattle through some stuff here, which I won't do while we're on the air. But it was a really nice controller It was sort of like bold.
Larry Hryb: I don't wear this one out too much because people, once they see the console and they'll see this, they recognize me. So I try to go incognito.
Jeff Rubenstein: I feel like that's been your... You tend to do that anyway. Like when you're not all in the air.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: Sweatshirt, hat.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, they barely recognize me when we meet up, when we used to go out for lunch and everything. "Psst! Jeff and Larry."
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. People are like, "Who's this." Yeah, exactly. You're always just sort of sneaking by. I'm trying to think a good example, that you're in a queue or something you're hiding. Maybe not a queue.
Larry Hryb: In plain sight.
Jeff Rubenstein: In plain sight, like Hitman, actually.
Larry Hryb: Way to bring it back, way bring it back. Nice work. Well done there Jeffrey. Yeah, we've got a couple of big shows coming up for the next few weeks in terms of interviews. We're lining up some great interviews, we're going to get The Medium, we talked about The Medium earlier on in the show. We're going to get them back on. Of course, I had them on six or seven months ago. Jeff, I'll have you do that interview and you can talk to those to that team again, as you said that's-
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm not scared.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, you say that now.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm very scared actually, but I'm going to play it.
Larry Hryb: And then, you know what I think? It feel like with all this conversation with the Yakuza, It feels like we need to do another Yakuza interview. I just want to do it, okay, for you.
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, good. Because I reached out to the RGG team without telling you. And I said, "Hey, you guys do you have any availability to talk Yakuza 3,4,5." Because I talked to them on Twitter, there's lot of Xbox fans who a year ago had never played any of those games and they found them and they loved them.
Larry Hryb: Don't take this pejoratively. I'm going to blame you, this is your doing. You are the influencer.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm trying.
Larry Hryb: You are doing for Hitman what I did with Fenyx Rising.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm just sharing what was really unexpected joy that I've gotten from the world of the-
Larry Hryb: Borderline glee.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... Japanese underground. Oh, there was glee. There were moments in Like a Dragon where I was like, "No way." Anyway, that's your thumbnail. Anyway, we'll leave it at that.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, we've got a lot of big shows coming up with some interviews course to support all of our game releases and some other news coming up there. So we're going to be busy. We're looking forward to doing what we can do for you guys. We've got to stop recording these right before lunch Jeff, because my stomach is growling.
Jeff Rubenstein: I know. We can hear it, Larry.
Larry Hryb: I'm sorry about that. Anyway. All right, before we get going a quick reminder of where you can find us on social. You can find me in Twitter and Instagram @majornelson, @jeffrubenstein. Is that your Instagram as well?
Jeff Rubenstein: It is my Instagram as well. I don't really necessarily promote it. That's like less gaming talk. But you're welcome to pop on there and support it with a like.
Larry Hryb: If you like watching European football, it's one of the five must follow Instagram accounts for European football fans. According to me.
Jeff Rubenstein: The Premier League, they did reach out to me and they sent me a mug. And I was like, "Am I an English Premier League influencer?
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's your dream.
Jeff Rubenstein: It kind of is. So I mean, look it's a little bit of joy that we get.
Larry Hryb: Take it where we can get it. All right. My friend, we'll let you go. We'll see you next week Jeff, have a great day. Do you want to do the thing?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. Well, of course we do ask that if you enjoy what you've been hearing here God help you, but like and subscribe especially on YouTube. Thanks for the comments, by the way. Larry and I were both into the comments on YouTube over the weekend and replying. We do enjoy those. If you put reviews on Apple podcasts or elsewhere, of course we love to see those.
Larry Hryb: Spotify.
Jeff Rubenstein: Feedback is great.
Larry Hryb: You dug up an interesting stat that we haven't even talked about. About the fact that this podcast is like one of the top 22 gaming podcasts. It is the 22nd most popular podcasts in gaming in the world, which is impressive.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, yeah. I found a site and it only looks at a couple of different places, it doesn't look at YouTube. And so there's some popular podcasts that I love that are only on YouTube or on Twitch or something. Like Dropped Frames, wasn't on there. They're huge, good people there. But it was just interesting to see some of that stuff. So either way we thank you for listening, we thank you for making time for us on your weekends-
Larry Hryb: Or week.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... or week. And if there's anything you ever want to see, you want us to talk about. We should have like a viewer mail, Larry. Let me give you something to talk about. What do you think?
Larry Hryb: What I'm trying to do, Jeff and I've been meaning to bring this up to you, is I really want to do a clubhouse with you on the new Clubhouse platform.
Jeff Rubenstein: Does that feel a little bit elite, doesn't it? I mean, we can do it. But I feel like this is like for everybody, like anyone can access this for free in any format they want. You have to be invited to Clubhouse. I'm not against it, but yeah.
Larry Hryb: It's not an or, it's and, Jeffrey.
Jeff Rubenstein: It can be an and, and I'm down with that. All right, I have to go Larry.
Larry Hryb: All right Jeffrey.
Jeff Rubenstein: Unfortunately, I have a meeting. But thanks all for joining us and thanks for having me Larry.
Larry Hryb: All right we'll see you. I'll have you back next week.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'll be here.
Larry Hryb: All right, we'll see you guys later. Bye-bye buddy.
Jeff Rubenstein: Bye-Bye.