Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Larry Hryb: Welcome to the Xbox podcast. If you are new or a returning listener and/or viewer, welcome. This is it the official podcast from Xbox. We drop it every Friday on YouTube, Spotify, Google, Apple podcasts, all your finer podcast services. Anyway, every Friday, we get it new. You can like, subscribe and you can tune in and see not just me, but these three lovely people as well. We've got Jeff over there on your left and Rebecca over there on your right. How are you guys doing?
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm very afraid to make a face because it might be your screen grab for the, you know? The frame for the episode. Because last week, you really-
Larry Hryb: Well-
Jeff Rubenstein: You did me pretty dirty, Larry. I was like-
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. Honestly, both of us. We were both kind of like.
Larry Hryb: Well, Jeff has always, Jeff is very clear about-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk] carefully.
Larry Hryb: He's very clear about thumbnails. And every Friday or Saturday, I'll get a text, "Hey, can we do this better?" So, you want reaction thumbnails because that's what YouTube loves, that's what I gave them. So that's, you asked and I delivered, Jeffrey.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, you know what asked about-
Rebecca Gordius: And we just need to make better face and stuff.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'll try. Well, you know what you asked about? You asked, you, nay, challenged to me...
Larry Hryb: Yes.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... to do the show on a treadmill last week.
Larry Hryb: Are you on a treadmill? Are you? Let's start that up.
Jeff Rubenstein: We're doing it. We're doing it. Here we go.
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, my gosh.
Jeff Rubenstein: I've got it. I've got it. I've got the full treadmill desk thing going.
Larry Hryb: Now, I don't know.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: We can't see it, so we don't know what's going on. But I'm going to trust you on that.
Jeff Rubenstein: You want me to turn the camera?
Larry Hryb: No, no, no. Don't, don't.
Jeff Rubenstein: We can do this. Oh, I'll... you need proof. I've got the receipts.
Larry Hryb: All right, so can you start it now? So at the end of the show, we can kind of give a "You've gone half a mile, 10 miles, a kilometer, 15 feet," whatever.
Jeff Rubenstein: Do you want me? Yeah. Okay. I'm going at it as brisk, 2.1 miles per hour.
Larry Hryb: Okay, well, there you go.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm totally going to fall and land in this TV.
Rebecca Gordius: That's it?
Larry Hryb: Welcome to the show, everybody. It's awesome to see... Rebecca, how are things in New York?
Rebecca Gordius: They're good. I don't think I could fit a treadmill in my apartment, but I'm quite jealous of Jeff's new achievement that he's unlocked here by podcasting while on a treadmill.
Larry Hryb: You don't know this, but he's very dedicated to his workout regime. So, I'm going to make sure that he-
Jeff Rubenstein: You could obviously tell that.
Larry Hryb: Oh, conditioned athlete, huh?
Jeff Rubenstein: It's a-
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, I can tell.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's more like I'm tall, so the weight has a lot of space to distribute itself on, so it helps.
Larry Hryb: We should-
Jeff Rubenstein: But the worst thing was like coming out of COVID where I had stopped going to the gym entirely and people were like, "You look good." And I'm like, "What? Oh, oh, oh." I don't know.
Larry Hryb: You do what you do it. Anyway, you're going to look even better after this show because you're going to have two and a half miles or something like that behind you. Who knows? So, we'll keep going.
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm cramping up, Larry, so let's make the show quick.
Larry Hryb: Let's, we'll go as fast as we can. We're going to start out Rebecca. Rebecca, what are you playing this week? We're going to get games. We got some interviews. But let's talk about what you're playing.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, so this has actually been a really, really busy week for me. I don't know if you heard, but the Minecraft team hosted this little thing called Minecraft Live over the weekend. It's our annual broadcast.
Larry Hryb: Which you were involved with, but not on camera. You were doing a lot of behind the scenes work. So I think, I just want to make sure we point out about that.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, I've been in little video segments in the past when they needed an extra or something. It used to be this big event where we would all come-
Jeff Rubenstein: You were the angry director.
Rebecca Gordius: Yes, I was. I'm good at making the face.
Larry Hryb: Can you give us a little bit of that angry director style?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. I was supposed to be queuing or looking for someone who was running really late. So, I kind of walk into the room, I'm like, "Ah, they're still not here yet." And then I'd walk out really briskly. That was like four years ago.
Anyway, yeah, it used to be this really big fun thing where we would all come together at a studio in a different location, kind of bounced around locations. And then we would basically live broadcast and share all the different news and announcements and updates coming to the show. So, I'll talk more about what we announced at the show later, but that has been sucking up a significant amount of my time, just supporting it from home and behind the scenes, so.
Larry Hryb: It sure has.
Jeff Rubenstein: I hope you and the rest of my team have a vacation coming up, because so much went into that, so many announcements. It was a big deal.
Rebecca Gordius: I think that everyone is taking time this week, but then after that we're back to work because a bunch of the stuff that we announced is releasing later this year, so no rest.
Larry Hryb: You got to get on it.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, they do that part.
Larry Hryb: You got to get on it.
Rebecca Gordius: But I did get the chance to play, I've been playing Back 4 Blood. I told some of my friends after we played last week, the week before. And some of my friends got it through, they have Game Pass, but they play on PC, so I played on my console and we did cross play. It worked really well.
Larry Hryb: Cross platform.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, I think the only struggle we had was they were asking me, "Which button do I or which button is it for this?" And I was like, "It's B." And they're like, "No, it's not."
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't have a B.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, but it was really good. I think that the game auto fills with bots if you don't get a full squad of four, but we found that we did better-
Larry Hryb: You have to have at least two people to get started. You have to have at least two people to get started then it will auto fill the third and the fourth or just the fourth, so.
Rebecca Gordius: Okay. So, I played with one other guy. And we found that we did better with the bots than we did with the players, who matched-made to the game with us.
Larry Hryb: Rot-ror.
Rebecca Gordius: But yeah, I don't know.
Jeff Rubenstein: I think there's some matchmaking etiquette that-
Rebecca Gordius: We should-
Jeff Rubenstein: ... needs to be in place because we've had a lot of the same experiences. And coming with three people, and then a fourth person gets matched beta and that's great. But please, don't run ahead of everybody and then asked to be rezzed or trip the thing that calls in the horde. We played with one person, and he just inevitably, I'm like, "Did you hit the thing?" And he's like, "Yeah, I hit the thing." It never dies.
Larry Hryb: Are you referring to me?
Jeff Rubenstein: No. You did it. I feel like he was doing it on purpose. You learned your lesson, mostly because we just berated you for continuing to crush the gravel shovel.
Larry Hryb: Continuously, continuously.
Jeff Rubenstein: This person just kept doing it, just kept running out ahead and there was a hatch.
Larry Hryb: You know there's a-
Jeff Rubenstein: I've got ammo here. There's health here. And he's like, "Well, I passed it." And I'm like, "You sure did, you sure did."
Larry Hryb: There are some tools you can go ahead and kick him out of the party if you want. Right?
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, I mean, here's the thing. He still was able to-
Larry Hryb: See, I'm ruthless.
Jeff Rubenstein: I don't know. It's an experience. And he wasn't mean. He was just bold, rash even. And I think we eventually got there. And we ended up beating the ship level, which is the first really dramatic level 14, I think. We were able to do it. He went down with the ship, no doubt, that was always going to happen. But we passed it and that was what was important.
Larry Hryb: Okay, and you had fun.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: Awesome.
Jeff Rubenstein: I think it's a great game for... I have not fully beaten Act 1 or Act 2, but I've played all the different parts of different times. Because it's on Game Pass and so many people have it, I just sort of look, every time I sign on in the last week or so, "Oh, someone playing it?" I'll jump in and I found myself just, it's just a great game to have conversations with someone as you're mindlessly kind of just...
Rebecca Gordius: Well, yeah, social game.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... taking out the zeds. Yes.
Larry Hryb: And I can't-
Jeff Rubenstein: I think it's much tougher later, but Act 1, catch up. Catch up with someone you haven't talked to in a while. It's a great platform for that.
Larry Hryb: Did you catch that, Rebecca? Did you catch it?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. Sorry, what?
Larry Hryb: No, did you catch his little Europeanism there? His little zed? Calling them zed? Did you catch that?
Rebecca Gordius: It's that zoid.
Jeff Rubenstein: Zed like zombies. It's like-
Larry Hryb: I understand what it is. I just merely saying is that here in America we call them zombies, so.
Jeff Rubenstein: They're actually called [crosstalk], Larry.
Rebecca Gordius: That's true.
Larry Hryb: Wait-
Jeff Rubenstein: Read your marketing materials.
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, yeah.
Larry Hryb: Well, then okay. So, then you should say the Romeos, if that's the case. Because in the NATO alphabet R, which is written equals Romeo.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, yeah. Okay.
Larry Hryb: Okay, never mind. This is not going to work.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, then it wouldn't it be Zebra? Isn't that what Z is in that alphabet?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, they'd be zebras.
Larry Hryb: Good point. A very good point. Very true.
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: And now that we've completely butchered the NATO alphabet and [crosstalk].
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: And Jeff is still... by the way, he's-
Rebecca Gordius: Neither one of you been playing, yeah.
Larry Hryb: I've been playing. Let me take a look here. I've got Back 4 Blood. Still doing a little bit of Far Cry. I'm still chipping away on Far Cry. That's the, I've got 20 minutes, let me jump in and grab a base. But I finished Procession to Cavalry, which was that game Jeff that you and I were texting about? Have you seen this one, Rebecca?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, I've seen it. It looks pretty cool.
Larry Hryb: It's a point and click kind of game. It actually translates really well to console. It's not very long. There's a lot of puzzles, but depends if you can solve the puzzles. But the music is, I like classical music, so I've been listening to that, but it's a lot of fun. And the writing is really funny, I'll just say that. Download it. If it's a gig, it's not even that. It's really small. It's maybe a gig and a half.
Jeff Rubenstein: It is less than that, yeah. And it's Game Pass, so try it out. I did download it based on your recommendation. I ended up getting hooked into Guardians of the Galaxy, which is coming out relatively soon. I can't talk too much about it. Comes out at the end of the month. But if I look tired, it's when I've traversed 0.17 miles. I'm just really tearing up the track here.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: But also, it's because I was up until about 2:00 in the morning last night finishing Guardians. I can't say too much, but it's something I look forward to talking about it later. It's... I don't want to break any embargoes...
Larry Hryb: Well, I-
Jeff Rubenstein: ... but I'm looking forward to talking more about it.
Larry Hryb: Stay tuned. Now, when you're playing and I guess Rebecca and I and everybody watching and listening wants to know is when you're playing the game, are you on the treadmill? Do you just turn it around?
Jeff Rubenstein: So, certain games are good treadmill games. And so, when you have your controller here, you got to keep your balance. This, especially when you're playing in this mode, I don't have anything to hold on to, I guess, except for my desk.
Larry Hryb: Right.
Jeff Rubenstein: And I found that aiming while you're trying to keep your balance, very difficult. If you've ever even gotten to a show and you're trying to play a first person shooter, usually, you're kind of terrible. Used to sitting I think, when you're when you're playing those games or at least maybe I'm just terrible in general. But I have fallen off of the treadmill trying to play a Yakuza game.
Larry Hryb: Ouch.
Jeff Rubenstein: We stopped first person, but just you're constantly moving the... you're changing your perspective. And your brain starts to really control that character and their perspective. And I don't know I found like it turns off my balance when I do that.
Larry Hryb: Your brain leaves its body and all of a sudden you're 10 feet behind your treadmill.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. Exactly. But which fortunately, I have a sofa back there, but I've completely just, listen, if I had the GoPro going, it would have been virally stupid for sure. But a game that's like, I think actually Procession to Calvary might be good for something like that.
My treadmill game has mostly been Octopath Traveler, because there's just a lot there, but all you can basically play the game with one hand, moving the D-Pad around and then just hitting A here and there and without having to really worry about your environment as much. I've only well, maybe I fell off once, but that was my fault. That was my fault.
Larry Hryb: And did we... I'm sorry. Did we... so, that's what I'm playing. Is that kind of what you're playing as well, because I think we've covered everything. It's been a busy week for Minecraft. So, we haven't had a lot of chance to play that. There's a lot of news this week, which we're going to talk about after right, Jeff?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, yeah. Actually, I've just to see news with Minecraft Dungeons and I had redownloaded it onto this PC, because we had some guests over and they had a... there was a 10-year-old, a 5-year-old, me, who is probably maturity wise a 10- or a 5-year-old and also my daughter. And I was like, "Oh, this would be, it'd be perfect for us to get into Dungeons and play that and 5-year-old can give it a shot at different times." So, I would love to play again with you, just because the game continues to evolve and there's so much there, new content. And if you'd wait two months between the last time you play it, there's a new feature, new levels, all kinds of new stuff, so.
Larry Hryb: We'll talk about that later in the show.
Jeff Rubenstein: This is me asking you if we can play that. Yeah.
Larry Hryb: Well, we'll do it. We'll go ahead with it.
Jeff Rubenstein: Where's the invitation.
Larry Hryb: We could all-
Rebecca Gordius: Yes. We'll make it happen.
Larry Hryb: We'll do that and we'll cover the news later in the show. But in the meantime, you've got that, we've done some interviews. Jeff, do you have the list of interviews there? Someone should bring us into the interviews [crosstalk].
Jeff Rubenstein: I do. You all were working extra duty here. So, I want to thank you.
Larry Hryb: Well, that's why we put you on a treadmill. When you don't do an interview, you get on the treadmill. That's the rules.
Jeff Rubenstein: Exactly. Yes. I'll stop and give you 20 minutes on the treadmill. So, first of all, recently announced some really cool PC components or accessories from Razer for Halo. Halo Infinite is the first Halo game to be launching on PC Day 1, so of course, Razers got some really cool stuff there. And Larry speaks with Justin Cooney there. Then Rebecca speaks with Justin Keenan, who worked on one of the most decorated games in recent history, which newly came to Xbox, called Disco Elysium. Finally, Larry's back up, catching up on what's the latest with Grounded, which continues to evolve. Speaking with Roby Atadero from Obsidian. So, let's hear them.
Larry Hryb: Very exciting week for fans of Halo and Razer and joining us today is Justin Cooney. He's the Director of Global Partnerships over there at Razer. Justin, great to see you.
Justin Cooney: Likewise. Always a pleasure to be here.
Larry Hryb: We've got, we've got some really cool stuff. Of course, you have announced, we've got a partnership Razer and Microsoft and Xbox have worked together for a long time. But more specifically, you have some really cool products that we recently announced that are now available. I thought we could kind of walk through it. And you actually, you sent me some of them, so I figure we can kind of talk through them. So, tell us what we got, my friend.
Justin Cooney: It consists of four products. We have the Kaira Pro headsets, which is built on our 50-millimeter TriForce drivers. I mean it's a great high-quality headset that really delivers a full rich sound profile because we use three drivers and usually tuned for high, mids, and lows. You get a such a great rich treble, brighter sound, and powerful base. It's a fantastic comfortable headset that everyone's just going to love.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. We see that there and it's got the beautiful, it's got, it's everything, of course, is Halo themed and UNSC themed, right? It's just amazing.
Justin Cooney: Well, that's the thing. I mean, we are very thankful. I mean, as you mentioned, we have a longstanding punishment Razer with Microsoft and we're very thankful that the team entrusted us with such an iconic franchise. If you look at the products, they really deliver and embody everything that is Halo and more specifically, Master Chief and his iconic armor, they just live and brief Halo through and through across each of the products. They're just phenomenal.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. We also got some other things here. And like I said, you folks were nice enough to send things over. We've got this, the beautiful mouse. Now, Razer has a history of PC stuff. And again, the reason we're talking about this is because this is the first time ever that there's a simultaneous release of a Halo title on console and PC. So, Working 343 worked with Razer to create these things. And here we've got the... this is the DeathAdder mouse, right? This is a legendary mouse.
Justin Cooney: Legendary is an understatement. It is our bestselling mouse with over 10 million sold. It is popular amongst all types of gamers and just, it's very popular due to its exceptional ergonomic design. It's fantastic.
Larry Hryb: Yes. It looks great. We see Chief on there as well. I mean, that's, you don't see Chief on too many packages. Now, the other one, the other thing down here and let me bring it up here is, when you have a mouse, you need a mouse pad. So, we've got this little guy right here.
Justin Cooney: Absolutely.
Larry Hryb: Tell us about this mouse pad because this is pretty cool.
Justin Cooney: It is a great mouse pad and it is the one that I use myself as well. I just love having a map that allows me to position my keyboard and mouse however I choose. It has a nice soft fabric for speed and precision. And the fact that it has a Razer Chroma, which is our industry leading RGB lighting technology, it just really helps elevate that experience from any part of your vision while you're playing the game. It's great.
Larry Hryb: And I mean, I haven't had a chance to put it on my desk, but that's really one part of the Razer story is the Chroma, which is where you can sync everything up to colors and have your mouse matching your mousepad and so forth. And I mean, this thing looks amazing with the UNSC logo over here. And of course, you see Chief and the color, so I'm looking forward to checking that out. And then again, it seems a little strange, you'd have this big mouse pad. But people really like having it as their work surface. I know you do, right, Justin?
Justin Cooney: Correct. Yeah. I have the Gears of War version, which I love. And I just, I just love having the space, it really is great. And to your point when it comes to the RGB lighting, and we worked very closely with the Halo team to ensure that the game was controlling the lights, specifically and how they exactly wanted the peripherals to react to the game because that's really how you elevate that game experience, versus having lights randomly do things. This is all on purpose, visually designed by both the Halo team and our team.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's the most important thing is it's meaningful. You take what's going on, on screen within the game and you're bringing it onto your desktop for PC gamers, so that you can see perhaps it's health or things along those lines. It's great to have that using your Razer technology.
Now, finally, of course, we've got the mouse. We talked about the headset. We've got the mouse. We've got the mouse pad. Now, let's bring on the big one, the Black Widow. This is pretty extraordinary. Now, I've used a Black Widow for years, so it's great to see this one. Tell us about this product.
Justin Cooney: Well, I mean, the Black Widow is the latest version, V3. It's using our green mechanical switches, which are the switches that, not only do you feel the mechanical nature, but also hear the mechanical nature. It's very satisfying when you're using it. They have the optimized actuation of rest points, so that it provides better position, tournament-grade performance and durability.
And the keys themselves, they're using Doubleshot ABS keycaps, so that's where you have two layers of plastics that are molded together, so more durable, and they don't fade. So, this keyboard is going to look fantastic for a long time.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And this is great because this is the Black Widow. This is Version 3. I mean, you guys have had this keyboard in the marketplace for so many years. And you've made it, every time I play with it and use it, it's like I don't understand how the keyboard gets better and better. But you just keep making it better and better, so it's.
Justin Cooney: Well, I think that's part of how Razer works. We're always refining and improving even if we think we have a fantastic product and our gaming audiences believe in a fantastic product, we're always looking to improve it. And we do that across all of our product categories, because we always want to make sure that we're challenging ourselves, so that way we can stay ahead and really help lead the way on bringing new and exciting technologies to the gaming universe and the gamers around the world.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I mean, Justin, it's so great to see the products that you're working on over at Razer. I mean, I'm a big fan. I've talked to Min-Li many times and I've had a chance to use your laptops and your mice and your keyboards and your headsets and your peripherals and your phones. I mean, just everything. It's really where gamers go to kind of get some of the best gear in the industry. And of course, the fact that everything seamlessly works together, you talked about the Chroma and it just feels right. So, it's great to have you involved with Halo and the PC launch of Halo coming in in December. It's just, it's really exciting. Have you had a chance to play the game?
Justin Cooney: I've played it a little bit and my entire team have had been playing it when it becomes available. So, as you can imagine, they are much better than me and that's fair. My game [inaudible] are used over time. But I accept my place in gaming life. It's all good.
Larry Hryb: That's cool. It's great to see some of the stuff you're working on over there at Razer. All these products are now available at your favorite electronic retailer. What can we look forward to in the future for you guys?
Justin Cooney: We are always working with partners around the world and we always love doing these types of collaborations. And we always look at it, as to your point earlier about being meaningful. We want to make sure that when we do these collaborations, they're as meaningful as possible. Ultimately, gamers would want and they want to elevate their experience. They want to be closer to the IP that they're playing with. And with this, it's a great case of the whole is greater than the sum. I mean, it's just we really helped elevate each other when we put this collaboration together.
And for me, when you're playing Halo Day 1 with the this Halo product lineup, including the bonus DLC that comes with each of the product, you're really going to be experiencing Halo, the best possible way. Whether you choosing to play on PC or whether you choosing to play on Xbox.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, that's really important to point out. And you can just go to razer.com or you can go to 343, and check out some of these great items. It's really great to chat with you, Justin. I appreciate you coming on. You are welcome to come back anytime. And I know, I mean, I just know that Microsoft and Xbox and Razer are going to be working together. We've worked together a lot in the past and then, we have a bright future ahead of us, especially with everything we're doing in PC gaming. So, thanks for coming. Any final words before I let you go?
Justin Cooney: Again, I just want to thank Microsoft, thank the Xbox team, thank the Halo team for allowing us to take part in this and work together and bring these products to life. It's just always great to work with truly great partners and so, we're very thankful. And for us, it's like iconic franchise, iconic best-in-class products, industry-leading Razer, Chroma RGB lighting technology, it's a win-win-win for everyone. I love it. And as you pointed out, it's available now at major retailers and razer.com.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, head over to razer.com and you can check it out and we'll see you. We're looking forward to seeing you on the battlefield with all your new gear coming in December. Thanks so much.
Justin Cooney: Absolutely. Take care. Thank you.
Rebecca Gordius: Disco Elysium released in 2019 to pretty universal acclaim, but this year, the team at ZA/UM decided to release an updated version with Disco Elysium, the Final Cut and it just recently released on Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S. So, today join me and talk about it is Justin Keetam, Keenan, sorry. Welcome to the show.
Justin Keenan: Yeah, hi. Hi, Rebecca.
Rebecca Gordius: So, for those who haven't played or heard of Disco Elysium, do you mind just telling us a little bit about the game?
Justin Keenan: Yeah, sure. So, Disco Elysium is a role playing game in the sort of grand old tradition of like Infinity Engine Black Isle type games, but with some very modern twists. So, Disco is set in a very modern, kind of alternate universe. You play a detective, who's trying to solve a particularly strange and unusual crime. And yeah, I don't know what else to say about it.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, it's okay.
Justin Keenan: There's-
Rebecca Gordius: Can you tell us about the gameplay?
Justin Keenan: Yeah, so it's mostly dialogue based, so it's kind of one of our big innovations, I guess, is that there's no hack and slash loop collecting stuff in the game. Nearly everything takes place in conversations in our little dialogue engine. So, you're talking to suspects, to your partner and trying to kind of piece together this very strange mystery. And then various kinds of side cases as well. And one thing that's kind of very special about the game is that you're not just talking to other people, you're talking with them, objects, and then also with your own mind.
So, you don't have a party in the sense of a traditional RPG, but you do talk to various parts of your psyche that are connected to the various skills that your character has. And so, as the game goes on, you sort of develop different parts of your own consciousness and have conversations with that. Sort of like how some people do in the real world.
Rebecca Gordius: Fair. I mean, the game was really well-received originally. So, how come you decided to take another look with the Final Cut? What are some of the things that you added?
Justin Keenan: Yeah, so the original game was, it started out as an Indie production. This was the first game that any of us at the studio had made and we were operating under some pretty intense time and budgetary constraints. And so to get that first came out, we couldn't do some of the stuff that we really wanted to. One of those things was for a voiceover for the game and the other were some bits of story and narrative, specifically these political vision quests that we've added.
And so, Disco is a really intensely political game. Your character's politics can change and it's sort of our riff on kind of the D&D Alignment type system. And so, we wanted to give players chances to explore those. The different ideologies that make up this world. And with the Final Cut, we kind of got to go back and give each of those ideologies its own kind of spectacular quest to cap it all off. And that was something we'd wanted to do for a long time and this was a great chance to come back and do it.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. I think that political vision quest added a nice layer of depth to the game, and you can only explore one per playthrough, right?
Justin Keenan: Yeah. You kind of, as in real life at some point, you have to kind of put your cards on the table and say who you really align yourself with.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's cool. I've seen a few different reviews and people saying, "Oh, the choices I made led me to kind of the fascist path or the communism path." So that's, it's really cool that you get to explore that in this game. And then, how was the process adding new voices to the dialogue system? I mean, I think that also helps add a lot more depth to it.
Justin Keenan: Yeah. I mean, it was a phenomenal amount of work to get all that in. The script for the original game was around a million words and we added another 0.2 million words to the final cut.
Rebecca Gordius: Awesome.
Justin Keenan: And I mean, not all of it is voiced. Yeah. And so, we kind of, we had to build out all of this whole voice directing operation. We had three people working almost full-time on directing, with dozens of actors from all over the world with all kinds of backgrounds and accents.
But the kind of centerpiece of it is Lenval Brown's narration. He plays the game's narrator. The game isn't narrated in the original at all. But Lenval just has this amazing smoky, deep, rich voice that as soon as you hear it, you're like, "How could the game ever have been played any other way?" So for us, it really feels like this is what the game should have been all along and we're extremely glad we got it in.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, that's great. Yeah, his voice is very deep and smoky is a nice way to describe it. And then how come-
Justin Keenan: Sonorous as people sometimes say.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. What was the thinking behind adding the dice rolls just to add an element of chance to the game? As opposed to just you being able to choose exactly the path that you take?
Justin Keenan: Yeah, I mean, so the game system evolved out of a heavily modified Dungeons and Dragons style tabletop campaign that some of the core creative team basically started running when they were teenagers. So, the game has always, our inspirations are largely taken from, as I said, those old Black Isle Interplay RPGs. And that, the isometric perspective and things like you can see all of that there. But it also has some real deep tabletop roots, where in D&D campaign, you might come to some point and say, "Oh, I want to convince this guy to help me out on this quest. And the DM will say like, "Okay, well, roll for charisma." And so on.
And so that, the dice adds like a really satisfying, kind of like a level of entropy to the system. And it just, because the game doesn't have combat or things like that, there need to be something that generates drama and suspense and for us we wanted to... one of the things we wanted to show was how just talking to people and just going about doing normal non-heroic fantasy dragon for you type things can have as much drama and suspense in it as any of that stuff. So yeah, that's why I like the dice rolls. They are pretty critical to the thing working.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So, I guess my last question is just how has the reception to the Final Cut been? Is the team pretty pleased? Is this what you were kind of hoping to see after releasing it and making these updates?
Justin Keenan: Yeah, I mean, the reception, I mean, really, since the original game came out, the reception has been really overwhelming and humbling. And we knew putting out, putting together the final cut that we were, that this was our kind of chance to put one last, I don't even want to say, it's a layer because it's not just on top of everything. It kind of suffuses the whole game. But it was sort of our last chance to kind of show off what we could do with this game and the story.
And so, we personally feel extremely proud and satisfied with what we came up with and we've been really thrilled. But other players seemed to or that the players out there in the world are getting to experience that. And sometimes they go, lurk on the Discord or whatever and see it. People, they just post their favorite lines from their playthroughs and it's very nice to see how many of those come from. Some of the new material that we added. That tells us that it all still feels like one coherent piece of art, and not just something that we grafted on after the fact.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. Well, you and the team definitely do have a lot to be proud of. So, just as a reminder, Disco Elysium: Final Cut released recently on Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S. You should go try it out. So, Justin, where can people go to learn more about the game or besides finding it in the store and playing it themselves?
Justin Keenan: Oh, man, where can they go? They can follow us on Twitter. It's either ZA/UM Studio or Studio ZA/UM. I can't remember which. I'm sorry, Dani. And the website discoelysium.com, you should be able to find it.
Rebecca Gordius: Cool. All right. So Disco Elysium and Studios ZA/UM on Twitter. All right. Thank you so much for joining us, Justin.
Justin Keenan: Okay. Thanks, Rebecca.
Larry Hryb: When you were a little kid, did you ever daydream about being a few millimeters tall and what it would be like to play in your own backyard, looking up at soaring blades of grass and exploring the familiar yet now oversized world. With Obsidian's Grounded which has been in the Game Preview for about a year now, you can do just that. And today, we're going to be talking about a pretty big update that's out now. Joining us from Grounded team is Roby, who is the Program Director. Roby, welcome to the show.
Roby Atadero: Thank you. Thank you, but happy to be here. How you doing?
Larry Hryb: It's always great to have you on the show. Now, Grounded has been as I said, it's been in game preview for, has it been about a year now? Maybe a little bit more?
Roby Atadero: Yes. About a year ago, for it was in July of 2020. We launched Game Preview to quite astounding, positive success, I'd say from the players. So it's been real fun.
Larry Hryb: By the way, and I've said this a couple times to folks when I do interviews is "Launching a game in the middle of a global pandemic, not easy. And granted, the game hasn't officially launched yet, but even getting it into Game Preview is a pretty extraordinary feat.
Roby Atadero: Yeah, it's been a challenge, but it's been something that we've really enjoyed working with the players with, so it's really helped over the last year.
Larry Hryb: So, let's talk about it. You had a big, in the middle of the summer, you had a Shroom and Doom update, which was kind of awesome. I think that was July-ish or so. But this update that you announced earlier this week, tell us what we have in this update and I've got a little bit of video here to kind of walk us through what I want you to tell us what we can expect.
Roby Atadero: All right, this update is our hot and hazy update. It is the biggest update we will be launching to date. We've got four new areas. We've even revamped one of the areas that we've had in the game since launch, which is our Haze. Some of the new areas we have are the sandbox where you'll have to deal with the hot sizzling sand with a bunch of antlions and you have to find buried treasure using shovels. Then you can head over to the trash pile, which is just a big dump of...
Larry Hryb: Trash.
Roby Atadero: ... doughnuts. Yeah, and one of our inspirations we had for that was an old television show when we were kids called Guts, where the kids had to climb over this mountain. So, we wanted to have that kind of feel while going through the trash. Then we also have the black ant hill with a big new lab and dungeon and a mini boss to find. And as well as our picnic table which has a lot of fun traversal elements that we've added and a lot of neat little nods and quirks and winks to kind of our D&D background at Obsidian.
Larry Hryb: Now, I want to talk to you about this because this is really interesting. The game has been in Game Preview as we said for a little bit over a year. And you guys have done some pretty significant updates, and the game isn't even out yet, so that's pretty amazing. Tell us a little bit about this journey because as you said, when it came out, it was very well-received. But you guys have just gone back to the community and had that dialogue about bringing ideas and taking the feedback and tweaks, right? Pretty much for the entire year plus.
Roby Atadero: Yeah, we had a similar vibe when we did Pillars, both 1 and 2 with our Kickstarter. And we got a lot of great feedback with that, so we wanted to do it again with Grounded. And even this time around, we've had more people streaming the game, more people giving us feedback. It's been an amazing and positive community. Even though we may not be posting in a lot of these channels like Discord and this and that, most of us on the dev team are checking it out all the time. We're watching everyone play. We're getting all the feedback.
And it's honestly changed how we've kind of, we've pivoted a lot on certain updates, or what we work on or focus on based on what players are really enjoying or a lot of the feedback they give. So, a lot of credit goes to the players to where the game is in its current state and where it's going to keep going as we keep marching over to 1.0.
Larry Hryb: Now, Robbie, one of the things that when people are listening to this interview that the game's been out there in Preview for about a year. You've had a couple of this. This is the second of, one of the second major updates, and you've been doing updates so long.
Roby Atadero: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: What would you to tell some folks, this game is in Game Pass, so if you have Game Pass, you can just download and try it. What would you tell some folks who are maybe thinking about and going, "Oh, this community is so advanced now. If I jump in, I'm just going to get my butt kicked." What do you kind of tell somebody who's thinking like that?
Roby Atadero: Yeah, so one of the things we do every time we look at updates, we obviously want to add more content and address feedback to a lot of the existing players, but some of the focus that we do every time we do one of these updates is we recognize that a lot of people probably haven't played the game. Maybe they played when it first came out and haven't tried it since. So, we try to look back a lot of our systems, a lot of the thought processes that we see players are having and observations are doing. And go, how can we make that experience better for players that either haven't played or jumping back in after a year having not been out?
So, one of the additions in this update is like our brain power system, which helps you as you analyze items and learn crafting recipes, normally, you would need a specific body part or insect or a resource to get a certain recipe. But some people were not like, "How do I get to Tier 2X?" Because they never fought a ladybug. And so, the brain power system allows us to sprinkle you recipes that you maybe didn't find the resource for yet, even though you've been playing for a couple hours. And so you go, "Oh, okay, that's how I get to Tier 2X. That's how I tackle these other challenges."
And we hope that helps with new players. And honestly, if you haven't been, if you think the community is intimidating, our community has been so positive and so helping, they answer so many questions. It makes so many guides if you're in trouble. It's been incredible what the community has been for Grounded.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I mean, it really has been and I want to, again, I've said this multiple times already, the game hasn't even gone 1.0 yet. That's what's most amazing about this. Now, I know, we're not here to talk about when the game is officially going 1.0. That will happen sometime in the future. We're here to talk about this update that's out this week. And again, this is a free update. You talked about the new biomes with the new sandbox, and there's a black ant hill. I mean, there's a lot going on here that you built in to the original play area, correct?
Roby Atadero: Yep. Go ahead.
Larry Hryb: No, no, no. I'm just, I'm just, I'm kind of, I'm looking at this list here that's in front of me. And there's just so much that you've added to this, to the game, it's extraordinary.
Roby Atadero: Yeah. One of the things that we did during the update, it was funny, because we'd worked on this for a couple of months. And we're used to seeing all these new areas we've added and we've been working on it is we went and watched some streams of people playing the Shroom and Doom update where they're over by this new whole western half of the yard that we've just added. And it's like, "Holy moly." We kind of forgot that that's all empty for players. So, it's a quite a lot to take in. Like I said, there's four new areas.
We've revamped even an existing area that you may think you've played the Haze and you've done it and it's all the same. It's going to feel like a brand new experience, even that one alone. And there, we've even added a lot of nooks and crannies and secrets that you have to find in the sandbox, in the picnic table, in ant hill, so there's a lot to take in. That's just the areas. There's plenty of more to this update that's even beyond that.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Well, most people gravitate towards, "Oh, those are the new areas. And those are perhaps some of the new enemies or some of the new insects and the new creatures I'm coming up against." But you've also gone in and tweaked a lot of the systems and kind of updated the systems to make them a little bit more user friendly or perhaps what people expect, right?
Roby Atadero: Yes. One of the things when we started Grounded is we knew at Obsidian we have a lot of RPG acumen and background. And that's something we wanted to add to the survival genre. So, we've been kind of marinating on a lot of these ideas for a while. And Andy Artz, our Systems Designer, had put together a lot of changes he wanted to put in. This just felt like the appropriate time. We had enough content and weapons and bugs that it felt like this would be meaningful.
So, now we have, we call our milk molars, which are our yoke girth universe child vitamins that you use and you can upgrade. You collect them in the yard. They're strewn all over. You can upgrade your health, your stamina, how fast your food goes down, your stamina goes down. And then we also have party upgrades. So, these are something that if you do them or you spend them in the game, they go to everyone that's playing with you. So, maximum stack sizes for arrows, resources. So, we wanted to add a little bit of that RPG element.
You can now upgrade weapons at our smithing station. They can go up to level seven. You can even augment a couple of flavored damage types, so like spicy or fresh or salty. And a lot of the bugs now have been retooled to have resistances and weaknesses to different weapon types. So, that's just even just chopping and smashing. But also, they have resistances and weaknesses to the flavor-damage types as well.
So, we hope players will have a lot more depth in how they want to bake their builds and craft different. Maybe they want two different hammers, that one's fresh, one is spicy. And they can take those into their journeys depending on what creatures and encounters they run into.
Some other systems changes. I know we did rework on the armor. So now, armors have different classifications of light, medium or heavy. Medium, light armor doesn't block a lot of damage, but it will allow you to regenerate stamina faster. So, you can choose, "Do I want to be a quick assassin who's squishy or do I want to be a big tanky?
Larry Hryb: Tank.
Roby Atadero: Club. Yeah, standard tank. But maybe my stamina doesn't regen as fast, so I can't run away as easily. So, even when you're playing with your friends, you can kind of create more of a, create your own kind of builds and party like, "I'm the fast archer. I'm the tank." So, there's a lot of RPG elements that we kind of used our experience on to add a lot more depth that players were asking for. And so far, and when we're watching people play, it's been one of the... even sometimes more exciting to players than a lot of the new areas that we've added.
Larry Hryb: It's interesting, because you've added a lot of these RPG elements, which as you said Obsidian is known for with over many years and many, many games. But it's almost like, this is like, and I don't mean this in a derogatory way, but it's almost like baby's first RPG, right? People can get started in this. And you put in some RPGs, even me, I get in there. I'm like, "Oh, my God. This is overwhelming." But with Grounded, you kind of ease us into it in such a natural way. And frankly, it's so approachable because again, it's in the backyard and it has a lot of these familiar elements. And you kind of understand that certain things are more, going to be stronger than other certain things, because they're just, some of them are just every day frankly, oversized items, right?
Roby Atadero: Yeah. Yeah, that was, you said the key word for us, which was approachability. That was one of our core pillars when we were making the game. We know that the survival genre, and sometimes even the RPG genre can be daunting for players. So, we wanted to incorporate a lot of these elements in a way that they were clear. They made sense or we dole them out. Not like, "Here's 20 things all at once." There's a pacing to it. And so far, it looks you know our players are picking up on all that. They're really enjoying both the kind of just the fun aspect of the game of being a small kid and finding bugs. But also now enjoying that depth that they start to peel away the longer they play the game.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. And I want to point out, as I said earlier, this is on Game Pass. It's in Game Preview on Game Pass, you can jump right in. But the most important thing is, is doing it with friends. Certainly, a lot of us are used to classic RPG as the single player experience but this is a shared experience in this extraordinary shared world. When you're putting your crew together to kind of go into the backyard and enjoy this, how should people think about should someone play specific roles or is it that? Again, this is for first timers.
Roby Atadero: Yeah, that was one thing that we knew, again, sometimes it might be daunting for players that haven't played the game. If you have to choose kind of a path line right from the get-go like, "Oh, I'm a thief or I'm a fighter," that we wanted players to be able to adapt, kind of like the teams in the yard have to adapt. So, as you're playing the game, you can start as a tanky hammer wearing a tank. And then eventually, if you get some new friends, they want to play a different way or you're having trouble with a bug. You can adjust your mutations. Get new armors and even craft, upgrade your weapons in different ways that you can pivot to a different play style depending on, again, the counter you're playing or maybe just the friends you're playing with.
And yeah, the friend aspect is something that was big for us. We wanted to make sure that not only would this be fun with friends, but it's also, big focus is it's fun, even if that's not your thing, and you want to play just by yourself, the game is still great. And everything's balanced to make sure that's approachable and works well, too.
Larry Hryb: That's kind of Fantastic. Well, I know, you've got a lot going on there. And I appreciate you spending 10 or 15 minutes to talk us through this update. Now, I didn't even see this in my notes. Does the update have a fancy name the Shroom and Doom one or did you?
Roby Atadero: Yes.
Larry Hryb: Okay, tell us.
Roby Atadero: It is the Hot and Hazy update.
Larry Hryb: Hot and hazy. That's-
Roby Atadero: Yeah, you'll find out what both of those mean.
Larry Hryb: Well, I mean, we saw a little bit of the haze...
Roby Atadero: Yeah, that's true.
Larry Hryb: ... so, I don't know exactly what we're going to do for the hot. So, it's a lot of fun. It's available right now if you want to head over to news.Xbox.com, you'll see an article and a blog post about that. And it's a lot of fun and check it out. Roby Atadero is the Programming Director there for Grounded. Thank you so much for joining and we'll see you in the backyard.
Roby Atadero: All right. Thank you.
Jeff Rubenstein: Thanks so much to Roby, Justin, and Justin. A lot of cool stuff coming and I cannot walk anymore. I'm taking the seat.
Larry Hryb: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Did you get off the treadmill?
Jeff Rubenstein: Come on. Oh, yeah, while you were in those, I've stopped. I went about quarter of a mile, which under normal circumstances is not all that much while you're doing a podcast. This feels good. This feels real good. It's a good sit. That's what happens when you get old. Sitting becomes like, "Oh, that's an event."
Larry Hryb: It's a thing, yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: Like, "That's a good sit." Well, Larry, you know what I'm talking about. Rebecca, when you have your first good sit, I want you to think of this moment.
Larry Hryb: Ah, get a good sit.
Rebecca Gordius: You can text me and just be like, "I had a good sit."
Larry Hryb: Yeah, we look forward to hearing that.
Rebecca Gordius: Okay, noted.
Larry Hryb: Anyway-
Rebecca Gordius: I was really hoping we can convince you to bump up the speed on the treadmill for the second half though.
Jeff Rubenstein: Let's see.
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, well. [crosstalk].
Jeff Rubenstein: Let me work up to that.
Larry Hryb: Well, let's-
Jeff Rubenstein: Maybe in a future show.
Larry Hryb: Let's see what the comments are saying in YouTube because they were very clear that they wanted to see you. They were all in on this last week. So by the way, Jeff, I don't know if you know this.
Jeff Rubenstein: And that's why I have to do this.
Larry Hryb: Do you know who reads the comments religiously?
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, no.
Jeff Rubenstein: My mom?
Larry Hryb: Rebecca's mother.
Jeff Rubenstein: I've heard about this and-
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, my gosh.
Jeff Rubenstein: People need to be on their best behavior is all I'm saying.
Larry Hryb: Well, not only does she read them, she's certainly not commenting. But I know, she's critiquing you, isn't she, Rebecca?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, I mean, sorry for saying this mom. But she is an Asian mother, so it's very much a "You're doing great, but here's what you could be doing better. Make me proud."
Jeff Rubenstein: See, here's what my Jewish mom does is she'll be like, "Oh, Rebecca and Larry did really great last episode." I guess. Yeah, yeah. "I wonder how's Larry doing? Is he good?" She calls you Captain Morgan, used to be unintentional, now intentional. But yeah, she'll just ask about everybody but me. So, I feel like we're on a similar wavelength here, Rebecca, it sound.
Larry Hryb: Whereas my mother, my mother actually asks about you guys...
Rebecca Gordius: I think so.
Larry Hryb: ... and "How are your career co-hosts? How's Rebecca? She's new. Is she doing okay?" "Mom, she's been with the show for a year now. She's not doing more so." But it's fine. Look, the reality is we have our parents and they're talking to us and they're interested in what we're doing. So, that's good, right?
Rebecca Gordius: Sure. It's great. I love it.
Larry Hryb: Okay, never mind. Never mind. All right, Jeff. I think we should get, we should start with the news portion of our show-gram. Jeff, we're going to go back to you because you've got some of the news. Then Rebecca, you're going to come back. She actually has some really cool stuff to share about Minecraft Live and do a recap of that. So Jeff, over to you.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah, a ton of stuff. I wanted to start off with some as we're recording this, some late breaking like I just got a hold of this blog post from Joe Stayton, which is always great.
Larry Hryb: Ah, Joe, yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: And it's basically talking about Halo infinite on PC. So, we were actually talking about that before the break how this will be the first Halo to be landing Day 1. And all of the work that's going into it from 343 to ensure this is an amazing, not just an amazing game, but an amazing game on PC. And there's a lot that goes into that. All right, Larry, I don't know if you want to say something.
Larry Hryb: Have you seen the viaduct?
Rebecca Gordius: No, I haven't.
Jeff Rubenstein: I haven't because I just got a hold of this. You tell me.
Larry Hryb: Okay, I-
Jeff Rubenstein: You've seen it.
Larry Hryb: I've seen it. It was really amazing because it, and I urge you to go over and I can tweet this out. If you follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen it already. But I mean, the folks working on the PC version game and I'm not going to say a PC port because it's not a port. This is a bespoke version just for PC and they do things like, "Here's a great example." And they talk about this in the video. They talk about how like I know... I don't know, Jeff, do you have an ultrawide screen or Rebecca, do you have an ultrawide?
Jeff Rubenstein: I do, I do.
Larry Hryb: Okay, so the question is when you're playing ultrawide and PC gamers know this, do you want the HUD elements, the Heads-Up Display elements of the game, way in the corner? No, you want them kind of brought in a little bit, so they did a lot of thinking about that. They have this special setup where when they're using the mouse, when they're clicking it, a little LED comes on and they shoot it with this high-speed camera, so that you could see when is it actually clicking? And when is it affecting something on screen?
So, there's a tremendous amount of thought put into this. And of course, you heard earlier, the interviews I had with the folks from Razer, so about some of the peripherals, so there's a lot of thought put into the PC version of Halo. Sorry, Jeff, go ahead.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. No. So, you've talked about Razer, and there's something else and that is our partners at AMD. They're the exclusive PC partner of Halo Infinite, and they're working on a couple of different things. So first of all, in this blog post, which is over on Xbox Wire and I'm sure it's over on Halo Waypoint as well. Working Halo, our 343 is working closely with AMD to bring retracing to Halo Infinite and it's one of their top development priorities post launch and something to really look forward to after the launch window. Lastly, and this is something I want.
Rebecca Gordius: Very cool.
Jeff Rubenstein: But I'm sure Larry, you probably have it in your house I'm sure is that AMD is making a special Halo-theme Master Chief radian sort of-
Larry Hryb: Video called the GPU.
Jeff Rubenstein: Graphics card, the GPU, it's the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Halo Infinite, Limited Edition graphics card and it really looks you could mount this on the back of Master Chief's Mjolnir armor and it would fit right in. It looks really cool. Obviously, graphics cards are something that people want to get a hold of. And so, the fact that there's going to be a Halo themed one is all the cooler. So...
Larry Hryb: They have all of the details.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... that's something you're going to want to keep an eye out for it. Yeah. Check it out over on Xbox Wire or on Halo Waypoint. There's a lot of info there. Whenever there's an info dump on Halo Infinite, we know there's a lot there. And so, I'm breaking it down. I'm reading this actually for the first time as we're reading here. So, check it all out and...
Larry Hryb: And watch the video. There's a-
Jeff Rubenstein: ... right on PC, a lot to look forward to.
Larry Hryb: Watch the VI Doc as well. It's about 10 minutes long. And it is PC gamers, this is a must watch. I'll just say that. Frankly, any gamer.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah. It's linked down to on that blog post, too. Yeah, so you'll be able to watch that and find that pretty easily.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, so cool. So, what else you got?
Jeff Rubenstein: Let's talk some Minecraft.
Larry Hryb: Rebecca, this is over to you. But Minecraft Live was last week. You were involved with that. But you're going to do like a rapid round recap on it. Why don't you tell us about it?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, it should be easy enough to summarize like 90 minutes of content into a one-minute-ish spiel, right?
Jeff Rubenstein: We'll give you two minutes.
Rebecca Gordius: Okay.
Larry Hryb: But we can give you more time if you want. I mean, just tell us what you want and we'll... you can have.
Rebecca Gordius: No.
Larry Hryb: Jeff and I can go for a walk, a real walk.
Rebecca Gordius: No, it's all good. I mean, ultimately, if you want to see either the full show or even just like some of the highlights, the team has done a really good job of making little cut downs of the different announcements. Those are all on the official Minecraft YouTube channel. I highly recommend checking them out. I think the main broadcast itself like just that one YouTube video is at around 8 million views right now.
Larry Hryb: Right. People like Minecraft.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, yeah, shocking. I know. But yeah, so Minecraft Live, I mentioned it a little bit earlier. It's our annual broadcast. It's kind of our next, it's our time every year where we unveil the next big update to the game. We hear directly from the different developers and different voices and faces of the studio. We had a lot of folks from the art team put together a little video, a bunch of different developers. We usually have Agnes Larsson, who is our... we call her a ray of sunshine. Our Game Director, she's wonderful.
But anyway, so this year, we had a lot of exciting stuff to announce with first up for Minecraft Engines. For those of you who haven't played it yet, Minecraft Engines came out about a year and a half ago. It's up to a four-person coop. It's on all of the different platforms. I know that I think all three of us have played it at least a couple of times.
Larry Hryb: We sure have.
Rebecca Gordius: So, we've been releasing DLCs pretty frequently. I think there are six DLCs that are out for Minecraft Engines. But for the coming year, now that we've kind of completed the storyline with the orb of dominance and the archer villager, we're going to be moving into seasonal adventures. So, the game is very much still alive. We have a lot of content planned for it. So, Seasonal Adventures are free-themed events. We're also introducing a lot of new features pets, flares and emotes if you want to show off a little bit. There's also going to have a new challenge-
Larry Hryb: Do they have a walking on a treadmill emote?
Rebecca Gordius: No. I wish. That has to be an achievement somewhere. Exercising while [crosstalk].
Jeff Rubenstein: That could be a good treadmill game, because you're not really moving the map around. So, next time, we play...
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, that's fair.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... I will burn...
Larry Hryb: Hits a free one for you.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... some Cs on that. I don't think people say that about exercise anymore.
Rebecca Gordius: That's not a bad idea.
Larry Hryb: Okay.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yeah.
Rebecca Gordius: I do, I do play-
Larry Hryb: Anyway, go ahead, Rebecca.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah. I do play Dungeons most often on my Switch these days, so that would be a really good one to take on the go. I like that idea, so.
Larry Hryb: Okay. There you go.
Jeff Rubenstein: Seasonal adventures, our first seasonal adventure releases later this year. So, when it does, I vote that the three of us get together and try it out. And maybe Jeff does that from the treadmill.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. In fact, we showing-
Jeff Rubenstein: Maybe.
Larry Hryb: We're showing a video here of some other, some of the emotes. Look at that, yeah. And there's your pet. Some of the dungeons, if you're watching us on YouTube, you're watching the video right now. And you can see some of the cool stuff they showed last week.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, there's a lot. And like I said, we have little cut downs to the different announcements on the Minecraft YouTube page. So, I highly recommend going and checking it out...
Larry Hryb: I have-
Rebecca Gordius: ... if there's one or two particular things you're interested in.
Larry Hryb: I have to tell you this though, I've been in television for a long time when it was black and white. And the set that you guys had for Minecraft Live was so amazing. It was, Jeff and I were talking about it over lunch last week. It was just, go watch the video. I mean, certainly the content is amazing and the team is amazing. But just stop for a minute and just appreciate the set, that's all I'm going to say, so.
Rebecca Gordius: The set is pretty amazing. There've already been a lot of, I will say, disagreements about where certain props from the set are going to go, now that the show has concluded and things they stock hold.
Larry Hryb: Oh, there's a prop grab, is there?
Rebecca Gordius: They come to Redmond. Yeah, of course, there is.
Larry Hryb: All right.
Rebecca Gordius: I think we all agreed that Jens gets the boat that he rode on the set, though, because he deserves that, yeah.
Larry Hryb: Yeah. Good old, yam.
Rebecca Gordius: Let's see. We have a lot of other Minecraft news, too, coming out of Live. So, we're going to be revealing or unveiling our first PC bundle. So, we have a lot of people who play Minecraft on Java, the old Java edition, which there's a lot of, there's this huge modding community on Java, which we never want to take away from that. But we also did create a separate version on Windows that we call "The Bedrock" version, which can cross play with all the other platforms. So, for the first time, we're bringing those both together into a PC bundle. That's going to be launching on Game Pass on November 2nd, so.
Larry Hryb: Ta-dah.
Jeff Rubenstein: Look at that.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, so if you own one of these, starting November 2nd, you can actually get access to the other one, too, which is pretty cool. So, we want to encourage our folks who are on Windows to try the Java and vice versa and just kind of open up to make it more easy for people to play both editions.
Larry Hryb: Like look at this every single time you, every week, it's Game Pass is getting better and better. Game Pass is good. It's funny I was on, I don't know if I, we didn't talk about this at the beginning of the show, but I dropped in on Aaron Greenberg's clubhouse earlier this week. And it was all about we were just talking about Game Pass. We talked about all the Minecraft stuff in Game Pass, so shout out to the friends over Clubhouse.
Anyway, back to you, Rebecca, because you're not even done with this news. You got so much more.
Rebecca Gordius: I know. I know. There's a lot. Okay, and then next, Minecraft is we revealed the next big game update. So last year, it was Caves and Cliffs that we revealed this year. It's the Wild update. So, we're going to be introducing mangrove trees, mangrove wood, a new type of wood and also a mangrove swamp biome. I can't remember all of the different environmental factors around mangroves, but I heard that they're super good for the environment with reducing emissions. And just there's so much wildlife that grows around mangroves.
Larry Hryb: That's right.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, so I'm sure that we'll do some cool partnerships with, we have an ongoing partnership with the [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: Jeff, you spent a lot of time in a mangrove in Central Florida, didn't you?
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, which made him an expert.
Jeff Rubenstein: I mean, I've been on... I know my way around an airboat or a fan boat. It's where you see all the crocs, so or alligator. I just, [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: For some reason, I see-
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm spending too much time with you all, so.
Larry Hryb: No, I'm just, I see this and I look at a fan boat and I see your treadmill on a fan boat running the fan.
Rebecca Gordius: There's an idea.
Jeff Rubenstein: I think you've come up with something. Some sort of like you put that into Far Cry 6 is the treadmill-operated fan boat.
Larry Hryb: I know.
Jeff Rubenstein: I think that could be, that could fit in there. Knot some turrets on it.
Larry Hryb: [crosstalk]. Okay. All right.
Jeff Rubenstein: Maybe that happens later in the game. I haven't gone that far.
Larry Hryb: Back to Minecraft. Back to Minecraft. Go ahead, Rebecca. Go ahead.
Rebecca Gordius: Well, aside from mangroves and the swamps, we have some new wildlife that come with it. So frogs, tadpoles, and even fireflies. So yeah, we'll have more to share on the Wild update in the coming year. It's not going to be releasing until later. For now, it's mostly concept art and a few random screenshots.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, which I just showed you.
Rebecca Gordius: But there'll be a lot in the spring. I know. Thank you. Yes. And then the last thing I'll mention on Minecraft Live is our mob vote.
Larry Hryb: Yes.
Rebecca Gordius: So, if you didn't hear about this, it's pretty cool. The last few years we've actually created different mobs and then we let the community vote via Twitter during the show live And then the one that gets the most votes gets implemented into the game. And so this year, we had three different mobs up for vote. We have the Glare, the Allay, and the Copper Golem. And the winner was the Allay and there were almost two and a half a million votes cast in this hour and a half period. It's kind of insane how much engagement we get on the mob vote, but it's very cool. But yeah, so the Allay won the vote.
Larry Hryb: But so I know you had the vote and you've got all those, you've got, had those three that we just showed right here. So, when can we expect to see the Allay in the actual, in Minecraft in the world?
Rebecca Gordius: That's a great question, which we don't have an answer for. So yeah, sorry. It kind of depends on each of the votes have different or each of the mobs have different functionalities and requirements.
Larry Hryb: Sure.
Rebecca Gordius: And so, it kind of takes a while to figure out which update we can slot them into. So realistically, probably sometime next year, but in the past, we've been able to do it decently fast, so we'll see.
Larry Hryb: Stay tuned.
Rebecca Gordius: But the Allay is pretty cool. It's a little scavenger mob, so if you give it an item, then it will go off and it will find a similar item or the same item and bring it back to you.
Larry Hryb: That's good.
Rebecca Gordius: But my personal opinion is that it won because it's the cutest, so.
Larry Hryb: Let's go back.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's the one I would have voted for or I did vote for, so I'm happy that finally, my [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: Glare looks like Oscar, the Grouch.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's exactly where I was with it.
Rebecca Gordius: It does.
Larry Hryb: And I don't know what Copper Golem looks like.
Jeff Rubenstein: The Golems freaked me out a bit.
Larry Hryb: Yes, so then we know what he's talking about that. All right.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah.
Larry Hryb: Thank you for that update.
Rebecca Gordius: Yeah, it was a lot. Sorry, but there's a lot of exciting stuff coming up with Minecraft. So, I hope that everyone checks it out. Let me know what you think.
Larry Hryb: All right. We will do that. And as Rebecca said, head over to the Minecraft YouTube channel. You could see super cuts of everything, and so on, so forth. Jeffrey, what do you got going on? Have you got some more news for us?
Jeff Rubenstein: There's actually quite a bit. So, I'll move as quickly as possible. So, you know about that very easy to use Seagate storage expansion card that you may have your Xbox Series X or S that buys you another one terabyte of hard drive space?
Larry Hryb: Hold on a minute.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's a question.
Larry Hryb: I mean, I wasn't prepared for this, so I'm going to, why yes, I-
Jeff Rubenstein: Mine, I got to, I got to-
Larry Hryb: I have it right here, Jeffrey. Why do you ask?
Jeff Rubenstein: Because the selection of these cards is, wait for it, expanding.
Larry Hryb: What?
Jeff Rubenstein: So, wait for applause and laughter. So, the current one that's available is one terabyte and we've heard that people want different sizes. There's just people that want maybe perhaps a more affordable version of that. And for them, we are going to be putting out a 512 gigabyte storage that will be available for $139.99. Some people more space and for them...
Larry Hryb: More.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... there is a two-terabyte storage expensive card that will be coming out available for preorder in November for $399. So, the 512 is available for preorder today at Walmart. You can look for a blog post on Xbox Wire that will take you directly to that. But it's called the Seagate storage expansion card for Xbox Series X and S. If you just want to put that in your favorite search engine.
Larry Hryb: Should we tell the story, Jeff?
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes. Yeah, you can tell that. I know where you're going with this, Larry.
Rebecca Gordius: Do tell, do tell.
Larry Hryb: So, part of because Jeff and I and you to Rebecca, when we're at Xbox, we have the opportunity to sign up for different tests, whether it's hardware, whether it's games, we do internal tests. We don't talk about them. They're all confidential because sometimes, well, that's just the way it is.
But Jeff and I were asked to help test the expansion cards. So, we got an email that said, "Hey, you've been selected. Come pick it up." So, we go pick them up and I ended up... we didn't know what we were going to get, but I got the two terabyte one and Jeff got the five twelves, so it was a little of a-
Jeff Rubenstein: A bit of extra space is great. I just also thought I would get the two terabyte and I didn't.
Rebecca Gordius: Coincidence?
Jeff Rubenstein: So, now we know I'm a one quarter of a Matron Nelson. And that's okay.
Larry Hryb: No, that's not true. That's not true at all.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's okay.
Larry Hryb: Anyway, but it's-
Jeff Rubenstein: [crosstalk]. Where am I going to go?
Larry Hryb: All the details are in newsXbox.com. You can check that out. Go ahead. What else you got, Jeff?
Jeff Rubenstein: All right. Here is something to get excited about. Never 15th, Xbox is 20th anniversary, and we are going to be having an Xbox anniversary celebration on Twitch and that will be at 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern, 5:00 PM in the UK. And you can extrapolate the rest from there. And so that is, we'll say, it's a fun digital broadcast. So don't expect a showcase of announcements and new games and things like that.
Larry Hryb: No.
Jeff Rubenstein: This is a celebration of fans of Xbox because we would not be here without the fans. So, something if you've got some time we would love to have you join us on November 15th.
Larry Hryb: I've been cleaning out my garage and finding all sorts of interesting things over my past almost 20 years with Xbox.
Jeff Rubenstein: Oh, yeah?
Larry Hryb: Yeah, I'll be showing them off on future shows.
Jeff Rubenstein: That's why you weren't... you couldn't play this weekend because you were cleaning out the garage, but I'll allow it if it's for this.
Larry Hryb: I went to find some good stuff.
Jeff Rubenstein: So, 20 years for Xbox, huge milestone. Twenty-five million players, another just tremendous milestone to Sea of Thieves.
Larry Hryb: Ye.
Jeff Rubenstein: So, 25 million folks have played Sea of Thieves. And so, we'd to thank and congratulate Rare for creating just an awesome world for us to spend time in over the course of the last three years and change. There's been 25 additions to the game, which is crazy, including of course, a pirate's life, which was a huge, huge addition to the game.
Larry Hryb: And amazing to play.
Jeff Rubenstein: And something that's from Season 4.
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: So, to celebrate this, there's a gift of gold and doubloons to celebrate this milestone. And there is a chance, you could enter for a chance to grab 25 million gold. So, you'll want to check out seaofthieves.com, Xbox Wire and of course, pick up the game on Xbox Game House where-
Larry Hryb: Where do I get my doubloons? Hold on a minute here. I want in-
Jeff Rubenstein: Waiting for you.
Larry Hryb: I want in on this. Where do I get my doubloons?
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, you could look through the blog, Larry.
Larry Hryb: Okay.
Jeff Rubenstein: So, you'll be able to find it there, yeah.
Larry Hryb: Meanwhile, I'm going to go, ahead, I'm going to just play over, never mind.
Jeff Rubenstein: Of course. You just go ahead and do that. So, a couple of more things. Coming new to Xbox Game Pass, number of new games being announced this week. And that's, of course, in addition to everything previously announced last week, such as Minecraft Java Edition coming to PC. So, Outriders. We've notes, it's been available since Day 1 on console. And there were a lot of asks for it to be on PC. Well, guess what? That's available now.
Another new game coming to Xbox Game Pass for Cloud console and PC is Into the Pit. It was funny when Alan Wake first the remake came out, people were asking about American Nightmare. Well, guess what? That is now, which was an expansion for Alan Wake, that's now available in Game Pass on Xbox. It's the backward compatible version on Xbox from 360 on console and PC.
And just a couple of other titles. There's a lot here that I want to call out. The Forgotten City. Definitely getting some buzz as being like a really cool game that you go back in time to Ancient Rome and some interesting stuff there. And then a game that got a lot of attention is out now during our showcase last year, it was Eco Generation. It takes place, I believe in the '90s and has a really cool pixel art style. And so, I don't know. It looks really cool. Definitely something I'm going to be playing, actually, this week. More stuff to come. Everspace 2 into Game Preview and of course, next week, Age of Empires 4 Day 1 on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Game Pass for PC.
Larry Hryb: It's too much.
Jeff Rubenstein: Last thing I want to call out.
Larry Hryb: It's too much.
Jeff Rubenstein: It is too much. Lastly, I'm going to call it real quickly is Overwatch. It's a game we were... I mean-
Larry Hryb: We played a lot of that.
Jeff Rubenstein: It's been out over five years now.
Larry Hryb: That was the first game that I played with your daughter.
Jeff Rubenstein: That may be the case. Yes, we've definitely had a lot of fun with Overwatch over the years and they have now improved the game and enhanced it and optimized for Xbox Series X and S. So, it will look better, run smoother, load faster and takes advantage of 120 Hz and variable refresh rate modes. So, if you-
Larry Hryb: I got to download that right now.
Jeff Rubenstein: Yes. And of course, you can enjoy auto HGR. It's a very bright and vibrant game, so that much more. There's more details from the lead programmer of Overwatch over on Xbox Wire. But suffice to say, pretty exciting that 120 Hz in a multiplayer game, quite a bump up if you've got the display for it.
Larry Hryb: If you've got the hardware to run it, then you should totally check it out. That's good stuff. Thanks for that, Jeff. A lot of news this week...
Jeff Rubenstein: Of course.
Larry Hryb: And the news is-
Jeff Rubenstein: So much. I am out of breath...
Rebecca Gordius: That is a lot of news.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... and not just from the treadmilling.
Larry Hryb: Next time, we need to get you on a treadmill the entire show if possible.
Jeff Rubenstein: If there was less news, I could do that.
Rebecca Gordius: I like that plan.
Larry Hryb: If there was less news. All right. All right, we're going to wrap it up because I know we're running out of time, at least for us because we have to do... we talked about, there was some questions in the comments last week about, "Wait a minute. You guys don't get paid extra for these appearances?" I'm like, "No, no. This is, I guess-"
Jeff Rubenstein: This is my favorite part of the week. I'm so happy to do this. This is...
Larry Hryb: Yeah.
Jeff Rubenstein: ... I mean, I'm not doing email for an hour.
Larry Hryb: Well, that's, I agree it's my favorite part the week because I get to see you and Rebecca, I get to see you as well from New York. Jeff and I actually went to lunch. We were kind of channeling our inner Rebecca in New York.
Rebecca Gordius: I'm jealous.
Larry Hryb: Because we went to a delicatessen. We do a nice deli.
Rebecca Gordius: Oh, I saw that.
Jeff Rubenstein: It was a day after you sent me. Yeah, you had sent me a sandwich that you had on Friday and Saturday. We're like, "We got to get something that's close." And Seattle delis up and coming, not on the New York level. Nothing. Yes.
Larry Hryb: And I will say, Rebecca...
Rebecca Gordius: That's what I was going to say.
Larry Hryb: I'm a big pastrami and deli fan you can send me those pictures, too. I had to look over Jeff's shoulder at this delicious sandwich and with this whole spread you. I couldn't believe it. Did you eat that whole thing?
Jeff Rubenstein: I was going to ask.
Rebecca Gordius: So, I ate half. My best friend and I split it, but I will say it wasn't a sandwich. It was a pile of meat with twos of bread next to it.
Larry Hryb: Yeah, well, that's a New York Deli.
Rebecca Gordius: It was, man. It was crazy. It was half corned beef and half pastrami, both were delicious. I just kind of cut it in half and then I did corned beef on the side and then pastrami on the side. But I needed a nap after I ate it. But it was good. Anyway, I hope I can see you guys soon though. I miss getting together.
Larry Hryb: Well, you know what? Let's make this happen. I don't know when, but we're going to make it happen. So, anyway, we're going to wrap it up here. Any final words before we go? Otherwise, we can let folks go. Anything you want to say, Jeff or Rebecca?
Jeff Rubenstein: I just need my sports drink now. Some Gatorade or something.
Larry Hryb: All right. I know you need to relax. Rebecca, I hope you have a nice week in New York there soon. And hopefully, we'll see you again. And we'll be back next week with a brand new show, more news, more interviews, more stuff, and more fun. So thank you, everybody, and we'll see you next time.
Remember, as Jeff likes to say, like, subscribe, leave feedback, let us know what you think. Hit us up on social on Twitter. There's all our handles below. And what else? What are you doing there, Jeff? What are you doing?
Jeff Rubenstein: I'm pointing to it, but ineffectively. I should have done that, anyway. I have a small square to work with here. [crosstalk].
Larry Hryb: No, wait a minute. This is easy. Left and right is hard. Up and down is easy. I don't know what you were doing.
Jeff Rubenstein: Well, if I'm putting up at my face, anyway. It's-
Larry Hryb: Anyway, all right, gang.
Jeff Rubenstein: Hit the credits.
Larry Hryb: We'll see you, guys, next week. Bye-bye, everybody. Bye.
Rebecca Gordius: Bye.