Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Team Director at Respawn Entertainment (Apex Legends)
Lawrence Hryb: Hi, it's Lawrence Hryb's Xbox's major Nelson. Welcome to the official Xbox podcast. We've got a new look this week. We're doing things a little differently because we're in the studio. Rebecca's here. I'm here. We're in person. Welcome back to the west coast, by the way.
Rebecca: Thank you. It's great to see you, Lawry.
Lawrence Hryb: We're here, we are, of course, sitting in the corner would be Jeff or maybe the other side, I don't know. But Jeff could not be here. He's on assignment. And there's a funny little story about why we're in studio. And I want to tell you. About two or three weeks ago, we were talking off the air after one of the shows after one of the podcasts, like, "Hey Rebecca." You're like, "Hey, I'm going to be back home out here on the west coast, we should get together." Right?
Lawrence Hryb: And so we were talking and Jeff's like, "Well, we need to do the show live. We need to show all in person in the studio." I'm like, "Okay." So I sent an email off to the team here. We booked the studio, we get the audio guy, the lighting guy, the hair and makeup guy that I never used, we got everybody in here and then a few days later Jeff's like, "I need to travel. I've got an assignment to do."
Rebecca: Yeah. That's okay. We miss you Jeff, but I know he's very happy to be on his first business trip since I think 2019?
Lawrence Hryb: Two years, against, since we've seen each other.
Rebecca: It's been a very long time.
Lawrence Hryb: But I'm sure he'll be back next week or sometime in the future to talk about what he was doing. So I don't know where he is. I texted him and he sent me this... Can I show you this picture? Because I don't know... I can't share it with everybody because it may give it away. But this was the picture I got of him.
Rebecca: That's not very helpful.
Lawrence Hryb: There it is a little bit, anyway [crosstalk] frame.
Rebecca: It's basically him in the middle of nowhere.
Lawrence Hryb: Nowhere, yeah. It's him in the middle of nowhere with drinking a Topo Chico. So-
Rebecca: Maybe that's [crosstalk].
Lawrence Hryb: ... here it is, we don't need to zoom in on that. Anyway, so welcome. What are you playing by the way? I know you've been traveling, you've had some things to do, but you had a big week, a couple weeks ago with Minecraft Live, what are you playing?
Rebecca: After Minecraft Live I took some time off. I've been traveling, came back home, visit my parents. I haven't had-
Lawrence Hryb: Whoa. You can just say visit your parents and not talk about [Pumba].
Rebecca: ... I know. Yes. It's very nice to see Pumba, I have missed him very much. He's put on a few pounds since-
Lawrence Hryb: Really?
Rebecca: ... yeah. Since living with my parents [crosstalk]-
Lawrence Hryb: He's on a COVID diet?
Rebecca: ... yeah. They've been sending me photos from the table like, "Oh look, he's begging for food. We're giving him little scraps from breakfast." And things like that. So to kind of [crosstalk].
Lawrence Hryb: A little scraps for an... Pumba's only about this big, right?
Rebecca: Yeah. He was about 16, 17 pounds when he left New York. And now I think he's closer to 20. But yeah, it's been nice being home. Obviously haven't really been able to gain too much. All I have is my work computer with me, but I did bring my switch-
Lawrence Hryb: Right, you said you're going to do that.
Rebecca: ... yeah. So there's some new content animal crossing since last time I played, it's been a while. It was a busy summer.
Lawrence Hryb: Did Tom Nookie yell at you? Like you had weeds or like... A friend of mine who works on the PR team he plays all the time and apparently he went in after not playing it for like six months. And Tom Nook was complaining about cockroaches.
Rebecca: Yeah. I have cockroaches all over my house.
Lawrence Hryb: Exactly.
Rebecca: Now it's a little unfortunate, but I'm trying to tidy up, get my island nice and ready because there's going to be a big Halloween event this weekend and I'm very excited for it.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay, good. Are you a Halloween fan?
Rebecca: Yes. I love Halloween.
Lawrence Hryb: You do?
Rebecca: Scary movies, all the Halloween foods. I actually have a very controversial opinion, I love candy corn.
Lawrence Hryb: Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Rebecca: It's okay. I'm used to it. It's okay.
Lawrence Hryb: Why do you like that? All it is is like, it's just it's solidified sugar, corn syrup.
Rebecca: Yeah. I don't know. It tastes good to me. It reminds me of my childhood. [inaudible].
Lawrence Hryb: I know, I'm not going to say any more because I'll get accused of gate keeping candy corn.
Rebecca: It's okay. What about you? What have you been playing? When have you been doing?
Lawrence Hryb: Let's see, still churning away on Far Cry. Did some Back 4 Blood. What else have I been playing? I think that's pretty much... I mean, I'll have to check my stuff here, but that's really all I've had time for. We've had a lot of stuff. We had a big... I don't know how it was in New York or you were traveling, we had a little bit about weather here in the Northwest and we lost power for a few days.
Rebecca: Oh, yikes.
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah. So I was worried. It came back it was just over the weekend. Of course it was over the weekend when I had time to play. So I did a little bit of xCloud gaming on my phone. And in fact we're going to be doing an interview with... Have you seen the Backbone?
Rebecca: Oh yeah.
Lawrence Hryb: Which is this which is an X... I don't have one with me, but I use my Backbone over the weekend to play some Cloud games and do a little bit of Far Cry.
Lawrence Hryb: And in fact, we're going to get the inventor of the Backbone on this very show because he's got a very deep connection to Xbox. He's going to tell us about it.
Rebecca: Oh, that's great.
Lawrence Hryb: So we'll have that in the coming week. So, anyway, I played a little bit of Cloud gaming, which is great, and that's really about it. I mean, we were getting into the season with all the big releases. In fact we've got, Apex just did a big content drop this week and we have an interview with them later on with Steven later on from the team. So we'll talk about that. Of course, Battlefield's coming out. Halo, we saw some Halo campaign trailer this week, which looked-
Rebecca: Very cool.
Lawrence Hryb: ... amazing. I know you're excited about Halo.
Rebecca: I am a big Halo fan girl. I am very excited, so everyone should check the video out. It's on the Xbox YouTube page. It's the Halo Campaign Overview. It shows you a little bit of the new open world called Zeta Halo. There's the new AI called the Weapon who is supposed to destroy Cortana X.
Lawrence Hryb: How do you feel about that?
Rebecca: I don't know. I've been a little curious with the direction they've taken Cortana in with the last few Halo games. I'm curious to see how it all comes together in the campaign though. So I'm going to stay neutral for now.
Lawrence Hryb: I haven't seen Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana. I haven't seen her in so many years. She's so lovely. Such a great talent and that's always great. I should get her on the show talk about that-
Rebecca: Honestly the voice talent, the music in Halo is just so good.
Lawrence Hryb: ... yeah, it's just one of those things you settle in, and it just feels good. Doesn't it?
Lawrence Hryb: So anyway, we've got that coming up, Halos boy, that's coming up in December. It's almost here, a little bit over a month away.
Rebecca: Yeah, I know there are quite a few folks on the team who are bracing themselves for launch.
Lawrence Hryb: Well, there's also a lot of few... Not only that, but there's a lot of people in the team. Our team works on that. We support that title. I know, and we may be because it's such a big launch, be called in to help. I mean, we're hoping [crosstalk] many... We all have our own superpowers. You have some, I have some, I don't know if I have any, Jeff has apparently being in the desert with a Topo Chico. So we all have our super powers. We're going to pitch in all hands on deck for that, right?
Rebecca: Yes, absolutely.
Lawrence Hryb: So yeah, that's kind of what we're playing, but yeah, we're kind of going through there. How's New York?
Rebecca: New York's been treating me well. Sorry to hear about the unfortunate weather here, but it's actually been pretty nice in New York.
Lawrence Hryb: Well, it's funny you say that because I was on my way into the studio here and I was talking to my sister who lives in Rhode Island and they didn't have... She works in education. They didn't have school today because of weather. So I think whatever happened here, the cyclone bomb, maybe it's now bombing out to the east coast now.
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lawrence Hryb: I don't know.
Rebecca: Well, I mean, there were quite a few rainstorms the summer leftover, like hurricane kind of remnants coming to New York. So yeah, it's been a tough year weather-wise but hopefully it'll be a nice and warm winter [crosstalk].
Lawrence Hryb: Was [crosstalk] flight out here?
Rebecca: Yeah, a little bit actually, which really freaks me out, but it's okay.
Lawrence Hryb: Of course, it does. Nobody wants that. Anyway yeah, so we've got some cool stuff coming up here. Should we roll the interview? I mean, I don't know if we want to do that yet. We can talk about your travels?
Rebecca: No, it's okay. Yeah, let's go to the interview.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay. So we're... Steve, thanks for joining us. Always great to have you back on the show.
Steven Ferreira: Thanks very much for having me. It's great to be here.
Lawrence Hryb: Well, it's I love talking Apex, I love talking to the team from Respawn. Nobody better than the team director Respawn yourself. Tell us about some of the news that you guys have this week because it's pretty good stuff?
Steven Ferreira: It is. It's a big season. We're really excited for Escape to come out. As we've done in the last few seasons around this time of the year, it's the time where we launch our new big mat for Battle Royale. So a lot goes into that. There's a lot of dev time that goes into building that and we're very excited to get everyone playing it. And yeah, can't wait.
Lawrence Hryb: I mean, we've got the new update, we've got the new map, you have a new legend, you have some new weapons. I mean, you went through and ticked all the boxes for everybody. For those folks that maybe didn't catch all your streams and all the announcements, why don't you do a quick little recap for us? I've got some screenshots so we can roll through those as well.
Steven Ferreira: Sure, absolutely. So like I said, the big marquee item this season is escaping to our new map, which is a storm point, a tropical beach island. But not quite as relaxing as you would expect, given that setting. Quite moody and full of lot of danger and mystery. So I think there's a lot to uncover in there. We were just talking about how long it took everyone to find all the Easter eggs in some of the previous maps, which was over a year. So we're excited to see if everyone can find everything in this map.
Lawrence Hryb: And I don't know, but I'm pretty sure, and they still haven't found them all on the current maps, is that accurate?
Steven Ferreira: Correct.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay, good.
Steven Ferreira: So and then the next big thing, we've actually drawn a lot from Titanfall this season. So we've got our Legend Ash, who's obviously a Titanfall favorite as a boss from Titanfall two. So she joins the games as our new legend. And then on the weapons side, we've also brought another Titanfall favorite in the CAR SMG. So something that was pretty flexible and... Pretty flexible weapon back in the day that had a lot of, I think strong opinions associated to it one way or another. So we've modified both Ash and the CAR to fit into Apex. And those are really the three marquee elements of this season of Escape.
Lawrence Hryb: It's great to see the continued work you guys are doing there and you're having such a lovely success with Apex. I was just thinking about this the other day, I was talking to some folks at the office about how you guys just dropped it out of the middle of nowhere when you launched a few years ago. And it was one of those things that just took over the internet and it was like, "Wait a minute, what is this?" And then it just took off from there. And it was just so great to see the new style of game play.
It was evolutionary. As a fan of Titanfall I've known Vince and a lot of folks and you at the studio for a long time. And it's great to see how you've evolved the game play and working with the community. Tell us a little bit about how you develop the map, and what were some of the things like, "Oh, we have to have this?" Because I was so bummed out when on some of the other maps you had, the train wasn't running anymore and things like that. So tell us about some of the learnings that you brought into the new map?
Steven Ferreira: 100%. Yeah, like you said, when we dropped the game, it was a surprise to everybody and it was a surprise to us in terms of the reception that the game had. And so we've really been trying to catch up to the community. And that's really the defining point with Storm Point is that is the first map that we actually started developing after we had collected a lot of the experience from the previous maps, from King's Canyon, from World's Edge. And so rather than those already being in development as we were learning these things, we had already a big checklist of things that we knew we wanted to try out to try and improve on going into Storm Point. So Storm Point is the biggest re-imagining of what a map can be in Apex. And there's a few things that go into that.
One, it's the largest map that we've launched to date. It's about 15% bigger than World's Edge, which was our previous largest map. And probably the main thing that we're really addressing that we were learning from our previous maps, there's a lot of little tiny things, but the big thing was how players move through the map and how third partying is a part of that experience. So there's some key changes that we've made. Things like you won't find redeployed balloons in this map.
Instead we've got gravity cannons, in terms of how we laid out each POI and how we constructed the layout for that, and the general size of that, and the amount of squads that can be supported on those. We were trying to avoid the Skull Towns or the, anything like that, where we know everybody's going to drop in that one location. So we actually created-
Lawrence Hryb: When you guys are designing the maps, you mean... I remember because I've worked with a lot of different multiplayer game designers, you want to have a choke point, but you don't want to have a choke... You don't want it to be too choke, but not too open so people are like, "Oh, where is everybody?" Right? It feels empty. So there's a real fine balance that you have to walk when you're designing these maps, right?
Steven Ferreira: ... absolutely. We definitely designed choke points into the map, but you don't want them to be in the wrong places. And one of the things that we found with some of our other maps was that the more centralized those choke points become due to the nature of the ring and how that closes down, those just become that much more critical. So you'll notice when you go to Storm Point, there aren't any major named POIs directly into center of the map, everything has been actually spread out so that you're actually rotating around the center and you're never actually, so you can just go straight to the center and hold that point.
Lawrence Hryb: We can see a little bit of it right here. And you got a little bit of a sense for what the map is at this angle. Maybe not the whole thing, but I totally get what you're saying. It's interesting.
Steven Ferreira: Another thing is just some of those major POIs, we know that some POIs are going to draw more people off the drop than others. There's certain things that influence that. And so rather than have the typical one or two that we've seen in our previous maps, we actually distributed that amongst four, they were kind of evenly spaced and pastes throughout the map. So we think that you're still going to get those hot drops. You still going to get those spicy moments off the go, but it's going to be... There's going to be more of them. So it's not going to be as intense. Another thing about how we designed the POIs was that there's more options. So you drop to a POI, you see that there is other squads dropping in that area. You're going to have options.
It's, they're spread out in terms of the loot distribution within a POI, but we also have these kinds of unnamed towns that we've put scattered next to the major POI so that if you're dropping in, last second you need to make a detour. You can still drop into these other areas, still get high loop, and then create a combat front between the major POI and the minor POI and have a fair fight of it, rather than just see who gets to the loop first. So those are some of the big pieces.
Lawrence Hryb: Now I got to ask you a question here, because one of the things we've seen in some of the previous maps is there's wildlife. There's some wildlife that's natural to the map. Now who thought it was a good idea to put spiders in for those people who're afraid of spiders because they're spiders in this map?
Steven Ferreira: Absolutely. So that's definitely been a point of contention even internally. It's one of those things, unless you're impacted by it, you don't really know what's going to happen, but that's one of the decisions... That's one of the reasons why we made them optional. So yes, wildlife is another big piece of this map, both in prowlers and in the spiders, but they won't... We've been very careful about how we've introduced them to the space. We definitely wanted them there for the thematic kind of influence they have. We wanted the island to feel very like a Jurassic Park, full of mysteries, full of adventure. And you can't have adventure without danger. So that's where the wildlife come into this. And like I said before, you're going to opt into it. They're going to be cases where you're going to turn a corner.
You might run into a prowler nest. You might not expect that. Or you might run into another squad that's engaging with wildlife. But if you are moving through the map, it's really up to you in terms of how you interact with the prowler nest or how you interact with the spider eggs. And if you choose not to do that, you don't have to. We've also been really careful about how we've put our ring placement relative to them. So the idea is that we want to avoid getting to that final circle and having kind of chaos and [SU] because of the wildlife is going after everybody in that final circle. So you'll notice that the rings never close directly over any of the wildlife. They can be near it. They can be dragged into that space, but they won't be there by default.
Lawrence Hryb: If wildlife then no ring close, or whatever the [crosstalk] statement there in the logic. [crosstalk]-
Steven Ferreira: That's right. You'll also notice.
Lawrence Hryb: ... go ahead.
Steven Ferreira: Oh, sorry. I was going to mention one last thing, you also notice about the way that the map is laid out in terms of its topography, it's obviously it's got this mountain range on one side and it goes down to the water and it's broken up with a series of small islands, but there's a very conscious decision to make that a slope going from the north to the south. So as you approach the POIs, it's actually a little bit different as well, in terms of, you're choosing depending on where you land on the map to either move downhill or uphill. And we know that there's different advantages and disadvantages also layering in the different legend abilities about how you attack a POI, whether you're going uphill or downhill. So that's another interesting element that we layered in there.
Lawrence Hryb: Now, I want to talk a little bit about the Gravity Cannons. Why have you guys use this mechanic versus previously we've had the balloons, you just find it, does this allow people to move around the map quicker? Tell us a little bit about the thought behind that?
Steven Ferreira: Yeah, so that was a very, very specific decision that we try to couple of different versions of before we landed on the Gravity Cannon, and really the idea there was that one of the things that we get out of the redeployed balloons is obviously you being able to move from POI to POI quickly. We needed to maintain that going into Storm Point, especially given that it's the largest map that we've made yet. So we knew we needed a fast travel, but with the redeployed balloons, that really gives you a lot of options to drop in and third-party or different squads and POIs, and really gives you a lot of options in terms of whether you drop on direct behind them, directly on them, on a rooftop, or you can hide. And so it was really exacerbating that third-party challenge that we had in the game at the time.
So we decided that we're going to add the Gravity Cannons, because particularly it still gives you a really fun and exciting way to move around the map fast, but it's more controlled in terms of we know exactly where the launch points are, we know where the end points are. We'd give you some flexibility of movement in that, so that you don't fall into a trap when you're landing on the other side, but we know which direction you're going to be moving in.
And so we can design around that. We can place cover around that, we can place our POI strategically around that. And so we feel that ultimately it will be a much healthier way of moving around the map quickly. We've also added... Because like I said, there is very different typography, whether you're on the mountain side, north side of the map, or you were on the water side, south side of the map. So we've got tridents in this map as well, like we do on Olympus. So you'll be able to use those to move around the map as well.
Lawrence Hryb: All right, now we talked about the map. We can talk about your new hero, your new legend, because Ash is a familiar face, as you said, but tell us about some of Ash's abilities, because I was reading about them and they looked very strategic, I want to talk about them?
Steven Ferreira: Yes. I mean, Ash was a really fun character for us... A really fun challenge for us to bring to the game. Actually, something... Being a character from Titanfall, a lot of the team was very passionate about getting her into the game. And even before we knew what the kit was going to be, we had really decided that we need to figure out a way to make Ash a legend in the game. And that happens all the way... That goes all the way back to season five, where, when we did the Broken Ghost quest line and at that point when you were going to bring her to the game. So in terms of how we built the kit out, we wanted to make sure that we were drawing from who Ash was from Titanfall. And so we really looked at the Ronin Titan as the inspiration for her kit.
And we wanted to make sure that it drew from that, but we didn't want it to be the same. We also knew that Ash was a very aggressive character. So there was no question about it. She wasn't going to be a recon character. She wasn't going to be defensive. She was going to be aggressive. She was going to be an assault character. So with that in mind, we started looking at kind of, "Well, how could that Ronin kit fit into this?" And we tried a few things but pushing and being aggressive was always the core of her kit. So where we landed was this idea of a kit that could really hone in on where the opponents were and go and push after them and then push inside of combat. So her passive is called mark for death.
I mean, it's the ability to see deaf boxes on the mini-map. So anytime anybody gets eliminated, you'd be able to see where those death boxes are for a certain amount of time. If you go up to a death box, you can take it one step further and you can use a custom version of a data knife that she can put into the death box and then paying where the opponent that took out that death box or created the death box-
Lawrence Hryb: Oh, interesting.
Steven Ferreira: ... is on the map. You can do that only once per death box. So you can't just constantly peg it and figure out where they are. And it doesn't track them in any way, but you get an idea of, "Okay, you find a death box, you paying it or you use your passive on it, and then you can figure out your next direction, your next heading to go and find the next squad there [crosstalk]."
Lawrence Hryb: Kind of give you a snapshot of like, maybe you should go in this direction. Got it. Cool.
Steven Ferreira: That's right. So that gets her on the path to finding another squads because fighting is what she does. Like I said, she's a very aggressive character. And that takes us to the combination between her tactical and her ultimate. Tactical is called Arc Snare. And we've tried a few different versions of this, but where we landed was that she throws out a projectile that's slow moving in the idea there so that players can see it coming. They're never going to be surprised by this. Because once it hits an area or hits an opponent, it'll actually snare them to the ground and it'll tether them and they'll be stuck in that area. You can still move around.
You're not slowed or anything like that, but you can't move outside of that radius of the snare for a certain time. If you want to get out, you do have the option of pushing against it. But as you push against it, you'll start to get resistance in terms of your movement. But eventually you'll break through and you'll snap it. So that's an... In terms of just locking down her opponents and being able to know where they're going to go so that she can position. And her kit is really about positioning. And that leads into the ultimate, which we call Phase Breach.
And it's a one-way portal that you can... A lot of people compared it to Ash's ultimate, but it's very different. And it's used in a very different way. Basically you select a location and you can create a portal between your current location and that location, to which you teleport fairly quickly. But it's one way in direction. So you can go through. It stays open for a little while, so your squad can follow you behind, but it's really about being able to relocate your position in the middle of combat quickly. [crosstalk]-
Lawrence Hryb: So we need to think of it differently than [Rates], right?
Steven Ferreira: It's very different than Rates, in that Rates, you turn it on and then Rate has a lot of articulation and a lot of reaction that can happen once you're in there. And you can decide where you want it to go, and then you can come back and forth. And if you felt like you created a space that was not a good position to create a portal to, you can always come back and defend that position, not so with Ash. With Ash, once you're in, you're committed and you've got to go from there. So like I said, that's both her strength and her weaknesses. She's very aggressive and she can bridge the gap very quickly between her and her opponents. And she can lock them down. But if she kind of bites off more than she can chew, then she's got no way to back out. So you got to be confident, which is in line with her character in terms of her personality and who she is as well.
Lawrence Hryb: Awesome. So you talked about the CAR SMG, so [inaudible] people play around with that. It's a pretty amazing weapon for those folks from the Titanfall who played Titanfall. Tell us a little bit about the new Battle Pass that you have lined up?
Steven Ferreira: Yeah, so like always we've got a brand new Battle Pass full of new content that comes along with a bunch of challenges. In fact, we'll have more challenges and more events that feed into the challenges. As you've been seeing, we being increasing that season to season, so same goes here with the season in Escape, and it's going to feed both into Arenas and into Battle Royale. So regardless of which way you like to play, you're going to be able to unlock content in that Battle Pass.
Lawrence Hryb: All right. So we've seen the map, we have the new hero, we've got the weapon, you got your Battle Pass, when can people get their hands on some of this new stuff? That's the next question.
Steven Ferreira: Yeah, absolutely. November 2nd. That's when it drops. Really excited to see everybody jump in at that point and I'll definitely be playing, so hope to see everybody there.
Lawrence Hryb: Looking forward to that. Checking everything out. Listen, Steven, appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today. You're the team director at Respawn. Keep up the great work, have a great holiday, and we'll have you back on again sometime, all right?
Steven Ferreira: Thanks very much. Can't wait.
Rebecca: Thank you to Steven Ferreira from the Apex Legends team, season 11 is out now. There's new map, new hero, new weapon, highly recommend everyone check it out.
Lawrence Hryb: Ash's from Apex Legends. Of course, she's in Apex Legends, but she's from Titanfall two. Ash's one of the characters from Titanfall two.
Rebecca: Oh, makes sense. Okay, great, Respawn.
Lawrence Hryb: Because they've got every [crosstalk] kind of interconnected. Did you play Titanfall back in the day?
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative), I did.
Lawrence Hryb: Wasn't that great?
Rebecca: It was game-changing pun not intended, but yeah, it was amazing.
Lawrence Hryb: Standby for Titanfall and just having that [inaudible].
Rebecca: Yeah, I think that was one of the first games I played that really had the wall running also, I know. And then just the feeling of crushing a Titan, like destroying one.
Lawrence Hryb: Pull the battery out and like [inaudible].
Rebecca: [crosstalk]. I did try Apex Legends a few times. It just didn't really catch on. I feel like I had a bunch of other things I was [crosstalk] at that point.
Lawrence Hryb: It's funny because I was thinking about... Well, we didn't talk about this at the beginning of the show, but since I didn't have power this weekend and I did have my phone and my tablet, I binged Squid Game.
Rebecca: Oh, yeah?
Lawrence Hryb: Did you finish it?
Rebecca: Yeah, I have.
Lawrence Hryb: So spoiler, we're going to talk a little bit about Squid Game before we get to the news. It's funny because I watched Squid Game and I'm sure a lot of gaming folks did, people that watch the show or listen to the podcast. I was like, "Okay, it's Battle Royale." Right?
Lawrence Hryb: As gamers we've been used to this forever. What did you think of it? Spoiler, spoiler, spoilers.
Rebecca: I really liked it. I watched it with my best friend who hasn't watched a lot of Korean entertainment before, and so there were some small cultural nuances [crosstalk]-
Lawrence Hryb: Tell me about that, because you've got a Korean background, tell me about that?
Rebecca: ... yeah. So for example, I can't remember the exact words in Korean, but the song, I don't think this is... This is not a spoiler, but so they play red light green light which I think we all generally probably played as a kid.
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah, of course. Where red light is you have to stop green light you get to go and you have to go somewhere. [crosstalk] somebody is calling out red light [crosstalk].
Rebecca: But the girl, the statue, the really famous girl that everyone knows from Squid Game, the song that she chants isn't actually saying red light green light, but that's what the captions say. It's, I can't remember the phrase in Korean, but it basically says like, the hibiscus flower is blooming or some kind of flower is blooming. It's like the national flower. And so it's like something to say like, the flowers blooming, get ready to go. And then there are just a bunch of other times throughout the show where the captions are not quite what they're actually saying in Korean. I'm not fluent, but I can pick up at least a few pieces. I did think... I kind of told my friend, it was once you've seen one kind of psycho energy Korean form of entertainment, like Parasite or Train to Busan, you get the gist to where it's going. It's going to be pretty dark. But I thought it was interesting that it is a Battle Royale sort of set up.
Lawrence Hryb: That's the background story in the game.
Rebecca: Yeah. Oh, there's one thing I want to say. I'm not sure if it's a spoiler, but basically it's kind of optional. So I think it reflects like the... I mean, you've probably seen a lot of coverage around the growing, like I guess the inequality gap in Korea these days households [crosstalk]-
Lawrence Hryb: Sure, and many places.
Rebecca: ... yeah. Many places. So I thought it was an interesting take and kind of way to bring up that conversation, so that's cool.
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah, I enjoyed it. It's funny because I started watching it and I was about maybe five minutes in and for some reason when I brought up Netflix, it gave me the default of the English dubbed version.
Rebecca: Oh, interesting.
Lawrence Hryb: And maybe I said, so I knew I was like, "I can't do this. Soon as I really wanted to watch the Korean language delivery with the English subtitle-"
Rebecca: Yes, you can hear the actors.
Lawrence Hryb: ... exactly, because part of acting is not just your physical it's your voice. As I hit my microphone. So I just like, "I can't do it." So I changed it over and I watched the whole thing. But the only thing that really just struck me as peculiar, and we're not going to talk about the story too much, or maybe this is a little bit of a spoiler, but there's certain English speaking characters that appear later on. Their delivery was so cardboard, right?
Lawrence Hryb: That was funny. Wasn't it?
Rebecca: It was very campy.
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah. And I just thought that was... That kind of a little bit of broke the fourth wall for me. But anyway, long story short was Battle Royale and I was like, "Okay."
Rebecca: Yeah. I thought that was interesting to you. I mean, maybe this is just me speculating, I think that maybe just... I know that in a lot of Western cinema, Western culture, like Eastern characters and culture kind of get exaggerated a lot of the time. So maybe it's something a little bit similar where-
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah, which is the reverse.
Rebecca: ... in the east, they're exaggerating these Western characters and European folks, so kind of interesting.
Lawrence Hryb: With these Western culture. You're right. I mean, when you watch some anime from the east, it's like, it's always over the top [inaudible], right?
Rebecca: Yeah. Like the buffed German character is always really big or something.
Lawrence Hryb: Right. So, but yeah, I mean, there's certain things that translate that there's an Eastern view of the west and the Western view of the east, whatever. But anyway, the long story short was, and this isn't too much of a spoiler, is that you're right. As a gamer, I was like, "Okay, this is just a Battle Royale." Right?
Lawrence Hryb: What I wish that... And maybe they'll do, and this is a free one, what I really wish is that we saw a little bit somebody who is more used to video games the Battle Royale way to introduce that into a version of the Squid Game. Do you know what I mean?
Rebecca: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lawrence Hryb: Because it looked like those characters and I don't want to judge, but I guess I will, is that some of those characters perhaps haven't played Battle Royale video games. That's what I'm saying is I wish we saw somebody in there was like, "Okay, I figured this out." [crosstalk] wildly different. At the end the games are wildly, wildly different. Again to your point I don't want to spoil.
Rebecca: Like a couple of characters who kind of understood what was going on and took advantage of that.
Lawrence Hryb: Right.
Rebecca: I see what you're saying. That could make sense.
Lawrence Hryb: [inaudible] they come from-
Rebecca: There are a lot of gamers in Korea. Someone should have understood what was going on.
Lawrence Hryb: ... right. There sure are. But I also really enjoyed the brief moments that we saw native Korea. Because I had the opportunity to go there for a few days a week before the pandemic.
Rebecca: Oh, wow.
Lawrence Hryb: And I really, I loved it. I mean, I've always loved a lot of... I love Japan, is one of my favorite places. When I went to Seoul, it was so beautiful and clean and the people were so lovely and the food was just amazing. But I love seeing those brief glimpses. You've been?
Rebecca: Yeah, of course. I love seeing Korean entertainment pop up in Western settings more, like Parasite obviously was so huge.
Lawrence Hryb: That was one film that I know there's this whole... And if Jeff was here he would go on and on about, "I hate dramas." Which I really don't know that much about Korean dramas, but I loved Parasite just because I loved it, just had a very Hitchcockian kind of angle. And maybe it's a spoiler, because it's a few years old. We don't want to give too much away, but I love that. Oh, my that's really going to happen? It just goes zigs and zags and zigs and zags.
Rebecca: There are a lot of really good Korean movies like Old Boy is another really popular one. Old Boy was adopted into an English speaking film too. I highly recommend checking it out, but-
Lawrence Hryb: Old Boy.
Rebecca: ... maybe watch it later.
Lawrence Hryb: Is that on Netflix or is it stream able?
Rebecca: It should be. It's pretty out there. There's a Korean version. And then there's an, I think it's Josh Brolin, I want to say is the lead in the-
Lawrence Hryb: Oh, he's in Dune.
Rebecca: Josh Brolin is?
Lawrence Hryb: Isn't one of the Brolin's, isn't he? I don't know.
Rebecca: I'm not sure. I haven't seen Dune yet. Don't spoil it for me.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay. What are some of the hallmarks that you know of... We're getting into a film side, of Korean dramas or Korean film from where you sit, somebody who lives in America but understands Korean culture, because I don't?
Rebecca: I think one thing that's one like cultural difference, that's really interesting is that between, I think that in a lot of American conflict or in American entertainment, the characters are very, I think just in general, like Americans and maybe just Westerners in general are very forthcoming about how they feel and what they know. It's like, if you know something, then something big or a secret, you tell someone or you accuse them of it. But in... And we saw this in Squid Game too, with the main character, he discovers something that's a big deal at the beginning, but he never says anything. Do you remember what I'm talking about? And I think that's part of, I think Asian culture is not being so transparent, being a little bit more hidden with how you're feeling about things-
Lawrence Hryb: Are you hidden because you don't know... [crosstalk].
Rebecca: ... [crosstalk].
Lawrence Hryb: Do you think they're hidden because they're just so reserved, they don't want to share it or what's the... I mean, I don't expect you to know as an expert, but [crosstalk]?
Rebecca: That's okay. I'm not sure. I guess it's just not in at least from my experience with Koreans, you're just not super confrontational about things. So even with my family, when... If my mom doesn't like something that one of my aunts does, she won't really say anything to them. She'll tell me, but you know?
Lawrence Hryb: But she has no problem dropping into the YouTube comments.
Rebecca: Liking YouTube comments, yeah.
Lawrence Hryb: Before telling you, right.
Rebecca: It's a little bit different, but I don't know. It's just one kind of small cultural nuance. So I think it's interesting as a Westerner to be watching something like Squid Game and being like, "Why aren't you saying something? Why aren't you doing that?" But then it lends its way to the conflict and the way that the story is going.
Lawrence Hryb: Anyway, so Squid Game I watched it-
Rebecca: Highly recommend.
Lawrence Hryb: ... if you like Battle Royales like if you play Battle Royale games, check it out. I mean, it's... A lot of people talk about Squid Game. Here we go. We got to talk about games because... We have been talking a little bit about games but we have some gaming news. What do you got there?
Rebecca: Yeah, there actually isn't that much this week.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay, [inaudible].
Rebecca: No, I'm just kidding. So, one piece of news that's near and dear to my heart, Minecraft Dungeons Spooky Fall event, it's still going on. It's our Halloween ish fall event taking place until Tuesday, November 2nd. So I recommend checking it out this weekend. There are a lot of limited time items and different achievements that you can get. We also have Age of Empires launching... I think it launched yesterday by the time this airs.
Lawrence Hryb: Right.
Rebecca: So that is, I believe Xbox game pass for PC, Xbox game pass ultimate, Microsoft Store Steam. Oh, I hope I'm not forgetting anything, but there's also a minimum spec version of Age of Empires that's launching. So if you're on an older device, you could probably check it out. So I thought it was pretty cool that the developers wanted to make it a little bit more accessible.
Lawrence Hryb: Did you see what the Age team did, they released the video earlier this week? They built a trebuchet.
Rebecca: Oh no, I didn't see it.
Lawrence Hryb: It is bananas. It's over on the Xbox YouTube channel. I mean, I can kind of show you a little bit of it here. [inaudible] Charlie has done some stuff with us, so she's there. They've actually built a trebuchet and I mean...
Rebecca: In real life?
Lawrence Hryb: Yes in real life.
Rebecca: Okay. That's cool.
Lawrence Hryb: And they're showing it here and there... Anyway, because that's a big part of the Age of Empires.
Rebecca: Is that on the Xbox YouTube?
Lawrence Hryb: Yeah, sure.
Rebecca: Okay, very cool.
Lawrence Hryb: Check that out. And our good friend, Charlie, who's been on the show before she is hosting a video about that.
Rebecca: Very cool.
Lawrence Hryb: So go check that out. Anyway, keep going on, Age of Empires.
Rebecca: No, that's it. Honestly, that's-
Lawrence Hryb: Did you play a lot when you were young, Age of Empires?
Rebecca: I didn't actually.
Lawrence Hryb: Really?
Lawrence Hryb: What were you playing? Because I remember you shared... I don't think you shared it publicly, but I've seen the picture of you when you were a little girl sitting in front of the PC, with your friend, you had a friend with you or something, right?
Rebecca: Yeah. With my dad's PC. So I think that was where I first started playing games was my dad would get like a custom PC from some guy a few miles away, and that guy would always put like Metal of Honor or Call of Duty or the very, very early versions. And so those were some of the first games I played on PC. So it's usually Shooters, I think, as I got older, a little bit older, I graduated to like Star Wars Battlefront. And that was when I was very heavy in my Star Wars phase.
Lawrence Hryb: You're still heavy on your Star Wars phase, aren't you?
Rebecca: Yeah. I'm pretty into it.
Lawrence Hryb: Okay, I mean, that's fine to me. I grew up with it. I mean, who hasn't grown up with Star Wars? Who doesn't love...
Rebecca: I guess everyone.
Lawrence Hryb: So, when you're asked that question, are you Star Wars or Star Trek?
Rebecca: I do really appreciate both. I just-
Lawrence Hryb: I do too.
Rebecca: ... I love anything with star in the title generally. I also really love... I've already talked about Battlestar Galactica.
Lawrence Hryb: Well talk about [Star AD] then, it's a bad movie from the '80s.
Rebecca: I don't know if I've seen that one. Okay. I'll take it out.
Lawrence Hryb: Woo, no don't. Ah, anyway, here we go.
Rebecca: Yeah. So not a ton of news this week, but Age of Empire is, definitely check out that tributary video on the YouTube channel. While you're there also check out the Halo Infinite Campaign Overview. It's very cool. It's a nice six minute watch. So yeah, that's just about it.
Lawrence Hryb: Great. All right. Well, we're going to wrap the show up here. Jeff will be back next week. I hope. Well, we're not going to be in studio because you're going to be back [crosstalk].
Rebecca: Yeah, I'll be back.
Lawrence Hryb: So we'll be back in our individual home studios, but did you see this our marketing team teamed up with EA marketing for this Battlefield controller. Have you seen this?
Rebecca: Yeah, I saw it [crosstalk].
Lawrence Hryb: So if you missed it earlier this week of course Battlefield 2042 coming to Xbox next month it looks and plays great, but the teams teamed up with our industrial hardware team that designs our [inaudible] controller here, but they design our hardware, the Xbox Series X and the S and our controllers. And they thought about this, they were posed the question, what would gaming be like in 2042? When, Battlefield 2040, do you see what we did there? Anyway, so they released this cheeky video. What you're about to see... We're going to roll it here. So we're going to end the show and we're going to wrap it up with this. You're seeing... Everything you see here is not real. They just had a little bit of fun-
Rebecca: Are sure?
Lawrence Hryb: ... no, stop. They had a little bit of fun and apparently quite a bit of budget. So they put together this video. We figured we'd leave you with that and we'll see you guys next week. Bye-bye everybody.
Speaker 4: Play it on Xbox Series X and S.