Community Director, 343 Industries
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Games in this podcast range from E to M.
- Hi, everyone. Welcome to the official Xbox podcast. My name is Tina Amini, and I'm here with my two illustrious fellow cohosts, of the show Malik and Jeff. How are you two doing?
- Illustrious. What a word? Great. Great.
- I don't even know what it means. I'm assuming it's a compliment.
- Yes, it is a compliment.
- My quite prestigious, quite talented, cohost if I had to use a thesaurus on the fly.
- Back to you, Tina.
- You're a polysyllabic host, so appreciate that.
- Oh my god.
- Busting out all the words. Yeah.
- Useful stuff in the real world.
- Indeed. We've got a lot to get through today, including an interview later between Jeff and Brian Jarrard, community director at 343 Industries, about Halo Infinite's fifth season, called "Reckoning," which is coming out next week on October 17. There'll be some content around the new mode, Forge updates, a couple other things. Are you looking forward to it, Jeff?
- Yeah, I actually went out to 343 last week to see some of the stuff that they're working on. And immediately, I was like, hey, Brian, can you be on the show next week? And he agreed immediately. So excited to talk more. It's a huge week for Halo, between the announcements at the beginning of the week, and we've got the world championships here that are going to be starting tomorrow. So exciting times.
TINA AMINI: Exciting.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, you don't have to get me started on Halo, by the way, because I could go on for a whole episode. I am in love with Halo, and of course, Brian Jarrard, a.k.a. Sketch. The community knows him as that. Just amazing. And does he still have the beard and the hair? Because I feel like that was the look over COVID. He had the long hair and the growing pandemic beard. Either way.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We'll save that.
- He's awesome.
- That's the-- which Brian-- which Sketch will we get?
- Exactly. Love that.
- We can only tease so much without spoiling it all. [LAUGHS]
- That's right. That's right.
- Well, we'll get to some other news later. But as always, we like to kick it off with what we're playing. And I'm not even going to let you to speak just yet because honestly, I am so excited about what I've been playing. There's been so much, we've talked about this over the last few weeks, that's been out there, so I'm still playing Cyberpunk. I'm still playing Starfield. I'm still playing Payday. I'm still playing Lies of P, as all of these games have rapid fire come out.
But two new games. I haven't talked about on the podcast just yet are Assassin's Creed Mirage and one other. I'll save it for after my rant about how much I'm enjoying Mirage. I love this game so much, honestly. If you don't know, the base premise is Basim's origin story. He was introduced in Valhalla, if you played the last Assassin's Creed. So it's kind of an origin story of a little bit of around the Hidden Ones versus the Order, and you're kind of uncovering what exactly the Order are up to. You don't know what it is, but they're evil, and this journey validates that.
There's two big things that I love. One is the stealth route. So Ubisoft has been talking about how they've been diligently kind of going back to that OG formula and that basic composition of you're scouting, you're putting measures into place to infiltrate an area to hunt down a target, ultimately, in most cases, in most missions. But you can take little different routes where it unveils small, little story elements along the way. And that's just one of my favorite experiences in terms of going back to that stealth.
And it's all part of a wider investigation. You're, like, tracking these clues, and you're trying to see where they lead you to, presumably a wider, higher-stakes conspiracy. But then on top of that, there's also progression elements in place, so you're picking up new tools and abilities to help you along the way. Some are kind of quality of life. Some are more preferential, like do you change the ability on your sleep dart to actually be rage inducing? Do you prefer to play a little bit more aggressively? Like that.
And then there's another big element to the game that I'm really enjoying that's kind of more personal, but Jeff, I know you've been playing Mirage as well, so is all this ringing true for you, too?
- Yeah, I'm not as far in as you are. I like what you said at the very beginning, where I'm playing this, and I'm playing this, and I'm playing this. And I'm playing this I'm very much in that boat. And I have to start finishing games, which I was able to do this week and we'll get back to it.
But the thing that I really loved about-- I'd say Assassin's Creed in general, but really took me in with Origins, which took place in Egypt, was destroying my preconceptions of what Egypt is. I think of pyramids and sand and just desert.
And it was a very different environment back then. So I'm just curious-- with Baghdad, as you got to explore-- this is one of-- I think one of the bigger cities that's ever been featured in an Assassin's Creed. Like, is there any-- Baghdad is a character in the game. Like, is there any really cool imagery or just experience throughout the city that is sticking with you?
- Absolutely. And that's actually the second point, too, is those cultural references. Like, you don't often see the Middle East very well represented, except for on the other side of conflict. So it's kind of cool to see the rich history. And obviously, Ubisoft has done a really good job in general, each of their locations for the Assassin's Creed games going really deep into that rich background and making sure they reflect it in the art, in the quests, in people's names, the language, some of the cute greetings and references that they drop in there.
And it's really part of what makes it this particular Ubisoft, Assassin's Creed game a great stealth approach because you're in this really tightly knit city and scaling a lot of the rooftops more than that open world. And I think you could make the argument, open world versus the really dense cities, what's the better Assassin's Creed setting? But I'm loving that really densely packed city. And there's mosques in different areas. Like, those are really big architectural-- not even just religious symbols for cities, but just huge architectural achievements as well. So it's really cool to hop on all of the synchronization spots and check out like the incredible depth of the city and then run into some of the discovery elements that they've embedded into the game as well so you can learn more about the history of it.
So it's based in Iraq, and you can hear different dialects, which is really interesting. So some people are, like, "Bahg-dahd" or "Bag-dad," and just even how they pronounce the city is very different because it's all those different elements, those different people, within the culture and the environment.
And I realized it makes sense. I'm not Iraqi. I'm Iranian, neighbors to Iraq. And there's a lot of crossover culturally. But also just a lot of people who are literally speaking my language, speaking Farsi, in the game. I'm like whoa, I completely understood that. And I wasn't expecting it. But it makes sense in retrospect because of how closely aligned those two cultures are.
And even like, there's a mission in an area called the bimaristan, and it took me a second, but I was like, wait, that's literally hospital in Farsi. And it is a hospital that you are infiltrating to investigate what's going on. And I won't spoil more than that.
But I've loved it. There's been tiny and big moments that I've felt like, wow, I understood that. And maybe not everybody who played understood that. But if you did, it's kind of like if you played the originals and there's Easter eggs, and you have a greater appreciation for it. So that's definitely one of the reasons I've been-- it's become my nightly routine at the end of every day of work. And I'm about 15 hours in, maybe.
- Oh, I'm so jealous. I got to jump in. I feel like I-- like, you all have been struggling to figure out what game do I play each night. But I think we talked about it a little last week, but the idea of going back to the formula of the first few Assassin's Creed is one that I was-- I'm super interested in. So just hearing you all gush over it, I'm super pumped to jump in.
TINA AMINI: I love it. I have one more game, though, to add to your list.
- And this one's a real big pitch because I don't know that everyone's heard about it. It's an independently developed game supported by Xbox, actually, as part of our developer acceleration program. We featured it in the extended showcase earlier this year. And the second I saw it, I was like, this is my kind of game. This is a very cool game.
It's called El Paso Elsewhere it's one of the coolest and most stylish games I've ever played. It's got its own, original hip-hop soundtrack, which is incredible. There's triggers in each of the levels where they might have songs with lyrics, rather than more of that background soundtrack. So it's not just, like, ambient sound, but it's specifically matching to specific levels. Even the menu music-- like, I just let it hang on the menu for a second just to listen to it longer.
And I really like those details that draw you in. It's also, obviously, the combat, the story. There's a lot of elements to the game. And I'll explain those things in just a moment so I can round out my pitch for why everyone should play this game.
But jumping right in, the tutorial is really clever. Like, when I talk about style, even in the tutorial, you are kind of a vampire slayer. Basically, you are going through a breakup, and the queen of all vampires, Draculae, is kind of-- she's up to no good. She's kind of grappling with--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: As you'd expect.
- Yeah, as you can expect. But it's interesting because it's from the point of view of-- they show you snippets of their relationship and how it formed and him finding out she's vampire queen, and she's kind of embracing what her-- what she feels her ultimate goal is supposed to be in life, as one does in existential moments. And so he's now grappling with the right and wrong of taking on his ex-girlfriend to make sure he saves the world. So that's the basic premise.
And in the tutorial, you're actually-- the whole time you're-- the protagonist, James, is narrating his thoughts and his experiences, which I love that as a storytelling mechanism. But even in the tutorial, he's narrating, like, I got to prepare for this battle with Draculae. And that's like the story contextualization as to why you're just learning the basic mechanics of slowing down time, Max Payne-style, as you like leap into different directions to avoid and dodge your enemies, but then also stake them at close range if you get overwhelmed with crowd control.
So I just-- I love everything about it. The protagonist, his name is James, is actually voiced by the developer himself, Xalavier Nelson Jr. He's got such a sultry voice that he's like-- you can tell he's putting on a specific voice for this character. I'm absolutely loving it. And his emotional journey-- like, it's a really well-told story, coupled with those really cool Max Payne mechanics and some variety and enemies as well.
Have you two-- have this-- has this been on your radar, this game?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I've heard people talking about it, and I've seen Xalavier Nelson Jr., Like, pop up on Twitter quite a bit, or-- I'm not calling it X. And so I've definitely had-- been piqued. But I think you're pushing me over the edge here. What kind-- I have a lot of imagery now in my head. I've been to El Paso. I don't know if it takes place there. But is it-- like, what type of game it? It sounds like it's an action game of some sort, but then you're mentioning Max Payne, so-- paint a little bit more of the picture here.
- Yeah, absolutely. So it is third person action, like shooting, primarily. So you've got your go-tos, your double pistols, which I love. It's not even-- it's never a single pistol. It's always double pistols. Your shotgun, your rifle, and then you progress to get a couple other weapons that I won't spoil in case people feel like those are spoilers. Everybody's spoiler barometer's personal and different, so I want to acknowledge that.
And you've got that Max Payne slow-mo leap, so you obviously have to build the bar to be able to pull those moves off by killing more and more enemies. And you've got vampires that are just coming full barrel at you, running full speed, that you can stake if they get too close. And the stake feels so good, too.
You can demolish any furniture in the environment, any wooden furniture, and get more stakes. So it's just a really rewarding loop where at any point of time, it never feels too difficult. There are a lot of crowd control, and then you've got a variety of enemies where you've got to get the one before you get the other because some are bigger threats combined in different kind of environments, too, with different kind of levels.
So you have to really manage those sorts of things. But it always feels gratifying. And the impact of your hits, the fact that the stake is there as that last, like, oh, no, moment before you get totally overwhelmed-- it's really well designed. I highly, highly recommend it.
- Yeah. Downloading--
- It looks beautiful. Yeah, I mean, I was watching the trailer. If anyone sees my eyes shifting, I'm literally watching the trailer as Tina was talking about it. And you're not kidding about the Max Payne inspiration. It is-- if you love that game, this looks very much like it.
And just to go back to your point on the developer voicing the character, and just this being a product of the developer acceleration program-- like, you're seeing some really amazing games, and I don't know, just games coming out of developers who are developing independently that-- as we look at how many things we have to play, this is the thing that I love about this show, is that we can come in and talk about these games and get inspired.
So I'm definitely going to have to check this out as well. Just so many games. What do we do? What are we supposed to do?
TINA AMINI: I know.
- What are we supposed to do?
- You gave me Cocoon last week, which, was like, I have it loaded. It's sitting right here. And I'm like, OK, I'm going to get to it. And now I'm adding this. So if you came here to have your backlog reduced, we failed--
- Wrong show.
- --that mission.
- We did.
- Wrong show. [LAUGHS]
- Absolutely. We all can embrace the backlog. Everybody's got a backlog of different lengths.
- That's true.
- But it is shaping up to be just an absolutely incredible year. And I've talked too much. So Malik, what have you been playing?
- So I have been playing Forza Motorsport. We talked about it a little bit last week. We had Chris Sasaki on the show to go over everything Forza-related. But we're taping-- breaking down the fourth wall. We're taping this on Tuesday. And the game is out right now for everyone on Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Steam, available via the cloud.
And so we're-- like, it's just an amazing time to be at Xbox. I think we've been waiting six years for a Forza Motorsport. And I-- something about me. If you've watched this show a little bit, you know that I love sims. I love pretending that I'm a pilot, even though I'm deathly afraid of flying. So I play Flight Sim. I have no control over my life, so I play City Skylines to have control over other people's lives. And so that is what I love to do, OK?
But in this game, in Forza Motorsport, of course, of course, I'm pretending to be-- I'm playing as a race car driver. But I've been driving my very own personal car because it's in the game. I said it last week. It's on the show. And so it's just so cool to see the parallels of driving my real-life car in the game on a track because I'd never do it, because, listen, insurance rates are high enough that we don't need to take chances.
But it's really-- and then we've been seeing all of these clips show up online of people racing in the rain and stuff like that. And so I've been replicating that. And so I've just been having a blast playing myself and driving my own car and just driving around and racing against other hatchbacks. But--
- I was just so surprised to find out that you had a Lamborghini Murcielago. Like, I've-- mine--
- Most people don't know that about me. And so it's a Volkswagen, but you know what? I should have-- I should have let the Lamborghini story go. I should have kept that going, yeah. One day, though. One day, you know? If I save up enough coins, maybe I'll be able to afford one.
But I did bring a little bit of a show and tell, all right? Show and tell. And I'll go through this pretty quickly. Look at this helmet, OK?
So we talked a little bit last week about the creator event that we had down in Vegas. I won't go over it again. Be sure to go back and watch that. But we gave all of our creators this helmet. And I was able to get one. And this is like the coolest thing I've ever owned in my life.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Put it on.
- Oh, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Put it on.
- You know, yeah. If you're watching the show, check it out. If you're not watching, go to YouTube. Should I do the whole-- should I do the rest of the show like this? Can you guys hear me?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I mean, yeah, we hear you.
TINA AMINI: Your audio is coming in great. [LAUGHS]
- Let's go. This is staying on for the whole show. All right. But yeah, if you're listening--
- --I'm wearing an amazing Forza Motorsport-inspired helmet. I'll take it off because I can't actually hear myself. But Forza Motorsport-inspired helmet with my name on it, too, so it's exciting. I'm loving Forza Motorsport, again, like we talked about it a little bit on the show, and so I'll be really brief.
But I love what the game is doing as it pertains to teach you how to be a better driver, and that means giving you ratings for every turn you take, every overtake, making sure that you're doing it super clean. And so I actually feel like for the first time ever, like, I'm actually getting better as I drive because of these subtle little cues that implicitly teach you how to be a better driver.
And so the game is out now. And be sure to check it out. Game Pass. It's in Game Pass. And so, again, another game for you to try if you need another one.
- Once we're back on the set, let's put that helmet on the set. I want us to slowly build the set back. And we'll be back on the set next week.
- Jeff, you want me to give up my helmet for the set?
- Fine, well, then, not.
- It's got his name on it.
- They sent one to me. I'll put mine in. It's fine.
- That was a--
- I had to pay for it, anyway.
- [LAUGHS] It's all good.
- We need one that says The Official Xbox Podcast on it. So.
- There we go. That one, I'd be OK. This one has to stay with me. But Jeff, what about you? What have you been playing?
- Yeah, have been playing Forza as well. I'm curious if you have any-- well, you said your favorite car-- actually, I was playing a Hatchback Series. And so if you have a Golf, then I've been playing that as well, too. And my car is not in the game, and I feel like that's the closest, so-- I have a Volkswagen ID.4, so I was like, all right, well, I'm going to get a VW and--
MALIK PRINCE: Hey, there you go.
- --this round. So having a really good time with that. Last night, I mastered Laguna Seca, which has always been my nemesis. In any game, going back to Gran Turismo 2, I feel like Laguna Seca has always been a tough one for me.
Because there's, like, this chicane-- "chi-can"? I don't know, but this part where you go down two stories while doing an S curve. And the amount of times I've just flown over the edge and hit the tree that's on the other side of that.
And it's the only race course I've ever been to in real life, and-- because it's not far from where I used to live in the Bay Area. And so I actually got to go on the track very slowly, not driving, by the way, in the passenger seat or in the back seat. And I was like, oh, a professional knows what they're doing. I have no idea.
But the ratings-- and I went through, and on my final lap, I got a 7.9 in that in that sequence. And I was like, I'm getting better here. Because at the beginning-- so you do some practice runs. And then when you go to the actual race, you can choose what starting place you're at. And the default is of in the middle. I want to say, like, 12th. And it makes a prediction. Like, based on your skill level, we think you're going to finish here, and based on difficulty and however else they get that magic number.
And it basically told me you're not going to win this race. And I took that personally. And I ended up, like, barely winning that race, and just the level of accomplishment, sort of like in a Souls-like or something like that, when you think I'm not going to be able to do it, and then you do it-- that feels really good. So that was how I wrapped up last night, which is why I have this here.
But something that tends to stress me out is when I do have a big backlog, especially of games that have started but haven't finished. So I've been-- I spent the weekend-- I finished Starfield's campaign, I will say, for the first time. I now understand what people talk about with the way new game plus works. And actually ended up playing for another couple hours in that new game plus because immediately I was like, I'm not putting my controller down. This is cool.
And I will say I was very satisfied with my gameplay, with my playthrough. I finished all the faction quests. I got the endings that I wanted, or I deserved, I guess one could say, in those. So I was very pleased. And I'm like, all right, well, maybe I'll do things differently this time.
But really cool where that game goes. And I loved it. I played, I want to say, 65 hours on that playthrough. And I understand why people say, oh, you can play this game for 150 hours and not see everything because there are so many red spots on my map of systems that I just never landed on. And so one day, I will come back to that.
The other thing-- I was looking at the calendar. As we're recording this, it's, like, October 10th, so you're probably seeing this on the 12th. We're about four weeks away from Like A Dragon Gaiden, The Man Who Erased His Name which is the next Yakuza game coming out.
And I had my dirty secret, is that I had never finished all of the Yakuza games. I had been saving Yakuza 6 as the final chapter in a book I didn't want to finish reading. Like, I could have finished it any time. I was like, nope, I'm putting it to the side, and one day I will want that chicken soup or that-- whatever, that comfort food game.
And so had been sitting on it. But now, I was like, I have a month to go. And really, this game is a direct sequel to that. And so I was like, OK, well, now I got to get after it. And so over the past couple of weeks, I've been going through.
And last night I finished Yakuza 6, The Song of Life. And I loved it, which is not surprising. But now--
MALIK PRINCE: Predictably.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --I'm very-- I'm predictable, if anything, you know?
MALIK PRINCE: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That team knows how to please me. And so we're, yeah, just a few weeks out. And so that game is going to be coming soon to Xbox and coming to Game pass, which is amazing. So I expect you all to join me on that journey in a few weeks. And I'll be talking endlessly about it. I'm working on getting some guests, some really interesting guests for that game as well. So that's what I've been playing.
Except for that-- I just want to go back to that trip I mentioned last week. I went to 343 Industries. They're obviously not terribly far from Seattle here, so they invited me out to check out some of the things that they're working on in season five.
And one of those things that they were like, do you want to play, was, and the answer is yes, a new mode that was just announced this week called King of the Hill Firefight. So King of the Hill, very well known mode. Firefight, very well known mode. You put them together, and what you end up getting is a really fun, team-based PVE experience where you're fighting off hordes of increasingly powerful enemies, holding a territory, which then moves to different territories. And you end up outscoring the AI, if you will. And there's different difficulty levels and everything.
I sat down immediately and just got super into it. And I was playing with some other folks in their testing lab, which was great. And I will say it felt awesome. There were a few weapons that I was playing with for the first time. And this is going to be, like, my next co-op, especially because you can change the level. You don't have to get too sweaty. I was playing on normal.
So it just felt like the exact right level of challenge for me. I'm sure there's people out there that would be playing on legendary or heroic. And good for you. I think for me, and my level of sweatiness and my friends' level of sweaty, this is going to be, like, just like, hey, let's catch up and talk while we're doing this. This is going to be a great mode for that.
So I-- that's just one of the things that was announced. So I feel like you should not be hearing from me any more about what's going on in Halo season five. So why don't we take it over to the conversation that I had with the 343 community director, Brian Jarrard. You may know him as Sketch. And here he is.
And as promised, the community director of 343 Industries, Brian Jarrard, is here. We weren't sure if we we were going to get full, hirsute, long beard, Rip Van Winkle Brian Jarrard, or clean shaven, and it looks like we split the difference here.
- Yeah, it's hybrid, you know? Business up top, I guess party down below? I don't know how that goes. But yeah, the locks-- it's-- I'm here for a new era. Got to streamline. We're busy now. It was a fun experiment while it lasted, but at the end of the day, it just became a huge pain in the butt to manage. So I'm back to my shorn self.
- Well, you're looking great. I wish I could grow a goat like that, but you know what? I'm glad you've streamlined, because like you said, it's very busy now. And this has been-- this is-- I don't know. Only you could say this. But this feels like maybe the busiest week of the year for Halo and for Halo fans. A lot going on right now.
- Oh, no question. Between season five, which we'll get into here in a second, for sure our biggest, best season yet, and then, of course, with the Halo World Championship million-dollar esport finals just days away, this is the biggest-- for sure, the biggest week we've had since basically last year's world championships.
- Let's take it day by day, then. At the beginning of the week on Monday, there was a pretty comprehensive overview and a really cool trailer on season five called "Reckoning." And there's a lot for fans to reckon with, if you will forgive that. You don't have to forgive that. But where do we even start here? Do you want to start with "Infection." Do you want to start with the progression? There's so many changes. There's so many things here.
- It's true. You're totally right. Like, season four "Infection" was kind of-- I think-- I mean, let me just first say, like, big shout out to the team. I feel like without a doubt, every season that Infinite has had, we're just getting that much better. They're just that much more jam-packed with everything that we're hearing back from players that we know players are interested in. So I'm really, really excited and happy of all the work the team's done. And the fans are here. They're here for it, right? So the hype has been awesome.
Season five-- I think it is hard to kind of fit it into a singular theme like season four. It had infection, was through-line. That was our new mode. Season five is just sort of-- jokingly, it's like the kitchen sink season. There's just a little bit of everything and something for everyone here.
If we want to take it from the top, Jeff, very excited. We've got two brand new maps coming into the game. These are arena maps, kind of built for that 4v4 gameplay. We have one map you probably recognize from the trailer. It's called Prism. This map, to me, visually stands out. It's not like anything else we've done before. The fiction behind this is, it's like these are like the caves where they mined the Blamite crystals that are, like, basically the Needler, so the needles you shoot out of your gun? I guess somewhere, there's people working in the mines, slaving away, harvesting these shards. And then that becomes the ammunition.
- Very carefully, I would hope, because those things do explode. They're--
- They do, right? I think in the trailer, you even see a moment. When a player runs by, you can shoot it, and it's kind of an environmental effect, damage, if you will. And then the needles will home in on anybody who's nearby and have that same type of damage as the Needler weapon.
So I just love just the visuals. There's a lot of pink and a lot of purple hues. It just looks very distinct. And that's going to be a lot of fun to play on.
And then our other map, Forbidden, has a-- I don't know. It's a little bit more of a grounded palette in focus there. It's more like an abandoned forerunner structure. I kind of get some throwback vibes there, maybe just little hints of something like a sanctuary or something like that. But it's got a jungle side, a barren side. This map is tuned to be a little more competitive, so I think right now, this is the map that we'll see end up in ranked playlist, for example.
But both of these maps will excel as long-- as well as the other maps already in the game for our new mode, which is Extraction.
- I had said Infection. I meant to say Extraction, so--
- I know what you meant.
- Very gentle-- the gentle correction here. Tell us about Extraction. This is back from Halo 4, right?
- Yeah, so yeah, Extraction did-- it's an objective mode that debuted in Halo 4. It's back. It's kind of been reimagined, but the gist of this is it's objective-based, two teams against each other. And you're trying to plant and arm and defend this-- a device. You'll see it. I'm sure there's official lore name for that. I don't know what it's called, and I'll probably mess it up. So you just take this little technological doohickey, and you stick it on the map, and you do your best to defend it until the cycle is completed. And that's how you'll score and progress.
So two teams go back and forth, arming and defending and trying to run up the score while, of course, doing their best to outplay their opponent. So I think a lot of good hype and excitement for that.
I'm a big fan of the objective game modes, personally. I love playing me some CTF, and so I think this is going to scratch a good itch there.
- So I've noticed some pretty big restructuring about how progression works. Can you tell us about that?
- Yeah, I mean, we've-- first and foremost, I want to state even though we haven't been able to act on everything as quickly as we or our players would like. We've always been listening to this feedback. And we've heard a lot of this feedback. And we're at a point where we're finally able to start making big strides.
And I think one of the things, looking back at the battle pass-- it's always had some cool customization content, but by our own admission, we were limited in how we could present some of that content. And specifically, I'm talking about in the old days, you would unlock a left shoulder, and then a couple tiers later, you unlock a right shoulder. You might unlock a version of an armor coating that only works on this core. And then a couple tiers later, you get the same coating, and now it works on that core.
So pretty excited for season five. What this boils down to is we've taken what used to be the 100-tier pass, and we've compressed it down into 50 tiers that's just jam packed. It's like, less filler. Basically, less fluff. It's all the good stuff really condensed in.
We think this is going to hopefully not only result in just a better experience for players because we have-- we can get into this in a minute, but I think this is our best patch yet in terms of content. I mean, it's the flood. Come on. And Halloween effects? Like, please take my money.
But condensing this all down should also address some feedback where we know not every player has the ability to complete the grind through a whole pass, so it's going to be easier to get through 50 tiers. Also, we're not going to be wholly reliant on challenges anymore, so you'll be able to play the way you want to play. And that could be anything from playing Super Fiesta to Big Team Battle. Maybe you want to play custom games.
And now, for the first time, you'll be able to earn match XP to progress your pass by just playing in customs with your friends, which not only, I think, will make it easier to progress, but I'm really hopeful that's going to drive a lot more people into the custom game browser and just invigorate and bring new life to that scene, right? Because historically, you'd have to always have that trade off. Like, I really want to play some Cousins with my friends, but I also want to keep unlocking stuff, you know? So that's been a long time coming. Very excited for that.
And I also want to give a shout out that we're shifting away from what used to-- what we used to call events, and now they're going to be referred to as operations. And I think the main piece of feedback we heard there from events, which if you don't-- for folks who may not be familiar, an event was just a two-week-long thing in game. You'll go play for free, and you'll unlock some free rewards.
Still going to be free rewards. It's still 20 tiers of free rewards. But the feedback we had gotten is if somebody wasn't online or in town or available and the event came and went, you just lost your chance forever to get that content. So operations allow us to still serve a 20-tier, fun, cool, free content experience, but then after that operation has ended, it just moves into the shop, and it's available for, like, 500 credits, and you can just pick it up at any point you want to and still progress it at your leisure.
So it's exciting to see that fans are already resonating there and that that's checking the right boxes for them. Because we just know, you know, people come and go. I don't know about you, but I got way too many games I'm juggling. And it's not always realistic to just game by appointment, you know?
- Yeah, I do wish all battle passes were as respectful of time, where you can go back to it. So I do thank you there. And I'd imagine, just based on the feedback that I've been seeing, from the announcement of these things, it seems like--
- Positive, yeah.
- Yeah, it's great. It's good to see.
- You brought this up. Let me just reiterate that, too. I mean Halo Infinite, the premium battle pass is still the only battle pass I'm aware of in the industry that doesn't expire. So if you choose to buy it-- which, by the way, I should also add, there are 20 tiers of free content in that battle pass. So we've actually moved all the free content up to the front now.
So if you're just a free player, there's a lot of good stuff in there. You'll still get a complete, kind of cool new armor look out of it by the time you're done. But it should be less investment on the player side. It should be easier to move through that content and get it.
But if you do decide you want to pay the thousand credits to get the full 50-tier premium pass, it's yours to keep forever. It never expires. And at this point, we will have had five battle passes active in the game. And you can freely switch between any one at any point and progress it and put it back on the back burner. Now you want to go back to season three.
So I just love that even players that are new to Infinite today have this huge backlog of content there for them at any point if they're willing and interested and want to go after it. And we kind of paid our dues in season one. Now these players can benefit from custom game XP, faster progression, less dependency on challenges. So not only is that content still there, it'll be easier to earn than it ever was originally.
- Very, very cool. Now, just before we start the interview here, I was mentioning how I visited your office just a few days ago and I got to see two things that are also a big part of season five. First one is some really interesting deployment of AI within Forge. You just tell us in general how Forge is doing and the community there, the creations and the games that are being played?
BRIAN JARRARD: Yeah. I mean, Forge, ever since that came out-- obviously, it goes without saying, a huge game changer for Infinite. Currently in the game, we have released over 40 maps that have been made by the community.
And this is not new to Halo. When Forge was introduced with Halo 3, it's kind of always become this a pillar of the game, if you will. But with Infinite, I think Forge has obviously gone to the next level with the technology and the power we have of modern platforms. That barrier between what used to be a developer map and a Forge map-- it's almost indiscernible now. If you've seen some of these maps that the community have been putting out, they are mind blowing. I mean, they are as good as any first-party, in-house map that I would play.
So Forge has just been a big boon to fueling that community and also just helping us players, myself included, just have a constant cycle of fresh, cool content to play with while the studio's, obviously, heads down, working on these bigger initiatives.
So I think last I'd heard, we'd have roughly over 2 million various Forged creations have been made since launch, and it's just a very vibrant community there.
So what you're referring to-- I think Michael Schorr, who runs our Forge team, has been teasing this for quite some time. But they've always had this ultimate goal of, how do we get to a point where players can not just build multiplayer maps and modes, but now take these PVE encounters that we love in the campaign. We love fighting against Elites and Brutes and Grunts, and how can we inject that into Forge?
And that is the Forge AI toolkit. So players are going to be able to have access to pretty much the entire Banished cast of characters from the campaign, including the bosses, and drop them into custom-built spaces, or even the maps 343 has already made, and use our scripting language and our node graph editor to build scenarios.
So you could have AI teammates fighting alongside you while you're playing a game of CTF, or you also could build something more like Firefight, where you're fighting against wave after wave.
So I can't understate how exciting this is. I think the community has wanted this ever since the first Forge release ever happened in Halo 3. This has been something that people have dreamed of. And I'm just-- I can't believe it's happening. And this is just the beginning. And just getting this into the hands of the community-- they're going to immediately do things that we've never even thought of that were possible.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, that will be the exciting part, and probably some things that-- I know you'll highlight those over on Halo Waypoint, which is just--
BRIAN JARRARD: Absolutely.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --worth noting. I've noticed you've been already highlighting Forge creations pretty regularly. But with AI, I think it's just going to just go significantly upwards from there.
One of the things that was-- I thought was really interesting is I was looking at these tools, and I know most people will-- there will be a lot more people that consume the content and benefit from that versus creating, but that-- I asked the question. I was like, is there a pathway from creating things in Forge to maybe working here one day?
And the gentleman I was talking to was just like, yeah, that's me. I was working on Forge creations back in the day and caught the eye. And so I know a lot of times people will say like, well, how do I get into the industry? There are many pathways into the industry and many different types of roles. But I mean, this feels like getting access to developer-grade tools at home through your game.
- Absolutely. You're totally right, Jeff. I mean, I know people over all the years who have gotten a start in the industry just because of Forge, because it's super accessible. It's inexpensive. I mean, heck, it's free. It's an inexpensive tool. It can definitely help hone your skill if you want to be a map designer or environment designer, even a gameplay designer, because now the scripting of modes is so interesting.
You could make something like the Repul Soccer Mode that the community created, where it's like the new version of Grifball, just a whole different way to play the game, that they've created all themselves using these tools.
So absolutely, it can help you build up your portfolio. And when you want to go try and shoot your shot and get hired somewhere, you actually have a body of work. You can show from concept to mass out to playable. And even better, you can say, I did all this, and my map made it into matchmaking, and it's been played by millions of people.
So I appreciate you calling that out. And I love-- all around the studio, honestly, in every team, we've got people that have truly been plucked right from the community. They started in the community as Halo fans. And now they're on this side, and they're just paying it forward.
- That's so awesome. Also pretty awesome, after we got a run through of the AI, and I'm sure you all will talk a lot more about that in the coming days and weeks, a controller was pressed into my hands. And I got to try out the new mode, Firefight King of the Hill.
I know that there's going to be more shared this weekend. We can't jump ahead of the queue, if you will. But there's a little bit you can talk about now, right?
- Yeah, I mean-- well, did you have fun?
- Oh, it was-- look, I will say it's the most fun I've had with Infinite since, like, those first few months when we were playing, like, every day. And I'll admit, I got sucked into Elden Ring, and I just haven't played a ton of shooter since then. This is what's going to get me back, personally, and doing that Friday night group play.
BRIAN JARRARD: Well, that's great to hear, because I think that's certainly our hope. We know there is-- obviously, I think the team's done a great job continuing to feed the machine for the competitive and semi-sweaty and social, but the true PVP crowd, right? And Halo has kind of always been that campaign, PVP, but also that PVE Firefight-like experience.
So we knew that that was an audience that Infinite wasn't truly servicing. They've been very vocal with their feedback. So this should hopefully bridge that gap and allow people that just want to go in and just enjoy fighting against super fun Covenant enemies, wave after wave, by the way, also now earning progression against my battle pass while I'm doing it-- I really think this is going to be cool.
And essentially, this is-- it's what-- the name gives it all away. It is like the Firefight experience, matched up with the King of the Hill game mode. And I'll just say, we saw this a little bit in the trailer as well. It's just and your teammates really fighting to move around and control these hills while you're facing increasingly difficult rounds of AI Banished opponents.
And it's a good proof point of what the AI toolkit will be able to enable players to do themselves. And I know the team here really views it as just the foundation. Like, we're going to put this out in their hands, hopefully to inspire players and really just be a springboard. Now, take this, and go, and make it something even cooler, bigger, and better.
And also, you're right. For folks that are interested in learning more, tune in to the Halo World Championships this weekend. I think Sunday, we'll be talking a little bit more about King of the Hill Firefight. Also, on Friday, about 1:00 PM Pacific, we'll have a Forge overall season five live stream that'll be on the community stage. That'll be broadcast as well. You'll be able to catch that on YouTube Halo channel live. But Michael Schorr and some folks from the team are going to run through the whole AI toolkit and some of the other bits and bobs that are new to Forge as well.
For the creators, we have two new canvases, hundreds of new objects, and some quality of life improvements as well. So Forge, I think, really is one of our shining stars here and a very, very exciting step forward for where the game is going to go.
- So as you talk about the Halo World Championships, coming up here tomorrow is when it all kicks off. And as you just indicated, it's not just esports. Obviously, that is the crux of it. There's a million dollar prize. But can you just tell us for those who have never gone what to expect, whether you're there in person or if you're going to be watching on YouTube or Twitch?
- Sure. I mean, you're right. This-- the world championship-- so big shout out to Tashi, who's our esport leads here, and their team. Their vision has always been not only putting on a Premier, million-dollar-plus prize pool for the best Halo players in the world, but really making it a celebration of all things Halo. And it's a big community moment where people will travel in from all around the country and around the world. And it's just three days of pure Halo fandom.
So what I'm going to be mostly involved in, personally, is what we call the community stage. This will be set up over to the side. So while the esports tournament's happening, we have eight hours of programming on Friday and Saturday that are developer panels and special guests-- and speaking of special guests, we've got none other than Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana. We've got Steve Downes, the voice of Master Chief. And for the first time ever, I'm super excited, we have Keith David, The Arbiter.
- Oh, OK.
- So they're all three going to be there in person doing meet and greets, doing fun panels. The panels, by the way, are all going to be live streamed, so you'll be able to catch those on Twitch and on YouTube. You'll want to stay tuned to Halo Waypoint and our Halo social channels. We'll put out the full schedule over the next day or so.
But it's definitely a special moment for fans in person. But I want to make sure everybody else knows that there's still a lot of goodness to tune into. It's going to be a good show to watch. We're going to have Twitch drops available for the stage and for the esports broadcast. So just a lot of really cool, off-the-wall things.
I'll tell you one of my favorite, Jeff. We did last year. We're going to repeat it this year. Imagine those three iconic voice actors on stage rereading some of the most impactful lines in the history of Halo, but with a madlibs twist, with the audience throwing out adjectives and nouns and verbs, right? So that gets really crazy.
Also, by the way, for people in person, we're going to have a lot of this new season five content there playable on the show floor throughout the weekend. So go hands on, play some Extraction, run around Prism, shoot some Blamite crystals. We're going to have all that there to do in person as well.
So it really is just a celebration of all things Halo. And then it culminates on Championship Sunday, where we're going to see-- honestly, I think going into this weekend, we have the closest spread of skill we've seen in the HCS in years. And I think there's many different orgs that could come out on top this weekend. So there's no true one favorite. I think we're going to see some really, really good competition.
Also worth noting-- there's a whole bunch of pick-up events happening as well. There's a free-for-all tournament. There's throwback tournaments happening on the older Halo games. One of our esports organization sentinels is throwing a giant 2v2 tournament all day on Friday. So just a lot going on. It's a jam packed weekend.
But folks should absolutely stay tuned to our social channels, also at HCS on Twitter. It just feels weird calling it X. I'm sorry. But--
- We're on the same page.
- Yeah, I hope to see you there, by the way. You got to come by. It's local. You have no excuse.
- I guess I don't, so I'll consider that an invitation. So between HCS and the world championships and season five, it sounds a lot of it is really a lot of listening to the community, embracing the community, spending time directly with the community, and giving them opportunities to be heard. In between these moments, if someone's listening to this next week and it's over, what's the best way to reach you and your community team?
- I'd say we're very active on social, so there's a lot of opportunities to share feedback on social. We also keep tabs on the usual suspects. We have our own official Discord server that we're very active in as well, so--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Give us names. I want addresses. At what? How do we find this directly?
- Well, it's called Halo on Discord. I'm sure I could--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's easy enough.
BRIAN JARRARD: --get you to drop that in. Yeah, so I guess that's how you do it. But yeah, I would invite folks in there. You know, Sam and our community team's done a great job setting that up. We have a great moderating team.
Lots of resources there too, by the way. You can find people to play games with. If you want to learn how to make Forge maps and how to get your maps into matchmaking, there's lots of tutorials and guides there about what the team is looking for.
But yeah, beyond that, I also want to give a plug if people want to go to HaloWaypoint.com, we have a program called the Halo Insider Program. It's kind of our feedback and outreach program, just free to opt into. Our user research friends at Xbox send out surveys on a regular basis to gather all sorts of perspectives and feedback.
These things are super useful to us. They actually help us decide and help the team decide on, should this feature go this way or that way? So it's incredibly valuable. It just gives a Halo fan a real chance to have an actual impact on the outcome of where the franchise is headed.
And then, of course, sometimes we put out prerelease builds that we call Flights, and people can go hands-on early and have a chance to test drive stuff, kick the tires, and give us feedback there.
So that's probably a good place to start. But we're always out there, always listening. So we just appreciate people playing and supporting us and just keep the feedback coming.
- Brian Jarrard, the community director at 343 Industries. Before we started recording, you were like, we're planning this to be seven minutes, and it's going to go 20. And I have a feeling that's exactly what just happened here. But thanks. That's because there's a ton there. And it's--
- I'm excited.
- It's a good problem to have, Jeff. It's just too much. There's just too much.
- That's fine.
- And we didn't even cover everything. I've still got about 10 things we didn't even get to.
- HaloWaypoint.com. All right. I'm going to stay here, but you're going to move, and we're going to bring everyone else back here and hit the news and wrap up the show. So let's do the effect thing. Do it.
- That's a wrap on Brian. Thanks again for joining. We're all looking forward to the Halo World Championships this coming weekend. But we've got some new releases to talk about. We teased some of these last week. Obviously, Forza Motorsport, we mentioned at the top of the show. Malik and Jeff have been playing lots of that one. I've got to catch up, add that one to my ever-growing list of my backlog.
We also mentioned Lords of the Fallen is out this week as well. That game is looking incredible. We mentioned it's a Souls-like, but with co-op, which I really personally appreciate as well. If you've been paying attention and watching the many gameplay impressions and trailers out there, the devs have really been taking feedback from the community, so it's been really cool to see that game evolve as they've been showing off more of it. It's looking really polished and just gorgeous and a lot of fun.
It's, like, super dark and gothic, but then you also have a lot of these cool lighting effects for all of your magical abilities and super-creepy enemy designs. So look forward to that.
Wild Card Football is also out this week. We mentioned this one last week. It's an arcade-style football game, 7v7. They've got a wild card system within this game as well. Basically involves some power-ups and some rule-breaking abilities, which is cool.
And then also coming to Game Pass newly is From Space. It's a solo and co-op action shooter. Up to four players in a post-apocalyptic world where you go up against aliens, so add that one to your backlog as well, or just play it immediately. Whatever your preference is.
And then next week releases-- there's a couple interesting things coming out shortly as well. Endless Dungeon, that's a-- if you're familiar with Dungeon of the Endless, this is a sequel to that game, or rather, more of a spiritual successor. But I love the play on their own title. It's a tower defense twin six shooter developed by Amplitude Studios, published by Sega.
Also coming out next week, Sonic Superstars this one is a platform game from the Sonic team, also published by Sega. Sega is having a good week. It's a side-scrolling Sonic the Hedgehog game, as you can remember, of the past, so they're definitely trying to take a lot of notes from the origins, from the Sega Genesis '90s game.
If you've seen the announcement trailer, which was around four months ago, I really liked how they played homage to that by having Sonic run back and forth between the retro '90s gameplay view and the updated graphics as well for this new one. It's got new stories, new zones, four player. Fan favorite thing is back, that mischievous little guy.
And then also Hot Wheels Unleashed 2. That's-- Turbocharged. It's coming next week as well, racing video game, of course, developed and published by Milestone. So lots of new games to look forward to.
- A different one.
- Yeah, no, I was a Genesis kid growing up, so those old-school Sonics definitely work for me. Like, I remember riding my bike out to get it, Sonic 2, because that game was like-- there was nothing we had ever seen, anything like it. So blast processing worked for me, definitely. Still soft spot for that.
So depending on what you might want to be playing this on, bit of news. We just announced this week the Xbox Series S starter bundle. This is launching on Halloween for $299.99. It's Xbox Series S in white. It's the 512-gig model. And it now will include a three-month Game Pass Ultimate membership.
So if you're looking for that travel kit, it pairs very well with an up-spec screen. I don't know if you've ever used the X screen, but it is an amazing addition to the Series S and makes it portable. I've seen Greg Miller playing it on a plane. I don't know if I would stand it up the way he does on the tray, but you know what? Working for him. I think that's how he played a chunk of Assassin's Creed Mirage for his review.
- Yeah. I'm surprised that plane has enough power for that, by the way. Like, I didn't know it supplied that much power.
- It sips--
- Shout out to planes.
- --the energy. It's great.
And then speaking of consoles, there's-- we talked about the Sega Genesis here a second ago. Talking about on the new end, the Series S. And then somewhere right in the middle was our good friend, the Xbox 360, which has--
MALIK PRINCE: Look at that.
- --a Mega Bloks version.
TINA AMINI: He's already got the gloves on.
- I do. I have the gloves on.
These are the same gloves I wore last week.
- I didn't that.
- There's Dorito dust on here.
- Oh, that's OK.
- Oh, no.
- Apparently, you have to launder them. Larry never told me that. He didn't talk about the care and upkeep of a-- [LAUGHS] of white gloves. So I'm going to open this. Do you have a description? This is something that's available now, right now. Malik, you give me some ASMR?
MALIK PRINCE: Absolutely. As Jeff opens this box that is giving me all of the nostalgic vibes, we want to talk about this awesome collaboration with Mega Bloks of, in my opinion, my personal opinion, this is Malik's opinion, the greatest console of all time. But I'll stick with the marketing line of the most influential gaming console of all time, as you see Jeff showing off the box there.
It is literally a 3/4 replica of an Xbox 360, and specifically alongside Halo 3, which is when I jumped into Xbox 360. Yes, two years after it launched in 2007, I jumped in. So yes, this is a complete buildable and light-up console and controller.
So yes, there's a little bit of work involved with it that you're going to have to do as Jeff opens the box and shows all the goodness inside of there. You just see-- I wonder how-- let me see if I see how many parts this is because-- oh, it doesn't say how many parts. But yeah, you're going to have to do some work. But this is awesome because, again, people look back at 360 so fondly.
- 1,342 parts. This is going to take me a while.
- This is very hard to do with--
- Yeah, you need two more hands.
- I do.
- Yes, I do.
- And Jeff is going to build all of it right now--
- I am.
- --before the end of the show.
- If you have ever put together a complex set like this, I love how they divide them into bags so you know, oh, this part might be part of the controller. This one might be part of-- it looks like maybe the motherboard or something. There are 23 different bags here, so this is going to take me a few hours. 1,300 pieces.
I've seen it put together. It's really cool in that there's a lot of great details. There's even-- this is amazing. Oh, that's part--
TINA AMINI: Aw.
MALIK PRINCE: Halo 3.
- --number 24. Yeah. So-- and it's actually-- it's got the back of the box. So, like, this will take you back in time. And this-- might be a little-- there's-- it looks like there might be a little disk in there. So I'm going to put this together and put it on the set, hopefully in time for next week. This would be a good shut off the screen for a little bit activity for me.
So do you want to talk about where people can get this?
- Yes. I believe you can get it at Target, which-- here in the US. I'm not sure if it's available worldwide. But definitely, you can pick it up at Target. And it has, like I said, all the-- there's working lights on it. It has the hard drive, the iconic 360 hard drive.
So yeah, be sure to check out Target for this. And I know that I'm going to be heading over there because I need more cool things like Jeff's background. And I think this is the thing to add to it.
- It was out of stock when it first got announced a few weeks ago. It sold out, like, same day, and very quickly. And I was like, OK, well, I'm not going to show it on the show unless it's back in stock. It is back in stock. And if you order it, it looks like it would be here in four days. And there's even some stores-- there's one left in the store. So they're in stores, and they're available online. So yeah, target.com. Check it out. It's really cool. And I can't wait to--
MALIK PRINCE: Worth it.
- --put it together and bring it in. So we'll show off the final version when we're back in studio next week.
- If I get one of those, can I pay you to put it together for me, or like is that a thing that--
- My architectural skills come at a very steep rate.
- All right. Well, I'll work on it, I guess, myself.
- I love how it's, Jeff must get through backlog and finish games. Also, Jeff, well, just put together this side project, and help Malik on his as well.
- Yeah. Why not?
- Well, is it time for our audience question?
- Oh, I think it is.
- Oh. Well, we talked last week. We had an audience question last week, which was just putting it to the room and putting it to ourselves of wondering what the best Assassin's Creed assassin is. We talked about that last week. We asked you all to share your thoughts on that as well.
Well, we've got a new question this week, and in commemoration of the fact that we've got some Halo updates coming up, we just want to know what the best Halo mode is of all time. So Jeff, since you've been in the Halo mindset, what do you have to say?
- Yeah. This is something that I didn't-- I was just probably a traditional either Team Slayer or Rumble Pit guy back in Halo 3 when I was playing that. But in later years, I learned to embrace teamwork a little bit more. And I will say with Infinite, where I spent the most of my time was with a good group in Big Team Battle.
And so I would say that would be-- that's where I have the fondest memories now. And although Firefight King of the Hill may be-- or King of the Hill Firefight is rapidly moving up. I only played a couple of games. But we'll see when it comes out later in season five. That may rapidly go up the charts.
- Malik, how about yourself?
- This is so difficult. It's hard to decide. Which Halo do I go with? I know personally speaking, as far as modes go, I used to-- I'm just a standard Slayer person. But then when I started playing Infinite, I've gotten really into Tactical Slayer because I just loved that high risk, making sure you go for the headshots, high skill kind of play.
But if I had to pick my favorite Halo mode of all time, which, again, I'm going to say again is really difficult to do, I'd have to go back to actually Halo 3, as we just showed off with the Mega Bloks console, because I love the mode called Rocket Race.
And if you don't know what Rocket Race was, it's everyone on the back of the Mongoose, right? And it was one person driving it, and one person on the back. It's teams of two. And the person on the back had a rocket. And basically, you had to get to each point before the other team, and the person on the back would just shoot rockets to the other teams so that they wouldn't.
It was the most amazing time that I've ever had with Halo. Of course, I love Slayer, but Rocket Race was so much fun, and I hope it comes back one day. Please. Fingers crossed.
- [LAUGHS] You make a good case. Unfortunately, I'm quite basic when it comes to my multiplayer rounds. I typically also tend to go for Slayer. It's just classic, and it's very clean and concentrated. And it focuses-- like, I used to be very obsessively focused on my KD ratio, but I've evolved beyond that a little bit since my original Halo days.
And I'll go even more basic, and I'll say co-op campaign because it's one of the rare opportunities you get-- I feel like increasingly, there's not a lot of full campaign co-op experiences, and I have really fond memories of that. And then when Master Chief Collection came out as well, it was just the perfect excuse to hit the max difficulty levels and feel like it's a little bit more approachable with a friend to go through. So I'm going to go with co-op.
But we'd love to hear from the audience and know what you all think. We may even read out your answer in next week's episode if you can make a really compelling argument. And other than that, we'll see you next week.
- Thanks, everybody.