[XBOX AUDIO LOGO] LARRY HYRB: Hi, it's Larry Hyrb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the Xbox Podcast. Happy to have you with us this week. It's another great week. You've been liking. You've been subscribing. You've been listening. You've been hitting us up on Twitter.
Bring the gang in here. We've got Malik over there on the left sitting in for Jeff. Over on the right, we have the lovely Rebecca coming in from San Francisco. Hello, gang.
MALIK PRINCE: What's up? How's it going?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hey, guys. Nice glasses, Larry.
LARRY HYRB: Well--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I like them.
LARRY HYRB: --we don't talk about it too frequently, but you and I are graduates of--
REBECCA GORDIUS: If Jeff were here, he would say we did.
LARRY HYRB: --Syracuse University. You've got your mug. There's your mug. I've got my--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes.
LARRY HYRB: I've got my blue and orange shirt on and my--
MALIK PRINCE: What about me?
LARRY HYRB: What about you?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Next time--
MALIK PRINCE: I just feel left out. I feel left out.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --alma mater stuff. Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah. Go, Maryland, Terps.
LARRY HYRB: Actually, you're not left out. Do you know why? Rebecca, would you join me, please?
MALIK PRINCE: Why's that?
LARRY HYRB: [CLEARS THROAT] (SINGING) Happy birthday to you.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh.
LARRY HYRB: (SINGING) Happy birthday to you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: (SINGING) Happy birthday to you.
LARRY HYRB: (SINGING) Happy birthday, dear Malik. Happy birthday to you.
MALIK PRINCE: (IN SOUTHERN DRAWL) Oh, thanks, y'all. I appreciate that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: And many more.
MALIK PRINCE: I don't know why I went into a Southern accent. Yeah, I'm getting up there
LARRY HYRB: I saw that on Twitter earlier this week, and it's always nice to celebrate a birthday.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, happy birthday.
MALIK PRINCE: Thank you. Thank you. Appreciate that. Thanks, y'all.
LARRY HYRB: Anyway, great to have everybody back this week. Rebecca, this is two weeks in a row. I'm so happy to have you here. I don't know what Jeff's doing, but we tapped Malik to come in here to talk about some stuff and join us. And we're going to start with Malik, who's been playing Apex, I'm sure. So we'll just start by what we're playing.
MALIK PRINCE: No. And it's funny that you say that because I--
REBECCA GORDIUS: No Apex.
MALIK PRINCE: No, because, obviously, we've talked about how much I love Apex. I have almost 1,800 hours in the game. But like I said a few weeks ago, I can't play it anymore because it really ruins my sleep schedule. So I've written off Apex and any competitive shooters for a while. Only on the weekends.
But I've been playing what I'm sure everyone's been playing. You've talked about it. We had the interview last week. Hi-Fi Rush. I'm doing my standard signature slow walk through the game, so maybe like half an hour a night.
But I think the game is just amazing, like came out of nowhere. We've talked about it a million times. Rebecca, I was listening last week, and you talked about how hard it was to keep that secret. But I'm happy that you did because I loved-- what was really cool was seeing the discourse online about the shadow drop--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Shadow dropping, yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: --of the game being-- yeah, of the game being out now. And it really follows what I see a trend in the entertainment industry. Really started by Beyoncé with her Lemonade album, where you don't even give people time to think about the--
LARRY HYRB: I don't know about that.
MALIK PRINCE: Well, maybe before it.
LARRY HYRB: I think it predates Beyoncé. I'll have to check that.
MALIK PRINCE: That was the most famous in modern era, which is--
LARRY HYRB: Fair point.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I agree.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, which is cool because it doesn't give people to tell-- it doesn't give people time to be told about what the game is. You just get it. You play. And with Game Pass, there's very little barrier to entry. And so jumped in there. Super exciting. Loved the animation, loved the level design, loved the music. I'm not a big music guy, which is evident by my take that Panic! At the Disco's cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is better than Queen's, the live version.
LARRY HYRB: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, hold on. Hold on a minute. Hold on. I'm going to put your social--
MALIK PRINCE: I'm going to get canceled.
LARRY HYRB: I'm going to put your social up on the screen here because reach out to Malik. I don't want anything to do with that.
MALIK PRINCE: I already see the tweets, and I already know I'm going to get canceled for it. You did the same thing-- everyone did the same thing with me and the books the last time. But that's just my opinion. But also, that's just me. It just goes show how terrible I am at music. But listening to the music in the game, it really gets you pumped up. And obviously, it's designed all around music. And so I just think the game is awesome, and I've been loving it.
LARRY HYRB: So let's talk about music for a second. And I'm going to-- Rebecca, I'm going to ask you this question as well. Malik, if I were to open up your Spotify or Apple Music or Tidal or whatever you listen to, what am I going to see in your playlists or your liked list? Tell me about that.
MALIK PRINCE: So it's funny that you ask because Xbox, we did a playlist-- and actually, you were part of it, Larry-- to a few years ago where a few people compiled their Spotify playlists. And mine was almost all like Panic! At the Disco. I'm a big Panic! At the Disco fan. They just announced that they're breaking up as a band this week.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I would have never guessed. Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah. Love Panic! At the Disco. There's another artist called Marc E. Bassy who does a little bit of R&B/pop. And so yeah, I listen to only a handful of artists. I'm that person that just has those core few--
LARRY HYRB: That's fair.
MALIK PRINCE: --musicians and then just listens to them over and over again. And everyone hates me for it.
LARRY HYRB: No, no. Hey, I'm not going to hate you for liking what you like. There's no reason.
MALIK PRINCE: There you go.
LARRY HYRB: Rebecca, what's your musical--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Agree.
LARRY HYRB: Where do your musical tastes flow to?
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm kind of all over the place. Ever since Bad Bunny's album came out last year, which was amazing, album of the year for sure, I've been listening to a lot more reggaeton, so him, J Balvin. But then I've also been getting into Korean and Vietnamese R&B. Obviously, I love--
LARRY HYRB: Oh, is that a thing?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Wow, cool.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know. It's kind of surprising, right?
LARRY HYRB: Wow.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I have a couple friends in Vietnam, actually-- they're from the US; they live in Vietnam now-- who've shared their playlists with me. And it's really cool stuff. The Korean R&B is kind of-- I mean, R&B is kind of similar across all cultures. But it's kind of cool to hear it in different languages and very different takes.
LARRY HYRB: Now, are they original songs? Are they doing some other-- some mainstream R&B hits?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, original songs. Vietnamese ones, I don't really know what they're saying. The Korean ones I can kind of make it out.
LARRY HYRB: So they're all in native language.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, yeah. It's pretty cool.
LARRY HYRB: I love that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: What about you, Larry? What's on your playlist?
LARRY HYRB: So I think it's-- I've talked about-- I actually have admittedly probably the worst taste in music because I spent so long in radio and hit radio. I mean, if it's got a beat-- if it's got a guitar wailing, I can't deal with it. If it has a beat, I love it. I'm all about the-- I worked in radio primarily in the '90s, so all that dance music. I've got my Milli Vanilli story, which I think I told you guys about quite a bit. So there's that. I like everything.
I'll tell you what I do really like, though. And Rebecca, I don't know if you know this about me. I was a few credits away from minoring in classical music at Syracuse.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, wow. I did not know that. A man of so many talents.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, I love classical music because it's just the way it's-- you have a whole group of people-- it could be 5 people, 10 people, 20 people, a whole orchestra-- that are all working together and creating. And of course, Mozart and Bach and Beethoven and Chopin, they were all the original rock stars, in some regards. I don't know. I just love some of that music and how they craft the songs and so forth. Anyway, I like everything like that, a little bit of country. I mean, I'll listen to--
MALIK PRINCE: '90s pop?
LARRY HYRB: Pardon me?
MALIK PRINCE: '90s Pop?
LARRY HYRB: Oh, absolutely '90s pop. Let's talk about it.
MALIK PRINCE: All right.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh my god.
MALIK PRINCE: So Backstreet Boys or NSYNC?
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, both.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, you can pick one.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, you have to pick one. You have to.
LARRY HYRB: I can't choose one because I worked with both of them. In my previous life, I worked--
MALIK PRINCE: All right, Larry.
LARRY HYRB: I'm a little more on the Backstreet Boys' side because I had a better experience working with that management. But yeah, '90s pop-- oh, don't even get me going on that. I mean, it was--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I thought you were going to say you were sick of it from having worked in radio.
LARRY HYRB: No.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I was like, you must have had to play-- hear every single one of their songs a million times.
LARRY HYRB: Every single one of those songs has a moment for me--
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, nice.
LARRY HYRB: --whether it was standing at a nightclub, whether it was being at an amusement park, whether it was out doing an event. Every single one, I can put myself in-- in the summer of '97, I know exactly where I was and what that was like. So they all have very-- and music does that. I'm sure it does it for you all. It has a very strong emotion.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's so funny you say that. I have always felt that way. I've never heard from anyone else who felt that way. All of my favorite songs are tied to a specific thing I was going through in my life, the emotion that's associated. So that's really cool.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, we have songs that remind us of early in a relationship or our first job or the first major moment we had, whether it was the first kiss, I don't know, whatever it was. There's all these life moments that you have. That first song you heard when you were playing it when you were setting up your first apartment, right? Stuff like that. So yeah, music is incredibly, incredibly emotional.
And what amazes me now is I grew up in an era where you had a six-CD changer, and you had to choose what six CD-- now you have everything. You have everything right here on your phone. You have millions of tracks. So it's so liberating to some regards.
But I posted this on Instagram a couple weeks ago. I've been listening to lossless music, which is very, very high quality with a special set of headphones and so on and so forth. When you listen to music versus just streaming-- I mean, it's still streaming, but it's just higher quality-- it changes the game. It's like going from standard def black-and-white television to ultra 4K HDR. Just it changes everything dramatically.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah. My analogy or my mind goes to the-- for me growing up, it was all about the Walkman or the CD player, the portable CD player. You put it in, and you couldn't walk too fast or run with it, obviously, because it was too huge. But if you did, it'll skip, and it just ruins the song. It ruins the moment.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's why it's a Walkman not a Runman.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, nice, nice. But then they came out with the anti-skip portable CD players, where you could just do whatever with it, and it wouldn't skip. So I just remember, to your point, Larry, the technology advancing. But to your point, like lossless, I don't think that I'd be able to-- I'm not as much an audiophile, so I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But I know that people swear by it, by that lossless type of--
LARRY HYRB: And I know that-- I'd be interested, Malik, because I think because my ears are older and I spent so many years in radio with the monitor cranked up with who knows-- basically destroying my inner ear. I'm better now. But there's so many little nuances that you hear in the-- like, oh, I didn't know that's what-- it almost sounds a new song sometimes, right, when you hear it today versus when you were growing up like on a cassette or a scratchy CD.
But anyway, we've got a little bit of news here. Actually, want to talk about what we're playing. And we were talking about Malik, but Rebecca, have you had a chance to play anything? I know you've been busy.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes. So let's see. Last weekend, I visited some family in LA. And while I was there, I tried out my cousin's Oculus. I think it was an Oculus Quest headset. And he has Beat Sabers, and I had never played it before. And oh, I really liked it. It was a lot of fun.
MALIK PRINCE: Love it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: My boyfriend took some really derpy-looking videos of me like--
LARRY HYRB: Swinging things in the air.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --mouth open and swinging it around. But after I played that, I was like, man, I'm so good with music and rhythm games. I'm going to be so good at Hi-Fi Rush. And I am not good at Hi-Fi Rush. I thought that coming from a music background-- like, I was in band all throughout high school and middle school. I thought that I would be really good at it. And I definitely have been utilizing the-- what's it called, the rhythm keeper? There's a bar--
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, the thing at the bottom? Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --if you need help that will visually show you when the beat is going.
LARRY HYRB: Looks like you're trying to keep the beat, Rebecca. Would you like us to turn this on?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. So I haven't been that good at it. But how's your guys' experience been? I assume you both have been-- I mean, I know, Malik, you've been playing it.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, no, I think I'm at two hours in. I'm enjoying it. It's a good combat game. It gets the beats. And again, as I said in our section about music, I love things with a beat. So this gets me with the beat. Let me be very clear. We all talked about liking music. And Rebecca, you talked about being in band. I cannot, absolutely cannot, play any instrument. I have zero acumen for producing music. I love listening.
REBECCA GORDIUS: What did you say your minor was almost in? Music?
LARRY HYRB: Classical. Classical. So understanding the theory of classical music and the creation of classical music versus playing an-- I did play one instrument when I was in band in high school. Did I tell you this story?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, it's going to be good. What is it?
LARRY HYRB: Would you like--
MALIK PRINCE: Clarinet.
LARRY HYRB: Go ahead.
MALIK PRINCE: Clarinet.
LARRY HYRB: Rebecca, go ahead. You can guess first.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm going to guess something in percussion, maybe one of the drums or the cowbell. [LAUGHS]
LARRY HYRB: OK, that's fair. Malik, what do you think I did?
MALIK PRINCE: Is a clarinet part of the band, I guess?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sure.
LARRY HYRB: Yes, that's part of--
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, I'm going to guess the clarinet.
LARRY HYRB: That's part of the woodwinds.
MALIK PRINCE: OK. That's my guess.
LARRY HYRB: No, the answer is the xylophone.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, I was close, kind of.
MALIK PRINCE: That was my second guess.
LARRY HYRB: And the reason why the xylophone is because it's like a keyboard. It has the notes printed on it. So I didn't have to think about, what do I have to do to make the notes? They're all right there. So I was able to do that or the glockenspiel. Or the marimba.
MALIK PRINCE: There you go.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Glockenspiel was the tubes? The tube version?
LARRY HYRB: No, the glockenspiel is the metal, and it's up. It's got a little-- you probably saw it in band.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's upright.
LARRY HYRB: It's like ding, ding, ding, ding. It's metal. It's got a metal sound. The tubes are the bells.
REBECCA GORDIUS: OK, gotcha. All right. Yeah, I had a feeling it was something in percussion.
LARRY HYRB: You were right. Yeah, Hi-Fi Rush, really been enjoying it. What else have I been playing? Actually, let's go to you, Rebecca. Then I'll go through what I'm playing.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I just finished. That's what I've been doing, Beat Saber and Hi-Fi Rush.
LARRY HYRB: What have I been playing? Dead Space, the new Dead Space, I love it.
MALIK PRINCE: Ooh, nice.
LARRY HYRB: It's so good to be back in there with Isaac. GoldenEye 007, which dropped last week.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, yeah. How could I forget?
LARRY HYRB: Been playing that one. So good to see that.
MALIK PRINCE: Nice.
LARRY HYRB: Vampire Survivors, which we've talked endlessly about. Hi-Fi Rush. That's kind of been filling my gaming menu this week, but we'll see.
MALIK PRINCE: It's a good time to be a gamer.
LARRY HYRB: It's fun. Dead Space is great because every once in a while, we play a lot of these-- of course, I'm playing Halo and these multiplayer games like Apex, and they're great. But sometimes you just want to play a half hour of a single-player press pause or use instant resume and move on to something else. And that's kind of also great for Hi-Fi Rush as well because you can say, OK, I'm done. And then you go on to something else. And that's fun.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I actually downloaded it on my work PC I didn't know if it would work. I guess my work PC is a pretty good spec. But yeah, I've been playing it in between meetings. I played 30 minutes earlier today.
LARRY HYRB: Good to know.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So yeah, it's a good one to drop in and out.
LARRY HYRB: That's good to know. All right. Why don't we roll into news? We got three interviews coming up later on that I did one, Rebecca did one, and, of course, Jeff, who's not here, did one. But we'll talk about those in a minute, but let's quickly get to the news. Malik, I'm going to go lean on you first because it's-- today, as we record this, it's February 1, which kicks off--
MALIK PRINCE: Black History Month.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: Black History Month. So, yeah, again, really excited. I'll start by saying that the Xbox-- Xbox has a whole team dedicated to these moments. And what I really wanted to start with is that I know there's a lot of discussion around brands putting out a tweet and that being their statement of support. But I'll say that Xbox has an entire team called the Xbox Social Impact Team, led by Jenn Panattoni, who's been on the show before. And one of the things that we're kicking off the calendar year with is Black History Month.
And so there's a great Wire post written by Portia Botchway, who's from the Xbox research team, that goes into-- she starts off the post by talking a little bit about her history and coming up as a Black woman wanting to be in video games. And so it gives a lot of great tips into how to get into the industry. And also, you don't have to be a software engineer. There's many different fields in the video game industry for anyone to be involved with. And so I just love the Wire posts because they always are written by a person in the community and detail their experience.
But more to the point of how you can get involved, even if you're not in the Black community, always great to be an ally. Xbox is going to be working with USC, University of Southern California, under Gerald A. Lawson Fund for Black and Indigenous students. If you're a Microsoft Rewards member, which is, by the way, free, it's your way to give to a few different charities without spending money.
So you can get Microsoft Rewards through a number of different avenues, such as Game Pass Quest, using Bing to search. But we're featuring Cxmmunity, BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, and Gameheads as three charities that you can give to without spending a dollar just by engaging on your console. Great way to get involved if you don't have money to give. Then, I don't know if you've noticed over the course of the many different--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh yeah, Project Amplify. Sorry.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, Project Amplify is in there as well. No, it's something that we launched in September of last year. And it's a great opportunity to hear from I think it's like 14 different folks at Xbox about their journey, their tips and tricks on how to get involved.
Another great thing that you'll see throughout Black History Month and throughout every month that we celebrate here at Xbox is we take the Xbox logo and give it to an artist within the community to give their interpretation of it. So you'll see people like Phil Spencer-- it's also on the Xbox Twitter-- give that interpretation of the logo. So it's really great.
LARRY HYRB: I need to change mine as well. I love it. This one's cool.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, it's an interesting take. It's very different, but so many people have worked on it. And it gives different color, symbolism, and imagery from the community to build a really interesting asset. There's a number of different ways to get involved. We have--
LARRY HYRB: By the way, I want to point something out.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, go for it.
LARRY HYRB: That is a really cool-- I know it's just a fun thing to do because people love Xbox brand. And we have a brand team which is responsible for the look and all the things related to the brand of Xbox. And I just love the fact that they let people have fun with it because we're in the games industry and let's have fun. I know there's a lot of companies out there that were like, you can't touch the logo. It always has to be this size and next to-- we have some requirements. But also, there's times when you can have fun. And that's what I love about that team.
MALIK PRINCE: Absolutely. It's one of those very important things. And again, it's done by-- especially for moments like this that are very important, it's done by a person within the community. And so I'll just go through a few more different ways that you can be involved, get involved. On the store, you can actually go and download games that are either developed by Black developers or feature Black protagonists, such as DEATHLOOP, League of Legends, Humankind, Dishonored.
And then something that I work on every social impact and cultural moment is, how do we get the community members and creators involved? And so throughout the month of February, every Monday-- twice on every Monday in February, we're going to be working with Black streamers to feature them, give them the keys to our Twitch channel to stream. Again, playing games that are either developed by Black people or feature Black protagonists or just kind of celebrating their identity as a Black creator in the industry.
And so many different ways to get involved, again. It's not just about showcasing the support on social, putting out a tweet. Here at Xbox, the entire Social Impact Team meets weekly to plan throughout the year for moments like this so that we can ensure that we're doing our part. No one company is going to change the industry for any of these moments, Black History month or Women's History month, any of the moments that we'll celebrate. But I think it's all about a company doing what it can to make a change and be a leader in this space.
And I know it may seem like I'm biased or I'm rooting for the home team, but it's really about a collective hand walk towards a better place. And so yeah, a lot of great stuff. Check out the Wire post on how Xbox is celebrating Black History month.
LARRY HYRB: Thank you, Malik. That was well done. A lot of activity. We'll see if we can get somebody on towards the end of the month just to remind people about it-- or later on in the month, I should say-- just to remind people that it's an entire month of fun.
MALIK PRINCE: That's right.
LARRY HYRB: So Rebecca, you've got a little bit of news over there. Is that accurate?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes. Emphasis on "a little bit." Everyone might be aware, but last week, we did this little thing called the Developer_Direct and did a game showcase and had a lot of news. And so typically, the week following--
LARRY HYRB: Here's the TLDR.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: [LAUGHS]
REBECCA GORDIUS: Typically, the week after is a little bit slower. We did a great write-up on just the show overall. But then we also had our Xbox Wire team go hands on with Hi-Fi Rush. They were, I think, among the first dozen people outside of Tango and Bethesda to actually get to try it. And then they did another great piece for Minecraft Legends.
So our Xbox Wire page has a lot of really good reading there. There's a lot of effort that goes into it. In particular, one piece that they've been working on throughout January also was our team's most anticipated games coming up in 2023. There's a lot of releases--
LARRY HYRB: This is just a small handful of the games. We have a lot more coming out, but this is just a small handful.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. But so if you're curious about when and which great games are going to be coming out on Xbox, PC, Game Pass, et cetera, I'd recommend checking it out. Aside from that, there's also a feature this week on just some of the deals with Gold. But then the one big news piece that we have is more related to a product. So Razer recently released the Hammerhead HyperSpeed Wireless Multi-Platform Gaming Earbuds. Wow, that's a mouthful. And Larry conveniently has them here.
LARRY HYRB: Wow.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So I'll read through some of the notes. So these are 149.99 US dollars. They're available right now. Thing that's pretty cool about these-- not only is it the latest tech with Bluetooth-- so you can play these anywhere. They work with mobile and Xbox. Actually, they work with most gaming-- [AUDIO OUT]
LARRY HYRB: Oh. Did we lose Rebecca? We sure did.
MALIK PRINCE: I think we might have lost Rebecca. But I'll jump in and say, hey, those look awesome. I know so many people are looking for low-profile options--
LARRY HYRB: These look like AirPods, by the way.
MALIK PRINCE: --for not only chat, but game audio.
LARRY HYRB: If you look at them--
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, they do.
LARRY HYRB: --they look like AirPods. So they're kind of cool.
MALIK PRINCE: And you can carry them around to your friend's house if you're looking to game with some great earbuds designed for gaming. The team just does such a great job, Designed for Xbox team, working alongside some of our partners, which is-- I'm jealous.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. So there we go. So we got those in there. Unfortunately, we have a little bit of an empty box over here, which is--
MALIK PRINCE: That's right. Rebecca, rest in peace.
LARRY HYRB: I don't know where she went. But why don't we do this? We have more Rebecca in the interview section. So why don't you go ahead, Malik, if you would? Got a bunch of interviews this week. So why don't you bring us into those interviews, if you would?
MALIK PRINCE: Absolutely, Larry. We have a trifecta of interviews here for you today. We have talking about Monster Hunter Rise, Jeff is going to be talking to Hiroyukisan from Capcom. Larry gets to talk about the Elder Scrolls Online, the new chapter, the Necrom, with Rich from ZeniMax. And as Larry mentioned, Rebecca is going to be talking all things Minecraft Legends with Craig from Mojang. Enjoy these interviews.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It was five years ago this month that Xbox owners were introduced to the world of Monster Hunter. And let me tell you, Monster Hunter World was a monster hit. Well, here we are into the beginning of 2023, and the first big hit of the year is Monster Hunter Rise, which is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, Windows PC, and of course, Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
Well, this might be your first Monster Hunter game, so we are very honored to be joined by Hiroyuki Minamitani, who is the Capcom producer. How are you feeling, sir, into the first two weeks of Monster Hunter Rise being available on Xbox?
HIROYUKI MINAMITANI: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: Well, first of all, I'm, of course, very glad that we were able to release the game without any issues. So yeah, that's made me very happy. But we're not done yet. I mean, we've still got Sunbreak coming up in spring, the massive expansion to Monster Hunter Rise. So there's still a lot of work to do.
But yeah, for now, at least, we're glad that the game was released safely. And of course, we're also very happy that we were able to launch the game on Game Pass as well so as many players as possible can experience this new title in the series.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So because Monster Hunter Rise is available on Game Pass, as you say, there's a lot of folks who are going to be playing their first Monster Hunter game. Tens of millions of games in the Monster Hunter franchise have been sold. But for those who this is their first one, what do they need to know about what Monster Hunter is?
HIROYUKI MINAMITANI: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So Monster Hunter Rise, of course, the series as a whole is about hunters getting together to hunt monsters. You can play solo. You can play multiplayer. But it's all about hunting monsters. And Monster Hunter Rise in particular is about this phenomenon called the Rampage, which is a horde of monsters that is attacking the village, Kamura Village, which is the main base of operations for the player character.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So let's talk about this village. Monster Hunter Rise makes a great first impression. I've been playing this week. It's so colorful. The characters have huge personalities. There are dogs and cats and birds everywhere, and they're a big part of the game. You're riding on them. They're cooking for you. There's just a ton of character. So can you talk about what inspired Monster Hunter's look and feel?
INTERPRETER: So the major theme in Monster Hunter Rise is Japanese yokai. So yokai are these monsters from Japanese mythology and folklore. So the entire game has a very strong Japanese aesthetic, and a lot of the monsters are based on these traditional yokai monsters. So that's the big main theme of Monster Hunter Rise.
And then on top of that, we added 3D audio for this title as well, which really makes the traditional Japanese instruments that are used during cut scenes for the music, et cetera, really makes them stand out. And we're very proud of that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So one of my favorite things to do early on in the game was zipping around using the Wirebugs. Can you talk about that system, how it opens up in progression and battle and all the different ways that Wirebug system really make a unique entrance in Monster Hunter Rise?
INTERPRETER: So Wirebugs are a very specific sort of technology to Kamura Village. The way it works is that the hunters, they wear a little decoration called the Petalace. And the Petalace is something that the Wirebugs are naturally attracted to. So the Hunter can use Wirebugs, as you said, to fly through the environment at a very quick pace.
And in terms of level design, obviously, we've taken this into consideration. So there's a lot of verticality to the levels. There's a lot more than we've had in previous titles. So there's a lot to explore. You can start at the bottom of a stage and then go all the way up to the top. And there's lots of different things you can find.
And also, it's a great opportunity for just observing monsters from above. For instance, you can sit on a ledge and look down on a monster and observe it while it goes around doing its natural behavior and its daily routines.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So not every animal in Monster Hunter Rise is something that you're trying to kill. There are very adorable pets of various different kinds. There's the Palicos. There's the Palamutes. Tell us about these friends, what they do besides cooking for you sometimes or looking adorable or being something to ride. Like, what are all the different ways that you can interact with these pets?
HIROYUKI MINAMITANI: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So Palamutes, other than looking cute, also provide very reliable support during combat. They can equip a variety of weapons to support you while you're fighting monsters. They're very good at attacking.
And the other main feature is that you can ride them, which makes moving around the stages a lot speedier and stress-free, especially since you can still use items and you can sharpen your weapons while you're riding your Palamute. So it's a very-- yeah, it's a very stress-free experience. Everything is just very speedy. And you don't have to stop and do things and wait around for your hunter to sharpen weapons. So that's for the Palamutes.
And for the Palicos, they offer more of a support role, not necessarily offensive. But they can equip a variety of skills, and they can earn experience themselves to gain more slots to equip more skills. So yeah, you can give them a variety of skills to help heal the hunter or give defense boosts and stuff like that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, I do love how convenient it is to ride around on the Palamutes, even in town, which I was definitely taking advantage of, so between that and the Wirebugs. And it can also transport or teleport very quickly between things and noticeably fast, which is-- I'm a big fan, especially when you're absorbing all of the different things that there are to do, all of the different-- you're visiting with the blacksmith, and you're visiting-- you're eating, and you're crafting. You're doing so many different things.
And I think that's a key thing about Monster Hunter Rise is there's a lot going on. So where's a good place to start? What is something that you would advise a new Monster Hunter Rise player to do?
HIROYUKI MINAMITANI: [SPEAKING JAPANESE]
INTERPRETER: So first of all, when you jump into the game for the first time, you can pick whether you want to play solo or multiplayer. In either case, what I would advise you to do is just follow the story. That's going to be the main point of progression. So if you just follow the story, you will learn everything as you go along. Your player will grow along with you, your player character. They will start making new weapons, new gear.
And the only bit of advice I would offer you is that if you're having trouble beating monsters, don't just button mash your way through. That's not going to work in most cases. Try to observe the monster. Like, which direction is it facing? Is it roaring, telegraphing an attack? And base your actions around what the monster is doing at that time. So yeah, you've got to be very careful about what the monster is doing. So pay attention.
And then one other thing is that there are 14 weapon types, and all of them handle very differently. So this may be confusing. This may be overwhelming if you're a first-time player. But my advice is to just not think too hard about it. Just experiment a little bit, find what works for you, and then just go with that and have fun.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, that's a great point. You're first given a long sword, but you really do have access to all kinds of weapons-- ranged weapons, close-up weapons, big, heavy weapons, fast weapons. So yeah, pick what you're going to want to enjoy, right? And it's good that you're able to experiment, really, right from the off. Monster Hunter Rise now available-- Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and of course on Windows PCs and Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
Hiroyuki Minamitani, I want to thank you so much for joining us. Very excited to have Monster Hunter Rise on Game Pass. And also, just a huge year both for Monster Hunter and for Capcom. Wishing you the best of luck.
LARRY HYRB: All right. Great week last week for the Elder Scrolls fans. The Elder Scrolls Online announced the new adventures, a new class for 2023. You've probably read all about it. You've had some time to soak it in. But joining me today is Rich Lambert from the ESO team. Rich, great to see you.
RICH LAMBERT: Hello. How are you?
LARRY HYRB: I am great. What a great week it was last week for ESO fans. Go through a little bit and rehash what we're talking about here because it's kind of cool.
RICH LAMBERT: It is. And it's a really exciting year for us, for the team, obviously, and for the fans. So we are going to go and explore the Telvanni Peninsula and explore a little bit more of Morrowind, learn a lot more about Hermaeus Mora. It's this really cool new vibe, this kind of cosmic horror meets Elder Scrolls Online. And I think players are really going to get a kick out of it.
LARRY HYRB: Sure. Now, I was reading something-- I think it was a press release-- that said that you're bringing players back to more-- allowing-- they're going to explore places they haven't seen since, check me on this, the mid '90s. Is that accurate?
RICH LAMBERT: Yeah, 1994 in Arena.
LARRY HYRB: OK.
RICH LAMBERT: So yeah, a lot has changed, obviously, technology-wise, games-wise since 1994. And so we were able to go in and show players things and explore things that you couldn't necessarily do back in those early '90s.
LARRY HYRB: ESO is such a phenomenon, and it's so great to go live in that world and work on your characters in that world. Folk that may be interested in it but may be kind of scared to-- like, oh this game's been out forever. We all have that anxiety of-- like, I'm the one who hasn't finished Elden Ring yet. And I'm like, oh, can I even go back to it? Everybody's finished it. But when I look at-- when I look at the universe you created, it's really welcoming. And you've done a lot of work to really welcome new players, right?
RICH LAMBERT: Absolutely. And I get that question a lot. The game is eight years old now. Is it too late for me to start? And the answer is no. We've done a lot of work over the years to make it inviting, make it easier for you to play with anybody, regardless of level, regardless of alliance choice. The way ESO is set up, you don't have to grind through eight years of older content to get to the new stuff. You can just pick a story that you like or an area that you want to go and explore, and you can go and explore it and still make meaningful progress.
LARRY HYRB: I mean, there's millions of people that have played the Elder Scrolls, the main game, the single-player game. And I know it's been eight years now, but how do you continue to make it interesting and vibrant for those types of players to pull them into this multiplayer world and this environment?
RICH LAMBERT: There's a lot of different things. So obviously, story is king. That's what a lot of people want. So we always try to dig through the lore of the game. It's 25 years old at this point in terms of all of Elder Scrolls. So there's a treasure trove of stuff to pull out and weed out and needle on.
But then once we figure out a story we want to tell, it's what are the other types of activities that we can do. So we spend a lot of time building alternate activities that aren't just questing and killing. There's all kinds of things, from crafting to housing-- which is one of the most popular activities to do in ESO-- to the Tales of Tribute card game that we released last year. So yeah, there's just a ton of different things. And we really want to make it this virtual world that you can explore with your friends or by yourself.
LARRY HYRB: Now, getting back to the announcements that we had last week during the event, is Shadow Morrowind-- Shadow over Morrowind is coming next month, right? It's in March?
RICH LAMBERT: It kicks off quarter one, yes.
LARRY HYRB: Quarter one. OK, March. That's in a month and a half, two months. But that's going to happen. Then there's a lot of other things that we talked about or that you talked about, like the Necrom chapter coming in June and some other things. Tell us a little about what we're-- just kind of a road map. So tell us, rehash it for us, if you would, please.
RICH LAMBERT: Sure. So update 37-- it's crazy to think that we've done 37 updates.
LARRY HYRB: 37, wow.
RICH LAMBERT: So that's quarter one. And that kicks off this new story line with two new dungeons. There's some quality-of-life improvements. And then as you mentioned, update 38, which is in June, is the new chapter with Necrom. And that includes a brand new class, which is the Arcanist, which I assume we'll get into in a little bit.
LARRY HYRB: Yep.
RICH LAMBERT: And then I did kind of let slip a little bit of a tease, I guess, for the fourth quarter in kind of endless dungeon runner, which we'll get into that. But it kind of fits into the goals that we have for the game, where we're trying to introduce more repeatable activities, more systemic-type things for players to really dig into and explore.
LARRY HYRB: Let's talk about the Scribes of Fate for a little bit because this is coming in March, and it's going to feature two new four-player PvE dungeons, right? So this is a new experience. Tell us a little bit about that.
RICH LAMBERT: So both of these dungeons really dig into and kick off this initial story. And I don't want to spoil any of the stories. But one dungeon kind of introduces one aspect of the story, and then another dungeon introduces another aspect.
And then we also have a prologue quest that really jumps you into this main story. And that's when you learn about Hermaeus Mora being involved and him wanting you to be his champion. And if you've done the dungeons, you get a little bit more context for that stuff. But if you haven't done the dungeons, you can do that prologue quest and still understand what's going on.
LARRY HYRB: I want to get back to you talked about this new playable class which is coming in June with the Necrom chapter. Tell us about the Arcanist because that sounds really interesting. I read a little bit about it and saw it a little bit online.
RICH LAMBERT: Yeah, it is a new class, obviously, new playable class. It has three major skill lines, just like the other classes-- Herald of the Tome, which is essentially like a DPS line; Apocryphal Soldier, which is a tanky line; and then the healing one is I think Curative Rune Forms. I think I got that one right. There's lots of names floating around.
But this class is something that's very different than anything we've really built before. It's really tightly integrated into the overarching story line and themes. So a lot of the inspiration for this class centers around Hermaeus Mora and this thirst for forbidden knowledge.
It is a little bit darker. It kind of hits that cosmic horror vibe. The visuals are really, really cool. The sounds that the audio team came up with are really something you haven't really heard before. And then even right down to the individual abilities and the core mechanics of this class are different as well. It is more focused around, I guess, a combo point system. We call it Crux.
But the general concept here is some abilities are builders of Crux and some are spenders of Crux. And if you're spending Crux, your abilities do slightly different things or completely different things depending on how you want. And then with the morphs and how we've integrated everything, you can control-- some abilities aren't spenders or builders from the onset, but you can morph them to do that. And so there's just this huge tool chest to really dig into and play with and lots of interesting choices for the players to make to really get the mastery of this class.
LARRY HYRB: Rich, tell me a little bit about your teams. When they're thinking about a new class, what goes through their heads in terms of how they balance it out with the existing classes and the existing universe? Because I respect that you're adding a new class, but I also don't take it lightly because there's a lot that has to go into figuring out that puzzle to make sure that it's additive and it's not just OP or anything like that, right?
RICH LAMBERT: Yeah, there certainly is. And we have standards that we build everything towards. The team has done a lot of math over the last few years to really nail down what those standards are. So we know what one point of critical hit damage does or 1% of critical chance does to the player and how much that's worth on, say, an item set or an ability or so on and so forth. So it fits within that math.
But in terms of really digging into the class with inspirations and themes and how it fits into the world, we talk a lot about, basically, what are the class-defining characteristics? What is the vibe that you're going for with the class, and how is that different than anything else we've already done? And that's really important for us as developers but also as players so that it doesn't feel like you're just, oh, I've done this class before. It's just a different color, or the numbers are slightly different. So we think of a lot of that kind of stuff for sure.
LARRY HYRB: I mean, making sure that, as you said, the math lines up and everything kind of works, but the other thing I imagine from a creative standpoint-- and again, you're in the creative space. But in the creative standpoint, you have to make sure that this class makes sense in the universe, right? That's the other thing is that the lore backs it up. And then when you write it in, it's not just some random-- like, what is this? Right? So in addition to the math, you've got to have the engineering side of it, the math, and then the creative side to make sure they come together.
RICH LAMBERT: Absolutely. And that's kind of where the inspiration comes in, like what I talked about, where this class, this Arcanist, is centered around knowledge. And that's very much in Hermaeus Mora's wheelhouse. That's what Hermaeus Mora does is hoards this knowledge. And so we leveraged a lot of that.
And as players start to-- well, as they saw in some of the global reveal stuff, but as they'll see over the course of the coming months, there's a lot of influences of Hermaeus Mora on this character. And it ties in so well to this overarching story.
LARRY HYRB: It's really exciting time if you're new. Or if you're existing on ESO, it's exciting. If you're new, it's exciting. Shadow over Morrowind, great. I'll put a link off to your stream that you guys had last week. It was really quite interesting. And Shadow of Morrowind, it's the Scribes of Fate DLC. It's the Necrom chapter in June, and it's the Arcanist, which we just talked about. Did I miss anything, Rich? I want to make sure I got it all.
RICH LAMBERT: I don't think so. No, I think that's the big bits, yeah.
LARRY HYRB: And then we've got-- what's great is that ESO is available on PC. It's available on Mac. It's available on Xbox, of course. It's available on PlayStation. It's available all these different places. And starting March 13, you can get in on the PC back side. And then later on in the month, you can get on the Xbox and PlayStation side. Rich, anything you want to add before I let you go?
RICH LAMBERT: I think I covered the big bits. I just want to thank you for having me on again. It's been a while since we last did this, and it's definitely always fun to come.
LARRY HYRB: Yes. Well, I appreciate you coming on because ESO is one of those titles that I'm like, oh, yeah, we got to talk about that, because, again, I get people lighting me up on Twitter and are really passionate about this. And more importantly, I want to make sure that new fans, people that maybe have never had a chance to experience this universe and all the great work that you do, that they get a chance to do that because it's part of Game Pass, right? It's pretty easy.
RICH LAMBERT: Indeed, yeah.
LARRY HYRB: OK. Thank you, my friend. Good luck. And we'll have you on again later. Maybe later this year?
RICH LAMBERT: Awesome.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Last week at the Developer_Direct, we had so much news that we couldn't actually fit everything into one week's podcast episode. So this week, we're going to be chatting with a few folks. But I'm excited to bring on Craig from Mojang Studios to chat with me about Minecraft Legends. Welcome to the show
CRAIG: Hi, Rebecca. Lovely to see you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: All right. So before we get started, both Larry and I noticed your background.
CRAIG: Don't look. No, no. Don't look. I can't cover it all. I can't cover it all.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It is a nerd wall, and I love it. Is everything just Star Wars? Ahem. Do you like Star Wars? [LAUGHS]
CRAIG: No, I hate it. No, I'm a big fan. I like the movies, but it's the world, and the creatures, and the ships, and the races. And as a designer, I just love that whole galaxy. And so yeah, I surround myself with inspiring things to keep me creative.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, I love that. Yeah, their worldbuilding in Star Wars is god tier. It is so good. So I don't blame you there.
CRAIG: It's as old as me.
REBECCA GORDIUS: (LAUGHING) Yeah. OK, so tell us a little bit about yourself. So we've already gone over you're the principal design director on the game. So how do you-- like, what do you do on a day-to-day? How did you start to work on Minecraft Legends?
CRAIG: Oh, it's a good story. So I'm a designer. I've been in the games industry for over 25 years. I've stopped counting now. And I've always been a big fan of Minecraft since when it launched 12 years ago. I remember when it came out and we were building pirate ships late into the night. And I had to tell the team to go home because we had deliverables to do.
And then in 2012, I was working in Xbox Live Arcade. And I was lucky enough to be one of the teams who brought Minecraft to console. And I really enjoyed that experience. It's incredibly successful.
And then in 2018, I had the opportunity to join the team. So I jumped at the chance because I love the IP. And I've been working with the team ever since. So I'm just incredibly lucky to work on one of Microsoft's biggest franchises. And I just love the IP.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, that's great to hear. I actually also worked on Minecraft Legends coming to Xbox One and then also PlayStation 4 at the time. And it was so funny because I don't know if this was your experience too, but for us, Minecraft on console was categorized as an indie game and a smaller game. And so our scope of how we supported was a lot smaller. And then all of a sudden, it's like, oh, turns out we actually want to buy this entire studio, and it's going to be our biggest acquisition. And now we have multiple-- so many teams and so many people working on Minecraft. So yeah, it's been great to see that.
CRAIG: When it launched, we didn't know how it would do on console because it's so popular on PC. And when it launched, it came out, and we said, we think the telemetry's broken because these figures, these numbers, can't be right. And they were right. And it was just such a incredible success and has been ever since.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Well, hopefully that's some indication of how Legends will also go launching onto Xbox--
REBECCA GORDIUS: --because obviously a lot of strategy games are played on PC. But I know the team is taking console and the console experience into consideration when developing it.
CRAIG: Oh, totally. Help from the ground up. Help from the ground up.
REBECCA GORDIUS: How would you describe Minecraft Legends to someone who hasn't really heard much about it before, isn't familiar with Minecraft?
CRAIG: It's a good question, Rebecca. So Minecraft Legends is a new type of action strategy game, right? The way in which we took the dungeon crawler genre and twisted it and made it unique and made Minecraft Dungeons, we've now looked at the strategy genre, made it unique, and given it a twist to create Minecraft Legends.
The game contains a full story-driven campaign and our eight-player PvP battles. And in the story-driven campaign, you're a hero who's brought to save the Overworld from the evil Piglins by our hosts. And what's really interesting about the hosts is they're our first talking characters in the franchise.
And the hosts give you three amazing tools, the Legendary Loot-- [MAKES COIN CLINKING SOUND]-- the Banner of Command, and the Flame of Allegiance. And you use these tools to talk to the allies and play melodies to get the allies to gather resources, like wood and stone and red stone and diamond. And then you use these resources to build structures. So you build towers and walls and gates to build your base. And then you also use these tools to build golems and form your army to attack the Piglins and push them back.
And the thing I really love about Minecraft Legends, it's not what we call a real-time strategy game. You're not 50 feet up in the clouds looking down, giving instructions. You're actually on the battlefield with your sword fighting alongside your troops. So it's a lot more action-focused. And that's why it really fits really well for console. It's not your normal strategy game. We've given it a really fun twist.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I agree. And I think that when people see it for the first time in front of them, that's the thing that they're most pleasantly surprised about. Like, when we demoed to some press at Gamescom in Germany over the summer, and they were like, oh, you're actually in the middle, and you have a player where you're doing combat as opposed to being up in the sky and just zooming all around like in a lot of missions.
CRAIG: Yeah, we get that all the time. People are like, this is not the game I thought it was. You're like, this is an action game.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Exactly.
CRAIG: And that's what I love about it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. But of course, strategy is still a really important part. And that is a totally new genre for the Minecraft team to be venturing into.
CRAIG: Oh, yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: And so I know that we have our development partner, Blackbird Interactive. So can you tell us a little bit about them and just how the partnership with them has come to be and how it's going?
CRAIG: Sure. Sure. So any time we're building a new experience, we really look for the right partner, a team who's creative and talented but also really specialize in that genre. And so when thinking about a strategy game, we immediately thought of Blackbird Interactive. They are well-known for all of the strategy games they made in the past.
And so we started to talk to them, and they loved the IP. They really understood what we wanted to do with it. They love strategy. They had great ideas of how they could twist these two together. And so to be honest, we got really lucky. We found our perfect partner really early on. And then we've been working with them ever since. So we have a great relationship with them, and I love that team.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Aw, that's so good to hear. And we saw a few different faces from Blackbird in last week's Developer_Direct segment from Minecraft Legends. And obviously, we also announced the game's launch date and PvP. And can you just tell us a little bit more about the PvP mode?
CRAIG: Sure. So our PvP battle mode is really unique. I love it. Play it every day. And it's eight players, but it's two teams of four, OK? And your goal is to destroy the tower at the middle of the enemy base. Simple, right?
So everyone starts next to their tower. There's nothing built. And everyone just goes off and does stuff. And everyone falls into natural roles. So we have our gatherers, people who run out into the world and they gather the wood, and the coal, and the stone to build the structures. And then we have our builders, so people who are building the towers, and the defenses, and the gates, and the walls, and so many things, kaboomery that give you flaming arrows and masonry huts that turn wood to stone.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Kaboomery, is that an official word? [LAUGHS]
CRAIG: It's called the kaboomery. It gives all of your towers into flaming arrows and explosive arrows.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ooh, love it.
CRAIG: And then we have our explorers. These are players going out into the world. And they find secret chests that give the team a boost of resources. And they scout what the enemies are doing.
And then we have our attackers, people who are out in the world. And they are spawning golems and attacking the enemy base. And they're also building offensive structures like the redstone launcher, which hurls TNT like a catapult into the enemy base.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Love it.
CRAIG: And so you've got all these different roles. But the thing I really love is these roles aren't fixed. They're not like a class that you choose at the beginning of the game. You just go and do what you want. So it's very fluid.
You can be gathering resources one minute, see the enemy, build some golems, and attack them. And then you hear, our base is under attack. And you're like, oh, OK, I'm on defense. And you go running back. And so it's not really strict and fixed. It's very fluid. And it's all about working together to come up with the craziest strategy you can think of to crush the enemy.
So the other thing I love about PvP is the maps are procedural, procedurally generated. And so it's different every time, depending on-- one time, a mountain might generate next to the enemy base. And you think, oh, I'm going to put a redstone launcher on that. You know what I mean? It's like depending on where the secrets are and the resources are and how the world generates, it's different every time. So it keeps it really fresh.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. The fluidity is something I wanted to poke back to. So I think it's really cool that we don't have to have classes. Like, if we need more resources, people can pivot what they're doing and go chip in elsewhere. What are some other things that you think might surprise players to learn? This is really not a very traditional game.
CRAIG: You want some secrets. You want some things that we've not spoken about before. Let me think.
REBECCA GORDIUS: (LAUGHING) Well, nothing too secret, but yes.
CRAIG: So I can think of a few things that people might be surprised to know. So if you're out in the world, and you're far away from your base, and you hear that you're under attack, you can fast travel.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, really?
CRAIG: So you can open the map, click on your base, and go "bshh bshh" and be back home really quickly because we didn't want players running panicked-- oh, I can't get back home in time. So that's one thing.
If you're at home as well and you get attacked, you can go to a spawn and recall units. So you can actually-- units that are out in the world that maybe aren't doing anything, you can call them back quickly to your base. You're not running around looking for them. Where are those cobblestone golems? You can just pull them back to help you with defense.
What else? We also have a ping system. So it's really important to work together because you're sharing resources. And so with the ping system, you can say, I want to build a redstone launcher, and the team go, OK, let's save up our redstone. Or Rebecca, you could be like, I want coal. And so people go, oh, OK, let's save up our coal. So that system--
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's--
CRAIG: And I think-- go on.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I was just going to say, yeah, I love the ping system, like simple ways to communicate with people that's not fiddling with the controller for text or then-- also, I usually don't use voice chat when I play these days just because I live with multiple people. And so I don't want to be shouting instructions at night and stuff. So that is really cool. But sorry, continue.
CRAIG: Yeah. You can use voice chat, and it's great. But also, we wanted to make sure there was a system that people could give out the basic commands because you are sharing resources. The thing I think people would be most surprised about is the game's PvP. But there's a little PvE in there as well. And the Piglins are also in PvP. And the Piglins do whatever the Piglins want.
So the Piglins are attacking both teams. And so there's a day/night cycle going on during the battles. But the Piglins attack more ferociously at night. So do you time your strategy when the Piglins attack at night and wait for them to break the walls down and sneak in? So you're not only dealing with the other team. You're dealing with the Piglins as well. And so I think people might find that surprising too.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's really cool. I had just assumed that the battles would all be during daytime. But like Minecraft--
REBECCA GORDIUS: --the environment changes, whether it's day or night. So that's really cool.
CRAIG: Yeah, it goes to night, and you hear the Piglin horns and the battle horns. And then more Piglins attack at night. And then it becomes dawn again. And the game is-- I should have said the game's so pretty. It's so beautiful.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Oh, I think we can all see that for ourselves in just the few assets and videos we've seen online. But it sounds like the matches could potentially be pretty long, then? How long--
REBECCA GORDIUS: --have they generally been? Is there a rough number, or does it vary?
CRAIG: Yeah. So we've worked really hard. So games last between 20 and 30 minutes. It does depend on the strategy. If teams have a crazy strategy, they might win earlier if they take the team by surprise. Or if both teams decide we're going to build bastions with stone walls and massive towers, the games might go on a little bit longer.
But we've been working really hard to balance the game this way because we don't want it to be like 14-day siege of the blue team. And so our longer games have lasted around 30 minutes. So it's about 20 to 30 minutes. It's an old-fashioned thing to think about, but we wanted players to get two games in in their lunchtime. You know what I mean? Like, be able to play a couple of games if they were playing in their lunch.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. That's one way to put it. I like that. And then this, I mean, obviously coming out on Xbox, PC Game Pass, but also PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, which is really cool. Is there going to be cross-platform multiplayer for-- yeah, multiplayer, sorry.
CRAIG: Of course. We thought it was really important regardless of what platform you're on that you could play together. We want as many players as possible playing together. So I think you nailed them all. We're on all the Xbox platforms. Xbox One X, Series X, Series S--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Don't think there's anything I forgot.
CRAIG: --PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch. Oh, PC Steam.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, Steam.
CRAIG: So it doesn't matter where you play. On launch day, you'll be able to play on any of those platforms in PvP, and it plays perfectly on any platform. The way we've designed it, there's no advantage to be on a keyboard and mouse versus a controller.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That was my next question. Yeah.
CRAIG: No, it's not a first-person shooter or anything. And it's been designed that way.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Nice.
CRAIG: And so it's perfect for cross-platform play. Yeah, we thought that was really important, and so we've made it work perfectly.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's awesome. Well, thank you so much, Craig. This has been very enlightening. Even I have learned a lot about Minecraft Legends today. So obviously, game's launching April 18. But until then, where can folks go to follow along with our journey and stay in the loop?
CRAIG: Sure. You can join our Discord group. We have lots of amazing fans on our Discord group. You can also look at minecraft.net and also @legends_game. It's not long now to wait. We're coming out soon. We've been working on it for so hard. We're so excited to see how people enjoy the game.
And I'm particularly excited to see the crazy strategies that people come up with in PvP because we think we've done everything. And then someone will come in and just do something crazy that we haven't thought of. And we all joke on the team that we're all going to be good at the PvP for about an hour. And then all the community will just crush us because they will come up with new strategies.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, the Minecraft community is very creative and dedicated. So I'm sure that they'll come up with some good stuff. But yeah, thank you so much, Craig.
CRAIG: Oh, it's wonderful. Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about Minecraft Legends.
MALIK PRINCE: All right. Thanks to all of our wonderful guests talking about ESO, Monster Hunter Rise, and, of course, Minecraft Legends. Love hearing from the people making the games. That was awesome.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Exactly.
LARRY HYRB: Thank you. Thank you. That was a lot of fun to hear from everybody. Couple things before we go. We were talking before the break about for the interviews-- what?
REBECCA GORDIUS: What you got on there, Larry?
LARRY HYRB: I've got the white gloves, Rebecca. Thank you for noticing them.
MALIK PRINCE: The gloves.
LARRY HYRB: No, I wanted to point something-- I didn't wear them when we were talking about the Hammerhead, the new headsets. I don't know if it's in focus. Hopefully, it is. But I also want to remind folks that the Deep Pink Xbox Controller, which was available-- I think it was last year-- it is now back in stock. So this is something they wanted me to point out.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ooh, so pretty.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah. Do you have one?
MALIK PRINCE: Very striking.
REBECCA GORDIUS: No, I love it.
LARRY HYRB: I think I got one over here.
MALIK PRINCE: I don't have one. Just in time for Valentine's Day, though, I feel like.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, we would like them, Larry.
LARRY HYRB: There it is. So it's a lovely little controller.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wow, great.
LARRY HYRB: Deep Pink. And then I also want to-- we mentioned it briefly on the show a couple weeks ago. But you can kind of see it back here if you can make it out.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh-ho, Easter eggs, huh?
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: I love that.
LARRY HYRB: This is the promotion we're doing in Europe, in many parts of Europe, for Oreo.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ooh, ABXY. So cute.
LARRY HYRB: Now, I have to tell you a funny story. I was talking with our partnership team. And they do amazing work. I mean, they've done the Halo Swarovski crystal, which I have over there, and a bunch of other things. They do great work. I said, hey, I want to talk about the Oreo promotion, which is really cool. In case you can't see it, you can kind of see it in here.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, we can see.
LARRY HYRB: But I mean, the Oreos are ABXYs and the logo. I mean, this is kind of cool, and the up arrow.
MALIK PRINCE: So cool.
LARRY HYRB: So it's really nifty. But I said, hey, I want to get some of the Oreos. They're like, well, it's not available in North America. I said, I totally understand that, but the listener for this show is international. So they sent me-- they sent me these boxes over.
[KNOCKS ON BOXES]
The boxes are empty. No products in there.
MALIK PRINCE: There you go.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wow. I wonder who got to eat your Oreos.
LARRY HYRB: Well--
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, maybe they got--
LARRY HYRB: --I did raise a little bit of a ruckus. And then they sent over an actual container.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hey.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, man.
LARRY HYRB: So I don't know if I should open these up or save them. But some of these--
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know you love eating on stream.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, the crunching.
LARRY HYRB: The problem is I can't stop.
MALIK PRINCE: That's so funny.
LARRY HYRB: But if you're over in Europe, check your local grocer. You can win prizes and all sorts of cool stuff, some in-game skins, which I don't have yet. They're supposed to send them over to me. But I wanted to just--
MALIK PRINCE: Well, I'll just say that I'm not as understanding of them not being available in the US. I love Oreos personally. And so partnership team, if you want to send some my way, happy to send you my address. I will say also there's a very--
LARRY HYRB: I'll drop off the empty boxes.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, that's no fun. But do y'all eat Oreos with milk? I know there's a very specific--
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, who doesn't?
MALIK PRINCE: Like, some people like them-- some people don't like it. I heard that the perfect time to dunk Oreos in milk is seven seconds from our good friend Greg Miller, friend of the show from Kinda Funny. Seven seconds.
LARRY HYRB: 1, 2, 3--
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, no. He does the 1, 2, 3 thing, yeah. 1, 2, hold on the 3, and that's the perfect-- I don't know. What do you all think?
REBECCA GORDIUS: What?
MALIK PRINCE: Comment section below. Let me know.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Ugh. I'm not a big milk person in general. So I think maybe when I was a kid I had them with milk. But I just generally don't have milk lying around. I have oat milk. But I don't know. That doesn't sound the same.
LARRY HYRB: Maybe I should send some to you so you could-- or maybe you should go buy some Oreos to see what they taste like in milk.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Taste test.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, maybe I'm missing out. I don't know.
LARRY HYRB: Anyway, so I just want to call out that we got-- and again, the partnership team, some really cool stuff. I've seen what they're working on for the future. They've got some really great stuff planned. And it's everything from Oreos to-- what was the one we did a couple-- oh, here, let me-- do you remember this one? Hold on. Hold on. I got--
MALIK PRINCE: More goodies. Rebecca, Larry just gets all the stuff.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know. It's not fair. Trying to think if it was another food partnership or what he could be bringing out. I mean, we did the Doritos one.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, I think it's definitely food.
LARRY HYRB: I think you guys remember this one. We talked about it last year. And I know, Rebecca, you were interested in this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Especially the food I would like to receive.
LARRY HYRB: The OPI one.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, yes.
LARRY HYRB: That was a fun, fun promotion that we did. I mean this one was so different. And then, of course, this-- what's this?
REBECCA GORDIUS: I mean, I don't want to make any assumptions, but I feel like they could have sent those to me. And I would probably get better use out of them than you would, Larry.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah, I mean, they're still in the box for me, right?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: But anyway, so our partnership team, keep an eye. We'll always cover what they're working on. We did--
REBECCA GORDIUS: They do some cool stuff.
LARRY HYRB: Over the live stream, we did the Doritos/Rockstar one, and I couldn't stop eating those chili lime ones.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I really enjoyed that one.
LARRY HYRB: Oh my lord.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Goodness. Those are crazy. All right, gang. Well, that's kind of the end of our-- as we always do, we usually record this right around lunchtime. And now we're talking food, so we're all hungry.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
LARRY HYRB: Thank you. Malik, again, happy birthday, and thank you for joining this week with Jeff's out-of-officeness or not-availableness. Rebecca, thank you. A little quick programming note-- we will not have a regular podcast available on Friday. We're doing a live show on Friday, February 10.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes.
LARRY HYRB: So you need to stay around. So usually, we record the show midweek and whatnot. But no, we're going to go-- we'll do it live, gang. We're going to do it live. We did it in December. And I pledged to you that we would do it again, yes?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Do you want to bring us in so we can say goodbye?
LARRY HYRB: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. It's funny. I'm looking at you guys. My screen, I can see you over there. And I completely forgot about-- I'm so sorry.
REBECCA GORDIUS: And I'm like, hello, we're over here.
MALIK PRINCE: It's OK.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Just chatting in the background while Larry gets all the goods.
MALIK PRINCE: It's OK.
LARRY HYRB: You know what? Here. We're actually going to go one step further. So there we go. We're going to say, goodbye, everybody.
REBECCA GORDIUS: There's my little loaf in the background.
LARRY HYRB: Oh, there he is. But yeah, we're going to do a live show next week. So Jeff and Rebecca and I will be in the-- you know what, Malik? Since you're on the show all the time, we'd love to have you stop by.
REBECCA GORDIUS: You should come.
LARRY HYRB: Yeah.
MALIK PRINCE: I'd love to stop by. Consider me there. I'll just run in-- I don't want to disturb the flow. I'll run in, say hello--
REBECCA GORDIUS: He'll just walk by.
MALIK PRINCE: But I want to watch-- yeah, I just want to watch in person.
LARRY HYRB: Here's what we're going to do. I'm going to talk to the production team. We're going to actually-- the way we've got it set up with the couch and the chair, we're going to put a chair in a corner with a light and a desk and a stack of books. And we're just going to cut to you reading books. [LAUGHS]
MALIK PRINCE: [SIGHS HEAVILY] Never.
REBECCA GORDIUS: His favorite.
LARRY HYRB: Malik's reading nook.
REBECCA GORDIUS: He's going to love it.
MALIK PRINCE: I'm no longer attending.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah? Malik's like, I'm busy that day.
MALIK PRINCE: No, I'm going to be sick.
LARRY HYRB: But anyway, we'll be back for a live show next week. Keep an eye on our socials. You can find them pretty much everywhere. We'll tweet it out, remind folks. We're going to be on the Twitch Xbox channel. We'll be on my Twitter, assuming Twitter is working. We tried to do it last time, and apparently Twitter was having some engineering issues.
But we're going to try to get it wherever you are. So appreciate you guys joining us. We'll have some giveaways too, right? Giving some stuff away. I think we can do that.
MALIK PRINCE: Ooh.
LARRY HYRB: All right, gang.
MALIK PRINCE: Love giveaway.
LARRY HYRB: So we'll see you for the live show next Friday, February 10.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oreo boxes.
LARRY HYRB: Until then, have fun, play fair, file feedback, let us know what you think, and leave a comment. Bye-bye, everybody.