Host, Xbox's Major Nelson
Dirk Van Welden
Captain at Foam Punch
[XBOX SOUND] LARRY HRYB: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the show. Welcome to the Xbox Podcast. After last week, I really don't know how Jeff and I are going to hold a candle to what you did, Rebecca. Great job last week.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it. I hope you guys enjoyed your time off. I was busy interviewing some really cool women for International Women's Day.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, you did a great job with that. And if you didn't get a chance to listen to or watch the show, please feel free to go back and do it. Rebecca, that was the first show you've hosted stem to stern, end to end. It's exhausting, isn't it? I mean, you've got a lot of work to do.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It really is. I didn't think it was going to be as time consuming, but it was. But it was good, though.
Sorry, I don't know if you can hear.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The podcast police are coming in and saying, this job is easy. Stop pretending it's not.
LARRY HRYB: That's exactly right.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sorry, but yeah, I think I'm nearing my one year anniversary with you guys on the show.
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: And so, I remember when it started, it was Larry-- I feel like you've been sneakily adding more and more to my plate because when I first started, it was like, oh, just come on. We're going to talk about the games we're playing. I'm like, oh, OK. Great.
And then a couple of weeks later, it's like, let's have you do an interview. And I'm like, OK, cool. And then fast forward now, it's like, let's have you do a whole show.
LARRY HRYB: Well, it's--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Am I going to be planning everything pretty dang soon?
LARRY HRYB: No, it's just I didn't want to overwhelm you because it can be overwhelming. So, let's get you started, get comfortable. Let's try an interview. We did that. And now, I mean, with International Women's Day, you were the perfect person to host it because not only-- obviously, you're a woman. But the fact that you've got all these great connections with some people in the industry.
Britt was great, of course. You talked to Bitt and Jenn, who's a good friend of ours. But let's talk about Agnes, because everybody loves Agnes from the Minecraft team. Right, Jeff?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, she said it, just a couple of things. I mean, there are certain people-- and I listened on audio. I listen to most podcasts on audio. I realize we do focus on the video part of this. And certain people, you can just listen to them talk all day. And Agnes was one of those people.
But I want to back up a second to-- so, first of all, Rebecca, you did great. But I do have a gripe.
LARRY HRYB: Uh-oh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And that gripe is, did we have to bring on a guest, Britt-- Britt Brombacher. Huge fan. Blonde nerd. Been talking to her for years.
By the way, she was she was great on the show. Fantastic interview. Do you think you can't talk to me about Japanese whiskey? We had to go outside of the podcast in order to talk about it? I was like, I thought we were close.
I think you specifically said, and I'm going to indirectly quote you here, "There's no one I can talk about this with."
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS] Yeah. OK, I definitely said that verbatim. Now, we talk about every other food. My mistake. Sorry.
LARRY HRYB: Wow.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: When you're back here next time, we're doing a tasting or doing something of that nature. And you know what? We'll invite Britt because she lives in western Wash-- actually, that would be great. All right.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Ideas bubbling here.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I like this plan.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: When are you coming back? I want to have you back.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'll be back soon.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It was great when we did that show together.
LARRY HRYB: Soon. Stay tuned. And when you do come back soon, like we did last time, I think we'll do an in-studio thing again so we all be in the same place. So, we'll work on that. But anyway, it's let's get let's get into the show and talk about what we're playing. Rebecca, after you. Have you had a busy week of playing Elden Ring, which I know Jeff's going to talk a lot about in a minute?
REBECCA GORDIUS: So, I haven't been playing anything this week. But I was going to start Elden Ring. And so I figured, OK, I'm going to watch a couple like guides and walkthrough videos first. And I have to say, like, this is actually-- I don't think I'm going to play Elden Ring. I think I'm really, really enjoying-- I started watching-- there's this one guy, FightingCowboy, on YouTube. And I've watched a lot-- he has an endless number of videos on Elden Ring. But I really like his narration style and the way he's playing. I've been reading through the comments.
I have to say, I haven't really been-- maybe it's because I'm-- I don't know, I don't know. But I haven't really been a fan of watching other people play games. I've always been more of the-- I'd rather play it myself.
LARRY HRYB: It's funny. I find that interesting because you work on Minecraft, which, what is it, on YouTube is a quadrillion number of hours that have been up there. Some ungodly number. So, that's interesting that you-- I know you watch some YouTube videos for Minecraft, but you don't really watch them for gameplay generally?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, not really. Well, with Minecraft, there are things I just can't do. There are amazing things that people have created, put a lot of effort into, there's just so much skill. But with a game like Elden Ring, I feel like the-- I mean, honestly, I was already a little bit hesitant because of the difficulty setting on it. And just I get frustrated easily.
When I do play through RPGs, I like to do the easy mode so that I can just kind of play through the story and get through it.
LARRY HRYB: Story mode, story mode. Just call it story more. Let's--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Right, OK. Thank you. So, anyway, honestly, I don't think I'm going to play Elden Ring. I think I'm just going to continue watching these video walkthroughs because I've really been enjoying them, and I feel like I'm seeing a lot more of the game than I would if I were to try to bother with it myself. So, anyway, sorry. That's a really lame way of saying I've been watching a lot of YouTube videos this week.
But anyway, I don't know. OK, Jeff, how's it been playing?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Now, I will give the impassioned defense. Now, look, I would not consider myself a Souls bro. And I know that they're sort of.
LARRY HRYB: Eh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There is, I think, a perception that's like, oh, if you're not good at Dark Souls, get good. And that could be a turnoff for a lot of players, myself included. It wasn't until a friend sat me down and-- I want to say, made me play Dark Souls 3--
LARRY HRYB: Who was that? Do I know who that was?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --and I got super good at it. It was Andy Lunique, the gaming chef.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, Andy. Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And he literally came over. He was like, I'm going to sit here, and we're not leaving until you beat this first boss. And then I did, and then I felt that sense of empowerment. And if you recall, actually, you did a PAX East podcast, a panel.
LARRY HRYB: That you couldn't go to.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I couldn't go because I had to work.
LARRY HRYB: So, I think it was Laura and I, right?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: If I recall correctly. But I dialed in. I don't know why. I was very fixated on this boss, and I just was fighting the boss.
LARRY HRYB: He was playing it while he was doing the podcast.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And then, right at the end of the panel, I beat the boss, and I turned the camera around, and everyone cheered.
LARRY HRYB: And the whole room lit up.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It was a great moment.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Aww.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, and I ended up beating that game, despite all the odds. Now, this is what I will say about Elden Ring. If you don't want to play Elden Ring, I understand everything that you're saying. What I will say is, don't let the difficulty get into your head because, while the game is certainly not easy, you have more tools at your disposal than you ever have had in a Soulsborne game, as they tend to call them.
You can summit in friends. You can bring in-- I have these undead soldiers that I just ring this bell, and they come in and they start stabbing. In fact, last night I was fighting a boss. I had my little skeleton dudes, and I basically stand back and I'm throwing spells at it.
And this-- it was a knight ghost thing. It killed me. But right as it killed me, my ghosts got the final hit, and they killed it. And when I rezzed, it was dead. I won.
LARRY HRYB: It registered the death. You didn't die before it did.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It registered the death. It counted. I got the points. I got the whatever it dropped.
LARRY HRYB: That's fantastic.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And I was able to move on with the game. And there's just a sense of empowerment that you get. This is how I summarized this for a friend. It felt like high school.
When you come in as a freshman, you're like, oh my god. All the people are so big. The halls are so big it's so crowded. This is so intimidating.
And then, a couple of hours later, you feel a senior. You're walking through, you're like, I own this place. Oh, you? You think you're tough? Dead, one hit. Not that you're-- not-- I mean, OK.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, but that's after you get your head--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's where it breaks down a little bit.
LARRY HRYB: That's after you get your head bashed into the locker a couple of times.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You do. I did skip that. But there's an accelerated growth where you go back through the same place and you're like, I can't believe I used to be scared to be here. And that is really-- that can feel really good and really empowering.
And whenever I felt-- this is, I think, my favorite part-- and you've touched on this, Rebecca-- of playing Elden Ring is the community that sprung up to support it and to support other players. There's some great web resources, I will say, on YouTube. I've been watching CarpoGaming. Moxsy has been great. The game doesn't tell you a lot.
And so I feel no regret, no hesitation, to look things up. What does that mean? Where do I go? What's a good build? All this stuff. Because it doesn't beat the enemies by doing that, but it-- oh, OK, now I understand. Oh, I should have dropped down off this bridge, and there's a really cool thing that is now increasing my enjoyment of the game.
I would say researching the game is probably half the fun, from what I'm told. Or sharing things, like, oh, did you do this? And sharing these, oh, you can farm Runes over here. And I think the community around it is part of the reason. And just the, quote unquote, "water cooler talk" or whatever is part of the reason that so many people are playing and enjoying the game that might not have played and enjoyed the game before.
So, if you don't want to play the game because it's hard or whatever, I get it. But I would be more than happy to, and I think other folks on the team-- if you want to just run co-op and just like have fun and bash some stuff-- and I think Larry, actually, we did this. And I would love to hear from you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, you guys played together?
LARRY HRYB: Well, that was exactly what happened. I was playing it, and I was telling Jeff, I'm like, wow, this-- because I'm not the Dark Souls bro. I played a little bit. But I wanted to play this game because if you look-- I'm sure you did the same thing, either folks listening or viewing, or Rebecca, you did this. You look at Metacritic, it's like, [VOCALIZES] It's off the charts. And so I'm like, I gotta see what's going on here.
And I downloaded it, of course, and I started playing it. And I kind of got into the first area and got killed, and got killed again, and got killed the third time. So, I just--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: For those of you who have been playing, he immediately took on the tree knight. And you will know that that's just--
LARRY HRYB: There was someone right there. I was like, let me--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That is the freshman picking on the senior who is the captain of the football team and the weightlifting team immediately, and with predictable results.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, so Jeff's like, do-- I said, Jeff, can we do co-op? And he's like, well, it's a little complicated. I'm like, how complicated can it be? It's complicated. You gotta get enough things. You gotta unlock the ability to make a spell, or you gotta have a crafting kit. And then I gotta get the right flowers, and then I got to be at the right place and put something down. And then the moons line up and the stars happen, and Jeff joins, and then this bird starts singing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: But once I did get in, what was the experience like?
LARRY HRYB: Oh, well. And you know I've said this many times on the show, that a lot of games are made better by your friends and co-op. But this was not only that, but it was just-- we just had a lot of fun. You were showing-- OK, do this. Let's hide around here. There's going to be somebody over here.
I'm having a great time with the game, but I am moving-- like, I think I've maybe gone 1,000 feet radius from when you spawn. I'm just staying in that area and just having fun and trying to figure the mechanics of the game out. I saw, ooh, there's a big monster. Ooh, there's a big crab. Not going to go over there yet. So.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Which class did you guys choose?
LARRY HRYB: Oh boy. I don't even remember. Seriously, the second box over, I think, is what I did. I look at it graphically.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm a Confessor. I decided I want to do ranged abilities. So they're a wizard or sorcerer type of build that uses magic, which I did for Dark Souls 3, I want to say, or something like that. And then the Confessor uses Faith. I don't know. So, I was like, let me just try this.
And now I've got this spear of lightning I can chuck at people. I've got this black flame. I can summon a dragon's head and use it a flamethrower. That's awesome, you know? And I don't know, this is not a game that beats you down. I think this is a game that empowers you. You just might have to go through some tough knocks and learn the hard way from time to time.
But I'm finding it very rewarding in a way that I did not expect to. This is a game I wanted to try out. But now, this is the only thing I want to play. And I will see this thing through to the end, and I'm enjoying every moment of it. And then I can stop talking about it.
LARRY HRYB: It's highly rated. It sold a ton of copies. It's doing quite well, from what I understand. But Jeff, you've got something, actually, there that the team sent you. Is that accurate? You said at the beginning of the show, I have something to show you. So, let's go to that, the full screen.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, let's see it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, I don't have I don't have white gloves. But I do--
LARRY HRYB: OK?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think these are a size small, so it's a little snug. So, you see that box over my--
LARRY HRYB: Over your shoulder?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --left shoulder here?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's what this came in. They sent me the Elden Ring Collector's Edition for Xbox Series X. I don't know what's in it, so I want to unbox it.
LARRY HRYB: We can do it on the show here? We're going to do it on the show?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Can we?
LARRY HRYB: Let's do it. I mean, you're full screen. The floor is all yours. Rebecca and I will sit back and you can--
REBECCA GORDIUS: This is very entertaining.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, I think you have to do the thing that all unboxing influencers do. They usually have big sabers. I just have a box cutter. So, first of all is this. So, this is the Collector's Edition, which is-- it's a meaty box.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's huge.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There's a lot of stuff in here. A hardcover artbook, a physical version of the game, a steelbook, a statue of Malenia, who everyone tells me, and I'm not there yet, is the toughest boss in the game. And I think showed up in the initial trailer. Do you remember when Elden ring was announced during E3, Xbox E3 2018?
LARRY HRYB: '18?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: '17, '18. It's amazing that we're here now. And it's even more amazing that--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Malenia, Blade of Miquella.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --it has completely lived up to the hype.
LARRY HRYB: Rarely do games do that. First of all, thank you to the teams for sending this over to Jeff for his unboxing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Boxes within boxes. I don't get to do this too often, so tell me-- give me give me feedback as I'm doing this. Am I doing this wrong? Boxes that look like-- oh, OK. So, first we have--
REBECCA GORDIUS: You're doing great.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I have this helmet now. So, I feel a real badass that I have this wolf helmet right now. I'm definitely going to want to flip through that. The art style in the game is really-- you don't think of a game like-- sort of like destroyed beauty, I guess, is what I would call it.
LARRY HRYB: Destroyed beauty. All right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, you know. There's amazing vistas, but it's not colorful, necessarily. All right, now we have another thing here.
LARRY HRYB: By the way, the rubber gloves are selling it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Thank you.
LARRY HRYB: The latex gloves.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: By the way, the grip here. I could palm a basketball. I feel like they're wide receiver gloves, which--
LARRY HRYB: American football reference.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: This looks like a box that's going to have a stage open. So let us do that.
LARRY HRYB: [WORDLESS SINGING] Oh, Look at that. Look at that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That, I believe, is Malenia, the boss that I have not yet encountered. But that is a badge of honor.
LARRY HRYB: That is waiting for you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: She looks difficult.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: About 10 inches tall. So, yeah. She doesn't need to see you.
LARRY HRYB: If you can bust that-- it looks like an award.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're right. That's a very good point. Please don't drop, please don't drop. OK.
LARRY HRYB: An Oscar, and Emmy, or a Game Award. It looks like one of those.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I feel like there was a Digimon that looked like this back in the day, too.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, look at that, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It was an honor to be nominated. First of all, I would like to thank my family for winning this Podcasty. Is that a thing? Oh, and it is not articulated.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Does the arm come off?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, if you break-- I think that her structure is articulated, but I don't think-- this is not an action figure. She's going to kick my ass at some point, several hours down the line.
LARRY HRYB: All right, what else we got?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There, OK. There's multiple boxes here.
LARRY HRYB: I'm sure people have done this unboxing already.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm sure. So, then there's a giant box here. Look, Larry. I am making up for years of unboxings you've got to do. Oh my god.
REBECCA GORDIUS: This first unboxing. Let him have it.
LARRY HRYB: I am. I'm letting him breathe.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There is a--
LARRY HRYB: I'm gonna go grab a sandwich.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --certificate of-- this is hard.
LARRY HRYB: By the way, I think that box contains one of the things that I despise in my life. And that is Styrofoam.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: This sounds fantastic.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: First of all, certificate of authenticity. 971. So, there's only 6,000 of these. I looked on Amazon, this Collector's Edition. There is currently one available. One. So, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: I'm looking.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We should give these away. We should give this thing away at some point. Is that something we can explore?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we can find a way to do that. Oh, look at this thing. There it is.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh my god.
LARRY HRYB: By the way, this is going up on-- I, mean this is by a third party seller. It's currently $288.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh my gosh.
LARRY HRYB: It's a third party seller, but still.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Now, that's nice. Wow. Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Wow. Put it on. Put it on. Put it on.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wow.
LARRY HRYB: That's fantastic. What's that made out of?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: How do I look? I can't hear you.
LARRY HRYB: You look-- here, let's go back here.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I can only assume that I look amazing. Tough. Nigh invincible.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Do a side view.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There we go.
LARRY HRYB: I like it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I always thought my head was big, but maybe it's not big enough.
LARRY HRYB: This is impressive.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I wonder if he can see, though.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. I don't know if he can see. I like that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's your thumbnail, Larry.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Could you see with it on? With it on properly?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No. It is the same-- so is the Malenia helmet. It looked like it was exactly the same.
LARRY HRYB: And you don't have that helmet yet?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, no. I'm assuming I'd have to defeat her, which I don't even know where in the game she is. The game is gigantic. There's one last thing here. I don't know what this, so let me just open it real quick.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, I think I know what it is.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Maybe a sense of anticlimax here.
LARRY HRYB: Wasn't that the steelbook? Oh, it's a stand.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh, for the helmet?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You think this is a mere stand for the helmet? This is the most powerful weapon in Elden Ring, the helmet katana. OK, it's a stand for the helmet. So, that is the Elden Ring Collector's Edition.
LARRY HRYB: Not available-- I mean, pretty much all sold out everywhere.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'd like for us to explore-- thank you for bearing with me on what was, I'm sure, a clumsy unboxing. But I didn't cut myself. Safety retraction. Keep your fingers on. Germ free.
LARRY HRYB: Thank you for that, Jeff.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I enjoyed seeing the box hitting you in the face while you were opening it. The Styrofoam noise was excellent.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Thank you, 10 out of 10. Would unbox again. So, that's awesome. There are still some of them out there. So, if you're the ultimate Elden Ring fan, you're going to want that. And Larry, let's explore if we can do a giveaway.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, give it away.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think that would be great. And when my wife comes in here and sees boxes and Styrofoam all over the place--
LARRY HRYB: That's the way my office looks all the time.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --RIP.
LARRY HRYB: You'll get used to it. Thank you for that, Jeff. We've got a couple of interviews this week that we probably should get to, one of which is-- you can't see behind me because-- oh, geez. Got it a little bit up here. But you can probably see it better on Jeff's screen.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh yeah, on Jeff's.
LARRY HRYB: It's Tunic. We're going to talk to the lead developer for Tunic. And actually, Rebecca, why don't you-- I know you got the notes there. Why don't you go ahead and bring us into the interviews? Because we've got some good stuff this week.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, so this week, Tunic arrived day and date on Xbox Game Pass. And so to celebrate--
LARRY HRYB: What was that? Was that a squeal?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I was like, woo! But then my voice cracked because I'm a teenager.
LARRY HRYB: Sorry.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Anyway. So, Larry spoke with Andrew Shouldice, who's the lead working on Tunic. And then we also have an interview coming up from Jeff who spoke with Dirk Van Welden, and he is from the game Shredders, which is a snowboarding game. So, I'm very excited to learn more about it. So, let's go into the interviews.
LARRY HRYB: As we discussed earlier in the show, Tunic is coming day and date the Game Pass. Joining us today is Andrew Shouldice, who is the lead for Tunic. Andrew, great to see you.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Hi. Nice to be here.
LARRY HRYB: I'm so excited to talk to you and talk about your title and day and date to Game Pass. This is so great. Now, I know that a lot of folks have been listening to the show and probably remember Tunic, thinking, wait a minute. I think I remember seeing this title before because it's-- there was a demo earlier this year, right?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. People were able to play it on their Xboxes at home.
LARRY HRYB: And it was great. Now, tell us about what the purpose of the demo was, what you learned, and about the main release coming up.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, for sure. So, we used to show the game at events and things like that. But in this day and age, it made a lot of sense to be like, hey, we should let people do this at home. And that was really incredible because it's just so wonderful to be able to see people playing this thing, and look over their shoulders, and watch them participate in a thing without necessarily knowing that a developer is looking at them over their shoulder.
And now, the full game is coming out. Coming out day one on Xbox Game Pass, which is incredible. And so many more people are going to be playing it. And that's deeply exciting. A little bit scary, but mostly very exciting.
LARRY HRYB: Now, we're seeing a little bit of the gameplay here. The game, it's very cute. And again, I remember playing the demo, and I'm sure a lot of my viewers and listeners do. But tell us a little bit about the gameplay. I see a little fox here. Does the Fox have a name?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: [LAUGHS] Not really, no. The fox is you. We like to think of it as this is your avatar in the world, and you are going on this adventure. You're the one driving little Fox, but you're the one having the adventure.
LARRY HRYB: Tell us a little bit about what the gameplay is all about, though, because it's really-- there's a lot of elements to the gameplay. And I think it's really interesting what you've done here.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Thanks. So, the elevator pitch is that it's an isometric action adventure about a tiny fox in a big world where you explore the countryside, you fight monsters, and you find secrets. And so, when people play it--
LARRY HRYB: You say that, and everyone goes, hm, that sounds like Zelda.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Those sorts of comparisons do get thrown around a lot, and there's definitely some inspiration there. Out of all of those games, I'd say it's probably the early ones. This idea of being plopped down into a big world and just being told, go out there and explore.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, and that's what it's all about. And the game, I played a little bit of it, as I said, the demo. And I'm looking forward to the full release now-- as we record this, it's now available on Xbox Game Pass. So, go download it right now.
But the game is full of secrets, right? You've taken a lot of effort to build this world and create a place for people to play around in and have fun. And also, you've hidden a lot of secrets.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yes, indeed. So, my favorite feeling when playing games is the moment of discovery when you realize that the world has suddenly expanded in your mind a little bit. It's not just that you discovered that there's a bombable wall here. It's that you discovered that there are bombable walls in this world, and now every wall could have a secret in it. We really wanted to capture that old school feeling of wonder.
One of the ways that we did that is by leaving pages of the instruction manual scattered around the world. So, as you play, you're going to fight monsters and find secrets and things. You'll find these instruction manual pages that are like old school manuals that have all kinds of things in them, like you would expect from a manual, like maps, and tips and tricks, and probably some secrets in the margins.
LARRY HRYB: Now, it's funny you say that because I'm on the older end of most gamers, and you're a little bit younger than I. But we do remember those. The excitement of buying the game, and opening, and when your mom or dad was bringing you home, that that's all you had until you were able to install it and download it or really get it ready to go. Because the installation usually took a while. So, it's interesting that you leaned in on this instruction manual thing because a lot of people don't even remember those anymore, right?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, for sure. It's something that's a little bit lost these days. I think there are some people out there, like you and I, that are going to remember it, though. And that same feeling of poring over the pages. And I have memories of not being able to play the games because someone else is playing right now, but I had the manual, and I could flip through.
And as a child, I had no idea what all these words meant, and I was seeing illustrations of things that I couldn't really comprehend. And it was just-- it felt infinite, you know? And that's really exciting to me. And hopefully, we've captured a little bit of that with Tunic.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. To your point, maybe you couldn't use the console or the computer that you wanted to run that game on. And sometimes you just took the manual and went up to your bedroom and were paging through it and, as you said, making notes in the margins and thinking about, oh, this is what I'm going to do the next time I get there.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. I think people are going to have that experience with Tunic.
LARRY HRYB: Now, with Tunic, it's such an interesting game. Tell us about the design decision to go isometric and have this cute little fox and this cute little world.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. So I love isometric perspective games. There's just this really nice rigidity to it that has a classic feel even though it's obviously a modern video game. And isometric perspective almost have this feeling of exploring a map, like on a printed page, because everything is so aligned to that grid.
And it also allows us to do sneaky things, like hide things behind stuff. The camera angle is fixed, so it's very intentional. There are all kinds of secret paths that you can slip into, like you could see there in the sewer. Someone just found a secret there. And those are all over the place.
It's one of the things that I've been thinking about a lot as we're getting close to release is how I used to think, oh no, there aren't any secrets in this game. Because, well, we knew all of them. We put them there, right? And so it might have felt like there weren't all those secrets. But now that we're seeing people play it for real, it's like, wow, no, we really did pack this thing full of stuff for people to find.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, and it's such great to have a game like this on Game Pass because, as game developers, you can focus on building a great game. And you have this instant access to millions of people [SNAPS] like that who are going to download the game. And some people that maybe they would have never looked at this game, but because they're Game Pass subscribers, they can download it and take a look at it, right?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. It's our hope that people are going to-- all over the world, all walks of life are going to see this little fox and think, oh. Yeah. I could be that. Let's dive in.
LARRY HRYB: Now, we saw a little bit of the gameplay earlier. It looks like there may be some boss battles and some intermediate battles. Tell us a little bit about the combat.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. So, another thing that people often say when they have sat down with it for a moment or two, they'll say, oh, this is really cute, but it can get hard. We've definitely, just like some old school video games, it's got a little bit of challenge to it in places. And I think that's part of feeling brave in a hostile world, is having challenges that are worth your time and attention.
Specifically, some of the things that we have are-- you can see there we've got a combat dodge and a stamina meter associated with it. Stamina works a little bit differently than you might expect with some games. It's more of a risk-reward system. So, you can always attack, and you can always even do your dodge. It's just that if you're at zero stamina points, you're at a disadvantage. Maybe you don't have as many i-frames. Maybe you're going to take more damage.
So, it's really up to the player. If they really want to go all out and do that last dodge, they can. And they can keep dodging. But at that point, they're putting themselves at risk. And I people are going to have a good time figuring out what their playstyle is with this. There's all kinds of other stuff, too, like secret techniques and-- well, a lot of them are secret, so maybe I shouldn't say.
LARRY HRYB: [LAUGHS] That's a good point. And as you said, it's a game about discovery. Whether you're discovering the weapons, the characters, the enemies, or the secrets that you mentioned earlier. It's about just enjoying and exploring the world, right?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, absolutely. There's this really particular feeling of looking at a world and just feeling it be ripe with possibility. You just want to explore that space and really find things. Not just feel like the game is doling out rewards at the appropriate time, but feeling like, wow, I really figured this out. I really found this cool thing that maybe my friends didn't find out about.
And that's another cool thing about it being day one on Xbox Game Pass, is that I think a lot of people are going to be exploring and sharing their experiences with one another. And that just is really heartwarming.
LARRY HRYB: Tell us about your team. I mean, you're the lead for Tunic. Tell us about your team. Are you all located-- where are you all located? Are you distributed? Tell us about that.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Yeah, we're spread out a little bit. So, I'm the primary developer, but we also have a stellar audio team. So, Kevin Regamey of Power Up Audio, whose work you've almost certainly heard before, is doing sound design. And Lifeformed, which is Terence Lee and Janice Kwan, is doing the soundtrack. We also have help from Eric Billingsley, who came on board to help put the finishing touches on a lot of the environmental design in the game.
That's the core team there. And we've got lots of ancillary support from publisher Finji as well.
LARRY HRYB: Well, that's great to hear because we're just excited. And the beauty of developers like yourself, of small and nimble indie developers, are able to really, really iterate a little bit. Tell me a little bit about the difference between maybe the demo that we played earlier this year that maybe some folks did and the final release. What are some of the things you learned?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: So, the differences are going to be great. Obviously, it's the full game now. And maybe you'll go through some areas that you recognize, but a lot of the secrets have been changed a little bit. There are some tweaks to mechanics that people are going to notice.
But one of the cool things about being able to see people play that demo was getting a good understanding of what people want to find, where they want to go. There was a really tough monster that we hid away in the demo, sort of as an Easter egg. But people just really got into it, and they made it their personal mission to go and conquer this giant skeleton. And yeah, I think people are going to enjoy maybe revisiting the areas that they saw in the demo.
I'm astounded when I look at it and be like, wow, this is kind of a big video game for a team this small. So, that's going to be cool to see.
LARRY HRYB: Now, are all of the-- are the levels we saw, some of the levels and some of the gameplay a moment ago. Are they all handmade? Are they procedural? Tell us about that.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Everything's handcrafted. So the world is this interconnected place. You've seen a few areas, and there are a bunch more. And I think one of the things that people are going to find is not only are there little passages, like, oh, I can slip behind here and there's a treasure. That's neat. But they're going to realize, oh, wait, this area is connected to that area is connected to this area. And that's entirely intentional.
The hope is that people are going to play the game, and they'll probably play through it in a particular way. But as you go, you're going to realize, hey, wait a second. I could have done this in an entirely different order. Now that I know about this, I could have gotten this. And now that I know about this, I could maybe approach this an entirely different way. I think the speed running community is maybe going to have a blast with this, I hope.
LARRY HRYB: [CHUCKLES] Interesting. Now, as you're playing with your character, you're really unlocking weapons within the game itself, and maybe some abilities. There's not really a concept of leveling up your character. Is that accurate?
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Oh, maybe. I don't know, maybe you should flip through the manual sometime and see if there's something about that. Who knows?
LARRY HRYB: Well, I don't want to give too much away. I mean, it's such a lovely moment of discovery, as we discussed, where people can find those secrets and discover the gameplay and, frankly, not have too much spoiled. I mean, we saw some of the gameplay. We saw the demo earlier this year, Andrew. And, more importantly, it's now available on Xbox Game Pass. So I'm looking forward to everyone sending their feedback and hit us up.
Hit me up on Twitter. I know you've got Twitter, as well. I'll put that up here so that people can hit you up. But I really appreciate your time today. And congratulations on launch.
ANDREW SHOULDICE: Thank you so much. This is a real pleasure, and I'm so excited.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We are getting into the end of the ski season here in the northern hemisphere, but don't worry. As the snow starts to melt, we have a whole new way to shred on the mountain. That's because shredders is now available on Xbox through Xbox Game Pass. And here to tell us all about it, joining us, actually, from Belgium-- from Brussels, Belgium-- Dirk Van Welden, the captain at Foam Punch, the developer of Shredders. Congratulations on launch, sir.
DIRK VAN WELDEN: Yeah, thank you. It was a heavy road, and we had a lot of fun. But yeah, it took us a couple of years to finish this game. But I was super happy. I'm super stoked that it's finally out.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's awesome. So, first, I would love for you to talk about what type of snowboard game this is. Because people of a certain age-- me-- when I grew up playing snowboard games, it's very cartoony. Doing things that could never happen in real life. And so, when as I started playing Shredders a few days ago, I noticed, OK, I'm working up to a 540, which is just learning, really, from the basics. Not immediately trying to hold all the different buttons at the same time and do 10 back flips. And so I would love for you to just talk about how you decided a more realistic angle for snowboarding.
DIRK VAN WELDEN: Well, first of all, when I bought my first Xbox, I had Amped on it. And Amped was one of my favorite snowboarding games. And it had a sense like it had also this kind of balance between realistic movement, and then the snowboarding itself, it felt great. It wasn't super easy, but it felt great.
And then you had the whole influx of extreme sports games. And then, at the end, you had Tony Hawk. And I was like, oh, this is so awesome. And then, at a certain moment, there was Skate out of nowhere. And people were asking, why are people making Skate? There's already Tony Hawk. Why is Skate there.
And a lot of people were kind of skeptical at first. But when they played it they saw, OK, it's a completely different type of game. It's more about making even a simple 180 feel fun, more about real life challenges. Still not a simulator, but balancing it more towards simulation. And me and Marcus, the CTO, we were kind of like-- we had a similar vision. They already worked on a snowboarding game that had really nice animations, and I wanted realistic slopes and cool missions and storyline in there.
And just the two combined, I feel that we made something that could be described as the Skate of snowboarding. We were both avid snowboarders, so we really wanted something in there. But yeah, it's not a game that might be for everyone.
For example, if you take Riders Republic, it's mostly focused on racing. It's really nice. It's made for that. It does a great job at that. Our game, it's more about style and learning the tricks themselves on the go. Just like if you're playing Rocket League for the first time, you're just driving to a ball and you'll do something. But if you're advanced Rocket League player, you fly all the time.
And you'll see, if you're online, and you'll see other players. You see just with the same amount of stats because you don't have any stats that are growing, but the same amount of feeling, you'll be able to do way more just because you're learning how to ride. And it's really about feeling and trying to get as realistic as possible to the real thing while still being fun for everyone. I think that's why it was made.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think that's a great description. The Skate of snowboarding is, like, right there. So, I snowboard-- not very well-- but I do think that you really captured the feeling of being on the mountain. And it's very hard, I think, to describe that, but you feel like you're outside when you're there. And my character's not making turns that are impossible to make in real life because you would catch an edge. You're not just like, you can't just move back and forth in that way.
And there's just something about it where it's like, oh, yeah, this really feels like snowboarding. And so, kudos on doing that. But I would love to talk with you just looking at some cool probably later maps in the game. And there is a lot of diversity in the natural landscape, these massive parks. So what was like the most fun area for you to create?
DIRK VAN WELDEN: The cool thing is it started-- the whole mountain range, we figured out this is kind of impossible to make something like that with just a team of, like, 10 full-time people. So, like, 15 people worked on this. And we're like, OK, this needs to be done procedurally. So we generated a mountain range that was as realistic as possible.
And then we started looking like, OK, we want to have different spots. What are we seeing in snowboard movies? You have the typical ski domain, and there's frozen wood where you'll see it from time to time. This is, for example, an industrial area. There's a whole bunch of movies that are in these industrial areas, so we kind of captured it as well.
Side hits. You saw [INAUDIBLE] doing side hits and on the road gaps. We have events that are inspired-- locations that are inspired on real snowboarding events. So, all of these small things. Even an Italian village. There was a snowboarding movie with a super nice Italian village, and there were snowboarding through the streets. And we wanted to capture that And Bring. It into a video game.
And yeah, just working on all those different locations. It has a complete different feeling. Like, in the Italian village, you can't go too fast. It's like, keeping control. High mountain areas, most people in most games would just go straight on and super fast. But you see that it's super hard to control, so you have to manage your speed to do a decent jump while in parks, you can just go full head because they're shaped to have that specific speed that can do super big triple course or quad course or whatever while still landing and continuing.
So, most of them are just very diverse. And actually, for those parks, it was so specific that we hired someone who was doing parks in real life. So, the guy who is making the parks actually shapes parks. And yeah, for him it was super fun. It was like, the best thing he's ever done because he shaped something, and he would try it immediately. And all of it is based on the actual physics. Like, our gravity is the same gravity as you would have.
Of course, people are flying higher. Kickers are bigger, so it looks a bit more slow than in real life. But still, you would fly that high if you would go at that speed to a specific kicker. We made some things more fun, like doing an Ollie, for example. You jump higher than real life. That's kind of balancing between realism and fun, I guess.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Of course, watching the Winter Olympics recently, I don't know what real life is anymore because some of the folks, especially on the Halfpipe, are getting so high. It was just crazy. So, what I thought was really interesting about Shredders is that there's a story element. You start off as a couple of YouTubers who aren't very popular. And the reason you move to the next mountain is because you cause a little bit too much trouble, and you just need to leave, and you take the bus to another ski slope.
But you did have major riders, like Olympian Jamie Anderson, appear. So, how was it collaborating with some of the biggest names in snowboarding? You talked about a terrain developer, but some of that the boarders themselves. What did they bring to the game?
DIRK VAN WELDEN: Well, it was super funny to get into the game because it wasn't a plan at first. And then Sebba De Buck, he's a Belgian snowboarder, but he appears in a lot of movies. He has a great style of snowboarding. And we just invited him because we wanted a real snowboarder to test our game. And it was like, two years ago, a very early version.
And he was like, oh, this is awesome. Can I be in the game? And I was like, yeah. The team was like, OK, but then we'll have to have more snowboarders. And then Sebba was like, yeah, but I have those contacts. I know all these people.
So, we just set up a list of people that we really liked. Different kind of aspects of snowboarding because they all have their unique style. And almost everyone immediately said, yes. And we just tried working with them as much as possible.
We recorded their voices. We scanned in all their clothing. And it was all remote because of COVID. We were hoping that we could fly to these resorts and ski ourselves, but in the end, maybe for the best so we could just work on the video game. But still, yeah, it was pretty awesome to see all those people.
And trying to get also, for example, their replays. We've watched a lot of their real snowboarding and trying to capture how they snowboard and translating that into movement. So, yeah, it was a very interesting experience. And they've all been super helpful. And most of them are super stoked to play it themselves.
So someone like Marcus Kleveland is a big gamer. So, yeah, I guess he'll be playing the game today.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Athletes and gaming. That's the thing. Yeah, and I'm sure you have fun. Now you got to bring it around to the mountain, to them. Just take an Xbox Series S and bring it to them, let them play it there. We'll help you out with that.
It seemed like you had a lot of fun making the game, hearing these stories. And I noticed something. Every sports game, especially extreme sports game, they lead off with a warning. And you're said, the shredding in this game was performed by indie game developers. Did you do any of the mocap? Or are you guys just being funny?
DIRK VAN WELDEN: Actually, [LAUGHS] we did some of the mocap. That's why you'll see the looking back, or-- that was actually mocapped at our studio. So, all the cut scenes, obviously. But the actual in-air grabs and stuff like those, there's a lot of tech behind the movement system and trying to sync it with the physics itself. I think that's one of the craziest aspects of the game, and it's been in development for several years. Like, way more than this video game itself.
And so, yeah. At any point, we can like pause the game and see this is kind of unrealistic, and then we tweak it. And it helps that me and Marcus-- like, Marcus is the guy that's doing most of the animations in game, the procedural ones. He's actually also a snowboarder, an avid snowboarder.
So, we know what to do. We know if you turn your arms like this, where you will head out. And when I was younger, I would just also go to a jump and just try stuff out. [LAUGHS] So, I've broken a lot of bones in that process, but still, yeah. If you're a snowboarder yourself, you know what's going to happen if you do a specific move.
It can't be 100% realistic because otherwise you'll react too slowly or you wouldn't have fun. But yeah, that's kind of the balance.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Awesome. Dirk, I want to thank you so much for joining us today. I hope that you are able to get a few more runs out here, some spring skiing while there's still some snow there. I'm sure you can have a couple of bluebird days if you're able to get out there soon. Congratulations on launch.
And for the rest of you, Shredders. It is available now through Xbox Game Pass. So download it, give it a try.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thank you to Andrew and Dirk for coming on the show and talking about Tunic and Shredders. Both look really cool. I'm excited to try Shredders, personally, as a snowboarder. I don't know. Larry, Jeff, Have you guys been playing that one?
LARRY HRYB: I have not had a chance to check it out yet. Jeff, how about you?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, I played the first hour or so. Some of the questions that you heard me ask came from-- there's someone on our team, who's a much better snowboarder, and he played a lot. And so he helped me out with some of those. But yeah, you just feel the snow, if that-- it makes sense if you're a snowboarder. But you don't always feel that in, I would say, certain super extreme sports. It's fun, it's more arcade.
This, I really felt like I was carving, I guess. You weren't just on a rope. Like, there's certain things you can't do or you will catch an edge and just like fall over. And I felt like it captured that pretty well. So, yeah, enjoying it.
LARRY HRYB: Awesome. We got some news coming up here, Jeff. I know you've got a bunch of tabs open there. Why don't you get ripping on those?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, all right. So, we just talked about Tunic. Surprise launch into Xbox Game Pass, which was awesome. And that was part of a larger [email protected] showcase on Twitch, which was hosted by good friends of Xbox, good friends of the show, Andrea Rene and [INAUDIBLE]-- they're awesome folks. And big proponents of indie games.
And so a number of games were announced during that time. Definitely recommend, if you check out Xbox Wire, click on the [email protected] section. A lot of talk about a lot of those games, and so some really cool stuff. If you want to watch the VOD, it's over on twitch.tv/twitchgaming, or twitch.tv/xbox.
There's a lot of professional wrestlers that were in the stream. It was all over it. There's a lot of good stuff. But really deep dives into some really cool games, like Floppy Knight. And I don't know, it was just some really cool stuff. So, definitely recommend you take a look at that because the indie game space is thriving, and it's just really cool that there's always new stuff to play that can be dramatically different, one from the next. Do have a favorite indie game recently?
LARRY HRYB: I think probably because I did the interview with Tunic and I have been playing that for a little bit, so I'm really enjoying Tunic so far. It just feels-- and I even said it during the interview. Got a little Breath of the Wild-esque. It's not Breath of the Wild like Elden Ring. It's a little different than that, but I'm enjoying that so far.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Honestly, I feel like the line between indie game is getting blurred so much these days because indie games used to be, like, they almost felt like projects a long time ago. But now, it's really hard to tell the difference between a really full-fledged release, and then an indie game. I don't know. I mean, I would love to hear more suggestions for really good indie games that people have found lately.
So, head over to on Spotify. We're taking answers, input from the community. So, if you guys have any recent indie games that you've been trying or any that you think look really cool, we would love to hear about them and get a heads-up.
LARRY HRYB: Scroll down. If you're watching on Spotify, you just scroll down and you'll see a little question. I'll put it in there, and it'll pop up. And Rebecca, maybe next week you can read some of those suggestions and attribute it to certain people.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, that'd be cool.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, I teed you up, but one of your favorite indie games of the last year was The Pedestrian, wasn't it? You loved that game.
LARRY HRYB: It was. Well, it was. It's funny because-- scroll back the video or listen. I was hesitating because, to Rebecca's point, I was like, was that an indie game or not? Because it feels like the lines are blurred. But yeah, that absolutely was one of my favorites.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, it is difficult to tell sometimes. But I do believe that would qualify as an indie title. So.
LARRY HRYB: Yes?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I haven't been on the show in a couple of weeks, which is why I--
REBECCA GORDIUS: What other news do we have, Jeff?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --word bombed about Elden Ring. But you may have missed, we didn't have a chance to talk about from last week and update on the Xbox sustainability efforts. And there's a whole blog post on that. But there's something that you can do-- it's something that I have done-- to save a significant amount of electricity. It's like, what can I do?
Sometimes you look at things. You look at these big, intractable problems, like--
LARRY HRYB: What's my go-do?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --global warming. What can I do? But there's something that anyone who owns an Xbox can do, right?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, absolutely. If you have an Xbox Series X or S, you just go in there-- and I believe we've got that on the Xbox One. You can just go in there, and we have a setting called Energy Saver Mode. So you just go to Settings, Sleep Mode and Startup, Sleep Mode, Energy Saver. I mean, yeah, it's pretty much straightforward to do that.
And with that, it consumes, if I remember correctly 20 times less energy. And it'll still take the updates for the games. It'll be a little bit slower to turn on when you're waiting for it boot up, but that's a small trade-off for the energy that you're going to be saving when you use when you use Energy Saver Mode. So, if you got your console, I recommend turning it on. I know I have it on. Jeff, hopefully you and Rebecca have it turned on.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I do.
LARRY HRYB: It's really straightforward, and it helps save the energy. So, that is your simple go-do-right-now, is go set Energy Saver Mode on your console.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: One of the reasons I didn't used to have it on Energy Saver Mode-- I had it on Standby, we it would turn on quickly. And really, the difference in turning it on is like, I don't know, seven seconds, something like that-- was because I wanted to take the updates. But the fact that now, the system is able to update games, or able to update while on Energy Saver Mode. There's really no reason not to use it. And so, like you said, highly recommend you do.
LARRY HRYB: Checking to make sure I have it on, because I think I may have shut it off or I was testing something. So I'm just going to quietly go over here.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, Larry. Don't be a do-as-I-say person.
LARRY HRYB: I know. That's why I want to make sure that I'm doing the right thing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Good. We're going to hold you to it. We're going to hold you to it. I'm going to audit all your consoles because I know you have several.
LARRY HRYB: Yep, Energy Saver Mode is--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Let's talk about more--
LARRY HRYB: It was on, it was on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're off camera, so we'll just have to trust you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: We trust you, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: It was on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, let's say we trust you.
LARRY HRYB: It was on, it was on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, let's talk more games. Game Pass. You talked about Shredders. Shredders, now available as part of Xbox Game Pass, and a number of games that were announced this week that are coming to Xbox Game Pass, such as The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk, Tainted Grail, Zero Escape, which is the Nonary Games, which is not the type of game we always see on Xbox. That is coming on Cloud, Console, and PC for Game Pass.
Norco. F1 2021. Had a lot of fun with that earlier in the year. It was my introduction to F1 racing. Well, it's coming to console through the magic of EA Play if you are an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate member. Crusader Kings 3. One of the best games of the year last year on PCs. It's coming to console through [email protected] Coming to Game Pass on Xbox Series S and X only. It is a next-gen game coming out on March 29.
And here's why that I think we'll be talking about. Weird West, coming out on March 31, available day one on Game Pass.
LARRY HRYB: What makes it weird, Jeffrey?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Hm?
LARRY HRYB: What makes it weird?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's a dark fantasy reimagining of the Wild West. So, just taking a look at this game, looking at some footage of it, looking at the visuals, this looks a really interesting title. And it comes out in about two weeks. So, definitely keeping an eye on this.
Again, day one with Game Pass for Cloud, Console, and PC.
LARRY HRYB: Fantastic.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, it looks interesting. It almost looks almost like Telltale Games. Telltale Borderlands style, art-wise. Looks very cool.
LARRY HRYB: That cel-shaded that we all loved?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, yeah. Very cool.
LARRY HRYB: Nifty.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, it was announced, yeah, about a year and a half ago. It's coming from WolfEye Studio. So, should be cool to look at. All right, Rebecca. I don't call in a lot of favors, but since you did me wrong on the Japanese whiskey thing, I need a new hoodie or a polo. These Lacoste cross Minecraft, these look awesome. Tell us about it.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, tell us about this because I'm really excited about this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, we have a new collection that launched this week with Lacoste. We actually held an event in Paris last week, and--
LARRY HRYB: Why did you not go?
REBECCA GORDIUS: So, I didn't work super closely on this one. And, as you know, business travel is still a little--
LARRY HRYB: Sketchy.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --with the pandemic. But we did have some folks from Redmond and Stockholm who flew out to Paris and went to the launch event. It looked really cool. I did have FOMO, so thank you for that.
But the collection itself is really cool. It's a lot of athleisure lifestyle wear, which is obviously very in right now. We had some really cool in-stuff game that launched with it, too. So, there was a free map that's available in the Minecraft marketplace. I think it's called Croco Island. It's pretty neat. It has a lot of Lacoste and crocodile-themed stuff.
LARRY HRYB: Are they playing tennis?
REBECCA GORDIUS: [LAUGHS] Yeah. If you check out the minecraft.net blog post, you'll learn a little bit about crocodiles also. I think I read something like, crocodiles have 80 teeth, and they replace them five times in their lifetime or something like that, which is kind of wild. And then there's also a server that we launch-- I know, don't ask. I can't elaborate on it further than that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, bring up the visuals. Let's see these things.
LARRY HRYB: Hold on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Let's go shopping. Come on.
LARRY HRYB: Give me a moment. I'll get it loaded in there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Our producer's asleep at the wheel.
LARRY HRYB: Hey, hey, hey! I'm trying to produce and host and do all these things.
REBECCA GORDIUS: He's enjoying listening to me talk about crocodiles with my half-witted knowledge. But then, also in game, there is a server that we launched. And so it takes different elements from the free map, and then makes it competitive. So, it's actually a PVP server. So, if you want to try that out, I highly recommend it.
Oh, yeah. You gotta show us the goods, Larry. Can you scroll down? Yeah, so that's a screenshot from Croco Island. Looks pretty cool. I like crocodiles. I saw some really cute crocodile videos over the weekend.
LARRY HRYB: There we go.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, and then these are some--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's the one right there.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --content creator friends who also agreed to double as models. I think they look great--
LARRY HRYB: They do.
REBECCA GORDIUS: --in the different Lacoste partnered clothing, which also looks cool.
LARRY HRYB: I love this.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I actually really like--
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, that's cool.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, I really like that white top that she's wearing. It's basically the same thing I'm wearing right now, but cooler.
LARRY HRYB: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's Mari Takahashi. Anything that she's doing is cool. That's just how it goes.
LARRY HRYB: I want to bring something up after you're all done, Rebecca, because--
REBECCA GORDIUS: Have at it.
LARRY HRYB: We're talking about Lacoste. We're talking about alligators. And who strolls into the show wearing the wrong alligator?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Wait.
LARRY HRYB: Look at this.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The gator right there.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's funny.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Help me help me share my school spirit, Rebecca, with that yellow Minecraft Lacoste hoodie. Why would you-- you're Syracuse people. There's no connection here. But upgrade my gator to a croc.
LARRY HRYB: Yes, OK.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I like the orange, but yeah.
LARRY HRYB: I do too, I do too.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I was hoping that we could get some stuff from the collection. I'm still working on it. We'll see.
LARRY HRYB: Well, Jeff would be happy to do an unboxing, as would I.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh. Oh, I don't know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'll do modeling, whatever you want to do. All right, let's talk a couple more news bits. So, do you remember Ashen? It came out a few years ago. It had comparisons to a Souls game. It was made by A44 games, I believe, in New Zealand. And really cool game.
And they announced their next game, which is going to be launching day one with Xbox Game Pass, and it's called Flintlock. So, there's a trailer over on Xbox Wire. Very excited for this. Their first game was Ashen, and if that's your first game, that's a great start. So, it's been a few years. I want to say that was 2018. That was the game that I hit 100,000 gamerscore on.
LARRY HRYB: Congratulations.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Thank you. That was a couple of years ago at this point, but anyway. Flintlock - The Siege of Dawn. We'll be hearing more about it. We don't have a date, but we do know that if you're an Xbox Game Pass member, you'll be playing it day one.
LARRY HRYB: You're in. You're in.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, what do you doing next week? What are you doing on March, I don't know, 24?
LARRY HRYB: You're going to tell me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Or 23.
LARRY HRYB: You're going to tell me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: 24.
REBECCA GORDIUS: What are we going?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: We're going to be watching Halo, the TV series--
LARRY HRYB: Oh, that's right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --on Paramount Plus. So, that's next week. There is a trailer. I know there's some premiere. I'm sure they'll be walking the red carpet and doing all that stuff that they do in Hollywood. But we all get to watch it.
And if you don't have Paramount Plus-- first of all, if you're a soccer fan, Paramount Plus has been very good to me in terms of getting Champions League and stuff like that. But if you are not, starting on March 23, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members are getting 30 days of Paramount Plus free with perks. So, you can claim it on the 23rd, and then you'll be able to watch the first 30 days of the show. The show is not bingeable. I think it's one every week.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, it's episodic.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Which I like because then everyone's talking about it at the same time. That's my personal taste. Some people like to sit down and watch eight hours of TV at once. Not what I can do. Anyway, not when Elden Ring is beckoning.
LARRY HRYB: Because he's too busy with Elden Ring.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: True, that's true. Anyways, well, a week from now, we'll have watched and we can talk about episode one. So, that'd be good. And last thing. Just wanted to mention a free trial that is going on now until March 21st. That is Diablo 2 Resurrected. Diablo 2, many agree, one of the best games ever made. Certainly fun. Upgraded-- resurrected, if you will.
And so, if you haven't tried it, you can try up to three hours for free. So, just look for that on your dash.
LARRY HRYB: All right. We have to wrap it up because I just realized, apparently part of my house, a circuit breaker blew. So, I have to go deal with that.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Oh. OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Kept the show going. That's good.
LARRY HRYB: Exactly so. Anyway.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Well, nice to have you guys back this week.
LARRY HRYB: Thanks, gang. All right, great work, everybody. Rebecca, again, great job last week. Jeff, thanks for the interview this week, and the news.
We'll be back next week with more interviews, more show. We've got some great stuff lined up for you guys. So, thanks again. Anything you guys want to say before we roll out?
REBECCA GORDIUS: No. Have a nice weekend.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You were good. You were rolling. I didn't want to stop you.
LARRY HRYB: All right, we'll see you guys later. Bye-bye, everybody.