Design Director @ Respawn
[INTRO MUSIC] LARRY HRYB: Hi, it's Larry Hryb of Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the official Xbox podcast. You've liked, you subscribed, you smashed all the random buttons, and I'm going to smash a button right here. Ready? 1, 2, 3, boom.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Look at you, Larry. Look at you. When you're randomly smashing buttons, don't hit the one star by the way. You want to hit the five. All the randomness should go away at that point.
LARRY HRYB: It should be on the right hand side. Anyway, welcome back. Hi, Rebecca.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Hi, Larry. Hi, Jeff. It's good to have all three of us back together again.
LARRY HRYB: Well, you know what, I was doing-- we're doing a little audio video check before we went in here and I just need to do this right off the bat because we're all kind of in our beautiful little boxes here, but we have another friend in the back.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He seems not amused.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Eating apples, so he's like hoping I'll give him some.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, there you go. Anyway, there's Puma. Anyway. Great to see everybody. We were off last week, but we did the live show a couple of weeks ago. Rebecca, and I, and Malik, and Kelly joined us. Jeff, you were afk or afs.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You know what, it looked amazing. I'm sorry to have missed it, but--
LARRY HRYB: You missed Rod.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I left and-- I love Rod. I'm so excited for Diablo. They announced that. Was it Server Smash?
LARRY HRYB: Server slam.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Server slam. It May 12th or--
REBECCA GORDIUS: You see his new tattoo?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Did he get a new tattoo? I remember when he got the Gears tattoo at first. So, ugh, all right. Well, anyway. Big fan of anything that he does and his team does.
LARRY HRYB: I'd like some more apples please.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know, right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: See, look what you did. You should have thrown that at the end of the show.
LARRY HRYB: So, anyway, there we go. Well, we're excited. We're going to talk about what we're playing. Got a couple of interviews. Some interviews later on. I've got the white gloves ready to show off some stuff, we'll do that during the new section. But first, we're going to jump in-- I'm actually so excited right now. Because, usually, it's very rare that I'm able to tell Jeff about a game, and I did. So let's talk-- let's go a little bit towards on the Jeff side first. Because I know, Rebecca, we've got something we're going to show for you. But Jeff, I'm so excited. You're playing Dredge.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. So. I never-- I never ignore a grizzled New Englander when they recommend a sea ferry fishing game. I'm dropping crab pots and I'm thinking of I'm thinking of you. So I had been playing for a long time, Resident Evil 4 and Marvel's Midnight Suns. I finished both of them in the past weekend. The level of, like, the weight that is lifted when you beat a game, like--
LARRY HRYB: Right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Because there's so many games coming down the line I'm like, I have to focus. I loved both of those games. RE4, probably my favorite game I've played so far this year. The remake, ugh, loved it. And then Midnight Suns, I'm glad I went back to that, put 65 hours in, loved every moment of that. And then I was like, OK, got a few days here before Star Wars Jedi comes out, Jedi: Survivor, what do I play?
LARRY HRYB: What do you play?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I listened to you. You talked about Dredge and it is great.
LARRY HRYB: I've it talking about it for a month.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I know. I know. But I couldn't start another game. I started it. It's so great. It's a game that knows exactly what it wants to be.
LARRY HRYB: Yep.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's focused and does such an amazing job. So you've talked a ton about it. I just love how it's like. There's like this nice amount of dread, but it's not a horror game by any means. And just when you're--
LARRY HRYB: You're coming off Resident Evil, it's rather--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I know, yeah. It just made it a little easier to deal with. But at the same time, like, when you're fishing and you start to see the sunset, I'm like, hurry up catch your fish. I got to get this thing onto the boat and head back to--
LARRY HRYB: Because, Rebecca, I don't know if you know this, you've had a chance to play it, but nighttime is kind of dread time. Like, you want to be safely tucked away in port.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly. Because that's when weird things start happening. Some weird things happen in the day, but you can start hearing like weird noises from the deep. You might honk your horn and you'll hear a reply but you don't see anything in the fog. Like, you-- there is nothing more relaxing.
LARRY HRYB: By the way, have you figured out with the horn? That was one of my favorite features. So at night, you've got one of your tools in your tool wheel, is a horn.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: But if you kind of play with it Jeff and go like, da-da-da-da-da-da, you just kind of screw it, it'll echo back the exact same pattern.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I figured as much. A little Marco Polo action. Anyway, it's a really cool game. And again, I think it takes what 12 to 14 hours to beat. It's a good change of pace. And just the way you control the boat, it's all like-- it's just really cool mechanics, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. So great job to the folks that made Dredge. Team17 published it. And I highly recommend you give that a go.
LARRY HRYB: It's-- yeah. It's very interesting because like I said-- and I know Phil-- I got Phil to play it as well, Phil Spencer.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, really?
LARRY HRYB: So I've seen him play. He and I were texting back and forth. So I'm just so thrilled that you all like it. I know a lot of people were excited about that. So, yeah, what else are you playing Jeff? I mean, you actually went through a bunch there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you know I'm a big Genshin player and they had an RPG game from the same publishers, HoYoverse. It's called, Honkai-- Star Raid, which it's-- I'm super into it. I love it already. I'm playing it on my PC and it looks great. And I downloaded on my phone so that'll be my also game. Like, why not? Why not just throw more games onto the fire especially with amazing things coming out this week and next week.
LARRY HRYB: We have Jedi, we've got Redfall, we've just-- the list keeps going.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Benedict Fox. We'll talk more about some of these. But there is-- man, there is no shortage of things to play right now.
LARRY HRYB: What about you, Recca? Let's go-- I know-- I know what you're playing over there. So let's talk a little bit about what you've been up to.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. So I played a little bit of Minecraft Legends on the live podcast that we did in studio.
LARRY HRYB: But may I just say something. You did a phenomenal job with that. Because it is-- I mean, I know that there's millions, probably millions I don't know, people who are playing and streaming at the same time. And it's not something that-- and those people are great, but it's not something you do, or Jeff does, or I do on a regular basis you, being able to have a coherent conversation while you're playing. And there's no editing, this was a live show, so we didn't know if you were going to finish that level. So I was like, oh, here we go. But you did great, so thank you.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Thank you. Yeah, it was very stressful. It was also like I had really specific things I wanted to say to you. I wanted to explain the game. And so, I was really struggling. And I was like-- 3/4 of the way through, I remember thinking to myself, oh, God, my mouth has been open for so long. I need to close my mouth while I'm playing. But, yeah, it was palpable fear going through my body thinking that I wasn't going to destroy the base.
LARRY HRYB: Well, it's also-- I mean the other thing is, it's a little different when you know Mr. and/or Mrs. Streamer is streaming and they're playing, but you work on the brand, you work-- so you want to show it off in a good way. So there's another layer there that's kind of like we up the difficulty so, but you did great.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, exactly. But so I'm proud to say that my skill level has gone up considerably. Since I've been playing a pretty good amount of Minecraft Legends, I think I'm like 7 and 1/2 hours into the campaign so far. I'm holding off-- I didn't do one PVP match with some of the folks on the team but for a few people had never played before. And so, it's like, you really do need to at least play through the tutorial to get a good grip of like how you control things, how you collect resources, how you navigate the world. So I'm holding off on PVP for now. I want to get through the campaign. Make sure I feel, like, super pro.
But, yeah, I'm really enjoying the campaign-- I know. But, yeah, I'm really enjoying the campaign. I played a little bit last night and I took a little clip if you want to show that.
LARRY HRYB: Oh, yeah, I do have the clip here. Let me-- like any good talk show, we've got some clips here. So let's go ahead and bring that in.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. So I've been figuring out how to use these different mobs strategically. So this base that I attacked, it was at 100% strength, you can see that there on the top, and there were tons of Piglins and enemies crawling all over. I already kind of went through with my more combat specific mobs. Ugh, I also forgot I fell. So when I fall, my units also fall with me. So they--
LARRY HRYB: They follow you. Follow and fall.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I'm leading my army into battle which is actually under the different than the plan we were making. I already kind of cleared through most of the enemies. And so now, what you're doing is attacking the structure, the portal with the purple window up there. And so, I have a lot of these mobs that are better at punching and taking down structures.
LARRY HRYB: So use the real strategy here.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah, like, actual strategy, right? Yeah. And then the mossy golems are the ones with the green on their heads. They're healers and so, if me or my other mob start taking damage from the enemies, then I can-- what was I doing here. Then it'll heal us so we can still keep fighting. So it's pretty cool. You can see the percentage. The base is getting taken down. So while these guys are chipping away, I kind of come in and start taking on the Piglins.
But the world is really interesting. It is-- how did you describe it earlier, but with the night cycle. The Piglans get stronger at night. They are more offensive at night as opposed to defensive during the day. So it's something to kind of keep in mind, the day and night cycle. Kind of similar to Minecraft itself. Yay. So far, I defeated the base now.
LARRY HRYB: Do you want me to keep playing or what?
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. Yeah. You should. The cinematics are actually really good. I think I've mentioned it before, and I get a lot of hate for this, I usually skip over cinematics in like Halo and stuff, which I know everyone says the Halo cinematics--
LARRY HRYB: All the cinematic directors in the universe are like mad right now. You just killed them.
REBECCA GORDIUS: I know. But the cinematics in Minecraft Legends are really good. Like, look at this animation, isn't it so cool? Someone kind of joked to me that this is what the Minecraft movie should look like.
LARRY HRYB: That's not what she's saying.
REBECCA GORDIUS: No. I know. I know. It would be awesome to see a movie like this, but I think it looks so good--
LARRY HRYB: This is a movie. It's a little mini-movie.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah. All right. Well, that's probably enough. But there are so many really good cinematics like this throughout the game so--
LARRY HRYB: Check it out. It's on Game Pass. There's no reason you should not be playing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It feels like good manager training, you know? You were letting your creatures do their thing and learn. But then when they had obstacles, like Piglans, you helped clear them out so they could continue their work and
LARRY HRYB: Any good manager does that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's good. It's good delegation. So put this on--
LARRY HRYB: Put it on your annual review.
REBECCA GORDIUS: What about you, Larry, what have you been playing?
LARRY HRYB: Well, you know, I'm turning around here. We talked about Dredge. I've been going back and finishing up in trying to scoop up some achievements there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I see what you did.
LARRY HRYB: Thank you trying to scuffle there. They've been sitting in the crab pots. Ghostwire:Tokyo, which is now available on Xbox Game Pass. I started playing that. Dead Island 2, which is-- started playing that. And then I've got Jedi, which is sitting here preloaded ready to go, so. So that fact, we're going to do an interview later on where we're going to talk about that. But those-- it's kind of my gaming space right now. I just haven't had a lot of-- I had a little bit of time, but I had family in town here visiting. So when families in town, gaming kind of takes a deprioritize even though it's what I do, so.
REBECCA GORDIUS: It's OK. Next week is going to be a big week, so.
LARRY HRYB: Next week is going to be a big week. We've got-- we've got also some news here and usually we lean on Jeff to bust out some of the news. Jeff, are you feeling bustable?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, I'm here. Lean on me when you don't have news. So like you said, a lot to play over the course of the next week and change. So the big release this week is Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. I know we're going to be speaking with someone soon. We have a great piece on Xbox Wire. Our Danielle parties has gotten to play about 10 hours of the game. And something I would love for you to ask, I know you haven't recorded the interview yet.
LARRY HRYB: Yes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: When you play a game that's a Metroidvania game. A game where there's places you come to and you can't get there yet until you get the right power, and then you have reason to go back. And when you get a new power you're like, oh, now I can do this. It's always a great feeling. But in a lot of those games, especially the sequels, by the end of the first game, you've got a lot of power.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And then in the second game it's like, well, where do you go from here? And they usually-- there's usually some conceit where you lose all of that power and then you end up rebuilding it back again. That apparently is not the case here. Cal Kestis is actually more powerful at the beginning of Jedi: Survivor than it was at the end of Fallen Order. So that's really cool. I would love to know.
LARRY HRYB: Right
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: How do you-- how do you then raise the ceiling that much further? Because you are a real badass at the end of the first game. So that's what I'm really excited to see how they handled that and I know I'll be excited to play that out by the time you've listened to this. Also out by the time this show airs, a game that was really exciting at the showcase. One of the most talked about games at last year's Xbox and Bethesda Showcase. Which is, The Last Case of Benedict Fox, another game that is being called a Metroidvania. A 2D-- I believe-- maybe not 2D. A lovecraftian Metroidvania. This one looks really cool.
LARRY HRYB: Also from Rhode Island, HP Lovecraft was also from Rhode Island, much R. Kelly.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And Dredge has some lovecraftian elements to tentacles. When I see tentacles, I just assume lovecraftian. So that's out now and is available day one with Game Pass.
LARRY HRYB: Have you been to the Kraken game by the way? That's very lovecraftian.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I have been to the Kraken game. And there's like, they do a really cool thing at the beginning of the game where there's like this neon tentacle busting through the ice. That's-- it could-- show-- showcasing, I guess. Showmanship. Anyway. Enjoy that.
LARRY HRYB: We call it entertainment.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I guess if you want to just get to the core of it, Larry. If you want to boil these things down instead of talking yourself into a corner, like I love to do. Also out this week, also available on Game Pass for Cloud Console and PC, Blazblue-- Cross Tag Special Edition. This is a-- I would say, a venerable fighting game franchise, but a new game. And what's really cool about this is they're pulling in fighters from across a lot of different worlds. Including from, this definitely caught my attention, Persona 4. So-- and then also RWBY, which like, if you like the richer T folks, you might be very into RWBY as well.
There's a lot of different-- almost like an anime style. You know, fighters mega mix situation here and a lot of different franchises there. So very much interested in checking that out. And since it's on Game Pass, no reason I can't. Also, Cassette Beasts out on Game Pass this week on PC, and that is looking really interesting, an open world RPG. Of course, when we look ahead at next week, we've got Redfall on May 2nd. And there's something that I know that you want to talk about that. Before we get to that, before those gloves come on, a couple of really cool updates from some of our long-running games. One, Grounded. Once Grounded went 1.0, you might have thought, OK, well, they-- mission accomplished.
LARRY HRYB: No.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No. They had their Super duper update which came out this week, and there's a lot of really cool stuff here. Over a hundred new craftable items, new creatures. There's a base coziness feature, which I thought was really interesting. So next time you go back to burgle, you're going to find this super duper machine in the oak tree lab and it allows you to duplicate specific equipment using raw science and items that are duplicated. That's something that just makes things easier for you. So they're already into version 1.2 and a lot of new cool stuff in there.
And also something interesting, because we know a lot of folks like to enjoy our games, our games are out on PC at the same time as they are on console, and it's now Steam Deck verified. We know a lot of folks are enjoying portable PC gaming.
LARRY HRYB: Verified is like such a bad word lately.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yep. And if you haven't tried it and you have a Steam Deck, there is a free Steam weekend that will be taking place later this month for Grounded. I highly recommend check that out. Also, Flight Simulator, this is very interesting to me because I think this is going to be some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and probably some really fun takeoffs and landings. Oceana and Antarctica are part of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
LARRY HRYB: Do I get skis on the bottom of my airplane to land on ice?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You know, It's a good question. I mean, there are some seaplanes so I'm sure you can land. I mean--
LARRY HRYB: I said, ski planes, not seaplanes.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I know what you said, but you can land right next to it. I'm sure. Anyway. Here's some of the places that are added, and it's some of the most beautiful places in the world. Hawaii, Easter Island. And so, you can see those Moai statues, New Caledonia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, French Polynesia, which I've been lucky to be able to go to once. Bora Bora Airport is in there. I've been to Mriya, and Mriya is there. And so, these are some of just stunning places that are really cool to be able to visit. And then of course, there's new planes as well. Some cool discovery flights. You can fly to Tahiti in a Cessna, which would scare the heck out of me, but probably very beautiful.
LARRY HRYB: That's a long flight.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, maybe you're flying in between the islands because--
LARRY HRYB: That's what I'm going to say. You go there from here, that's like Amelia Earhart style. That is not-- no.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So these are the discovery flights where you specifically go to specific places to see beautiful things. Hawaii's Maunakea on the Big Island in a specific plane. So just the gift that keeps giving is Microsoft Flight Simulator, and I just love how they've gone from place to place to place. All right, Larry. I've talked enough.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Put those gloves on.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Show us what you got.
LARRY HRYB: Well, why don't you-- I'm going to go full screen here so why don't you go ahead and walk me through because we've got-- actually, you know what, let's-- I've got a couple of things to show here.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK. All right. So as you explore the thrilling world of Redfall, we're excited to bring you the newest additions to Xbox Design Lab with Redfall limited edition designs. There are more than-- there are quite a few of them, and I believe you have an imagery.
LARRY HRYB: I've got two.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Of that. And so there's one for each of the playable characters in the game. And what's cool about this is you just go through and you pick the one you want. And because it's part of Xbox Design Lab, so you can go through there. And while each one-- each one of those skins does feature Defender Remi, Jacob, Layla, it's still-- because it's part of Design Lab, you can still customize the d-pad, the bumpers, the triggers, the back case. You can still make it your own.
So even if you have the same front skin, you both like the vendor, your controller is still going to look different than your friends.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's nice.
LARRY HRYB: Right. Oh, that's cool.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And then of course-- yeah. You get to add things like rubberized side and back grips for additional support, highly recommended if you want to go for metallic triggers all of those things. And of course, they support everything you would expect from an Xbox controller. And that means if you think you're going to be playing Redfall on PC, these connect beautifully via Bluetooth to a PC. And there's always that great feature that when you're using the same controller jumping back and forth between a Bluetooth input, such as a PC, or an iPad, or something else, and an Xbox, if you double tap that top sinking--
LARRY HRYB: We call it the bind-- I think we call the bind button.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The bind button? Well, you can switch back and forth between the two, which is super convenient. I use that quite a bit.
REBECCA GORDIUS: That's really cool.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. That's the power--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You'll see-- it all-- the nexus will flash and then you realize, OK, now I'm going to Bluetooth and you double--
LARRY HRYB: You want to see-- you want to see a little tip.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And connect to your console.
LARRY HRYB: Talking about controllers. Speaking of tips. By the way, those are available now, right Jeff? To go order at Xbox Design Lab.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Correct, sir.
LARRY HRYB: One of my tips that I have is, I've got the Elite Series 2 over here, Jeff. Now if I ever showed you this, but I have-- you have profiles that you save.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yep.
LARRY HRYB: Right? What I do is, I have different-- I turn the controller-- the Xbox logo, into different colors.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You're a little out of focus there, put on your reading glasses. There we go.
LARRY HRYB: So I'll have it blue when I've got-- when I'm on the Halo profile. I'll have it red for APEX, and I'll have it orange for Overwatch, or just off. So it's kind of a little tip, you can go in there and change color if you want to, so. Just a little fun part there so that's what you need to do. Anyway, thank you for that news, Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Of course.
LARRY HRYB: We are-- we've got a couple of interviews, I hope. We're going to go with them. So, Rebecca, why don't you give us a lead in into the interviews if you would please.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Sure. I mean, Pumba and I would like to take us into the interviews now.
LARRY HRYB: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor launched today on Xbox Series X, S, and PC. And I'm excited to talk to Jeff Major, the design director at Respawn, right here. Welcome, Jeff. Great to have you.
JEFF MAJORS: Thanks for having me on.
LARRY HRYB: Very excited about this title. We're going to get into that in just a moment. But first, I want to talk about design director. What does that mean? Because I mean, that sounds like everybody's dream job in the video game industry because you get to design and direct.
JEFF MAJORS: Yeah. I mean, it's a pretty good gig. Basically what it means is that I, along with my fantastic team, I'm in charge of the world of Jedi: Survivor. So we design the levels, we design the worlds, we design the combat encounters that go in those worlds, and we design kind of the exploration and collection systems as well. I partnered with another design director, Jason Harris, who is the owner of the AI and the hero combat systems.
LARRY HRYB: Well, before we get to into the interview-- I mean, this is the intro, but I want to ask you one question right off the bat. Is, this is an extraordinary playground to play in the Star Wars universe, right? I mean, I grew up with it. I'm sure you did obviously grew up with it and we all know this. It's got to be exciting for you as a design director to be able to go, OK, and roll up your sleeves, and go let's-- and kind of have some fun with it, right?
JEFF MAJORS: It's really fun to have this universe of toys to kind of play with. And as a designer, we're trying to make the best game possible. And then we look around in the universe, we see what the different TV shows, we see what the movies that we grew up with have, and we can take elements of those and work closely with Lucasfilm to incorporate those elements. You'll see in our planet Koboh, we've got the Separatist Droids, so B1s, B2s, kind of from the prequel era stuff. Of course, we have stormtroopers. All those empire units that we can bring in and play with. So there's a ton of fun stuff to play with in the Star Wars universe.
LARRY HRYB: And I'm just showing a little bit of the gameplay here, which looks amazing. I mean, we all certainly remember the game a few years ago and I just loved, loved spending time in the universe, and feeling a Jedi, and you guys are bringing it back. But this is the sequel to Star Wars: Fallen Order, it's part of the Star Wars Jedi Series. What can players expect from the sequel and do they need to play Fallen Order to continue here?
JEFF MAJORS: Absolutely not. Of course if you played Fallen Order, if you're a fan of Fallen Order, I think you'll be a big fan of Survivor. But I would say if you're new to the series, join it. It's a great time to join in. Even if you're not a Star Wars fan, I've heard from fans of Fallen Order that they weren't a Star Wars fan before playing the game, and they kind of brought them into the universe. So I think that even if you are not even a Star Wars fan that we try to make a really fun game for anyone.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. And like you said, we talked about this universe you get to play in that Lucas created and it's so much fun. But from the first game, when I was playing Fallen Order, you really felt a Jedi. As you were leveling up and you were getting your abilities, it just felt so amazing and I just wanted the game continuing, and now now it can. Where does it fall in the timeline of the first game to the second game? Tell me where they fit together chronologically.
JEFF MAJORS: So it takes place five years after the end of Fallen Order. So Cal is a more mature Jedi, and we wanted to express that as soon as you pick up the controller. So we took a look at all of his abilities, his movement, his combat, and we want it to make it feel more involved, and kind of older, more mature Jedi. So I think that it's also a really dark time to be a Jedi. It's kind of the worst time in the whole universe to be a Jedi. And so, this story will follow Cal kind of exploring his place in that really dark timeline of the Star Wars universe.
LARRY HRYB: We certainly are introduced to-- and I don't want to give away any spoilers here. I have not played the full game. If you're familiar with the Star Wars universe, you see some characters that you may know. You come across some species you may know. So it's got a little bit of comfort there, doesn't it?
JEFF MAJORS: Yeah. I mean like I said earlier, the playground with Star Wars gives us this great canvas to kind of bring in characters that characters, or creatures, or species that players really identify and love and it also gives us a really fun opportunity to kind of make new ones. I mean, in kind of the spirit of the Jim Henson sort of like Muppet-like sort of thing and it's all throughout Star Wars. Like, we can make some really fun characters that have a lot of personality and that, I think, would be really memorable.
LARRY HRYB: Tell us more. I mean, the first game and certainly this game, it's about exploration. So tell us about the new opportunities for exploration that players have in Survivor.
JEFF MAJORS: Absolutely. I mean, with Fallen Order, we felt like we put a really good framework down. But there were a lot of things we wanted to improve on and exploration is one of them for sure. So we made a much larger game much more expansive this time. So the worlds in places are much more open. It's not an open world game. There is still kind of very handcrafted sections and level designs, but there's also spots where it opens up much wider. And to do that, we wanted to really improve the exploration rewards. So we put a big focus into our customization system so you can now kind of put different outfits and customization on Cal, change his hairstyle, change his beard, change all the pieces on BD-1 to make him look different and make them your own, and you can find all those things through exploration
You can also find gameplay rewards now. We expanded that. We've got this perk system where you can find these perks that can help Cal customize his playstyle as well so it feeds back into combat. So we took a look at the exploration the last game, took a hard look at it and decided what we wanted to update.
Another thing that we really wanted to add that we did not have in Fallen Order was fast travel. So in Survivor, you can fast travel between any meditation points you find, which really aids in the exploration, especially with a more expansive world. So if the player wants to explore down a side path, a random cave, they've got kind of-- they know and they've got the security that they could warp back to the main path and continue their story quest. And at the same time, they could warp back out and explore more. So it gives players much more freedom of exploration. Kind of permission to explore how they want.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, and I'm just I'm just littering this interview with all this great gameplay footage that you guys send over that we're sharing here. We talked about Jedi combat, and how it's evolved, and Cal's is going to continue to grow in strength, you talked about that a moment ago, and he's going to be evolving his force abilities. Tell us about some of his new combat stances because there's five new from what I understand. If you could walk us through those and what those mean.
JEFF MAJORS: Absolutely. There are five stances, lightsaber stances, for Jedi: Survivor. Now in Fallen Order, we had two stances. We had the single blade and we had the double-bladed. So we wanted to take kind of those two, and expand, and grow Cal's suite of abilities. At the end of Fallen Order we had a double-- double stance or a-- dual wield, excuse me, a dual wield special move set and we wanted to take that and turn it into its own stance, so that's the first thing we did. And then on top of that, now we've added a cross-guard stance which hits really heavy. And also, a blaster and light saber combat combination stance, which is good for range and, in my opinion, is like a very stylish way to play so I like playing with that.
LARRY HRYB: So there's a lot going on there. We talked a little bit about of course, the game, Jedi, lightsaber, but you can do a lot of customization with it as well can you?
JEFF MAJORS: Yeah. So the stances give you a really good way to customize your playstyle. But at the same time, we're making return of the very in-depth lightsaber cosmetic customization, which we're seeing here. You can change all of the parts, and you can change the materials, you can change the level of where, you can change your light saber color. So there's lots of different knobs to tweak. The artist did a fantastic job of bringing a bunch of cool--
LARRY HRYB: Oh, look at that. Look at that.
JEFF MAJORS: And then you know what, this type of customization, we thought was really successful on Fallen Order. And so, we brought the style of light saber customization to all our other pieces too. So you can-- here you go, you can customize BD in the same way. He's got some different parts that you can swap out and kind of give him slightly different personality while he always still feels like you're--
LARRY HRYB: Right.
JEFF MAJORS: And kind of make them your own. And the same thing with Cal. We've got the different pieces jacket, shirt, pants, hair, and beard that you can customize on him to really kind of make him the Jedi that you want to play with.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. I mean that's fant-- I mean, we all love that because we all want to-- we all love Jedis. We all want to be one and this is kind of the closest I guess I'll ever get to being one. Jeff, working on the game, what has been the thing that you are personally most excited about in this game?
JEFF MAJORS: Well, I'm excited about all of the exploration that we're offering, all the different things that players will find in their journey. If they see a cave, they'll follow it and hopefully find something surprising. Be it a mind-bending puzzle, or a difficult traversal sequence, or a terrifying boss. All these different things are kind of around every corner of the game world. So that's probably what I'm most excited about.
LARRY HRYB: There's so much going on here, I just-- I can't even-- I can't get over it. And this is available-- I want to point out to folks right now. This is available today. You know, putting the podcast up on a Friday, it's available today. I mean, I can't really say too much more because I want you as a gamer to go enjoy it. Jeff, before I let you go, do you have any final comments that you want to share with the audience and on behalf of the team?
JEFF MAJORS: Really, I mean, thank you for playing. We're excited for people to get their hands on it. Like, the team is watching like people playing online, and streaming, and very excited to kind of see everyone's responses. I hope everyone really enjoys it.
LARRY HRYB: I know-- I know what I'm going to be playing for the foreseeable future. Really appreciate it. Jeff Majors, you're the design director for this amazing title. I mean, it's been-- it feels like it's been coming out-- you know, I've been waiting for this forever, but I'm so excited to get my hands on Star Wars: Jedi Survivor. Available right now Series X, and S, and PC. It's also available on, like, PlayStation and a few other places. So Jeff, thanks for your time today.
JEFF MAJORS: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Thanks so much, Larry. And look, we're so excited to hear about Star Wars: Jedi Survivor that I actually missed one of the news stories. So real quickly, I actually came in as we were recording, the May games with gold are available. And well, pretty timely, Star Wars Episode I: Racer is available May 1st through May 31st. And then halfway through the month, a game called, Hoa. This was one I didn't know much about. You travel through beautiful mythologically inspired world of Hoa. Play as a fairy named Hoa returning to her homeland to reinvigorate the terrain and its inhabitants. A soothing meditative puzzle platformer which will utterly charm you with hand-painted art and a beautiful score. And of course, if you're on Xbox, Xbox Live Gold member, or if you have Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, that's for you to take.
LARRY HRYB: There you go.
REBECCA GORDIUS: So I looked up Hoa, but the only thing that showed up was homeowners associations. And so,
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: HOA, yeah. Maybe that's part of it.
REBECCA GORDIUS: But it looks really cool. It looks very Ghibli-esque .
LARRY HRYB: Which always has-- which always has my eyes and ears. So anyway, great. All right, gang. Well, listen, we're going to-- let's go through here and we'll wrap it up here. I want to thank you guys for joining us. It's great. Jeff, great to have you back. Rebecca, always good to see you. And more importantly, not more importantly, but also, Pumba, so, bring apples, pal.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Any more apples for Pumba?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA GORDIUS: Yes, but they're like big pieces.
LARRY HRYB: All right, let's uhh-- we'll be back next week. Got a great show next week. We're leading up. We got-- we got a lot of stuff to talk about. So we'll be back next week. Remember, as Jeff likes to remind you and I will do this now, like, subscribe, leave a comment on YouTube. Hit us up on Twitter. If you want to know any more information, we'd love to chat with you and we'll see you guys next time. Buh-bye everybody.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Bye.