Game Director - Plague Tale Requiem
[MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY HRYB: Hi, it's Larry Hyrb, Xbox's Major Nelson, welcome to the official Xbox podcast. You've liked, you've subscribed, you've done all the things you need to do. Now, all I need to do is bring in the co-hosts. So, Jeff--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What a segue.
LARRY HRYB: Good to see you.
REBECCA: Great work, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: Well--
REBECCA: Good to see you, too.
LARRY HRYB: --not my first rodeo, but good to see you, guys. Welcome back this week. Here we are in-- wow, it's July. Where did--
REBECCA: I know, it's a short week, too.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, well, at least here in the US because we had Independence Day on Monday, which you celebrated it in New York. Of course, Rebecca and Jeff and I were out here in Seattle, and wherever you are, you are. So, but yeah, it is a short week, but I can't believe we're over halfway through 2022.
REBECCA: Oh, wow, when you put it that way.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, it just feels like it just started. But we've had a busy week of gaming, Jeff. I know you've got-- I see the Cupheads behind you. What have--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That's a Mugman right there.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah. Well, now, there's-- oh, there's the whole family.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, well, I got to use the guy with the bigger nose.
REBECCA: OK. What's her name in the middle?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Ms Chalice. Ms Chalice is her name.
REBECCA: Ms Chalice, that's right.
LARRY HRYB: But what if you-- Jeff, clearly, you've been playing Cuphead. What else have you been playing?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, I've been playing it just not very well. So, that's what it turns out. There's a--
LARRY HRYB: Therein lies the problem with Cuphead.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm--
REBECCA: How are you liking the new DLC?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So, I mean, it's beautiful. There's new animations, new music. We actually have really good feature on the music that Mike from Xbox Wire had written along with him. NDHR is amazing. They're so talented. They're the developers up in Canada.
LARRY HRYB: To me, they are very talented, Jeff. But they have such a knack for capturing that 1930s, 1940s era in terms of music, and style, and animation, the whole thing. So they are just amazing.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Just the film grain and even making things look old. So I went back through, and I was starting. I was way out of practice. I jumped into one of the new bosses and got just embarrassed. And it reminded me of like when I was a kid, and I guess these type of games are like that, where it was like you would have like Contra, Alpha, up, up, down, down code, or Russian Attack, or Metal Slug.
Where it was like, the arcade versions of those, it was like, you would pop a quarter in, and it was like, 30 seconds later, I was like, I'm done. And then I just have to like, hang out by the machine so I don't have to hear it from my mom. Like, wait, you're already dead? Like just the amount of like-- it is a hard game.
LARRY HRYB: Then you had to look over someone else's shoulder and figure out how to do it, and then put the quarter back on and wait in line again.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I was like six. I just was-- I'd wanted more quarters than I was going to get them. And this kind of reminds me of that. It was just like, whoa, how am I dead already?
LARRY HRYB: But now, you have all the quarters.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's true. I do have all the quarters, so I have nothing to blame but my own slowing reflexes. So I read back, and I played from the beginning, like with the initial like carrot boss, that carrot and onion boss, and everything at island one. But bringing the new character, Ms Chalice, so there's like basically a cookie that you can have, a supernatural cookie that will enable Cuphead or Mugman to, in that level, turn into her.
She has an extra hit point by default, which gives you four. She has a dash, which is a parry dash, so it makes you invincible, which is great. It's got a double jump. I was like, with all of this, man, I'm going to be so good at this game.
REBECCA: Oh, a double jump. Wow.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I've got to do it. Yes!
LARRY HRYB: Well, we talked about it last week in the interview with the team from there.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm still not good. Like, I've gotten worse. And so, I need to spend more time with it. But wow, I just was humbled. I have to say that. Such a beautiful game. It looks amazing, and I hope I get to see all of it.
LARRY HRYB: So you played Cuphead, and then you quickly-- because I've been noticing your presence every time I boot up my console. There's always a Jeff Rubenstein Yakuza. And I'm like, this has to be a bug because you're always playing the game.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's not a bug.
REBECCA: It's not a bug.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think I'm just-- I'm the bitter end of Yakuza 5. And these games just-- they bring me in, and I'm like all the way in. And--
LARRY HRYB: You roll up your sleeves, and we lose you for days.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's true. That's true, and it's all I want to play or think about. And so I'm looking-- by next time we talk, I should have beaten Yakuza 5. And then only have one Yakuza game that I have not played, and I'm saving it. And it's like, if you know something is going to be amazing, and you're just like, well, I'm not going to watch you. Like if you were saving the last couple of episodes of--
REBECCA: Last episode of some things.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly, and you're like, I'm not ready to watch it yet because then that means I'm done. And that's what I've been doing with these so I've been parceling it out. And I may not play Yakuza 6 this year because I want to parcel out.
REBECCA: Save it?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Once I've done, I'm done, you can only play through them for the first time.
LARRY HRYB: We've all had those games. And I'm sure, Rebecca, you've had those games where you're like, you don't want it to end, and you wish you could-- you get jealous because people get to experience that game or that level again, right?
REBECCA: Well, do you know that there's not going to be a Yakuza 7? Like, is the sixth one the last one?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, it's the last one in this story arc of Kiryu, and they were clear about that. Yeah, I've played Yakuza 7 because it starts with a new hero, and I've played the spinoffs, and I don't know what it'll be coming next from that team. Whatever it is, I will instantly play it. But I know that particular arc will be done at that point, and I'm in no rush to be done.
LARRY HRYB: Just savor it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's that good.
LARRY HRYB: Savor it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And speaking of which, just to tie a bow on it, a few of the first three games, Yakuza 0, 1 and 2, Kiwami 1 and 2, had fallen out of Game Pass a few months ago. But they're back in so they're all there. So join me in my Yakuza cult, and-- look at that, Larry.
They're so good. Zero is--
REBECCA: Nice work, Larry.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --is among the best ones, if not the best one. So once you start there, you'll either be like, I don't get it, or you'll be all in all the way. And I love hearing-- because I hear it from people--
REBECCA: He'll be lost.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --all the time on Twitter. And they're like, you were right, man. And I'm like, I can't take the credit. All I can do is share the joy, and that's what I'm doing are.
LARRY HRYB: You are probably their number one influencer. I'm going to say it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think that would be Brittney Brombacher, Blonde Nerd.
LARRY HRYB: Which we've had Britt on before, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes, and she might be-- she might be the number one influencer, but I'm happy to be part of the conversation.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, absolutely. I know how that is. But what else-- you've got Cuphead. You got Yakuza. That's been keeping your plate full this week, hasn't it?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, just still playing through Overwatch beta 2 with my daughter. She's off for the summer, so we're playing a lot of stuff together. We're still making our way.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It takes two, which is just such a lovely game. Another game where we're like in no rush to beat it, so from time to time, we'll sit down. We'll play a little bit further. We're into some like space thing going on now. So I don't know where that is in the game, but enjoying that.
But really a lot of Overwatch 2, and we're finally getting to the point where we get it, and we're starting to play better. Because it really was quite the shift from the way-- it plays much faster than Overwatch 1. So looking forward to continuing. I think there's another two weeks of the beta, and we'll be--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --playing that for two more weeks.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we've had some-- I've jumped in with you and your daughter a little bit. We've had some fun with that. So let's--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Let's do more.
LARRY HRYB: Let's do more. So, Rebecca--
LARRY HRYB: --I'd have to ask you a question. I was noticing because I have you on my friends list.
LARRY HRYB: What were you playing last week? So it's a very-- I kind of did a double take, and I was like, is that a bug? What were you playing? Which is-- the House Flipper?
REBECCA: Yeah, I've been playing that this week.
LARRY HRYB: OK.
REBECCA: I just downloaded a few days ago. Wait, first, who's better at Overwatch? Jeff or his daughter? Since you've played with both of them.
LARRY HRYB: So, it's hard to describe because for those of you that have played Overwatch, you know it's class-based. So she picks a particular class, and Jeff picks his particular class. And so, they're both good in that class.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What I would say is someone is only improving, and only getting better, and coming to their own, and someone is only getting slower and older. And I don't know which is which. That's not for me to say. Right, what do you think of that?
LARRY HRYB: I will say this, Rebecca, though, to your point, his daughter is very, very competitive, so.
REBECCA: Yeah, I know. I've heard her in the background a couple of times when we've been playing. And I'm like, whoa. Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah.
REBECCA: No, that's cool. That's good. She's got that fiery youth passion. Whereas Jeff,
I mean, I don't want to assume who's the one getting older and slower. But anyway--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So don't.
Back to your question, Larry, House Flipper. We briefly talked about it on last week's podcast out on Game Pass. I actually like, it's a small thing. I hurt my hand plane volleyball, nothing serious, just a small--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Show us.
REBECCA: --sprain, a little-- OK. Just like you can see this thumb, like this area is a lot swollen. Anyway, so moving the right thumbstick is a little uncomfortable right now. Also, I just never realized how much I use my right hand for things like even just texting, unlocking my phone. It's like, ugh. Anyway--
LARRY HRYB: It's a chore.
REBECCA: So, yeah. But so, House Flipper, the moves are pretty simple. You mostly use the left stick to move around and look. I guess I use the right stick a little bit, too. Nothing too crazy and then just the right trigger. The controls are really simple.
I know that we've talked about like the lawn mowing simulator, and those games that are designed maybe a little bit more for like that feeling of like the small sense of accomplishments, and making things clean. And I haven't really thought that would be my cup of tea, but I'm actually really enjoying.
LARRY HRYB: So are you a real estate Maven now? Are you are you buying these houses and flipping them? Tell me about it.
REBECCA: No, it's weird. So, right now, so you start out, and you have this horrible little shack, and you have a desk, and you have a laptop. And the laptop looks just like my personal laptop that I have. And so, at first, I walked out to it, and I'm like, wow, this is very meta.
But yeah, so you open your inbox, and you have emails from people who are basically wanting to hire you as a cleaner or a renovator to do things. Starts out with really small tasks like replace my radiator, or clean my garage but don't move my husband's tools.
LARRY HRYB: So you're a handy person?
REBECCA: Yeah, you're kind of a handy person and that's how you're going around. It's a lot of cleaning. But actually, I like that kind of cleaning. So just to be really specific, so like you have to clean a window at one point. And when you clean the window, you have to hold this tool and get all of the different--
LARRY HRYB: It's called a squeegee.
REBECCA: Right, the squeegee, and you have to be really-- like you have to get all of the spots. Whereas, normally, you have a mop, and then you have this big area, and you hover over the area, and then it just goes away. You don't have to like--
LARRY HRYB: Right.
REBECCA: Sorry, I'm getting way too specific now. Anyway, long story short, you go around. You clean, and you do like all these different tasks for different neighbors and people with bigger houses, and then you get money, and then you use that money, and then you can fix up your own house.
And so I haven't actually fixed up my own house yet. I've just been going around cleaning everyone else's houses and saving up money. So that way, it's like I don't want to bother with buying the low tier furniture and stuff like-- I want to do it big when I'm ready. So I want to save up a lot of money and have a nice house. So, I like it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I expect that next week at this time, you're going to be Rebecca Realty, the real estate Maven of the Upper West Side or something like that.
REBECCA: Exactly, that's going to be the goal. So hopefully, I'll have a nice mansion to show off by next week episode.
LARRY HRYB: We expect business card with your picture on it. Why do they always have pictures on their business cards, real estate agents? I never understood that.
REBECCA: I guess they want you to-- I'm guessing they want you to have that, like, personal feel, and be like, oh, this is the person I'm really talking to. Because aren't there some places, like, I think in Europe, I've gotten a couple of business cards like for reporters or like other PR people that have their face on them. And I'm like, this is very strange, but--
LARRY HRYB: It may be you're right.
REBECCA: --I don't know, just that personal connection.
LARRY HRYB: So, the goal is you're saving up your money. Now, will you just continue to invest in your house? Or will you-- has the game title, will you flip your house and buy one of the neighbor's houses? Or how does that work?
REBECCA: Yeah, I'm not sure yet. So, I'm still pretty early on. I'll get back to you. Yeah, I'll let you know how my real estate journey continues. But what about you, Larry? What have you been up to?
LARRY HRYB: I've been playing a little-- in my Halo, getting my challenges out of the way, need to get in with Jeff on Overwatch. Let's see, oh, Sniper Elite.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Larry, go on. Tell the story.
REBECCA: Wait, why is that so funny? Oh, OK.
LARRY HRYB: Well, I don't know because I-- let me text this to you.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You can tell the story. You can tell the story.
LARRY HRYB: You sure? OK.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I think it's fine. Hitler's dead. We're cool with it. In fact, we're better off.
REBECCA: Oh, my goodness.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You tell the story.
LARRY HRYB: So, one of the-- Jeff and I played a little bit of it, and I'd love to play with you if you want. If you're interested, Becca. But it's a really tactical game. You can run and gun. We talked about on previous shows, and one of the downloadable content, the mission is kill Hitler--
LARRY HRYB: --at the Eagle's Nest. It's one of his-- The Berghof. So, I've been playing it for about three or four days, and I play it like a half hour each. And it's nice to clear out an area and get closer to where he is or where you think he is. So going through it, and I'm like, you know what? I'm just getting frustrated because I just want to run in there.
So I run in, and all of the alarm bells are ringing, and all the soldiers are coming in after me. I'm hiding in a closet. And just as I'm hiding in the closet, this gold star pops up on the map, which is right around the corner. And it says, kill Hitler. So I'm like, oh, he's right there. So let me-- I load all up. I health up, tsuk, tsuk, get ready. I'm going in Rambo style.
I come around the corner, and he's kneeling, but with a handgun. So he sees me, and he starts shooting at me. And I just take the-- I just take the automatic weapon I have, and brrrr, brrrr. And the achievement pops, and the name of it is-- do you want to-- do you want to-- do you have it in front of you, Jeff? Can you read the--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I do, as a matter of fact, Larry, because you texted it to me.
LARRY HRYB: Could you read the name of-- the German name of the achievement?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I apologize for my poor German pronunciation. [SPEAKING GERMAN]
LARRY HRYB: So that achievement is a rare achievement. Only 0.28% of gamers have unlocked it, and it is kill Hitler with a testicle shot. So--
REBECCA: Oh, my God.
LARRY HRYB: So that was-- I didn't know that achievement existed, and it was to my surprise.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: If that doesn't sell you on the DLC, what would?
LARRY HRYB: So that was--
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, here it is. It's--
REBECCA: See, this is like one of those random things I love about the gaming industry. There are just so many like little jokes. Well, I shouldn't say too little. But, anyway.
LARRY HRYB: The funny thing is, is I got the achievement, but the soldiers had come in on me so quickly that I died. So I got the achievement and died, so--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Mission accomplished. That's just fine.
LARRY HRYB: No, as far as the game is concerned--
REBECCA: Did it count?
LARRY HRYB: I never killed them. So when I booted the game back up, it had me all the way out there. And so I had to go in, and now, I kind of knew roughly where to look and kill them and--
REBECCA: But at least you got the achievement.
LARRY HRYB: Right. And then I got all the other achievements because I finished the mission proper and got out of the area, which is-- anyway, so that was--
LARRY HRYB: --but it was one of those moments, where I was like, oh, OK. That was fun. I mean--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They predicted this might happen, so.
REBECCA: Wait, but .28? I would have thought it would be like 0.028 even. Like that just seems so--
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, it does seem very, very random. But yeah, I mean, maybe it's different now. I'll have to go take a look. But that's what it was when I popped it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's going to-- that percentage is going to go up this week. I'll tell you that.
LARRY HRYB: We're going to-- currently, I'm now a kill Hitler influencer. Lovely.
REBECCA: Wow. That's nuts, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, so anyway, playing that-- Fall Guys, I went back into Fall Guys. If you saw, if you follow Jeff on-- if you follow Jeff on Twitter, and if you don't follow Jeff and Rebecca, you should. Then Jeff gave the PSA to go unlock-- what was it? Was a bunny suit, wasn't it, Jeff?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, it's a perk that is available. So if you go-- all you got to do is you hit your Xbox button. And then, that will bring up the guide, and then you'll see a Game Pass square at the bottom, so you just hit right trigger. It takes you to the bottom and go over to Game Pass. And then you go into perks, which you'll see over there, usually underneath the first couple of games. And you go into there, and there's all kinds of unlockables that you just get as being part of Xbox.
REBECCA: So cute.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And there's a bunny perk, like a bunny suit--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --perk. So if you've recently new to Fall Guys, and you're just running around with those spike bracelets still, and it's very obvious, you're very new. So gussy up a little bit and gives you a little something new for your bean.
LARRY HRYB: And you'll look good. You'll look good.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And of course, there was the whole Master Chief challenge, and you were able to unlock. I know that there was a-- is or was-- a Master Chief suit and a grunt as well for you.
LARRY HRYB: I didn't unlock it. I went in, and I was churning through to unlock it. By the way, I meant to tell you, I did get a crown.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You did?
LARRY HRYB: But I was doing it with duos. It was with a random person. I have to go look them up. Thank you for that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: That carried you?
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, he carried me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You know what? Still counts.
LARRY HRYB: He was on fire. So, but I ended up getting the crown, and at least in a duos capacity, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Still counts. Still counts.
REBECCA: Very nice.
LARRY HRYB: That's the way that goes.
REBECCA: Well done.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, so that's what I've been focused on this week. Jeff, I know we've got some news there. And then we've got this interview with the game director of A Plague Tale, so we should probably talk about that. But let's jump into the news. What do you got there?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Sure. So, Rebecca, I think the most important part of house flipping underrated, is making sure you go out there with a power washer, and you clean off the sidewalk in front. You get that driveway. Well, I got the game for you, because it's part of the new batch of games that was just announced for Game Pass, that are coming to Game Pass.
PowerWash Simulator is one of them. This is actually a really good set of games here. I'm very excited about what we've got coming here. So I can't call them all out because we've got a dozen games added. I already talked about the three Yakuzas that are complete the whole set of Yakuza games. Get on that. But there's PowerWash Simulator, which I've heard great things out on PC earlier this year.
But it's coming out also on cloud and console, and that will be available on July 14th, so Bastille Day. We're celebrating Bastille Day by power washing the driveway. Actually, a number of games coming out on July 14th. It's actually my niece's first birthday. So hopefully, she'll be excited by the fact that my friend Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol The Movie Adventure City Calls are also coming out, so great. if the kids are home for the summer--
LARRY HRYB: And they are.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And you want some new games for them, you still get achievements here. In fact, I think Ray Narvaez, who is one of the top gamerscore people in the world. He recently hit two million. He got number-- gamerscore two million. That achievement was in Peppa Pig. So, that's as ringing an endorsement as I can find. He made it to Potato City. And if you've watched the show-- Larry, does your daughter watch Peppa Pig?
LARRY HRYB: No.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Well, it's a good show. My kid-- for a little bit, I harbored the idea. I harbored the idea--
LARRY HRYB: She has very limited screen time, very limited.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --that my daughter would pick up a British accent if she watched Peppa Pig early on. And she did for like the first time because we say ready set go. Like if you're starting a race, they say ready, steady, go? And she actually said, ready, steady. go. I was like, we got it. But that was it.
LARRY HRYB: I will say this, though--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: She doesn't call me-- she didn't call her mom mummy. Yes, go on.
LARRY HRYB: So Peppa Pig, when I was down in Australia, the lovely folks in Australia sent back a care package for my daughter. And one of them was a character called Bluey, which is a Australian kids show. And there were some books, and there was a Bluey character, B-L-U-E-Y. And so--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What color is it?
LARRY HRYB: Bluey is Blue. And--
REBECCA: It's like a Blue Heeler dog.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA: It's cute.
LARRY HRYB: So we've watched a couple of episodes of that. So she enjoys Bluey. But it was kind of-- and it's actually quite good. So, anyway, back to Peppa Pig.
REBECCA: Oh, love it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Peppa Pig next. And then, you can play the game. OK, so, but before that, that's July 14. So available now, those Yakuza games. Game called Last Call BBS, which is the last game that Zachtronics is going to be--
LARRY HRYB: I'm really excited about this one.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK. Yeah, so, I brought you to play it, and let's go next week.
REBECCA: Wait, which one?
LARRY HRYB: It's this one--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's Last Call.
LARRY HRYB: --lower right. And this is-- if I'm reading it correctly-- so, this is a little bit back in the day. Do you have the description in front of you, Jeff?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: The barkeep has loaded up his retro computer with a full set of puzzle games for you to download and play. No need to worry about copy protection. They're all fully cracked and ready to enjoy. That would mean stuff to you if you played games in the '80s and the early 90s.
LARRY HRYB: So when I was in the early '80s, when you wanted to go online, Rebecca and Jeff, some people may know this. The older members of the audience may remember. You had to have a modem. This is, certainly, remember the '90s with AOL and mom picking up the phone. But in prior to the internet proper being public and widely available, we had bulletin board systems, BBS's. And you had to have a modem, of, course and you were dialing directly into a computer usually in someone's house.
So you only had-- they only had like four or five lines, and you could dial into it. And pee wee wee, and that would come up all text. And you'd navigate it, and there'd be-- you could have message boards, and you could download things. So, when I saw this, and I saw that you had to dial in, and ADDT, which is automatic dial touch tone, and then you'd have to type in the number. It was all command line based. You would dial in and have fun, and that's how you got connected to somebody.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Rebecca, do you know what he's talking about?
LARRY HRYB: There are people right now listening to this that are going, oh, I remember that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: They're nodding vigorously. OK.
LARRY HRYB: What I will not be sharing with you--
REBECCA: It's like five people.
LARRY HRYB: I will not be sharing with you my bulletin board username. So I will just-- I had one that was on all the boards, and I'll just leave it at that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: If you're not, I think there's probably a reason for it. I'm not going to drag you into it, but let us know about the game.
LARRY HRYB: What do you think-- maybe we should put this in the Spotify question. What do you think my bulletin board username was or should be back in the '80s? So, that's what it'll be.
REBECCA: Ooh. Well, I mean, were you just like Sergeant Nelson back then or--
LARRY HRYB: No. It was not military related at all. It was--
REBECCA: Yeah, Private Nelson?
LARRY HRYB: Come on, I was a punk teenager, so I'll let you figure that part out, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway, Jeff, sorry. Continue on.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right, back to the Game Pass. I was a big fan of Top Spin tennis back on the OG Xbox days. I really loved that game, poured a lot of time, so I'm very excited about Matchpoint Tennis Championships. I don't feel like I've played a new tennis game in quite some time, so looking forward to that. And then Escape Academy also on July 14th.
This is a game that I got a lot of great buzz over at Key Three, at the Play Days, a lot of people were playing this. If you've ever been to an escape room, people who designed escape rooms, designed some virtual escape rooms to play through in this game. And all these games are coming to Game Pass, so a lot to play over the course of the next few weeks. So, that's exciting.
REBECCA: Sorry, so random, but I remember back when we used to have, like, in-person conventions. I would go to PAX Prime, PAX West in Seattle every year with my friends. And I don't know how I got dragged to what I thought was the most obscure and random panel, and it was how to create your own escape room business.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Ha!
REBECCA: And it was a panel just about that, and I was like, why am I going to this? But it had a--
LARRY HRYB: What did you learn?
REBECCA: I mean, I'm pretty sure I was just on my phone the whole time. But it had really good attendance. That's what I was getting to. Like the room was actually packed. I was like, I had no idea there was so much-- I mean, it makes sense in Seattle. There are a lot of nerds in Seattle. I can say that because I love all the nerds in Seattle. But--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Because you were one of them.
REBECCA: I just thought that was so-- yeah, like, I went to my fair share of escape rooms. I knew what was, ugh, this escape room was too easy--
LARRY HRYB: What was down.
REBECCA: --or whatever. Yeah, I think the best one I ever went to was one that was a zombie one, and there was a girl who was an actress playing a zombie in the middle of the room. And every, like, five minutes, the chain that she was on would get longer and longer, and that one was really good, and she really went for it. So, anyway, random thing about escape rooms, so just, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Wow.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: OK, all right. So, another game coming up, which we'll probably talk about whenever the next batch of Game Pass games is. So, on July 19th, As Dusk Falls will be available via Game Pass. But pretty excited now for this one from Interior Night. It's a narrative game where you're going to be making choices that could make the difference between live or die.
It's a robbery gone wrong in a small town game. Well, you've played narrative games, I'm sure, before. But what makes this very interesting and different besides the story, which I'm hearing good things about, is the multiplayer aspect. And there's a local co-op, there's online co-op, and there's also a Twitch version. Yes, Larry?
LARRY HRYB: But Jeff, it's important to point out is that multiplayer, as we traditionally think about, is slightly different in this game.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It's not an FPS, Larry. It's a story game. So, yes, it will be a lot different. You're basically making decisions. Gameplay is making decisions, and you'll be able to play with other people. And you may make different decisions than them, and then you can override each other. And so, anyway, there's a lot of different permutations here. I think it'd be really cool as we see people either sitting down and playing on the sofa. There's an app so that you can play with other folks that maybe aren't even comfortable with a controller in their hand. We've seen stuff like this, like, with Drawful and the mask--
REBECCA: Jackbox stuff. Yeah, I was just thinking about that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Exactly.
LARRY HRYB: Love that stuff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And that brings people into the game that didn't consider that some of these gamers-- well, this is going to be one of those things I'm looking forward to playing in my house with this one. Probably not my daughter, a little too young for it, but definitely playing with my wife. But then also, I think it'll be really cool seeing folks on Twitch. Play this and being able to interact with their audience, we know that the chat is going to pick the most ridiculous choices, and so that'll be really fun to see the reactions to that.
Anyway, it comes out July 19th. But we have up on Xbox Wire now all the different permutations of how you can play multiplayer there. You'll be able to work through it and figure out who do I want to play with? And how am I going to do it? And I think this is going to be a really fun-- like a party game, in a way.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Even though the story is going to be pretty heavy, I think it'll be really fun.
LARRY HRYB: Maybe we should stream it.
REBECCA: We should. That would be fun to play together.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we'll have to do that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah.
LARRY HRYB: It's coming out on Game Pass.
REBECCA: Oh, we could.
LARRY HRYB: So we'll work on an interview with the team coming up in the next couple of weeks as well.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Very cool. Just a couple other quick tidbits here. One, Age of Empires IV. Season two is coming. A lot of cool stuff coming in terms of remappable hot keys, new map called the pit, unlock campaigns, a color picker for different players. There's new map rotations. There's something called the modern monsters event. So that sounds kind of cool.
And then also, here's a game that we haven't heard much from in quite some time, and that is Skull and Bones. So Skull and Bones was re-revealed by Ubisoft this week. It's a ship to ship action game, takes place in the 1600s in the Indian Ocean, and it is coming November 8th.
LARRY HRYB: It looks a more serious technical version of Sea of Thieves in terms of the ship. I don't know what anything about the game.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So Sea of Thieves is like a Pirate Simulator. You are the pirate, and you're on with your friends, and you're controlling--
LARRY HRYB: Very social.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --different elements of the ship and bailing out water. This is all about naval combat.
REBECCA: More like Warhammer.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So it's all about the-- yeah, so you're really, really focused on the ship, and you can craft and sail up to 12 different ships. So I think only at this most superficial level with these games be similar, but I think they're quite a bit different.
LARRY HRYB: Right, that floats on water.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Imagine--
LARRY HRYB: That's it.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --it's a lot more like-- I think the idea from this game from Assassin's Creed 4, the Edward Kenway one, where you're sailing around the Caribbean, and you would take over the ship. And people love that. And I think it's, like, what if that was a game?
LARRY HRYB: Well, now it is. Or at least--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There you go.
LARRY HRYB: --that's where it came from.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Good. Coming November 8th. That my friends, is the news.
LARRY HRYB: All right, we've got a couple of things, we got an interview coming up here, and I'm really happy to share that with you. We've got Jeff is going to be talking with-- let me see his name-- Kevin Chateau. Chateau, did I pronounced that right, Jeff?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Choteau. He's not a house.
LARRY HRYB: Choteau.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yes.
LARRY HRYB: And he's not a house. Choteau.
REBECCA: Oh, my gosh. I'm sure he would love this, love to hear this.
LARRY HRYB: But Kevin is the game director for Plague Tale Requiem. And Jeff had a chance to talk with him and learn more about that. So let's take a look.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: If you haven't played 29 teams of Plague Tale Innocence, well, it's available with Xbox Game Pass. So you were anything but innocent if you don't make the time to play it, and I highly recommend it on its own, sure. But especially so because its sequel, a Plague Tale Requiem, is on its way coming, once again, to Game Pass on October 18th. And it's also available for pre-order right now.
Here to talk to us a little bit more about it, the game director, Kevin Choteau, joining us from beautiful Bordeaux in France. Thanks so much for joining us, Kevin.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Thank you for having me.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Very glad to have you here. Very glad to be talking about one of the most anticipated games coming out this fall. It's been over three years since Plato Innocence came out. It really, I think, captured a lot of hearts, mine included, following the tragic tale of Amicia and Hugo, to survive war, to survive evils, both human and supernatural, I guess you could say.
We've gone through a plague ourselves as well. How much time has passed for them, though, as we start A Plague Tale Requiem?
KEVIN CHOTEAU: So when we start Requiem, we join Amicia and Hugo like six months after the event of Plague Innocence. So they are almost the same age, a bit grown up, a bit more mature, I would say, because of the events of the first one. But yeah, it's soon after the event of the first one.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And where do we find ourselves now? Because they were struggling to escape with their lives through most of the game before taking evil a little bit more head on and being able to make it through. Not so lucky for some of the other characters in the game, most of the other characters in the game. So where do they find themselves now in A Plague Tale Requiem? And how does that change just everything?
KEVIN CHOTEAU: So the first one was based in Gruene, so southwest France. Because of the advent of the first one, this place is not a place where you want to live now. It's infested with rats, and death, and bad memories, so they had to flee to move out. And we will join them in Provence or southeast France and a bit of the Mediterranean Sea.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So I take it we're not going to be enjoying a fine glass of rose because it looks like Amicia and Hugo have much to do here.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Yeah, not really.
No, it's not the beautiful picture of the Provence. Even if sometime it's beautiful, and you will enjoy the landscape of the province, it's really Plague Tale, so everything become very bad very fast.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So for most of Innocence, Amicia-- I won't say she's helpless, but she wasn't someone who could take on a soldier one-on-one very easily. She was a teenage girl with no battle experience, pretty good throwing things. But put in situations that she had never been in before, not a trained soldier. But there's an extended gameplay trailer, and we'll be looking at a little bit of this that you all revealed and shared with us last month.
Here we go. And we can see right from the beginning, she's more formidable. She's got a crossbow on her back, and then later on in the footage, we'll see she's sneaking up. She's killing unwary guards. So how has she been changed from the events of the first game and what does that lead to from a gameplay perspective and what she's capable of now?
KEVIN CHOTEAU: So because of, again, of the events of the first one, she's much more used to give deaths to people. Sadly, she had to make things to survive, bad things. And now, she's prepared, I would say, she's ready to fight if something happens. She don't want to fight, she don't want to start this death loop again. But if she has to, to protect Hugo to survive, she will.
And of course, it will happen, but she will struggle with that. Yeah, and it's we will question that put her in a stressful situation, where she had to make a choice, and sometimes it will very often actually it will have an impact an emotional intellectual impact on her and on Hugo. So it's really a key point of Amicia of how she will go, and she will have to go to survive.
And where is the limits? Where is the acceptable limit when she starts to be the bad guy and not the good one anymore? It's really something that we will question in this game. And yeah, she starts to use tools that are not children tools anymore. She was using this thing because this thing was a gift from her father. It was mostly a toy for her.
But now, she's using a crossbow. She's able to use knife. So it's not-- yeah, toys anymore, it's war weapon. So, she will become much more wild than what she was.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: And Hugo as well. While he's still very young, his powers, his connection with the rats seems to be developing as well. I know we saw in that footage right there, he seems to have a new ability being able to sense the blood within the enemies, and it's helping with the stealth element. So, what's going on with him? And how is he growing and changing?
KEVIN CHOTEAU: So then, yeah, he has a connection with the rat as we've seen in the first one. So he can sometimes control the rats when he's in a good state. And yeah, he will learn to use them much more than what he was able to do in the first one. So he can sense what the rats sense or see their vision. This is what we are seeing right now.
But he will be also able to control them directly and use them as at all that can move everywhere and eat people-- very nervous, very frantic. But there's a limit to that. If you use it too much, it will happen-- very bad thing will happen again. It's really automatic of A Plague Tale.
If you use too much, the rats, more rats will arrive, and more rats, and more rats. And you've seen maybe in the trailer that sometime it will be far too much rats.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I'm very much of the opinion that one rat is too many rats, so you've gone well beyond that. So the rats, they are back, and they were a huge part of the game in terms, not just the story, but the gameplay. But also, it was very technically impressive, I think, back to 2019.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Thank you.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: What you were able to do on the Xbox One X. Now, you're getting to work on the Series X and the Series S. So what does that unlock for your team in terms of fidelity?
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Basically, it hasn't looked like something like 100 times the number of what we had in the first one. So now we have up to 300,000 rats in the screen that can do those huge waves everywhere, and destroy everything, and it's something that we were not able to do with the previous gen. So we are quite happy with that.
It was a foundation idea of Requiem, pushing the rat further, showing, oh, they can destroy city, or town, or much more. So we are quite happy, and the power of this console to give this new flesh to the rats, you've seen that in the trailer again. But those 300,000 rats coming like a tsunami, destroying everything, it's super insane to discover in the game. So we are super happy with that, of course.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, I'm very conflicted here. Because technically, very impressive, but that's far more rats. But then, one would ever want to deal with. But of course, that's going to be really interesting to see how that comes together in the game. So congratulations. Thank you.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Thank you.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: But also, 200,000 rats is a lot of rats. So, something I think is very interesting is-- I played A Plague Tale Innocence when it first came out. I want to say it was like May of 2019. And shortly thereafter, we announced Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is also developed by Asobo.
Now, the two games could not be more different, not a single rat in all of my playthroughs of Microsoft Flight Simulator. But I'm curious, did the teams share notes? And what learnings can come from a hyper realistic simulator to a medieval stealth narrative game and together? So I'm just curious how the two-- the teams work together in that way.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: I think the first thing that come in my mind is the fact that we have a super team of engineers. Obviously, they are able to do super techie things for Flight Simulator. And having the whole world in the game, it's a huge achievement with this super realistic rendering. And in the opposite direction, the super anti-mystic game that we are doing with A Plague Tale.
But still, with 300,000 rats on the screen that are moving, so yeah, we are sharing a lot of technological optimization, I would say. Because those two games are huge in terms of performances or requirements for the hardware. And that's it, patient also.
We have two super dedicated team, A Plague Tale team is almost the same team than in the first one with new newcomers, of course. But we are super passionate about narrative game, narrative adventure game. And the team on flight team is also obviously [INAUDIBLE] by planes. And yeah, showcasing the world doing those beautiful diorama of the world everywhere.
Yeah, we are blown at the battery by the quality they are achieving on their side. It's like, it's an exchange between teams. They show things. We show things, and we were always impressed and trying to beat them on the next thing. [LAUGHS] So we're going to do better just to show off. It's a cool competition.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, it's a very friendly rivalry, it sounds like.
KEVIN CHOTEAU: Yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: It is very interesting to see different applications of tech and how they can make you feel very differently. Like let's keep the rats and the planes as separate apart, if I may make that request for as long as possible. Kevin, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your early evening to speak with us about A Plaque Tale Requiem.
We're going to be able to play it on October 18th, and we're looking forward to seeing more between now and then. It's really not that far away, so wishing you the best of luck in the final stretch here before launch. And we'll be talking much more about A Plague Tale Requiem here on the Xbox podcast and on Xbox Wire.
REBECCA: Thank you to Kevin and also Jeff for that interview around Plague Tale Requiem. We never thank each other for doing these interviews, but-- [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Thank you. I appreciate that. One little tidbit, and I don't know why I thought this was funny, so it must not be. But so the night before the interview, I was watching all the footage they've revealed, and I was taking notes and figuring out what I was going to talk. And as I was taking my notes, I kept writing A Plague Tale, T-A-I-L.
LARRY HRYB: I did, too.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Like in American Tail, because it was like with the--
REBECCA: Oh, yeah.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --rats. And so, I don't know, maybe five or-- can make an appearance.
LARRY HRYB: (SINGING) Somewhere out there.
REBECCA: Wait, OK, I hope this doesn't come off as insulting. I'm surprised that you guys know the American Tail movies, because I liked those when I was a kid, and I thought that they were like kid movies. Are they not kid movies?
LARRY HRYB: Well--
LARRY HRYB: OK, I'm going to flex a little bit here. So the producer and the director of animation there is Don Bluth, who is a legendary. He did Dragon's Lair, one of the original-- one of the original video games with the disks. So Don Bluth is storied in the animation field. I am a big animation fan, so while I've seen the movie, I appreciate it from its art perspective. There weren't many films back in those days that were non-Disney. Because this was prior to computer animation.
REBECCA: True, yeah.
LARRY HRYB: Had been hand-drawn, so it was much more expensive to do it. So I'm a fan from for what it is.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I was a kid when the first one came out, believe it or not. So you probably watched it-- like I watched it on VHS, and you probably watched it on DVD. But--
REBECCA: No, I had it on-- I had it on VHS, too.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh. Well, there you go.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Classic.
REBECCA: I also played-- there was an American Tail video game. Did you guys ever play that?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There was?
LARRY HRYB: There was?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I had no idea.
REBECCA: I remember, like, at one point, there were some of the missions that were like on the boat. I'm pretty sure. And, like, I had to just match different mice couples together, like, there would be a female mouse in a pink dress--
LARRY HRYB: Oh, yeah, here it is on PS2.
REBECCA: --and you have to match her up with the male mouse.
LARRY HRYB: On PS2, yeah, 1986.
LARRY HRYB: So.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: 1986? What?
LARRY HRYB: 19--
REBECCA: OK, I didn't play that one. I think I played on my dad's-- I played a lot of games on my dad's PC growing up.
LARRY HRYB: The American Tail-- yeah, I'm sorry, there was a DOS one. There was a couple of other ones. So yeah, there's 1991, 1993. So yeah, there were quite a few video games. I did not know that, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway.
REBECCA: It's good IP. I loved the goes out west one, too. That was good.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, but if you ever get a chance, go look up Don Bluth, who is a legend in-- he's like 85 years old now. He's a legend, and he did Anastasia, All Dogs Go To Heaven, The Land Before Time, The Secret Of NIMH--
REBECCA: Oh, Land Before Time.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, right?
REBECCA: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, he did a lot of really good movies. Yeah, I forgot that there were so many good animated movies aside from Disney, too.
LARRY HRYB: Right, exactly. So to answer your question, that's kind of why I'm aware of it. Because I followed the art form.
REBECCA: Yeah, cool. Well, anyway, sorry to go back to it though.
LARRY HRYB: Have you seen it in a while? Have you seen it recently?
REBECCA: No, I haven't. Are they as good as I remember?
LARRY HRYB: I don't know. I think I've got them on my server, that I should-- my Plex server. Maybe I'll send you a link if you want to watch it. Because I ripped all my DVDs, and I had that
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You should watch them with your daughter, Larry.
LARRY HRYB: You know what, Jeff? That is an excellent, excellent recommendation. Thank you. Will report back.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You don't want her to be, like, peer pressured in school, and it's like, wait, you haven't seen The Land Before Time? You haven't seen Fern Gully?
LARRY HRYB: You haven't played Dragon's Lair?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You haven't played Dragon's Lair?
REBECCA: The Secret of NIMH, that one was scary. If I remember, some of them were creepy.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah.
REBECCA: Fern Gully also scared me. I don't know.
LARRY HRYB: Anyway--
REBECCA: I was a big chicken. But-- let's see, oh, I have one other-- way off course. I did have one other news item that I wanted to mention. So July, and this is a pretty new observation in the US, I think, at least for Microsoft. But so July is actually a Disability Pride Month. So unrelated to gay pride. Disability pride, it's in July, because I think July 26th is when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed.
And so that's why this month is around just embracing the disabilities that people have, talking about them. I can't remember the statistic off the top of my head, but we all know that a strong majority of the disabilities that people have are not visible. It's not as simple as missing a limb or being in a wheelchair. There are a lot of things that are mental, that are not visible disabilities.
So we actually have a blog post over on Xbox Wire that's talking about how Microsoft is supporting Disability Pride Month. I believe that there are a few different resources for people with disabilities to help them navigate the gaming space that we're creating. There's also a list of different games that you can play and experience the perspective of someone with a disability.
So something like Vale Shadow of the Crown is entirely-- it's like an audio-based adventure, and so you play as someone who's blind. And then there's Psychonauts, which obviously explores a lot of different mental disabilities. So I recommend checking that out. We're hoping to get someone on the podcast. No promises yet, but just it's a great learning opportunity. It's always good to try to learn more about someone who's outside of your perspective and gain some empathy there. So yeah, check out Xbox Wire for more.
LARRY HRYB: There's a great resource on there as well. Scroll down, it's called the family gaming database accessibility page, which has a-- I think it's a crowdsourced database of video games and how to basically make it better accessible and work with things like the adaptive controller and so forth. So a ton of resources over there. So thank you for reminding us about that, Rebecca. And like you said, we'll work on getting an interview in the near future.
REBECCA: For sure.
LARRY HRYB: All right.
REBECCA: All right, what else we got, Larry?
LARRY HRYB: Well, I think now that we've gone through the History of Don Bluth's Wikipedia page, I think we're all done, so.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: He's a big fan of the show.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, well, sure, OK. Well, we'll let everybody go. If you guys have anything else, feel free to raise your hand. Otherwise, we're going to let folks go. Again, Jeff, thanks for the interview this week. We'll be back next week--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Always.
LARRY HRYB: --with some more interviews, more gaming news. Rebecca, you around next week?
REBECCA: Yeah, I'm here. I'll report back on how my house is going.
LARRY HRYB: Yeah, we expect you to be in a nice pressed jacket with a name tag. And so as you can be a nice real estate agent, so we're looking forward to your progress there. So, and Jeff.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: All right.
LARRY HRYB: We'll see you later. Bye-bye, everybody.