TINA AMINI: Games in this podcast range from E to M.
- What is going on, everybody? Welcome back to the official Xbox podcast, the only podcast coming to you from inside Xbox. Your eyes doth not deceive you. I am back for a show, but before we get into it, obviously, if you're watching on YouTube, just know if you want to take us on the go, you can do that on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast services around the globe. I stole that from another show, but we won't talk about.
- Yes, you did.
- Before we get into all the things we're going to talk about, we're going to go to my cohost, the illustrious, the institution, Jeff "Rubensteen"-- Rubenstein, excuse me. How's it going?
- It's fine. You screwed up the first time when you said institution. That's--
- That's a good thing.
- Is it? It feels like, you know, the post office is an institution. I don't-- it's not--
- Well, you know, it's reliable. Well--
- Actually, maybe not. You know what? We're going to go with illustrious, Jeff. Jeff, how are you doing today?
- Yeah, I'm doing great. It's good to have you back. You're-- all right. So it's the first time you've been on the show from your new home here. The fact that I see sun coming in your window is infuriating. So, you know, how's it been going?
- Listen, it's been awesome, Jeff. Let me tell you. You're right. The sun glow-- like, I get to walk out for lunch breaks and just bask in the sun. It's 75. It's sunny. While I see-- but you know what? I do-- I keep Washington, Seattle, on my weather app just so I can-- it just reminds me, you know? It just gives me a little bit of a, ha, ha, ha, ha, it's raining back there, and-- which is not really nice.
Honestly, no, it's been great. Lots of things to explore down here in southern California. So I don't know. It's been really nice. And so I send my regards. But I will actually-- I was going to say, like, I'm on this week. We're doing this virtually. And we may be on-- in studio--
- Yeah, yeah. I mean, you're going to be up here up here in the-- water is life, by the way, so when you come up here, your skin will thank you. You'll be like--
- That's true.
- So much moisture. You're going to save-- I save thousands of a year on expensive moisturizers.
- But yeah, obviously, thank you for joining us, all of you out there listening and watching. We're an Xbox show, so we're going to talk about video games for a little bit. Yeah. So what have you been playing, though, Jeff?
- So over here, I've got-- it is weird not being in the studio. The studio-- the crew was busy, and they were like, yeah, you figure it out, so here we are. But we'll be back in the studio next week. So couple games came out that were very, very, very different on Game Pass last week. Actually, a lot of games came out on Game Pass last week.
We talked about this one, Rollerdrome, which-- let me just tell you. I did not know what this game was, and what I thought it was is not what it was. And I'm glad. I saw this-- I was like, oh, shooting and skating. This must be, like, some of multiplayer arena game. I don't know if I have room for that in my life, to be honest. And then-- you can look. It's just-- it's campaign. That's what it is. It's a single-player game of a sport in the future that visually-- it looks a lot like Sable. I don't know if you played sable last year.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, I loved that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Which, it's very different than Sable, but it has that cartoon-- it just has that visual style--
MALIK PRINCE: Hard to describe.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --with heavy lines. Yeah. If you played Sable, it looks like this. It does not have a soundtrack by Japanese Breakfast, but the music is actually really good in here as well, as is really quite a few elements of it. So runs super smooth. I mean, you've been playing this, too, I know, because we had talked about this.
But it kind of reminded me-- like, if Tony Hawk-- if you're playing Tony Hawk, but people were trying to kill you while you're playing Tony Hawk. And you're in these arenas, and you can basically fight back. And you're ultimately trying to, one, survive; two, not hit the microphone; and three, to actually score points.
So I've survived through these. I haven't-- I've never been super good at racking up big combos or anything like that. And my first thought was like, well, why would I even bother doing tricks at all? I'm just going to go through and shoot these people. Yeah, well, it turns out--
MALIK PRINCE: You need it for ammo.
- You do. So tell us about that.
- I-- this-- Jeff, let me tell you. Well, let me take a few steps back. All of you know that I play, like, one or two games, and Jeff's like, play a new game a week. And I agree with that. Nobody wants to hear you come on the show and talk about the same game over and over again.
But little did I know that we were going to-- Jeff and I were going to play the same game. I started it last night, and listen, if you are looking for a new game to play, I would highly suggest Rollerdrome because my journey with it-- I did the voiceover for This Week on Xbox last week. And so we were, like-- that was in the script. And then I watched the show. And I was like, I had no clue what it looked like. And then I was like, let me give it a shot.
And it is so dang cool. Like, you-- like Jeff mentioned, like, you're literally roller skating, which, by the way, roller skating, way underrated, by the way. I see people doing it all the time here in San Diego. And if I had that coordination--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: You can do that when it's dry. You don't want to skate through a puddle.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah, yeah, don't do that. But it is so cool. It takes you through this really in-depth tutorial where it shows you how to do tricks and how to rack up points and stuff like that. And you have to do tricks to get ammo. And you can dodge other people's attacks.
And it's got an interesting story. It's like this international rollerdrome federation who's putting on these-- the one scene has going into the locker room, and you open your locker, and literally, you have your roller skates, and you have a shotgun in your locker room. Like, this is the most ridiculous game ever, but I love it. I highly recommend it. It's easy to pick up and start playing. So give it a shot, and it's on Xbox Game Pass, so--
- It's on Game Pass. Give it a shot. This immediately hooked me, and because it's a campaign-- and I don't feel super compelled to do-- to S-rank everything. Be nice if I did better than a D-plus, but--
MALIK PRINCE: I got a D.
- --you know, I'm working on it. I'm learning. But when you string something together where you-- you're going towards someone, you jump, you unload into this person that's trying to hit you with a bat, and then you're out of ammo and you land and you grind for a bit and then you do a flip and then you've reloaded your ammo and then you hold down left trigger and you do slow motion, and you shoot a missile out of the air that is being launched at you and then take out a sniper and you're dodging-- like, you go into a flow state.
And I think great games, games with great mechanics-- going all the way back to Tetris or Pac-Man, even, like, you can go into a flow state. And you're like, OK, there's something here. I didn't-- I'm doing things I didn't think I was capable of. And I'm doing that in Rollerdrome. And I guess that's the highest compliment I can give it.
- Give it a shot if you're listening to this. And again, like, to your point on the flow, you can't mess up. Like, even if you're about to fall, you just roll through it. And so again, highly recommend it, on Xbox Game Pass. But what else have you been playing, Jeff? Any other cool--
- The complete opposite of this game.
- Which is called Spirit of the North, Enhanced Edition. So the-- we had a partner preview video that Tina, our typical cohost, she'll be back next week, worked on. And we're-- Spirit of the North 2 was revealed, if you remember, the cute fox game. And I was like, oh, I never played the original one, and the good folks at Game Pass-- they listened to everything that I-- it just turns out they're good at planning ahead. They're like, ah, people probably want to play the original, so they put the Enhanced Edition of the game into Game Pass.
And you're a fox going through like deep snow, theoretically far in the north-- getting Journey vibes. There was a significant amount of sliding on ice, which was very fun. But then it turns into a-- more of a puzzler later on, where you have these abilities where you're able to absorb energy from these flowers, and then you can put them into stones or other things like that that allow mechanics to move and to get further on, and you can go where you're going. Really hand talking here quite a bit right now, but--
- Hey, you're into it, man. You're passionate. That's passion, man.
- I really like the music in this game. And I will say, like, the-- play this game for more than 10 minutes because in the first 10 minutes of the game, like, I think I missed what I was supposed to be doing, and I was ready to shut it off, and then I was like, I'm just going to go back here one more time. And let me-- and then I figured out, oh, I walked right past the place I was supposed to go, and there was just a little cave or something. And then I played it for, like, 90 minutes straight.
And so, again, two very different games. Both are on Game Pass. That's what I love about it is I-- like, there's three or four games that just came out in the last week on Game Pass. Steamworld Build is another one. I think I talked about it last week, where it's like, I'm going to try it out, and this is a game I probably would not have turned my head, previously, but it's just sitting there staring at me. And I downloaded it, and I marked it as a favorite on my Xbox. And then of course, I'm going to play this, like, in between Alan Wake and everything else because it's--
MALIK PRINCE: It's so hard to keep up. It's so hard to keep up. And I'll do a little quick plug and show and tell because you mentioned--
- --you got there.
- --downloading the game, or you can use cloud gaming and just stream it if you want to give it a shot and try it. But I have to show off and flex a little bit, the new Steam Deck--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Steam Deck OLED, right?
- --OLED, of course. It's not showing up the greatest on camera. If you're listening, I'm showing off--
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: No, that's good.
- --it's the limited edition. Yes, I did spring for, like, just the color, the little pop of color and the 1 terabyte, but this is awesome as a Xbox Cloud Gaming device. So if any of the games that we've been talking about, you want to give a shot, you-- and you don't necessarily want to spend time downloading it or maybe you want to save a little bit of that bandwidth or that bandwidth cap, give it a shot, cloud gaming. You can also do that on the console. Just--
- That's what I do with Spirit of the North.
- I understand.
- I was like, well, let me just hit it, and within 10 seconds, I was in the title screen. So yeah.
- There you have it.
- Cool. And so we're going to move on. I'm going to talk a little bit about Halo because, of course, I've been playing Halo. But we got that a little bit further down. If you want to check out some new releases that are coming to Xbox, if you want to play any of the games we talked about, or games that just released on Xbox, you know where to go to check out the list, news.xbox.com, and we'll have that list for you.
We do have a few patches and updates for some of the games that you may be playing yourself, including, like I mentioned Halo Infinite. Jeff, I know you've been playing Halo Infinite. I have been playing, outside of last night, nothing but Halo Infinite. I'm still rocking that Halo 3 Refueled playlist, as well as a little bit of Slayer here and there. But we have the December mid-season update with the long-awaited Firefight King of the Hill update. I know so many people have been playing-- waiting for that, I should say, and a lot of the impressions are hitting. And it is available now. Jeff, how excited are you for that?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, like, we're-- no surprise, we don't record this the day it comes out. It actually came out, like, while we were starting to record. And so this is something-- I want to say I talked about maybe a month ago, not that you should remember everything I say, but I got to go visit 343 and got to play this in one of its final testing rounds.
And this is, for me, the most fun I've had with Halo Infinite since the first few months of launch, since season one, where it was just-- everything was clicking. You really get a feel for just how great this game controls. And maybe it's because it's a full PVE mode, and so I wasn't dying immediately. Not the worst player. I hold my own, but I felt a champ in Firefight King of the Hill. And if you've never played Firefight, it's a wave-based, again, player versus computer, PVE Player Versus Enemy-- enemy? Is that what it stands?
- Yeah, enemy. Or everyone. Everyone?
- Yeah. Maybe? Anyway--
- Let us know in the comments.
- --when you're playing, whether you matchmake, or you come in with a group, you're not playing against other humans. You are playing against the best that the bandits have to offer. And they're coming at you. And you're defending these hills, but you defend multiple of them.
There's a huge write-up over on Halo Waypoint. Let me tell you-- they thought of everything because it was-- Firefight goes back a ways. And Firefight King of the Hill-- it changes for a little bit. And they get into why they chose to do this particular mode. They got into why they chose the way that you respawn, as opposed to coming out of a pool, a team pool of lives to fail, and you can fail this. I didn't, but then again, probably it was only-- just playing on normal. I wasn't impressing anybody. But it gets into skulls. It gets into how you can customize the game.
They've really thought of everything. And to me, this is like that Friday night game where it's like, let's all get together, except it'll be-- well, today's Thursday, or-- except real today for us is Tuesday. We're going to be playing this tonight and getting everyone together. And I think it's going to be one of those games where you're going to have a good time playing the game, but also you'll be chatting with your friends about whatever it is. Of course, you can matchmake, and you can do all of that, but I'm just very excited for this, so get on it. Update now.
- 100%. Update's out now, like Jeff said. And again, also improvements to rank, forge updates, and just as 343 has been doing, amazingly, quality of life updates. And so the game-- 343--
- Healer tool as well.
MALIK PRINCE: What was that?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There's a healer tool that's neutral where you can throw it down, and it will repair--
MALIK PRINCE: Vehicles.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --anything.
MALIK PRINCE: Yeah.
- But it will repair enemies as well, so you've got to be really-- so if you just throw it in the middle of a battle, they could benefit from it, too. So--
- That's funny. I thought you I thought you said humor tool, and I was like, wow, what is that?
- Yeah, I could use--
- But healer.
- --a little bit of that. We could all-- we could all--
- Couldn't we all? Couldn't we all? But no, again, I think 343 is in their moment. And of course, we're-- you're like, oh, you work at Xbox. Of course you're saying that. No, I think Halo is as great as it's ever been right now, so be sure to check that out.
We also have an update from Sea of Thieves, the Safer Seas update, which allows-- which is basically a new branch, right, Jeff, of Sea of Thieves, allowing players to just jump in and just of get their bearings, something that is probably useful for me. I don't know if you've gotten a chance to check it out or even see the trailer?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, yeah, I did. The great video put up by the good folks at Rare-- it's about four minutes. It goes through all the details of what and why. I love the transparency with the players. So there's-- like you said, it is a different branch of the game, where the main difference is there's no PVP. It's called Safer Seas. Doesn't mean the seas are safe. There's still--
MALIK PRINCE: Safer.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --many things that can kill you out there, but what you don't have to worry about as you're completing a tall tale or you're performing different missions, is you're not going to have to worry about sails coming over the horizon of another player that is going to come in and steal all your stuff or sink your ship or whatever. And so for a lot of players, like, that sort of serendipity is what makes Sea of Thieves special, but I do-- and that, of course, still exists in the main game, which they're referring to now as High Seas.
But for people that-- and they have some good examples-- if you're just learning the game, well, yeah, this is a great opportunity to learn the game without worrying about that. If you're a parent playing with your kids and you just want to just have fun sailing-- and there is-- I will say, this game can be such a chill game, such a cozy game, when you're sailing and the weather is great and you're just hearing the waves, and it can be equally tumultuous when you're in a storm and under assault from all sorts of different directions and everything.
So this makes it just a little bit more peaceful in that respect for people who want that in their lives. So I'm glad that Rare listened to fans that do want this. There is, as a result of this pretty significantly reduced difficulty-- the rewards for certain things are adjusted in terms of how much gold you would get for completing different things, but looking at the comments in the YouTube video and even when this was announced, there's definitely people who have been waiting for this and who want this and are going to enjoy it. And that's what matters.
- I can tell you right now, Jeff, the people who are going to benefit the most from this are people who are in my-- who are playing with me because for the most part, all I do in Sea of Thieves-- I'm-- I help a lot. I just-- I patch the holes at the bottom of the ship. I pail the water out. So those are the kinds of things that I do. And so now having a mode where maybe we don't need to worry as much about doing those kinds of things, I can get a little bit better.
I like how you mentioned it's for people who are jumping in the game for the first time, but for people like me, who've been playing for years who still are not great at it, this is also a great update, so I'm excited to jump in.
And then let's shift gears, that's a terrible pun, to Forza Horizon 5, the winter-- I know it was a rough one. The Winter Wonderland update is out now. Tons of-- what I love that games are doing are really taking advantage of this season and the fact that a ton of people are going to be home playing and doing a really cool season-themed updates.
And so for this one, lots of car-specific updates, as well as a lot of other really cool things. And so you can obviously go to Forza.net to check out the full details of the update. And again, Forza Horizon 5 has just been a game that I just go back to so often, just because I think the team over at Playground are just so creative at keeping that game feeling fresh. And again, I just love the idea of being in Mexico at a music festival with really fast cars. And it seems like--
- I always get a bunch of wheelspin whenever I go back.
- Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Of course, get some new stuff. And so all of those updates, Halo Infinite, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 5-- all of those games have updates coming out or out now, so be sure to check it out. Other things going on in the video game industry-- we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that a trailer dropped yesterday for us that seems to broke the internet. So Grand Theft Auto VI-- so excited to see that game come out. I'm going to be doing everything I can to make sure that I survive through 2025, things like only crossing the street when the walk sign's on, anything that can take me out, I will not be doing between now and 2025, just so I can be alive for GTA VI, so I'm really excited for that.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah, definitely some Florida memories coming back there.
MALIK PRINCE: Oh, lots of them.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: I-- did they put Publix in the game? That's what I want to know.
MALIK PRINCE: Ooh.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: There was a lot-- there was a whole group of us in our work chat that lived in Florida, and they're like, yep, yep. Oh, yeah.
- THat's FLorida. That's Florida, 100%. So be sure to check out the trailer. It is currently out there breaking records. Right now, it's in a battle for the fastest-liked video of all time, so we'll see if it actually hits that.
And of course, if you're watching this on the day that we release this podcast, which is Thursday, December-- December-- what are we were releasing? 7, then it is the Game Awards. The Game Awards are tonight. And so we don't know what's won yet. If you're watching it after it's already aired, then you know. You're from the future.
But really excited to see, obviously, the premiere, see what games get honored. Again, I think this has been one of the greatest years, we've talked about this many times, in gaming history. And so, so many great games, and you will be able to enjoy a lot of those games that are nominated on Xbox Game Pass. I have a quick list that I'll run through. Forza Motorsport, Hi-Fi Rush, Starfield, of course, City Skylines on PC Game Pass, Cocoon, No Man's Sky, Dead Space, Jeff's favorite, Lies of Pi, Party Animals, and Sea of Stars.
And so there's so many games that are on Game Pass that are nominated. Congrats to all the games for just being nominated, and congrats even more to the winners coming out of tonight's show. Yeah.
- We'll talk about that next week because then we'll know things. Right now--
- We'll actually know things.
- --we don't. Yeah.
- That's right.
- One other bit of news I was just looking at is that hit, and we have it over on Xbox Wire, a game I got to play, a game at the Game Developers Conference, GDC, last March, April, whenever GDC is, called Botany Manor. It now has a release window coming out spring on Game Pass day one on Xbox Series X and S. Did you ever play The Witness?
MALIK PRINCE: Is that that puzzle game?
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Yeah. One of the best--
MALIK PRINCE: I don't play puzzle games.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Oh, it's one of the best--
MALIK PRINCE: I'm not smart enough.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: --puzzle games of all time.
MALIK PRINCE: [LAUGHS]
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: Very challenging, for sure. But really, really loved it, and I got a lot of Witness vibes on this. It's more about doing interesting things to get these one of a kind plants to grow. And so like, oh, this one needs to be exposed to a flash, and it was one of the things that I remember trying. And so you end up putting these things together for this old-timey camera to take a flash of this plant. And then it grows. And then it opens up a door. And then you're going through the next place.
Anyway, if-- I either had you at Witness, or you're like, plants? What?
- You had me at "botany," yeah.
- So-- but-- Botany Manor, definitely want to keep an eye on. We'll, I'm sure, be talking about it more between now and next spring.
- So, yeah, that's kind of like what we've been playing, some-- a little news. I think we have satisfied people's need for a game to play. There has to be something in there for you if you're looking for a new game, if your backlog, obviously, again, wasn't enough, as we've been saying almost every single week.
But I know we have a few interviews as Jeff takes a sip. He's, like, taking a sip, and I'm throwing to him. We have a few interviews that we want to kind of showcase, right, Jeff?
- Well, yeah. So we talked about big updates for Sea of Thieves and Halo Infinite. Also really, really big updates for Cyberpunk 2077 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, so we're going straight to the source. So we've got Monika Janowska from CDPR, CD Projekt Red, talking about the new 2.1 update, which looks super impressive, from our own resident expert on all things Cyberpunk, Tina Amini. And we were just talking a few minutes ago after she finished conversing with Monika-- there's actually going to be a little bit of a Spoiler Cast, not during this, but at the end of the show, where-- to talk about-- because this really wraps up the story. So stay tuned for that.
And then, also, then you got to speak with Ted Timmins, who's the senior creative director over at Raven Software. That is the studio that is developing Warzone.
MALIK PRINCE: That's right.
JEFF RUBENSTEIN: So obviously, Warzone, huge. I know you're a big BR fan. I'm very interested to hear what you and Ted had to say.
- That's right. Let's check it out. And we'll be right back after that with Free Code Friday, so stick around and check out these interviews.
It is a very exciting week as season one of Warzone is out, and here to talk all about it is the senior creative director of Warzone, Ted Timmins. Ted, how are you?
- Hey, Malik. Yeah, great to be here. Thank you for the invite.
- Oh, absolutely. I mean, I feel like there are few games that garner the excitement that Call of Duty does, and I think specifically Warzone people are really excited to jump in. And so I wanted to start a little bit with you. You know, we talked about senior creative director. What a title. Can you tell us a little bit about your history with Raven and just the COD universe in general?
- Yeah. That's a great question. Honestly, from my side, I joined in the second year of Warzone's life cycle, so it was nice for me to go from being a fan to being a part of the game. It's one of those, like, pinch yourself moments, where you get the phone call that you've got a job at somewhere like Raven on a brand the scale of Call of Duty. So yeah, huge privilege. It's a great honor today to represent the team and the team's hard work for the new year, the new season ahead of us. And just the excitement in the studio at the moment-- I'm actually in the office, and yeah, you can feel it just walking around, that buzz.
- And I mean, I'm sure you've seen it online. People have been super excited. I think we're going to get into a lot of the Warzone stuff. But I do want to say I love when we hear stories about fans working-- I feel like we have that in common. That happened with me at Xbox, just a huge fan of Xbox. And here we are living our dreams, Ted.
Now, before I make anyone else mad, we're going to jump right into Warzone because I know everyone wants to hear all about it. So season one of Warzone is out now as of this going live on the podcast, so can you tell us a little bit, and everyone out there who's ready to play, what they can expect when they jump in?
TED TIMMINS: The first thing they'll see when they drop in is the brand-new map, Urzikstan. We've been working on this map for, oof, like, at least 18 months now. The team have done a fantastic job. And what I love about the map is not only does it have its own identity, there's little parts of all the previous maps that we've built that you can just feel that newness mixed with nostalgia. Like, it's this hybridized, highly dense experience where, yeah, when you jump in for the first time, it's a discoverer's dream because no one's been in the map yet unless they've been playing Zombies. So we're excited to hear what people think about Urzikstan.
- One, again, the reaction has been amazing. And I kind of-- and everyone should go to news.xbox.com and check out the wire post, because in it, you mention that this is probably the best Warzone map ever. Can you tell us a little bit about what goes into designing a map for BR, something like Urzikstan? Like, what goes into that? Things like where are people going to drop-- I'm sure that's taken into consideration as you're creating the map. So we'd love to hear a little bit about that.
- Yeah, I mean, it's a bold claim, right, to say it's the best, and now we have to hear from our players as to whether we hit that. I think we're putting our stake in the ground because we're confident. At Call of Duty Next, we showed the map for the first time. The players that played-- I believe was around 250 players. They gave us really good feedback.
And to answer your question about how do we build these massive, huge scale maps, I think a lot of it goes down to the design intent of the map. So when we set out to create Urzikstan, one of our goals was to create the most densely packed map that we've ever had. And normally you think about bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger, but it gets to a point where it's just size. And we felt that instead of going for size and scale, it'd be interesting to go for a more densely packed map.
And then secondly, to the feeling of that denseness, we worked very closely with-- between the level designers and the game designers because we wanted to make sure that-- on the game design side, one of our core pillars this year is to facilitate improved movement. So then you think, OK, well, the map is where players move, so therefore, it has to go hand in hand with that new movement philosophy on the game design side.
So when you look at some of our new systems, when you think about the drivable train movement, whether you think about things like redeploy drones movement, whether you think about-- in fact, really, just all the wealth of mechanics, the new perks, like the list of things that impact movement between the world and the game design are massive, and again, the goal really being that there's a link that players feel like they were made together in unison.
- Yeah. I want to go back to the drivable train, because if anyone out there listening to the podcast or watching didn't know, I used to want to be a train driver when I was--
- Oh, like--
- --a little kid, and so now I get to live this out in the most ridiculous and over-the-top fashion. And we saw in the trailer the train running into another vehicle. And because players can drive it, like, that is something that we're going to see players-- like, how players interact with the train and use it to their advantage. I'm really excited about that.
Now, what-- do you have a favorite place? Again, people are going to be jumping in for the first time this week. What are some of your favorite spots to drop? Because I know deciding how to make the map such that people don't all drop in the same spot was really important for you all. So what are some of your favorite spots?
- Yeah, honestly, it's a good point. The train will be the hot drop. I am almost certain. And like you, I've got a real soft spot for the train. I think at the beginning of development, kind of had-- I became a bit of a meme internally because all I'd ever ask was, how's the train? How's the train? How's the train? Like, when I was living in the UK, I had a steam train running along the back of the garden, so I think it-- like, that-- it subliminally was absorbed.
And the team loved it they've done-- like, I've learned so much. I remember when we first started play testing with the drivable train, one of our designers said, oh, we should put a handbrake in the caboose. And I was like, what's a caboose? It's the rear carriage, so today I learned, right?
But yeah, like, just-- we've had a lot of fun with it. So I think that will be a real hot drop, the fact that you can go forward, backward, throw on the handbrake in the rear carriage. Then you have a base station, a UAV tower. Like, it's effectively a moving POI. And that's why, again, going back to the gameplay with the world, that seamless interaction.
But then honestly, my favorite drop point is actually the Zaravan city itself. I feel like mechanically, talking about movement, some of the things that the team have done where the city is very much under construction, and whenever you see these big cranes, just, like, 50 stories high or something, you can actually just use ascenders just to get to the top and almost organically then jump off to redeploy to wherever you want.
But equally, internally, whenever we do play tests, I've seen pop off power plant be very popular, the old town and low town area in the middle of the map. In the BR, you always want to be somewhere near the middle, so I expect that to be popular. And yeah, I think, really, there's a drop point for everyone.
- Yeah, I mean, I'm excited to go in, and again, new maps are always fun because you get to rediscover your new favorite place to drop. And so it will probably be the train for me, and I will probably not do as well.
But you know what? Speaking of not doing it as well, I do want to go into one way that Warzone really innervated when it came out a few years ago, which was this idea of fighting to get back in the game, and that being, of course, the gulag. Can you talk a little bit about some of what-- I'm going to spend all my time in the gulag, is why I'm asking. Can you talk a little bit about what players can expect when they jump into the gulag? Are there any new changes that people can expect when they're fighting their way back into the BR?
- Yeah, like you say, the gulag was a massive innovation story for Warzone, and it's one of our real unique selling points, to be honest, of-- when you think of the gulag, you just-- or even just second-chance mechanics, like, you can't not think about Warzone.
And when we got together as a team at the beginning of development, we felt that we'd learnt a lot about how the 1v1 experience was absolutely key to our players, but we still wanted to innovate and develop it. So we got together, and we kind of roundtabled and just said, oh, the public event system in the main-- like, core experience is fantastic, when you think of things like jail breaks and fire cells. They were heartbeat moments, as we call them, where it creates an emergent spike in your adrenaline and everything else. And then we thought, like, how can we bring this to the gulag?
And then the team did a breakout session, came back with a ton of cool ideas. So we've got a cash drop version, where there's a big stack of money in the middle of the gulag, so it's trying to pull you in to have an engagement. We've got one called Locked and Loaded, where you both have fully kitted weapons, full armor. And then we also have one called Go Again, which is if you lose your gulag, you'll just go literally back into another gulag and play someone else. So in that one, you can be a bit more aggressive. You can push a little harder. And then in season one reloaded, in the new year, we'll be bringing in the night vision gulag as well.
So we didn't stop there because when you think of the gulag, you can't not think about the overtime condition, so the-- where you can capture the flag to win. We felt that given that players have been capturing flags in the gulag for three years now, it was time for a change. So the new silo gulag has an ascender that will drop down around 10 seconds into the gulag match. And if you're able to get on the ascender and zip up-- and by the way, you can get shot at, or you can shoot down, you will be the victor of the gulag.
- So many different ways. And so does it rotate? Is it random which gulag version you get each time you go in?
- There's a percentage chance that-- it could just also be the normal gulag. Like, we don't want to lose that normal nature of the experience. But at the same time, we want to make sure that whether you're in your first gulag game or your 1,000th gulag game, there is interesting-- there's a fresh take, a fresh experience.
- I love it, keeping players on their toes. And I'm looking forward to when that night mode gulag comes out, because I do think that's going to be really awesome. But I do love-- like, people play different ways, and so I love the idea that going into the gulag, you have to really be well versed in all the different possibilities that the gulag may present.
Now, I want to talk a little bit more about some of the favorites, like from perks or other things inside Warzone, that are really going to change up the gameplay. What are some of the favorite perks that we are going to pop up in the gameplay that players can expect, stuff like that?
- Yeah. When we thought about perks, again, it's not just part of Warzone. It's part of Call of Duty. Like, it's an inherent part of the Call of Duty DNA. And when we went to Call of Duty Next, we had an opportunity to talk to some of our creators. And I remember this crowd of creators, like, cornered me, and they're like, why isn't Tempered a perk? Like, we love it, because it's like an armor satchel that you can equip in the game.
Came back, and spoke to the team and was like, do we think we could actually turn it into a perk? So yeah, that's a great example of listening to player feedback. We have Tempered in as an equippable perk. But then also, I think Resolute will be a popular perk. For anyone who's not aware of that perk, if you get shot at and you take damage, it will give you a movement speed increase, so it just-- it will help you get out of a tricky situation.
But if I have a soft spot for the train, I still also have a soft spot for some of our perks. And from my side, I really like Shrouded. For anyone who's not aware of Shrouded, that is a perk where effectively, when you get downed, you will drop a smoke grenade. So think of this is our version of Martyrdom, if anyone remembers like Call of Duties of yesteryear. There was a bit of a troll perk where if you got killed, you would drop a grenade behind. We liked the general direction of that perk, but we just felt a smoke grenade would really suit a big map experience.
And then I'm also excited about the return of Combat Scout, where-- it was in year three of Warzone. Got a lot of love, and also got a little hate on the side, so it's fun to bring back something with some changes. We've taken on that feedback from year three, and yeah, I think Combat Scout-- let's say the new version of Combat Scout will be a very popular one for players to equip.
- Oh, so awesome. Again, like, I've never been fast enough to do super well, but these different perks and all these other different gameplay-- and then, of course, like, working with your team has always been what I believe makes Warzone just such a dynamic experience. It's not just about being the first to shoot. It's also about all these other things that together make it such an amazing experience.
Now, I want to touch a little bit on multiplayer and how it interacts with Warzone. Can you talk a little bit about how that works?
TED TIMMINS: Yeah, so we have a great partnership with Sledgehammer. They're leading the multiplayer side of things this year. And again, we worked with them very closely in year three of Warzone, so we've got a great relationship with the studio, between studios.
From our side, when we sit down and start to plan out something like Warzone, it's really important that we have those great communication paths between both studios to make sure that we're aligned. And when we sat down and we-- again, as two studios agreed that we wanted to really focus on movement. We wanted to have a higher health experience. Multiplayer has the increased health this year to 150.
And it was awesome because to be that well aligned between teams just means that when we are working together on things that are shared, so things like weapons, it just means that there's a shared vision. Everyone's pointing in the same direction. And obviously, the hope there from my side is whether players play MP or whether they play Zombies, which is amazing, by the way, if you haven't played Zombies. Like, go play it. The season one content from Treyarch is banging. Technical term.
And then, obviously, on the Warzone side as well, we want the weapons to feel familiar. Like, you're going between different modes, and they all feel like they're your weapons. They're personal to you.
And then importantly, we're also saying to players, look, if you've been on this Modern Warfare journey with us, from Modern Warfare 2 going into Modern Warfare 3, all of your content will carry over. So if you've got operators, if you've got weapons, anything that you've purchased or earned or been rewarded, you can jump in, into Warzone or into multiplayer, into Zombies, and that content is there and ready to go. So it's obviously a new philosophy. We're excited about it. And yeah, just can't wait to see what players think of this new year.
- I mean, I love that. I think from a player's perspective, what's really important, as you mentioned, is making sure it does feel a cohesive experience across the various modes that people may play. But beyond that, I do-- I also love the reverence that you show for the commitments people have made in prior games and making sure those things carry over. And so even more reason and more to love the entire package that is going to be in Warzone season one.
Now, I do want to shift gears. One of the ways that you all are innovating, again, and one-- just one of the many ways, of course, is in the event space, and that's just new modes, new seasonal events. And I hear you have a new one coming up. I'll let you talk about the name because I just think it's so cool.
- Yeah. So I'll quickly touch on modes, actually, just because I think that would tee up the event. Again, going back to really listening to player feedback, all year long, we've heard our players say, we love battle royale. We love resurgence. And we love plunder. So at launch, all three of those core modes will be available. And that's our commitment.
And then we're also saying to our players that for the entirety of season one, so all the way into next year battle royale will be available at all squad sizes. Because sometimes we've rotated them. And again, we've just been listening and absorbing that feedback. So I think first of all, that's a really important stake that we've put in the ground. And so if you jump in during season one, you can always play your favorite mode at your favorite squad size.
But then to talk about the events, I'll first start talking about the public event side. So we had this idea, and it was actually inspired by an Infinity Ward mechanic from this year of Warzone, where a number of buy stations will fly into the map on drones and then be dropped. And one of our designers one day was like, we should call it Fly Buy. And obviously, the "buy" is effectively a pun. So who knew? Puns are now in Warzone.
And yeah, it's a great mechanic. Again, when you think about player feedback, you can't not think about players having requested more access to buy stations and things like that. So I love that this is a cross-studio public event. I love that this hits the heart of player feedback and player sentiment. I also love that our designers are amazing at creating puns.
MALIK PRINCE: I would be remiss if I did not try and get a little bit of a scoop out of you. What-- players are excited for what's happening right now in season one, but can you give us a little tease, a little, little tease, into what's coming later on in the season?
- Yeah, so season one reloaded-- it'll be the halfway point through the season. We're bringing back champions quest. So if anyone's not familiar with that, for this year of Warzone, we added it at the launch. And it's been one of our most well-received updates. And it now has a couple of new twists, which we'll let our players discover early in the new year.
But also, let's say that champions quest is designed for that high skill experience. We also think about the breadth, the other 99% of our players. So for those players, we're introducing the weapon case mechanic that some players may remember from Modern Warfare 2 as well as something that we have called covert exfil. Now, we're keeping a little lid on that for now. We'll let players know a little more on that in the new year. But just think of covert exfil as a cheeky way to win, let's say. We'll leave it at that. We'll leave it at that. We'll stay high level.
- I love it. I love it. I won't pry anymore. I won't-- I think you did just enough to get people excited for what's to come. Ted, this has been amazing. I think on behalf of all players, and COD players specifically, like, congratulations on-- and thanks for all you do. Warzone looks exciting, and I'm excited to jump into Urzikstan. Any last words for your Call of Duty fans and players out there that you want to leave them with?
- Yeah, just-- thank you for the opportunity. Thank you for this. Like, it's one of those, like, pinch me moments, right? Because you can't believe that we've been through the last 18 months of development. And here we are with people actually playing. But I'd love to extend a big thanks to the team. They've been amazing. Everything we said we wanted to do for this year of Warzone, we've achieved. I'd like to say thank you to our partner studios, everyone that's been involved, from Sledgehammer, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and then we've got Beenox working on Rebirth Island for next year. And we've got High Moon Studios working on Fortune's Keep. Like, it's going to just be a fantastic year ahead.
I always like to just end with just a thank you to our players. You know, whether you're a player who's been with us since 2020, whether you're a player that left for a little bit and you're dropping back to see what Urzikstan is like, or whether you're listening to this having never played Warzone or maybe even never played Call of Duty, and you're like, oh, man, like, I freaking love trains. I want to see what this train is all about-- then yeah, we'll see you in-game, and I'll likely be driving the train. So yeah, you'll see me there, too.
- All right, Ted, I think we're going to be fighting over the train. But this has been awesome. Again, season one is out now. We'll jump into Urzikstan. Thank you so much, Ted, for joining us. And we'll see you on the war zone.
- Hello, everyone. I'm Tina Amini, and I'm delighted to be joined by Monika Janowska here from CD Projekt Red, producer on Cyberpunk 2077, which is very exciting because the team just released 2.1 update this week so we get to dive into that with Monika. Monika, thank you so much for being here with us.
- Thank you for having me. It's a great pleasure.
- Yeah. I'm sure the team is in celebratory mode coming off of update after update. This one seems to be building off of the 2.0 update with a lot of new systems, so there's a lot to get through. First and foremost, I'd love to talk about the metro system, because that's something that people have been asking about for a while. We saw teases of it, inspirations from the original announcement trailer, and everybody's been like, what is that? Can we get that in the game? So now we're getting it in the game. So can you tell the audience about what the metro system is and how it actually functions in game?
- Absolutely. So yeah, just like you said, metro system is one of the features that has been really, really desired by the community, and it has been mentioned multiple times. And we were fully aware of it, although metro has not been part of our plans for a very long time.
However, with the 2.1 on the horizon, we revisited the plan. And we actually analyzed the whole scope of it. And we figured that it could be doable, so we decided to actually go for it. The metro-- or, well, the Night Cart, or NCART, which is the Night City Area Rapid Transit, is like our metro experience. We have 19 metro stations across Night City with five metro lines.
So basically, players can use it not only as a fast travel point right now, but also as a full-- just sightseeing, staring through the window, and admiring the city experience. Also, there is a lot of interactions with NPCs inside the metro. I've already seen something that players found out today, so I'm actually super surprised how fast it was. So great job, guys. I will not spoil what it was.
- I was going to ask, honestly.
- I'm not sure if you want to know, but it's actually a pretty cool Easter egg with Keanu. So yeah, it seems like people actually went on exploring in the metro, so it's actually great.
TINA AMINI: Yeah, I imagine so. And it's always surprising, and never not too surprising, that if there's something to be found, gamers will find it, especially if it's Keanu related. So very, very unsurprising there, very exciting. Can't wait to discover what that Easter egg is myself.
And there's a bunch of other stuff, also, in the update. One thing that stood out to me is there's tweaks to some boss fights. Obviously, the highlight there is with Adam Smasher. Seems like he's going to be stronger, more versatile, get the full access to his Sandevistan suit, which was something that people really gravitated towards more and more, especially as Cyberpunk Edgerunners became such a popular series on Netflix as well.
So how did the team think about making those tweaks, both, I imagine, for balance, just for the player experience, but also narratively, like, who Adam is. He's this big boss fight, very significant in the story. So I'm curious how the team approached that consideration for how you all tweaked him for 2.1.
- Yeah. So Adam is, as you said, pretty important character. And especially for people who watched Edgerunners, like, we basically always wanted to have Adam as this undefeated, unkillable machine, but not only durable and powerful, which he already is, but also fast.
- Yeah if anyone listening out there hasn't seen Edgerunners, highly recommend it. Incredible animated experience on Netflix. And I love-- I was watching your stream where you guys were talking about some of the updates coming. And I'd love to hear that he's going to be basically acting differently based on your character build. So there's a lot of reflection back on the player based on, are you a netrunner? Do you play solo? There's going to be different responses based on his ability to work around your strengths and weaknesses, I suppose. So that sounds very challenging, indeed, appropriately so.
And there's a ton of other updates as well. I'm going to just rattle through some of them, and then would love to hear-- what am I missing? What are the fun details out of these? One thing I'm really excited about is-- and maybe this sounds cheesy, but I'm really excited about the romantic partner hangouts. I love the character developments, and I spent a lot of time in my playthrough making sure that everyone, as much as possible, loved me, including, of course, Johnny Silverhand.
But I love the idea that there's going to be these repeatable, from what I understand, unlimited events, where you can hang out with your partner in any of these apartments. So is there anything fun or that you could tease about what are these conversations like, what are the hangouts like? In the mainline game, you had all these opportunities to go on quests with them in a way that really develops your relationship, but this sounds like just a lot of opportunity to get to know them even better and just have more dialogue together as well.
MONIKA JANOWSKA: Yeah, definitely. Well, I will not go into too much of details, but yeah. Just like you said, they are repeatable events, unlimited. And so you can do them at any time, with one condition, that the romance story or the romance storyline with given character needs to be concluded. So once it's concluded, you can basically visit any of your apartments and basically hang out with your love interest and do some-- just do some chill, relaxing activities in apartment, a lot of dialogues and so on.
So I've seen and I've heard that a lot of people are very excited about it. Some of my close friends are very into specific characters. I will not disclose the details, but--
- --I can already tell how excited some players will be to spend more time with their beloved characters. And they can actually repeat that. So it's actually very, very adorable. [LAUGHS]
- I clearly think so, too. It's such a great role-playing game element that you get to spend time in. And you spend a lot of time with these characters. You get so invested in who you are as the player character, your plight in the game, and how they intersect with it. So I'm personally very excited about that one.
But there's tons more still. There's going to be-- for racing, there's replayable races, which is great news because there's also new vehicles, including Johnny's Porsche 9-1-1. Or 9-11? I'm not great with car names. However, I love using the significant vehicles. I've actually only been using Jackie's motorcycle, because it's Jackie, and you got to have that connection with him. So I'm glad-- I'm glad that Johnny is going to get something in my garage as well that'll definitely get put to good use.
But are there any big highlights that I've missed from 2.1? I know it's massive, of course, and there's the full patch notes out there as well for people to dig into. And I love reading patch notes, honestly. There's always some fun stuff in there, including these big updates. But anything big that I missed from 2.1?
- All right. So regarding vehicles and chases, since you actually touched this topic. Well, first of all, very good choice with the motorcycle, I need to admit.
- Thank you. [LAUGHS] It runs so smooth, too, and it's Jackie. I have to keep up the connection. [LAUGHS]
- Of course. Yeah, we've added five more motorcycles. The-- version of Porsche, just like you mentioned. Regarding the car chases-- the car races, sorry, because there's two topics, actually. So after finishing the Beast in Nyquist, there will be additional icons on the map with a racing flag, so players will be able to do additional races to earn some additional eddies and also discounts on the auto fixer website to get some extra stuff. So this is about races.
Also, the AI in races has been improved, enhanced, so it's a little bit more competitive, so the experience is also much more fun. Then we have car chases. Basically, whenever we had to get the car and deliver it to a certain point, usually, there was not many obstacles on the way. But right now, it's not going to be that easy. Like, we can expect some obstacles on the way, some enemies trying to stop us. So it also makes it much more interesting.
Motorcycles actually got a big update regarding their movement. You can lean on the motorcycle. You can do wheelie. You can do backflip. There's like-- it basically makes it much more dynamic. So I'm actually super excited to see some of the videos of what players will come up with regarding crazy acrobatics midair and stuff like that.
Also, you can currently throw knives and axes while on motorcycles. So I'm really looking forward to some crazy combos, just jumping midair, doing a flip, throwing knife.
- Yeah. It's the best for open world games. I can't wait to see people landing on unexpected rooftops and crashing into things and all the montage-- the inevitable montages. And great for me, too, because I'm the motorcycle driver, so the more wheelies and tricks I can do, the better.
But this is all building off of the 2.0 update that rebuilt so many systems in Cyberpunk 2077. And it really-- it felt like it really redefined the open world nature and the combat in the game. It felt like it made it fuller and more aggressive and more rewardingly complex, especially when you're navigating the perks. I've actually-- in playing the 2.0 update and also the "Phantom Liberty" DLC, I really gravitated towards becoming more of a netrunner just because of how things were rearranged. Tons of new weapons, vehicle combat, new movements, more aggressive police. It's just-- it was an endless update.
So I'm curious-- it's been three years since the game released. We got this 2.0 update. We have 2.1 now. You have the Ultimate Edition that combines the "Phantom Liberty" and Cyberpunk 2077 games together. So how has the team been thinking about the effective evolution of this game over the last three years? And why did the team want to make what are these fairly big changes to?
- Yeah, as you said, it's been three years.
The time the time flies. But, yeah, the-- after release of the base game, we knew that there is still a lot of work ahead of us, that-- a lot of things that we want to change, improve. And basically, we focus on supporting the game, checking, basically, players' feedback, players' comments, players' playthroughs and so on, like seeing what people think about the game. And basically, we wanted to still improve on that while-- like, part of the team was working on the patches to still improve iteratively on the game, while part of the team was already, after the release, working on preparing "Phantom Liberty," which we wanted to actually prove that we can create an incredible experience.
So we decided to try to combine those, not only improving the base game after the release, but also, to the point of releasing "Phantom Liberty," we also did the big overhaul of 2.0, which introduced many, many changes regarding many systems, as you said, the gameplay adjustments like traffic system, AI adjustments, and so on and so on. There has been a lot, like new weapons, perks, and-- there's tons of gameplay-related things.
If anyone's interested, go to the patch notes. There's a list of all of those. [LAUGHS]
- Quite a long list, yes.
- It would take quite a while if you would go through the list right now. So yeah.
- But as you said, the whole team really, really cares about Cyberpunk. And we definitely wanted to put multiple iterations to make this experience as good as possible. And the patch 1.5 and 1.6 has brought much more players to the game, especially after Edgerunners. A lot of people got interested in Cyberpunk. And we have seen this. A lot of people got actually introduced to Cyberpunk, and they started to love it. And the whole team got really uplifted-- like really, really got this passion. And we wanted to make it as best as possible, so we still wanted to use all this time that we had to introduce as many improvements as possible, so not only patches. As I said, 1.5 1.6 were very good patches, as well as 2.0. So it was an iterative process of checking players' feedback.
Obviously, we wanted to introduce as much as possible. Not everything is always doable, as we know, but we always appreciate our players, especially whenever they are sharing their whole passion, heart, and their opinions with crazy ideas, what would be cool and so on.
So yeah, we couldn't introduce everything, but we are doing our best to, as you said, basically make it the best possible experience.
- Yeah, well, that's great to hear. I'm glad that it's been an uplifting journey for the developers, for the team. I think it's well-earned, and it was incredible timing to have 2.0 and "Phantom Liberty"-- you know, "Phantom Liberty" really-- I was absolutely going to play that game, so-- or the DLC, the expansion, for the game. So it was exciting to be able to experience the 2.0 update alongside that. I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that feel the same as well. So massive congrats to the team. I'm sure everyone is very excited to hear everything coming new to the 2.1 update and to also rein in the celebrations for the Ultimate Edition releasing this week as well.
Where can our audience go to find out more about both the update and the Ultimate Edition, before I let you go?
- Definitely-- well, definitely X, or former Twitter, if you guys are using-- [LAUGHS] we're posting all of our links there. Also, on Cyberpunk.net. Everything is in there, all of the updates, patch notes, videos, on our YouTube channel. So there are multiple ways to check all of those information. But Cyberpunk.net definitely is a place that should collect all of them. Plus, our various social media, of course.
- Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us, and also, congratulations on your recent eight-year anniversary at CD Projekt Red. That's an incredible achievement, so congratulations to you, too.
- All right. Thanks to Monika and Tina talking about Cyberpunk-- the new Cyberpunk 2077 update, as well as Ted from Raven Software talking about what's coming to Warzone. Great interviews. Excited. Lots of stuff to play. But that's kind of been our show. But of course, before we leave, we got to give you a little something, something.
So Jeff, I hear we have a new Free Code Friday. Is that--
- Yeah, well, we've been-- yeah. So just so you know how this works, Free Code Friday is back. We've done it for the last few weeks. We asked the question here, and what happens is on Friday at noon Pacific, that's 3:00 PM Eastern or-- you can find out what time that is wherever it is that you live. We will put out a tweet on twitter.com/XboxWire. That is @XboxWire. And at that point, you put the answer to this question. We will then leave that up for two hours. We have a random selection tool. And to anyone who is following and answers a question-- answers the question, then we will-- if they're randomly selected, send them over a code.
And for this week, to tie it in with this week, we have codes for Cyberpunk. The game has come so far. There is so much to do now. I'm very excited to get back to my "Phantom Liberty" playthrough. There's been so much to play. So if you haven't started, this is your chance.
So the question is-- well, we're actually going to be hopping on a plane and heading over to the Game Awards themselves here in a little bit, and so I'm just wondering, what's your favorite game of the year? Not-- let's not talk best game. That's fighting words because--
- Of course.
- --best game is-- can you name a best game? I don't know.
- That's subjective.
- You can have a favorite game of the year. So I'm going to-- what is your favorite game of the year? I've talked about it a bunch. It's very tough. This is a very tough year to pick. But for me, it's Lies of Pi. What about you, Malik?
- [SIGHS] I was hoping that we would ask this question without saying ours, because I don't know. It's been such a tough year. But if I had-- if someone was, like--
- You have to. You have to pick.
- I know. If someone's like, I'm going to take your Xbox away if you don't answer this question, which it seems like Jeff is hinting towards, I would probably-- I'm going to go Starfield. Listen, I have not completed the game yet, OK? But the amount of joy that I've had from exploring and just roaming around space and landing on new planets and even seeing the flag that's on our moon-- like, that's just the coolest thing ever, the Easter eggs. I've just had a great time.
- How did I no do that?
- Oh, there's some stuff that I've been looking for. And so--
- I went to the moon very early on in my playthrough. Like, too-- it was literally one of the very first things I did. And I landed near a base where I was highly underleveled.
- And I just got the heck out of there. And I never went back. And--
- That'll do it.
- Well, here's a tip. If anyone listening, and this is obviously not a spoiler. I would never do that. And I also haven't finished the game. However-- which is weird, since my game of the year. But there is a book that you have to find that will allow you to find that spot. And so-- and there's a lot of different things on Earth. If you find certain things around the planet or around in space, you can visit certain things on Earth, like the Empire State Building is still on our planet, somehow. It survived, which is interesting.
- I landed in Philly, and I just wanted to see if-- around there. Like, I draw on the map. And I was like, this is Philly. And I was like-- the Lombardi Trophy from the Super Bowl in 2019 was not just sitting there.
- Oh, darn.
- But, you know.
- We got to-- maybe in an update. Maybe an update.
- Yeah. Work on that. But, all right. So we talked about our favorite games of the year. We want to know yours. Again, Friday. It's called Free Code Friday. Head on over to twitter.com/XboxWire. When you see the tweet at noon Pacific, 3:00 Eastern, I'll help you out here, 8:00 PM GMT, 9:00 PM Central European time, I don't know any other ones, then just answer your question. No wrong answers.
- That's right.
- Don't care what you pick.
- But you have to be following because we will DM the winners, and we select those randomly. You have about a two-hour window there. Enjoy your Free Code Friday. Cyberpunk 2077 is coming to five lucky winners that answered that question.
- That's right.
- Speaking of Cyberpunk, we've got a little more to talk about here, don't we, as we leave, right? Do you want to tee this up?
- Oh, do we? What do we have to talk-- I actually don't know what we have to talk about. What--
- OK, so Tina-- I'll tee you up, then. Tina, in her conversations with Monika Janowska from CDPR, actually wanted to-- there were no spoilers, obviously, in the part that was there, but she wanted to talk about some of those spoilers. So if you haven't beaten everything that there is to see and do in Cyberpunk 2077, so long. Great to see you. We'll see you next week. But if you do, if you want to hear that and you want to hear a Spoiler Cast conversation, Tina and Monika are going to take it here as soon as you wrap up here, Malik.
- Ah. Well, you know what? I won't keep the folks waiting any longer. Thank you so much for watching the official Xbox podcast. You know what to do. Hit the follow button, subscribe button, basically whatever button lets when we post a new show, which we do every single week. It's been an honor and privilege joining you and having-- just having you be a part of this Xbox family of ours. And so we will catch you all next week back in studio, but until then, happy gaming, and be safe. Catch you later.
- And I've got one big last question for you. There might be some spoilers in here, so for anyone listening, if you have not finished the game and you don't know what maybe the ending experience might be, you can feel free to skip ahead to the next segment. But I have been so interested in how the team has really thought about, especially with "Phantom Liberty," how the team thought about bringing the new endings from "Phantom Liberty" to live alongside all the other options that the players have with the ending variations and the main line of the game.
When I had heard about the announcement of "Phantom Liberty," it was-- that was the first thing that I was immediately curious about. How does that impact V's fate and your struggle throughout the game? You know, it feels a lot of Cyberpunk-- the world of Cyberpunk, V and V's fate is just doomed and devastating. And I love how that integrates with the universe. Because Night City is not exactly a super friendly place where everybody's living happily. There's a lot of disparity there. And so V is just yet another person kind of trying to struggle on, obviously in a very unique way from anyone else.
But yeah. I'm curious just about how the team was thinking about V and the endings and how "Phantom Liberty" expands on that and what the narrative touch points are there.
- Yeah, for sure. So just like you said, spoilers. So--
- Spoilers. [LAUGHS]
- So if I don't want to hear, then--
- You have been warned. Yeah. Just like you said, Night City is a rough environment. Like, at the end of the day, Cyberpunk's story is one about both death and survival. V's main dividing force is to save themselves from the inevitable demise as her-- well, her or his, their mind gets consumed by the relic.
So in this world, unlike to ours, money, influence, and power are the means of survival. So basically, the "Phantom Liberty" explores another facet of it, with V looking for hope in-- and political power in some of the darkest corners of the world. So Songbird is basically a character, on the other hand, very similar in many ways to V, that we cross on our path. And in many ways, she can also act as a mirror to V, embodying the question, what's the price that we want to pay for survival? And what happens when it becomes too high?
Not sure if you want to talk about the other endings that--
- I think you put it in a very spoiler-free way, actually, even though we've given all the warnings. And I love what you said about Songbird being a mirror for V because there were so many times when I was playing-- and not just in "Phantom Liberty" when we're introduced to Songbird, but in Cyberpunk 2077 overall, there are just so many times where I had to pause and just look away from the game and think, like, what do I want to do here? Because there's no real good choices. There's always a sacrifice to be made.
And I loved when-- when I finished Cyberpunk 2077, I immediately went online to see what did everybody else choose to do and why. And everyone had their own reasons. And it wasn't necessarily the right or wrong reason. It was very personal, and people had very different interpretations. And I think that's really an incredible thing to come out of a game and a game story and feel still confused, but in a good way as well.
And that's just a really nice balance that "Phantom Liberty" also continued because there were still-- I just have a lot of regret in terms of how I played the game, but I'm also not sure that had I gone back and done things differently, because I'm absolutely a save scrum, I will necessarily think that that was the better choice, either. I still feel like at the end there are always these sacrifices you have to make, so I love how you frame that with Songbird being that mirror, too.
- Yeah, but there's also the new endings, and-- added together with "Phantom Liberty." And similar to the Witcher 3, Hearts of Stone endings. I don't know if you guys played or not. They are conclusion-- like, the new endings in Cyberpunk-- they are conclusion to the story, but not necessarily to the-- V's story, even though they have a huge impact on our character. It was always important for us in "Phantom Liberty" to not only fit the rest of the game, but also make it compelling, fully realized, the story by itself. And we feel we managed to do that with the new ending of the main story.
On the other hand, to stay true with themselves of with Johnny and V's ending, their journey, however in-- [SIGHS] like, it echoes the story of "Phantom Liberty." However, regarding the new ending, once again, it ponders the price that needs to be paid for-- like, to survive.
So it's not-- it's neither good or bad ending, in my opinion, although I have heard multiple different comments about it. Some people were happy with it. Some people were not. So the opinions are very split.
But another answer is, like-- or rather question, literally, what is the price that people are willing to survive. So the perfect ending might not exist, but it's still a survival, after all. So yeah. As you said--
- Very fitting.
- [LAUGHS] Yes, it's the perfect variations on the endings for the Cyberpunk 2077 world, a lot of interesting debate and conversation around that. But Monika, that's all the time we have. Thank you so much for joining.