|Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson||Host||Xbox Live|
|Jeff Rubenstein||Co-Host||Xbox Live|
|Rebecca Gordius||Co-Host||Xbox Live|
|Kazuki Hosokawa||Judgment Producer||15:39|
|Sondre Barkli||Product Manager, Bang & Olufsen, Beoplay Portal Wireless Gaming Headphones||29:29|
|47:20||Second Extinction Game Director||47:20|
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Larry: Hi, it's Larry Hryb, Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the Xbox Podcast, and it is showtime, gang, which means we don't have one. We don't have two. We have three voices in the mix here. Rebecca, you're back. I didn't know if you were going to come back after last week, but I'm so excited to see you back.
Rebecca: I guess it wasn't just a guest thing, after all.
Larry: No, I mean, when you signed up for this and we talked about having you on the show, you were like, "Well, I'm going to do a couple. We'll see it how it goes." You gave yourself this huge escape hatch, in case Jeff and I just didn't come across well.
Rebecca: I mean, I just wanted to see how people received me, how I felt, if it felt too awkward, but yeah, it's cool. I've known you guys for years, and it's nice to hang out. It gives me, like I said, an excuse to play more games, so let's do it.
Larry: Well, according to some of the responses I got on Twitter ... And I'm sure you read the YouTube responses ... everybody loved having you in here, so it's like hooray.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's awesome.
Jeff: Jason and [Amon 00:00:57] signed off. That's the key thing.
Rebecca: Yeah, sorry, bud.
Jeff: Don't say that. If you can make room for three squares, you can make room for four.
Larry: That's right.
Jeff: That's how it works.
Rebecca: I don't know.
Larry: But no, it's great to [crosstalk 00:01:09]
Rebecca: Trio has a nice ring to it.
Larry: It's great to have you back, and it's good to see everybody here. And by the way, thank you for everybody that swung by YouTube and dropped a bunch of nice comments for welcoming Rebecca to the show.
One of the questions we had, Jeff and Rebecca, was the rebranding of the podcast. It's the Xbox Podcast. I started the podcast 15 years ago. I think, Rebecca, were you still at Syracuse then?
Rebecca: Yes, I was.
Larry: Anyway, when I started the podcast, it was Major Nelson's Podcast. And over the past year, we've migrated. It's the Xbox Podcast, because it's more officially official. And so I wanted to kind of get it up there. So anyway, you'll see that name flowing through on Spotify and Apple Music. And Jeff, did you see it yet, because you and I were talking about it. I made those changes.
Jeff: Yeah, I got a search for it. You actually made the change, internally, I feel like, almost a year ago. I've gotten an iPad. I kind of like to have it up here for chat and stuff. And I went to go add it on. I typed in Xbox podcast, and I go the Xbox Two Podcast, which is good. That's Jez and Rand Al Thor, great show. It's not this one. And then I looked, and it was under Major Nelson. So hopefully, for other folks, who are wondering, hey, is there an Xbox Podcast? It's this one. We're sorry. It's as good as this.
Larry: I'm searching right now.
Jeff: We're trying.
Larry: And it is popping up here, so if it's not popping up, let me know.
Jeff: Okay, good.
Larry: But anyway, we're getting there. So here we are. What are you guys playing? Let's start with Rebecca. You were just telling us, before we started recording, that you've tried out a couple games.
Rebecca: Yeah, so after last week's episode, I really wanted to try Rain on Your Parade. It looked pretty hilarious, and my best friend came over. And she's not a gamer, but I figured the controls were simple enough that she'd be able to hop into it. She was a little bit nervous, because the last game I had her hop into was Overcooked. And I think, we all know that that game can get a little heated.
Jeff: Well, that's perfect.
Rebecca: Yeah, probably not the best one for a new gamer.
Jeff: You're still friends. That's good.
Rebecca: Yes. But we had a really good time. We took turns. It was fun. And then, on my own, I tried out Call of the Sea. I was inspired to kind of poke around and see what's new on Game Pass. And the graphics are interesting. It's kind of like a low-res Moana meets BioShock. And it's a mystery game, mysteries and puzzles. And so far, it's been pretty cool, so I would recommend it. And it was free on Game Pass.
Larry: I had the developer on. She was on a few months ago, right, Jeff? Probably three or four moths ago.
Larry: So anyway, yeah, it's a beautiful game, and as you said, both titles you mentioned are on Game Pass. I want to talk about Rain on Your Parade, though, because that's one that, to be clear, it's not a two-player game. You guys were just handing off the controller.
Larry: And that's the other thing. You said your friend doesn't play games a lot, which we all have friends that don't play games. It is a little daunting, when you hand them this.
Rebecca: The controller, yeah.
Larry: It's sort of like, look at all the buttons and the sticks and the pad and the triggers. And how do I even hold this thing? A lot of people are probably laughing and be going, "Oh, of course, I know how to hold the controller." But yeah, try it sometime. Just hand this to somebody.
Rebecca: It's like, "What do I do with this?" Yeah.
Larry: It's like, "I have no idea. What's this foreign object?" It can be a little [crosstalk 00:04:20]
Jeff: Well, that's why I like to play-
Rebecca: Yeah, it's [crosstalk 00:04:22]
Larry: I forget where are we now. Go ahead, Jeff.
Jeff: Yeah, well, there's the Jackbox Party Pack, where the controls are your phone. And so there's a number of games like that, the Jeopardy game. I like Jeopardy. What can I say? Although, LaVar Burton needs to be the host. I know. They've tried out a bunch of people. I think this week was-
Rebecca: Aaron Rogers can go, seriously.
Jeff: ... Anderson Cooper. And he was one of the better ones. So no, LaVar Burton, I stand for him to be the permanent host. There seems to be a movement on Twitter, so hopefully. Anyway, there is a Jeopardy ... It's called Play Jeopardy, but you actually use your phone and voice chat. And you buzz in that way. And it sort of deem this device, the controller, for some people that are not going to be into it. The other way to do it is just do what I did. My kids was four. I was like, "Here's the controller. See you in a couple of hours. You'll figure it out."
Rebecca: Get used to it. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: I mean, it took a while.
Rebecca: Hey, the earlier the better. Yeah.
Jeff: Well, actually, Larry, you're about that time, where it's time for the-
Larry: Baby's first controller.
Jeff: ... the littlest major, yeah, to-
Rebecca: Larry Junior.
Jeff: ... to maybe start playing some stuff. Yes, exactly.
Larry: Yeah, we'll see that. We're almost at that point.
Larry: It's close.
Rebecca: Just think.
Jeff: It works.
Larry: You know what? You're absolutely right. I mean, Minecraft is ... And I've described this. I think I've described this on previous shows. It is the playground of this generation, in terms of where they go and play and build. It's a virtual sandbox. When we all grew up, it was let's go play on the junglegym and learn how to be nice and play and get thrown off. Anyway, that's what [crosstalk 00:05:55]
Jeff: Yeah, and maybe the throwing off part. Here's the thing, though.
Rebecca: Now, it's like, don't throw TNT at my house, now. That's the equivalent.
Jeff: Well, no, it's also, hey, get off my server, right? It's also that, too. There's moral dilemmas, like I was on the server, and I found a diamond sword. Do I give it back? Do I keep it? Do I bury the evidence? And then also, yesterday, I went upstairs, whenever I was done with work and my kid was done with school, and she was playing Minecraft. And she was sorting through the achievement list, and she's trying to get all the achievements. And I was like, "You're getting a raise in your allowance."
Rebecca: Oh, you must be so proud.
Jeff: I was so proud. You have no idea. Also, Minecraft has added a ton of achievements. There's a number of them, like punch a tree. I've gotten it on my Switch. I got it on Windows 10. I got it Xbox twice. I got it on a number of different places, but there's a ton of new ones that involve all of the new things that have been added in Minecraft. Oh, now I forget. What's the super high, the best armor in the game now? It's beyond diamond armor. Anyway, you use the ancient debris. This will come back to me. Anyway, there's so many new things. Wait, what's this?
Rebecca: Oh wait, no. I can't remember. Keep going.
Larry: [crosstalk 00:07:04] straighten this out. Go ahead.
Jeff: So if you've been playing for a long time, at one point, you could 1K, just buy the things that existed in the game six, seven, eight years ago and then now, all of the new things that have been added to the game. And it's just amazing. There's a whole bunch that involve honey and bees. There's doing stuff with shulker boxes. I don't know. It's amazing how much is added to that game every six months to a year. I like the achievements added.
Larry: And there's more coming. And there's more coming. That's the coolest part is this game, it feels like it's never finished. It's never feature complete.
Rebecca: Yeah, we've always said, "There's never going to be a Minecraft 2." They don't there to be. We're just going to keep updating this one.
Larry: What's up with this one? Anyway, so you've had a busy playing week then there, right, Rebecca? I mean, you played those two. Have you played anything else?
Rebecca: Yeah, I've also tried Tell Me Why. I never really played it before, but now that I'm playing it, I mean I loved The Walking Dead, the Telltale Walking Dead, and so it kind of feels similar. So yeah, I'm doing a lot of story games lately.
Larry: Well, we've got some interviews coming up, later in the show. We've got three interviews today. One of the ones, that Jeff did, is for Second Extinction, which sounds like we may need to play that game.
Jeff: Yeah, it's a three player co-op game. It's basically shoot all the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs suck. Kill them all. And the game actually came out, as we were doing the interview, and I was downloading it. And afterwards, I fired it up, and while it's a preview game, it's in Xbox Game Pass. It's got achievements. It looks super polished. Game preview games can be in any number of states, but this one, you'll want to jump in and try this out. So I think the three of us should do it, seems super approachable. If you've played any shooter, the controls are going to feel comfortable. But my favorite part is when I play shooters now, I want to be able to ping. And when I can't ping, I get really frustrated, because Apex has completely spoiled me, and this has a ping button, the same place, right bumper. And I can be like, go there. There's dinosaur here, whatever it might be.
Larry: So did you play a round? Did you play with NPCs, because I remember, in the interview, you said don't play alone.
Jeff: I did the tutorial. Yeah, apparently, this game will kick your ass if you go alone, but I loaded up the tutorial in a five minute period I had, just to see what it was like and what it felt like. And it's slick, and it's running at 4K60 on my Series X.
Rebecca: Yeah, let's check it out this weekend.
Jeff: So next week, at this time, I'm all about it. I'm all about it.
Larry: I'm going to have to take over there, so what else are you playing, Jeff?
Jeff: Yeah, so well, another interview that we're going to have is for Judgment, so you know I'm a Yakuza fanboy. I would like to say I'm a Yakuza influencer, but that's just really aspirational more than anything. So this is a spinoff of the Yakuza series, but it's way more detective-y. And so in most of the games, you're Kiryu, who's this stoic bad-ass, who can, oh, there's only 100 people there? Yeah, I can punch my through that. And he does.
This person, Yagami, much more of a normal person, who can also jump off walls and kick you in the head, I mean, so maybe not super normal. But he'll be like, wow, there's a lot of people there. I should try something else. I should sneak in the window. Or I should be a little smarter. But I guess, if I had to sum it up, it's like LA Noire meets Japan. It's like LA Noire Japan.
Rebecca: Tokyo Noire.
Jeff: and so instead of driving around in the 40s and shooting ... Tokyo Noire. There you go, perfect ... there's still melee and stuff like that, but you're using modern tools like drones to spy, like look, oh, I wonder if they're in this building. And I don't know. I think it's really cool. You're interviewing people at times. You're showing them evidence. I'm learning about the penal system and the judicial system in Jap, through this, so I love it. I'm totally absorbed and highly recommend you check that out. We'll have an interview with the game's producer soon. So I won't go too much further into that.
Larry: [crosstalk 00:11:26] oh, I'm sorry, no, the producer's Hosokawa san.
Jeff: Yes, exactly, Kazuki Hosokawa, so very good interviews this week. So when we were at last week's show, I was like, oh, I'm going to beat Dragon Quest today. I was 80 hours into Dragon Quest. And that night, I rolled credits, and I was like, "Yeah, I beat it."
Larry: Nice for you.
Jeff: "I've wanted to play this game, amazing game." And it said, oh, save, do you want to save, after the credits rolled. And I was like okay. And then it went to the title screen. And I was like, well, why did it do that, right? Why would it save?
Larry: Why would it do that, Jeffrey?
Jeff: So I loaded it back up, and the story just picks up and keeps going. So the credits are merely a speed bump.
Rebecca: Oh, wow.
Jeff: And yeah, so you could walk away and say, "I beat the game." I did not beat the game. I'm 20 hours past that.
Larry: Is it like when you watch the movies or a Netflix thing and 30 minutes in, they decide the roll the credits and now, Netflix presents. I'm like, what am I doing here?
Jeff: This is more like in a Marvel movie, when there's the end credits scene, but imagine if the end credits scene was almost as long as the movie itself. And so here's the thing. I'll give full credit to Square Enix, the team that built Dragon Quest 11. I'm now 100 hours in, and I'm not necessarily ready for this game to end. I'm never like, okay, let's wrap it up now. It just keeps throwing interesting stuff at you. And it's just so perfectly put together. It's charming, and the voice acting is fun. And I don't know. Kudos to them. It's really hard to make a 100 hour game engaging the whole time, and you don't want to be done with it.
But if you like old school RPGs, press A to attack, or spells or any of that stuff, this is the platonic ideal of a JRPG, in my mind, so it's really cool, very much enjoying it.
Larry: Excellent. Let me see.
Jeff: And outside of that, we're just still playing Outriders, running that every couple of nights.
Larry: We haven't played Apex in a while.
Jeff: Do you play Apex, Rebecca? I don't remember.
Speaker 4: Oh my God.
Rebecca: I did it, when it-
Speaker 4: Isabella, do you remember that?
Larry: What's going on over there, Jeffrey?
Jeff: I have a pre-teen in my house, and something good or bad may have happened. So I didn't realize that came over the mic. Yes. Loud and clear, five by five, as they say. Anyway, I'm sorry. Rebecca, do you play Apex?
Rebecca: I tried it for the first couple of weeks when it came out, and then I was part of that steep drop-off, initially. But I'm open to getting back into it.
Larry: Jeff and I played a lot of it. I mean, let's take a look here. This is what I'm playing right now, still doing CPs. I'm at this point in DOOM Eternal. I think I broke-
Jeff: You're still playing it.
Larry: I think I broke the game.
Jeff: What do you mean? What? How?
Larry: I was in this area where I was really low on health, really low on ammo, and I'm like, well, let me just backtrack. And I backtracked all the way through the level. I found some ammo, just two shotgun shells and went all the way back. And now, all the enemies are gone, and I can't progress, so I don't know what to do. So I'm like, I got to roll [crosstalk 00:14:23]
Jeff: Call Pete Hinds. You know a guy. Yeah.
Larry: I'm going to have roll back to a different save, so I'm still playing that, a little MLB: The Show. Jeff, you and I need to get back into Take Two, but I wanted to bring up the Game Pass app. And oh yeah, here it is. This is Second Extinction, so I'm going to start-
Jeff: A svelte eight gigabyte download. Actually, so I play with the Wire team a lot, with Will and Mike, and look, a lot of us have caps. If you're living on the West Coast, and you have the download caps. And he's like, it's the end of April. I'm almost done. I was like, it's only eight gigs. You can squeeze this in. Just don't stream Lord of the Rings in 8K, extended edition.
Larry: For the 100th time.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Larry: There's no reason to watch The Office, again.
Jeff: You'll be fine. You won't go over. So yeah, so I think we'll be doing that.
Rebecca: You agree to disagree there.
Jeff: I appreciate a small download.
Larry: Anyway, those are really what I've been playing this week. We should probably roll into the interviews, because we got a lot to cover in this show, Jeff. First, we're going to talk to ... Jeff had a chance to talk about Judgment. You heard him talk a little bit about that. Then I'm going to bring up the center. We're going to talk with Sondre Barkli about Bang & Olufsen, the Beoplay, which are these little guys, Jeff and I talked about a couple weeks ago.
Jeff: I want them.
Larry: We'll have to get you a pair of those. And then Second Extinction, so what do you say we roll into those now?
Jeff: Xbox is now home to every mainline Yakuza game, from Yakuza Zero, all the way up through Like a Dragon. And if you're like me, you've been blazing through this series, over the course of the last year and change. And well, might be hungry for more, and you might be wondering what's next.
So what's next is a little familiar and different. It's called Judgment, and I am very pleased to welcome its producer Kazuki Hosokawa, coming to us all the way from Japan. Thanks for joining us.
Translator: Thanks for having me, Jeff.
Jeff: So glad to have you here. So Hosokawa San, you've played a large role in many of the Yakuza titles, directing Yakuza Zero and Yakuza Five, having roles in a lot of the other ones, so what do you think about the reception of the Yakuza series, since it's come over to Xbox, over the past year or so?
Translator: So we've always been releasing the Yakuza series titles on Sony hardware, and we had heard a lot of voices from fans, Xbox users, saying, "We'd really like to place this game on a different platform." And since we've heard those voices, we really wanted to answer the fans' voices and demands. And we feel that now that we've released the title for Xbox, we're really being welcome, and fans are really glad that the Yakuza series has come to the Xbox platform. And we're really happy to be able to provide that happiness and excitement to fans.
Jeff: I can tell you, you've made a lot of fans in the last year. And I am very much one of them. So let's talk about Judgment. These games are often very character driven. And we have a new protagonist, new to those of us who hadn't played Judgment before and are used to Kiryu or Ichiban Kasuga. Let's talk about Takayuki Yagami.
He seems, well, first of all, a lot different than Kiryu or Kasuga. He's actually very cool. So talk about him and sort of what motivates him.
Translator: So the idea for Takayuki Yagami really started when we had originally been working for so long with Kiryu, who was the main character of the Yakuza series. This Judgment, when it originally came out, domestically, it came out right after Yakuza 6. And so we had been looking for a way to kind of create a character that was almost a polar opposite, completely different to Kiryu. Whereas Kiryu is a very manly man, and he's kind of over the top and maybe stoic, with Yagami, we wanted to create a character that was kind of ... He wasn't as heated. He's cooler and more cynical and maybe a little bit more stylish.
And that's where the idea for this character really originated. And then, we were able to welcome Kimura, Takuya Kimura, who is a very well-known celebrity, in Japan. We were able to bring him on as the character Yagami. And so considering his public image, as a celebrity and kind of combining that with the personality of Yagami, we were able to kind of create the final version, this full version, of the character.
Jeff: So I'm playing in Japanese, with English subtitles. And I know a lot of fans of the series, that is their preference, especially since, that's pretty much your only option for most of the mainline Yakuza games. But I've noticed, there is an English language option, with Judgment, and I hear it's pretty good. And I actually played Yakuza: Like a Dragon in English, and I was very impressed by the performances there.
Do you think as this series has picked up heat in the US and it continues, that you're going to continue to offer an English language voiceover for future games?
Translator: So we don't have any solid future plans for exactly is going to be available, voice work wise for future Yakuza titles. But we did hear how everybody really enjoyed the English language versions of both Judgment and Yakuza 7 or Like a Dragon. And so hearing that sort of feedback, we really felt that this is a good thing that people enjoy. And it kind of helps people to better understand the series, on a level that maybe they weren't able to, with just subtitles. So it's definitely an option that we would like to continue to consider, for including in future titles, as well.
Jeff: Very cool. It's great to have the option. I can tell you that I sit there, and I think about the choice for quite a while, because they're both really good. I would love to talk a little bit more about the characters and talking about Tak and really all of the Yakuza protagonists. I find it interesting that in these RGG titles, the protagonists tend to be above age 40. And I think that's interesting. So many characters in so many games I'm playing, another JRPG right now, Dragon Quest, and I love it, the character is, I don't know, 17. I don't have anything in common with this character.
I feel like I have a lot in common, maybe not the organized crime, but I have a lot in common with the characters in the Yakuza games, in terms of where I'm at in my life. So I'm just curious what drew the team to older characters than we see in a lot of other games.
Translator: So there's two parts to the answer. The first is that I feel like there's a lot of gamers out there now that are older. There's a wider range of audiences that are playing the game. And so there's a lot of people in their 30s and 40s playing games. And we really feel like it would be great for them to be able to see themselves reflected in a game, as one of the main characters. So that's the first part of it.
The second is that RGG Studio, all the games that we make, we really want to make sure there's a dramatic story to it. There's a depth to the story. And when we put these stories together and think of all these characters that appear in it, the team behind it, making them, we're a bunch of older guys, you can say. So it's easier for us to put ourselves in our characters' shoes and think about oh, well, how will they think in this situation, how will they act, and start to put the story together and build upon our own perspectives and experiences.
And so I think that's part of what has created these older characters in our games.
Jeff: Yeah, I definitely appreciate that, as one of those gamers getting up there in years. Now, I wish I had the hair that these characters had. I wish I was in as good of shape, but it's still so cool to see that. So we're talking a lot about the characters. And characters are so important to the Yakuza games and to Judgment, but I feel like the city is a character, as well, Kamurocho. So I think it's interesting, the choices that are made in the presentation of this game, compared to the Yakuza games.
Judgment, I feel like the camera oftentimes floats up, and you see the city from above a lot more. Even the camera that follows Yagami, it's much closer. It makes the city feel a lot bigger. So I would love for you to talk about sort of the stylist choices you've made with Judgment, to really differentiate it from the Yakuza series.
Translator: So Yagami, as a character, he's not from Kamurocho. But he experienced some mishaps in his past, and now he's working as a private detective there. And in a sense, like you mentioned, Kamurocho is a very important character in this title. Yagami is able to survive, because he is in Kamurocho. He's able to live because of this place. And you'll find out more about that once you really dive into the game and the story. But the depiction of Kamurocho was really important to us, to try to make it feel like you're really actually in the city, and you're living and that Kamurocho itself is a live. And there's a lot of different things to see there, so we actually did pay a lot of attention to how we portray the scenes. And I think that's maybe something that you notice there.
And the other thing is that we also paid a lot of attention to the color grading, since Judgment is a suspense title and so kind of a thriller, so it's a little bit different from the Yakuza series, that fans might be familiar with. So we adjusted the color a little bit there, to kind of depict that and really show that the Kamurocho that you see through Kiryu Kazuma's eyes and the Kamurocho that you see through Takayuki Yagami's eyes, these two different characters, they're actually very different views, even though it's the same place.
Jeff: Yeah, that very much jumped out at me, because I feel like I've played through many of the Yakuza's, the games. I know every corner of Kamurocho, but it definitely feels different in Judgment. And that's one of the reasons to check it out.
Another thing that feels different is just how smooth it plays. And it's worth calling out that Judgment Remastered is a next-gen only title. You play it on Xbox Series X or S. So can you talk about what the team's learned about next-gen consoles ... This is of course, the second game to appear on Xbox Series X and S, after Like a Dragon ... and how you're sort of squeezing more out of the game and getting more performance, now that you've had another game ... This is you're second game ... on the next-gen system.
Translator: So in creating for next-gen machines, we really felt that first, the resolution and the frame rate were really just completely different. And we really felt, through developing this, that it has such a big impact on how you experience the game, when these things are so much smoother. It's just almost kind of an instinctual thing. You just kind of feel the difference, as you're playing it. And that was a big learning experience for us, that we realize these things.
And another thing is that concerning loading time, which has become really so much more shorter or even non-existence, thanks to these new machines. For originally, when games first came out, loading times were not a thing. They did not exist in games. And over the last decade or 20, 30 years, when disc based games became the norm, loading times became just a natural part of games. It was just always part of that experience.
But with the evolution of hardware, we really think it's amazing that now, we can take these loading times away and really help the player to focus and not take them out of the world of the game, when they're experiencing it. And so it's really great, and we really love these new enhancements.
Jeff: Very cool. I know we're all enjoying it, and you said, it's about bringing Kamurocho to life. And I can tell you, it gets better with every game, and it makes me want to go to Japan, which of course, we can't do right now but hopefully soon. So I want to ask you one last thing and an Xbox fan who's new to the Yakuza series and very new to Judgment, I want to keep them coming. I want them to be able to keep playing these games.
And I've noticed a countdown, which has me irrationally excited, but there's a countdown on the RGG site. Can you tell us anything about that?
Translator: So all I can say, for now, is that I think we were able to prepare something that people who enjoy our studio's games, as well as people who might be interested in trying one of our games, would definitely be excited to find out about. So please look forward to it.
Jeff: You know we will. I'll be keeping an eye out. I'm sure we'll be talking about it on the next Xbox Podcast, but this has been great. Thank you so much for joining us, Kazuki Hosokawa, the producer of Judgment. Judgment's out now, Xbox Series X. Series S is 39.99. If you've been enjoying these Yakuza games for the last year or so, highly recommend you give this a shot. It's a very different take, as you've seen, as you've heard. And it's well worth your time. Thank you so much for joining us.
Translator: Thank you.
Larry: As everybody on the show knows, I am a huge audio nerd, so I am really excited to talk about the Beoplay portals, from Bang & Olufsen, and joining me on the line here is Sondre Barkli. He is the Global Product Manager at Bang & Olufsen. Sondre, welcome, I'm so excited to talk to you.
Sondre: Thank you for having me, Larry. I'm looking forward to having this chat.
Larry: Let's talk about these guys. I mean, we announced these just about a month ago, the Beoplay portals. And these are gaming and all-purpose headsets. I want to talk a little bit before we get going, about your company, Bang & Olufsen, because this is a company that has been around for a long time. And it's got an amazing history. Tell us a little bit, if you can, the history of Bang & Olufsen.
Sondre: Absolutely. I mean, as you say, it is a company that's been alive for a while. It all started 95 years ago, in a little town in Denmark, called Struer, when a guy called Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, two guys, decided to get into the industry. And they had this vision to really redefine the audio industry. And they started off with radio transistors. And the vision has always been to sort of change the way people see, feel, and hear music.
And well, that's get them going for 95 years, and here we are trying to make it a [inaudible 00:30:51]
Larry: Yeah, I mean, I've looked at Bang & Olufsen, and it's almost been the premium brand. And it's been like, oh, I've always wanted to get Bang & Olufsen speakers. And all of the gear that you make is so good. But you decided to get into the gaming business with this amazing headset. Tell us about that journey and what brought you to the gaming headset and how you guys are kind of approaching it.
Sondre: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it didn't happen overnight. This is something we've been working on or looking into for, I would say, the last four or five years almost, sort of started out in a very neutral, organic way. We did user sessions with sort of the people that we consider our target audience in Asia and a bit in Europe and also in the US. And then we started seeing this trend that we had, career professionals, people that are typically B&O customers. And we sort of looked into they used to do after work to relax, unwind, or when they were traveling and so on.
And there was a quite big trend that we saw. Gaming is I mean, something that these people see as essential part of their life, to unwind and relax. And for us, I mean, it probably sounds funny when you're sort of coming from Xbox and a brand that's been alive for so long, but in our industry, that was sort of okay, interesting. This is something we need to investigate further.
And the journey sort of started from there. It wasn't super easy to get started, at first, when we sort of stepped into the boardroom and said, "Hey, guys, we're going to do gaming now," but one after one, we sort of got it overturned. And now, I can tell you, sort of for the last year or so, when we announced the partnership, together with Xbox, and people have seen how big this is, I mean, the excitement is just huge. And we're really excited to get started on this journey.
Larry: Now, usually, when I talk about hardware, I bring out the white gloves, because that brings up the Beoplay Portals. And I have a set of them here. These are amazing headphones in some of the design cues that you've done. Tell us about what you've done to bring the Bang & Olufsen spirit to game audio.
Sondre: Yeah, definitely, and it kind of goes back to the start, when I said, we started talking to these people and seeing that they really wanted to use their headphones for gaming. And what most of them did was sort of they needed to own two pairs of headphones, or even more, to sort of for it to fit all the needs or whatever they did throughout the day.
So we looked at it, and we said, "Hey, there's this audience that have grown up and see gaming as an essential part of their life, but even though there's a lot of good hardware out there, maybe some of that hardware hasn't really grown up with these people and is living up to the needs or wants or their lifestyle of today."
So that's where we started out, and from there on, we wanted to sort of see if we could change the mold a bit, of what a traditional gaming headset looks like. So if you ask anybody on the street today, a young kid or old woman, can you describe a gaming headset, I think more or less, all of them will describe the same product.
And we wanted to sort of see if we could challenge that a bit and bring the Bang & Olufsen design ethos, our aesthetics, our craftsmanship but also our sound language, into a product that really spoke to these type of customers. And that's what you see here on the screen now, [inaudible 00:34:09] with the Portal.
Larry: Yeah, and you've provided a bunch of different slides over here that we're going to kind of tick through, the Portal. Here's the side. I mean, it is a very attractive set of headphones. And you guys have done some interesting ... They come in a few different colors. Let's talk about the colors, because you've got the white there, that we just showed, like my gloves. You've got this. And then you've also got this amazing ... Let me see if can pull it up ... this amazing blue. Let's talk about that.
Sondre: Definitely. The navy color is one that has created a lot of excitement. It was sort of introduced as a third color, in the range, but well, since we introduced the colors, we decided to announce them all at the same time. And we've seen a lot of hype around this navy blue one. Especially, I think, what makes it pop a lot is that navy color on the leather, combined with the brass gold tone on the aluminum and that shade, that really plays well together.
So we're looking forward to bringing that out there. And I think, that headphone is probably one of the ones that highlights the most. What they tried to do, the designers, with this headset, which is I think they've achieved really well is they wanted to create something that adapts to the environment that you're in.
So when you're in sort of out of about, in daylight, or in an office situation, like I am right now, or at home, from your home office, it looks quite neutral. It looks sort of toned down, minimalistic, in a way. But once you get it into sort of a moody lighting, whether that's sort an environment that is a bit more digital, if we can use those words, the headphone really adapts. And you'll see that from the marketing images and the marketing videos, that the headset really almost looks like two different products, depending on what lighting or what setting it's in.
Larry: Yeah, I also want to point out, I mean, we're going to talk about the audio in a second, because certainly, that's the most important thing. They look good. Sure, that's one thing, but everyone wants to know, how do they sound? And I have to tell you something. As somebody who has tried all of the headsets, that I think Xbox has ever come out with, these are at the top. I mean, the audio quality is phenomenal. You've got them on there, right now. I've got my in-ears, so I can't really, for this interview, but you have them on.
Sondre: And you sound great.
Larry: Thank you. But there's also a lot going on here, because what's interesting to me is they kind of have a foot in both sides. They have a foot in the mobile world, and they have a foot in the gaming world. And you guys handle that with the app so beautifully. There's an app that you can download for your mobile phone and kind of tweak everything. Tell us a little bit about that, and I'll see if I can bring up the images for you.
Sondre: Yeah, sure, if not, I could bring up my phone, as well, to show it. But I think, in essence, this was something that we knew from the start, I mean, back to the duality or the needs of the end-users, we knew that they wanted a headset they could use for their everyday stuff, whether that was traveling, commuting, or just in an office situation, listening to music.
But they also wanted a product that was suitable for when they wanted to game. We also see the world of gaming changing a lot, right? It used to be very stationary. It might still be, for some, but over the next decade or so, I think, with the Xbox, xCloud, and so on, gaming is something that's becoming more and more interactive and out and about. So it really speaks to where we see the market going and the needs of the customers.
And we wanted to sort of get that into the app, as well. So when you're sort of on a regular Bluetooth connection, on your phone, you have the traditional B&O, we call that the standard interface, where you have these traditional listening modes and so on. But as soon as you connect to your Xbox, you go into this really dark gaming mode, which just changes the whole feeling of the phone.
There you have sort of full accessibility, to some specific EQ tunings. You can adjust your sliders and really sort of tweak your product to your needs you can update to get sort of the latest features and so on. So it really speaks to the situation that you're in and allows you to sort of have everything you need at your fingertips, because people always have their phone with them these days. It's not really something you forget anymore at home.
So yeah, it really made sense to use the phone as a hub for you to sort of have everything at your fingertip and control your whole sound setup.
Larry: Yeah, a few weeks ago, when I showed these on this very podcast, I don't have the video with me, but I showed the fact that the app is up. And then, when you click the button to connect to your console, it automatically connects, because again, it uses Xbox Wireless, so it's connecting directly. You're not connecting or putting any wires into the controller. It's connecting right to the console, which gives you a high-quality, low-latency.
But the moment you do that, as you're looking at the app, you're right. It flips to the gaming mode, which I just flashed up there when you were talking about it. It's pretty amazing, because you see all of your different options, your listening mode. And you see some here. You can EQ the way you want, but you've got some presets in there, gaming FPS, RBG, so forth.
But the other thing that I want to point out, also, is of course, you've got full control over game chat and party chat or game audio and party chat. But the other thing is they also have noise canceling, which is amazing to use when you're gaming, because everything else just kind of drops away and melts away. And it feels so great, so I want to thank you for that. And then again, you can kind of see them here, and I'm doing a terrible job, but you also have these controls on the bottom, which help you, if you have your phone but just a quick little ... to kind of tweak your things, as you're playing the game, right?
Sondre: Yeah, very easy. I mean, very intuitive, I would say. It's quick to learn, right? They're almost mirrored, so you have two sliders, one on each side. And then you have one button for on/off Bluetooth connect and the other one for connect/disconnect to your Xbox. So we tried to simplify it a bit. You also have double-tap to mute/unmute on both sides, so that's mirrored. And we wanted to make it intuitive.
Larry: It's interesting you say that, because I noticed that. I was like, I wonder if this is different. But then I was reading in the documentation, that wait a minute. This is the same, because that's something you do all the time. You want to do it very quickly, and you don't want to have to think of which side, so you guys are like, make it both sides.
Sondre: Exactly I think that's one thing we've seen. I mean, that shouldn't matter whether you're right or left-handed or whatever, what you prefer, what's your setup. We're going to make it easy for you and no matter what, to really sort of interact with the product. And yeah, it just needs to be easy and intuitive when you're in sort of a stressful situation. So we decided to simplify it down a bit.
Larry: And let's be clear, when you say stressful, it's when you're playing a game, you're in the final level of a game or you're about to win the game and maybe your partner, your spouse, comes in the door or child, and that's stressful. You've got to mute, because you don't want your teammates to hear your conversations there, so it's really helpful and again, having the noise cancellation, as well, so that you don't hear them, but it's also such a lovely feature. And those are all, again, you guys provide such amazing tweaking and ability, both here on the device, in terms of balancing but also on the app, because the app is really, as you said earlier, as we were talking about, the app is kind of the star, in a lot of ways, because it unlocks so many cool many things that you can do, right?
Sondre: Yeah, definitely, and that's also what we hope to keep on developing, because as I said, your phone, I don't think is going to go away, in the next couple of years, at least. So it really gives you the opportunity, to when you have the app at hand, to really do your adjustments and really optimize the product's performance to your needs. And we know that, whether you're a gamer or not, people have individual preferences. And being able to offer them sort of full flexibility when it comes to these things is really something we strive to do.
Larry: I know we announced it last month, and they're available now, if I recall correctly. So it's a great device, and I got to tell you, a lot of places I've been looking, Sondre, they've been sold out. And I'm like, good for you guys. A lot of people seem to be really receiving these well. And again, they're not for everybody. They are a premium product, so if you're interested in a premium product Bang & Olufsen has you covered. If you're not, there's a lot of other options out there for you. But you are getting an amazing experience with Band & Olufsen, both with the app and the headphones. And again, it uses the Xbox Wireless, so there's not wires. And I mean, I can turn my console off or turn it on by using my headset. That's a neat feature, as well, isn't it?
Sondre: Exactly, and to your point, I mean, it might be a product for everyone, but it is about sort of reaching a specific market. And we, at least when we looked at the target audience, also when we met the first time, with Matt and Alex, in Cologne, at Gamescon. We just sat down. It was an instant match between the two brands, because we just saw the same target audience. We saw the need out there. There's a great hardware market there already, with a lot of great products for every need. But we can always expand on that, and everybody has different preferences, so it was great for us to be able to partner up on this one and really bring something new and unique to the market.
Larry: And I'm enjoying it. And one of the things I want to talk about, though, before I let you go is that you've got this concept on here, because if you notice, there's nothing sticking out. There's this concept called the Virtual Boom. Tell us a little bit about what that is and how it works.
Sondre: Yeah, so traditionally, I'm sure, as you know, gaming headsets have sort of a physical boom arm, which is typically one microphone that's placed in front of your mouth. And most brands sort of sold that in a different way. It's usually one microphone. And it works, but I think, if you also have sort of a gamer or really anybody sort of, if you could, would you take it away? A lot of people would say, "Yes, if you could offer me the same performance, we would." And we took that challenge in our design and engineering team. We have some really good partners working with microphones, with NC, and so on. So we decided, let's hook into this.
Let's develop a concept which we chose to call the Virtual Boom Arm, because we think that the performance should be on-par with what you can expect from a boom arm. And instead of having this physical object in front of you, that you have to adjust and sometimes attach or whatnot, we have a total of six microphones on the product, in reality, eight, because some of them are dual-use, that is being utilized vocally NC and for the speech. So it's what I'm using right now, so hopefully, you can hear me well. And it really just offers you a lot more flexibility, in terms of when you bring the headphones with you, you don't have something you need to detach or hide. And it's just really a concept that we, at least, believe, seeing at the focus groups and the target audience that we have really resonated with their needs and the desire of having a headset that fits in a lot of different environments and situations.
Larry: Yeah, and the other thing I want to point out, there's a couple of things. There's a couple of connectors on here, and I'm going to kind of show them, if I can. You can kind of see the USB-C there, at the top, which is great to have, USB-C. Now, right next to that is an audio adapter, so if you want to plug the headphones into your computer, if your mobile phone, if it still has an audio input/output, you can use that. So there's also that flexibility, as well, so this thing has a ton ... I mean, as you said, it's got Bluetooth. It's got Xbox Wireless. This is like, with all due respect to the Danish, it's a Swiss army knife of audio headphones.
Sondre: I guess you could say so, yeah, but we're also very focused on delivering on some certain specifics. And I think, specifically, you mentioned sound, and it's great to hear, with your background, with Insound, that you appreciate them and both for gaming but also for listening to music and also in terms of comfort and design. So although it has a wide range of usage areas and can cover a lot of bases, I think there such specifics that it really sticks out on. And that's great to see that, at least the feedback so far and market has been focused on, as well.
Larry: Well, Sondre, I want to thank you for your time today, and thank you. I know you were probably part of the team that was convincing the board of Bang & Olufsen that hey, might want to get into gaming. So welcome to the gaming space. Welcome to Xbox. We're so excited to have you joining us on this journey here, the Beoplay. The Beoplay Portal is an amazing headset that's designed for life. I mean, whether you're gaming, whether you're out and about on your mobile, this thing is something that can go with you many, many places. And you will get your return on investment pretty quickly, because it will quickly become your only set of headphones you need in your life. So Sondre, thanks so much for your time today, and I look forward to having you on again in the future, if you want to come talk about more Bang & Olufsen products.
Sondre: Absolutely. I think I said it on the unboxing video, and I'm going to say it again. Hopefully, for us at least, this is just the beginning, so we look forward to seeing everybody's reaction, getting all the feedback from the community. And yeah, I look forward to being on again.
Speaker 8: Peggy 16. Now this kid's got some real muscle.
Jeff: I grew up in the age of Jurassic Park, the old one. And when I got home, I was taking down raptors and games like Dino Crisis and Turok. So it's been a long time, I would say, very long time, since I was scared of dinosaurs. But the team at Systemic Reaction is aiming to bring back that old Jurassic fear with Second Extinction. It's a three player co-op PVE shooter. It's out now, via Game Pass, and it's in game preview on Windows 10 and on console. And here to tell us more about it is the Second Extinction game director, Simon Vickers, joining us from Sweden. Simon, thanks so much for taking time.
Simon: Hey, no worries. Good to talk to you.
Jeff: Good to talk to you to, so tell me, how was it again that dinosaurs have come to rule the Earth? Does it have something to do with the mailman from Seinfeld stealing eggs again, or what's going on here?
Simon: That is a deep reference there. I like it. No, at the moment, we're not giving too much away. All we know is that dinosaurs have returned, taking people completely by surprise, as you would imagine. And humanity has had to flee to the stars, living aboard these orbiting space stations and then recouping their losses, gathering their forces. And yeah, it's to you and two of your friends to drop down to Earth and come about a second extinction.
Jeff: All right. So Second Extinction was revealed to Xbox, to audiences, last summer, for Xbox and PC, but this game preview, this is not the first alpha and in rough shape or anything like that. You've been honing it through a number of early access play tests, through last fall. I believe we're on the fourth iteration now. So how's it coming along? And for folks that jump in this week, what should then expect?
Simon: It's been going well, I feel. So as you say, we are a little bit further along than what you'd expect just an alpha to be. We kind of fairly quickly and earlier on found out what it took to make shooting dinosaurs in the face fun and just kind of honing that through [inaudible 00:49:56] reduction. The kind of early access kind of period, preview period, it's very much kind of just honing down more community-based stuff, so bringing in new content, delivering it to people, getting that in an interesting shape, and bringing together our kind of community method, and we call the war efforts, getting people involved as quickly as possible. Yeah.
Jeff: And I'm going to want to ask you a little bit more about that war effort in a minute, but let's backup. Let's say, me and my two co-hosts, Larry and Rebecca, we drop in for the first time, as we are likely to do, by the time this airs. What do we expect? What's the gameplay loop, if you will, or what do you experience?
Simon: Yeah, absolutely, so we want you to get into the game and the action, as kind of as quickly as smoothly as possible. So it'll be a case of you party up, as you would do it anyway else, picking your load up, picking your favorite player, picking your weapon and equipment, things like that, before you, yeah, get dropped straight down to the Earth's surface. When you're there, depending on which game mode you've chosen, whether it be missions, which are kind of like scripted, big-scale events that you can go through or expedition mode, which is our much more kind of freeform, choose your own objective kind of thing going on.
You will just be faced with hordes of bloodthirsty dinosaurs, which you murder in languid spectacular ways before extracting, where you get that final kind of big hold out moment, where you're holding off waves of enemies. And then once you've done that, you kind of take the spoils of war, upgrade your weapons and then go back for more and kind of increase your difficulties, just keep doing it.
Jeff: So what are my chances, if I'm running solo, my friends aren't around? How's that going to work? Is it going to work?
Simon: You're going to have a tough time. We're very much a co-op focused game and kind of making sure that that was our kind of core experience that we focused our efforts on. We're a small team, so we had to kind of pick our battles on that front. So we just wanted to put everything we can into that experience. So yes, that means if you're going solo, you will have a hard time. That expedition mode that I talked about beforehand, where you can kind of choose the length of your play-throughs, you can choose the difficulty of your objectives, and how many of them you will do in a single session will very much be there and available, if you're kind of waiting for your friends to join you or you just kind of feel like a small kind of session, just to kind of get those last few materials, to raid things. So there's still stuff you can do but very much, the core of the game and want you to be doing is playing with your friends and having a great time.
Jeff: And that's a great reason. The barrier is lowered with the game being available on Xbox Game Pass, for console and PC. Your friends have no excuse, so if [crosstalk 00:52:46]
Jeff: It may be you. It's not the game. So let's talk. So I was reading about the game, great interview in Polygon, highly recommend you check it out. And you were talking about the class-based characters. And as someone who plays a lot of Apex, it felt like there was a similar feel to that, where special powers, supers, and passives. And what's a good mix of characters to have success in this game?
Simon: Absolutely, so when you have three different classes, which kind of matches the three player cam that we have in there, so generally, having one of each is kind of a good rule to have. There are shared aspects, so you're not necessarily going to lock down into it. It's not too strict a you need to have this character and that you need to have this kind of even spread. It's very much kind of just a suggestion, or it's the players to find their favorite kind of play style, to find their favorite characters and get attached to them. So we've got Rosy, who's our enforcer. She carries around a huge minigun, so she's great at holding back the hoards and kind of just crowd control, in general.
And then we've got Ortega or Jurgen, who live in our trooper class. They're very much a case of dealing huge damage to specific enemies but in very different ways. So we've got Jurgen, who's our kind of sniper, class lone wolf, in some degree, and Ortega, who's our weapon specialist. And then we have our operative class, who is all about kind of funky gadgetry. And I think you see it in the trailer there, he's got access to an orbital laser, which just kind of brings down devastation from above in a spectacular fashion. He's my absolute favorite and like you can tell from me smiling, talking about it, so give him a go if you want to.
Jeff: Yeah, I think nuking from orbit is always ... You're going to want that on your team. So you had mentioned the war effort, which is this meta game, this community-driven meta game. Tell us how that works.
Simon: Absolutely, so every single kind of action the player takes and every scene we'll get if they succeed in or fail in is recorded and tallied up by our kind of server stuff going on. And then twice a week, what'll happen is our map, the big map that share with us, all missions, and every single player, gets updated according to that tally. So say, players do really well in one region or kind of badly in another region, what you'll find is that the dinosaurs take more of a foothold in the areas you've kind of performed poorly, as a community. And humanity will go in another one. And what happens then is new challenges and new objectives are kind of dealt out. So you'll find new obstacles every single time you kind of come back into it, once the update has happened. The idea is that it just kind of keeps things fresh. So even though we have those kind of scripted missions, you may find that your favorite insertion point for one mission is straight into the middle of an extremely high dinosaur threat area, so you may want to find a different route. So yes, it's a way of keeping things fresh.
Jeff: All right, so the game is in game preview, like I'd said. The game has evolved, significantly, since it's sort of playable build. How do you see it continuing to evolve? Do you have sort of a roadmap for the next several months or however long it is until you go the 1.0 version?
Simon: Yeah, absolutely, so we already have a roadmap we just published on the Second Extinction website. It says the things that we want to be doing in the upcoming months, but it's very much a kind of fluid kind of system. So we are constantly listening to feedback on our Discord channels, on just kind of Twitter and all the social channels. And that can kind of change our priorities drastically. We have an idea of where we want to go to, where we want to take this game, but we've already seen where in update in form, the main game at the moment, and that path to there has changed drastically, month to month, as we see people kind of responding to what they like in the game or what they don't like. And we have to kind of adapt. It keeps things interesting, for us, at least, but it's been a really valuable tool. And you said beforehand, just having Game Pass and having so many players kind of taking part in that process, it's super exciting for me as a creator.
Jeff: And it's exciting as a player, so make sure you play. It's available now, Second Extinction. You can just do a search. Hit Y from your dashboard, or of course, load up that Xbox Game Pass app on your Windows 10 PC. It's available now, and make sure you give feedback, so it was Discord, Twitter. Is everything just labeled sort of Second Extinction and people will find it?
Simon: Absolutely, yes, so if you go to the Second Extinction website, they'll be links in there to all our social channels.
Jeff: All right. That's awesome. Thanks so much, Simon. I'm looking forward to playing. As we're recording this, I'm actually downloading it, because this is when it first became available. And we'll be dropping in, everyone. Actually, so we're going to back to Rebecca, and we're going to go back to Larry. And well, let's drop in and play around.
Simon: Fantastic, see you there.
Larry: Thank you to all of our guests today. Jeff did a great interview, great couple of interviews there. I did the center one. Rebecca, we're going to get you doing some interviews soon, so stay tuned. I know, you and I have already talked off-air about that, so nice work on that.
Jeff: Be honest. Did I fanboy out a little too hard with Hosokawa san, because afterwards, I was like, I totally blew it with him. He thinks I'm not cool.
Larry: No, you were great. I mean, it's always challenging when you've got the translator, because you miss some of the back and forth.
Jeff: I'm a lot less funny in Japanese is the way I'm going to just guess. She probably translated, just go with it. Just go with it, just smile.
Rebecca: She probably just gets the jokes. Yeah.
Jeff: If she's smart. That's exactly what she did.
Rebecca: He's thinking, wow, this guy's really smiley.
Larry: He's very smiley. Jeff is smiley and nodding and whatnot. I will applaud you. I think you know slightly more Japanese than I do, so you tried your hand at it, so I applaud you with that.
Jeff: Yeah. I did throw out an arigato-gosaimazu. I actually looked up ... Because I don't want to cause an incident. I don't want to be-
Rebecca: That guy.
Jeff: ... close-minded or just wrong, that guy. Thank you. So I was looking up, do you say moshi moshi, on a video call, because when you pick up a phone in Japan, you say moshi moshi, as opposed to konichiwa. I went down a Quora hole, and apparently, you do not say moshi moshi on a video call, and so I didn't. I didn't embarrass show, in that respect.
Larry: Well, I appreciate that.
Jeff: But that's the level of detail I went into this weekend, thinking about it.
Larry: Well, I appreciate the level that you-
Jeff: I also wanted to use moshi moshi authentically, and this was not my chance.
Larry: I appreciate you upholding the show's honor. And the backstory on that, a little bit of that, Rebecca ... And you and I talked during ... But Jeff and I talk a lot. And sometimes, I'll call him, or if he calls me, and I'll just pick up the phone and go, "Moshi moshi." And he always laughs for some reason. He's amused by it, I think.
Rebecca: Well, that makes sense. It's like if you answer the phone, you say, "Hello," but it's a question, because in Korean, too, you say, "Yeoboseyo," which is hello, I don't know who this is, sort of.
Jeff: [crosstalk 01:00:26]
Rebecca: You say, Yeoboseyo, and I think it's kind of the same thing. It's a question mark. So when you answer a video call, you wouldn't be like, who is this?
Larry: I suppose that makes sense. Rebecca, adding value, right out of the gate. Look at her go, so thank you for that. I learned something. Anyway, we should probably do some headlines here, Jeff. You got some news?
Jeff: Yeah. So I might sleep, but Game Pass never does. So more Game Pass news. Actually, some great, available on day one, in the Game Pass news, of course, we talked about Second Extinction. That's available now. But as we move through the month of May, there's a couple more games coming out. So next week, I was talking about Dragon Quest. Here's another game. I guess, if you mash up Dragon Quest and Minecraft, you get Dragon Quest Builders 2. So this game has never been available on Xbox. People are into it, designs by the person who makes all the creator designs. Akira Toriyama is pretty famous. And so I think there's a little more combat emphasis here, but there is building. And so anyway, it looks interesting, and it's day one, going to be on Xbox Game Pass, as May 4th, so worth checking out.
Larry: May the 4th be with you.
Jeff: I don't think that's how it goes. I don't think that's it. I don't.
Rebecca: Got to love Star Wars.
Jeff: So how is it May already? Anyway, later than that, a couple of weeks later, Knockout City, so this is a dodgeball game, competitive arena, shooter, but not shooter, thriller.
Larry: Dodgeball competitor, yeah. All right.
Jeff: I've seen some creators playing it. It looked pretty fun. There's been a number of different betas that have happened. Well, it comes out on May 21st, directly into Xbox Game Pass, so this is going to be one, definitely going to at least try it out. So you love to see games have their debut there. I think fans jump right in. They're instantly giving feedback to the devs. I think there was actually, for Rain on My Parade, there was a great Tweet that I saw from the devs. And they were like, we're so glad we're in Game Pass. In just the first few days, X amount of people jumped into the game. It succeeded our wildest expectations, so thank you so much. It's sort of a great launching point. It makes it so people are talking about these games.
Rebecca: Yeah, good discovery.
Larry: It lowers the barrier of entry to zero almost.
Jeff: Well, that's the other thing is we were talking about that with Second Extinction is you don't want to go alone. And in the old days ... I mean, sometimes, it still happens, but you'll be like, "Hey, I'm going to want to play this game. Will we all invest in the same game, so that we can play?" But now, with Game Pass, it's just like, "Oh, there it is."
Rebecca: Let's get playing, yeah.
Jeff: So download it. Just make sure you have it ready to go tonight. In fact, that's literally the message I sent to my boys, on Teams today.
Larry: But I'm still in the D's in Game Pass.
Jeff: I know, and I was like, "Go ahead." I was just like, "Go ahead and download it now, and we'll run it tonight." And there you go, Dragon Quest. If you've got 100 hours laying around, highly recommend it.
Larry: Got your FIFA, I mean, look at this. It keeps going. Game Pass, it's the headline. Keep going, Jeff.
Jeff: Yeah, so Knockout City, May 21st. Dragon Question Builders 2, May 4th. And then we have Games with Gold, so now that we are into May, you can download a few games. There's Armello is available now. And then also available now is Lego Batman. That's an Xbox 360 game, through the magic backward compatibility. You've got it. In the middle of the month, we'll have Dungeons 3 and Tropico 4. So it just keeps on going on with the Dungeons and the Tropicos.
Larry: It keeps on, keeps on.
Jeff: Yes, and of course, in the case of Gold, once you download them, they're yours to keep. So sometimes, I just go through, and I'll just check. And then, if I have time later, I'll go back, and I'll play them. Yeah, that's pretty much ... There's a few DLCs, some interesting stuff. Fallout 76 has a big update. You can check that out on Xbox Wire. There's a new plane in Flight Simulator. My favorite part of Flight Simulator is not flying the plane. My favorite part of Flight Simulator is sort of hanging out of the edge of plane and looking at stuff on the ground.
Larry: Oh, I thought you were going to be one of these air traffic controller people. Have you heard about this group?
Jeff: I have. I've definitely seen it. Air Force proud 95.
Larry: It's amazing. These people, they're like, that's their thing. I mean, there's something for everybody.
Jeff: If you like to look at landmarks, if you're one of those people, like myself, I just want to find my house, stuff like that. There's an ultralight plane, that is being added to the game, the top rudder solo 103. You've been in go-carts that look bigger than this thing. But it flies. It's apparently under 254 pounds ... That's a goal for me, even, really.
Rebecca: Oh my gosh. Wow.
Jeff: ... with a flying speed of under 63 miles an hour. But because of that, there's literally nothing under you. I think it makes it easier to look around, and they're saying, this is a cool plane to download to, to view things.
Larry: I kind of want something between my feet, at the 1,000 or 2,000 feet.
Jeff: It's virtual. It's not real. I would never get on this thing in real life.
Rebecca: It's like a glass bottom boat.
Jeff: Except that the water is much, much further down. And there's this, last thing, a Ghostbusters pack or Planet Coaster. And it just sort of reminds me of if you could build something in Universal Studios, like King Kong. You get to use the whole theme. And it's Ghostbusters, so that just seems, I don't know, seems kind of a fun thing to do, so if you're into building theme parks, Planet Coaster. And if you like Ghostbusters, I realize that's a 37 year old thing. But at the same time, it's still popular. People still like it.
Larry: I don't know if you saw this, because we put this out after the show last week, but over on my blog at majornelson.com, click on the top. We've got FPS boost. We had a whole bunch of games featuring FPS boost, which if you have a chance to check them out, and these are games that essentially, Battlefield, some of the Star Wars, Titanfall, I mean, there's a whole bunch of games over there, that will automatically get more frames per second. And you don't have to do anything. And so go over there, and check that blog post out.
Rebecca: Free frames.
Larry: So we're going to be updating some of the games to give you more frames.
Jeff: At no extra cost. And we'll keep that list updated, so it's sort of all in one place. Yeah.
Larry: Yeah, and it tells you how to turn it on, if it's off and check to see if it's on. It's pretty cool. Come of those games go up to 120 frames a second. That's bananas.
Jeff: My TV is weeping over here, at 60 frames per second.
Larry: It's okay. You'll get there.
Larry: But anyway, so check that out, as well. It's a cool feature that you get. Some of these things with these next-gen consoles, we've got quick resume. Rebecca, tell me, you can't go play a game that's not quick resume anymore, right? I mean, it's just like boom, it's there. It's life-changing. I remember, over the summer, Jeff, you and I talked about this a lot, last year, before they release, when they lit that up and we were starting to test that. We're like, oh my God, this is amazing.
Jeff: There's no going back.
Rebecca: It's the best.
Larry: Yeah, there's no going back, so yeah, 120 frames per second. You got quick resume. You got all the awesome stuff. So anyway, wanted to make sure we called that out. Anything else?
Larry: You concur. By the way, Jeff, I want to call you out a little bit, as I'm known to do.
Jeff: For a change. Come on, I'm listening.
Larry: I don't know if you saw our back and forth on Twitter, Rebecca, but when we were sitting in the office together, Jeff and I would often go to lunch or we're traveling, whatnot. He has a bad habit of not updating his apps on his phone. So can you show us? How many do you have pending right now? Can you show me?
Jeff: I actually did it last week, because I knew you were going to do this. So what am I at now?
Larry: How many do you have, Rebecca.
Jeff: I have 16.
Rebecca: I forgot, after last week.
Larry: You have 16? Okay.
Jeff: There it is, 16.
Larry: What about you, Rebecca? Are you a regular updater on the apps or not?
Rebecca: No, despite working for a tech company, I am not great at maintaining my tech.
Jeff: Thank you. Thank you.
Rebecca: No, I have a lot of things that need to be updated, but thank you for the reminder.
Larry: That's okay. No, I'm just saying, when you-
Jeff: No, he wanted to gang up is what this was.
Rebecca: Yeah, he did. Sorry.
Jeff: He wanted you to be like, that thing never gets above one, because I'm hitting that, and we've got other things to do.
Larry: It takes you five seconds.
Rebecca: Sorry, Larry, drop me a note next time.
Larry: Well, the reason I asked is because I saw you talking about that Twitter earlier this week and by the way, your low battery, which is also, you get called out for that quite a bit.
Jeff: I texted, it was 9:00 at night, and the battery's dead by the end of the day. What do you want me to do? Why does that bother you? It bothered everybody, actually.
Larry: Yeah, it's not just me. It was the entire internet. You triggered them. But no, I just want to make sure you keep updated, because we've got the Xbox app on your phone. We're going to keep updating it, so we can add achievements and the stuff they're working on. See, that's what I did? See, I turned you into the bad guy.
Jeff: How does that feel, my Gmail splash?
Rebecca: Okay, I can't relate there. That makes me uncomfortable.
Larry: Stop it. Just stop it.
Rebecca: Why do you even have that?
Jeff: I want to see how big it could get. I don't know. If it's not important, I just ignore it, and I go to the next thing.
Larry: Why do you have that? Why do you even have that? That's just maddening.
Rebecca: There are two kinds of people in this world, right?
Jeff: There's inbox zero, and there's inbox 60,466.
Larry: Oh, look?
Jeff: I've gone this far. I'm not going back.
Rebecca: There's literally no going back now. No.
Larry: I've got zero on mine.
Rebecca: Yeah, same.
Jeff: Yeah, but look at your work email's at 30 or 430. That's unacceptable. Anyway, we've gone into the let's check our inboxes part of the podcast, where everyone tunes in for.
Larry: This is the kind of content that will get us to the top of the search engine's results, in your podcast.
Jeff: You'll just write, for the thumbnail, his inbox is what? And you're going to be like that.
Larry: I was taught by somebody that the reaction gif is so 2018, or the reaction [crosstalk 01:11:02]
Jeff: Yeah, but they're still doing them.
Larry: I know.
Jeff: They're still doing them.
Larry: I know. Well, we'll get past that. Anyway, we've got a bunch of stuff going on here. We're going to wrap it up here. It feels like this was a quick show, for us, because we had so many great interviews. You want to add anything before we go away? Rebecca, will you come back next week?
Rebecca: I'll think about it. I actually do have an update on the Minecraft movie.
Jeff: Oh yeah, give it, yeah, please share.
Larry: Movie, go.
Rebecca: Sounds like it's going to be a real blockbuster. Sorry, that's it. That's the update. I mean, Jack has been asking me for dad jokes for the last year, so I had to drop it in. I'm sorry.
Jeff: So we've worked with Rebecca for a long time, and she's a huge dad joke connoisseur, more than any of the actual dads on the team. And so I've more than once gone to Rebecca's to ask for a joke. I need a good dad joke, and then I promptly forget them.
Larry: You write jokes, too. You write on demand?
Rebecca: I did think of some in the car, earlier, but none of them are worth sharing. I'm still working on my material.
Larry: Okay, you're still working. That's okay. It's the creative process [crosstalk 01:12:12]
Rebecca: Check back later.
Larry: Take a blockbuster.
Jeff: That was a good one. Speaking of blockbuster, so we had to cancel a trip last year to Bend, Oregon, which is supposed to be pretty nice, but we're going back this year. And I end up seeing a documentary on Netflix called The Last Blockbuster.
Larry: Oh, down there?
Jeff: The Last Blockbuster is in Bend, Oregon.
Rebecca: Oh, it's there?
Jeff: So let me know if you want a t-shirt, because I'm going there, 100%.
Rebecca: Wait, but it's still there and operating.
Jeff: It's still there and operating, and it is the last one. It's actually kind of an interesting documentary about it. And they're going to just keep on going, as long as they keep getting licensed to continue. Well, I don't want to spoil the ... It was a good movie or documentary.
Larry: Go ahead and spoil it, spoil it. I was actually watching ... Was it Netflix or was it HBO? I think it was Netflix. I was watching the documentary about the Gardner Museum Heist, in Boston. Are you familiar with this?
Larry: It's a very famous art museum in Boston. It's fine art. And back in the 90s, there was a heist. These folks waled in and took a bunch of very expensive artwork, and they've never been found. But it's amazing, so go watch that one.
Jeff: Was that Ben Affleck? Is he the one that did that?
Larry: No, that was ... The Academy's one, no, that wasn't that.
Rebecca: The George Clooney one?
Larry: No, no, this is real. This is real, and I actually had some personal connections into it. And I was like, wow, I did not know that.
Jeff: You had personal connections?
Larry: I knew some of the-
Jeff: Don't incriminate yourself on the podcast. This is admissible.
Larry: No, I just knew some of the-
Rebecca: Let's see the artwork in your home.
Larry: ... some of the characters. All I have in my home for artwork is actually, I already showed this to you, because I think [crosstalk 01:13:57]
Jeff: Is that Whistler's mother, the original one, above your TV?
Larry: Hold on.
Jeff: He's got Edvard Munch's The Scream, original printing.
Rebecca: The original one.
Larry: There we go.
Rebecca: What have you got?
Larry: Rebecca, you'll appreciate this.
Jeff: Go full-screen, Larry.
Larry: It's a piece of [crosstalk 01:14:17]
Rebecca: Wow, that is a piece of art.
Larry: The Carrier Dome.
Rebecca: Oh my gosh, that's actually a piece of the dome, right?
Larry: When they replaced the dome at Syracuse ... Rebecca and I went to Syracuse University, decades apart, but when they took the dome down, they sold pieces of it, so my wife bought this.
Rebecca: Oh, wow, I didn't know they did that. That's so cool.
Larry: Yeah, I'll send you the link. I think they may have a few left, but it's pretty amazing. That's the only artwork I have in this room.
Jeff: I don't know if that counts as art, per se, but it's framed. It's frame, so I'll give you that.
Larry: Blasphemy, Jeffrey, blasphemy.
Rebecca: Art/decorations, it's all good.
Jeff: I don't know about art. Sure, we'll go with that.
Larry: Can we call it a memento, then?
Jeff: I have a framed soccer jersey behind me, and I don't call it art. I think it's great.
Larry: Where? Oh there it is.
Jeff: See it up there? It's Stefan Frei, from the Seattle Sounders, big Xbox fan and a great guy, good keeper too.
Larry: You have his gloves too?
Jeff: But it's not art. Yeah, he sent over a pair of gloves. It was awesome. We've played Apex. Anyway, but again, is it art? Maybe that's not for me to decide. I can only decide with the things you have in your house, if those things are art.
Larry: Art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
Jeff: Okay, well, we'll end on that.
Larry: By the way, we are almost done with the show here, and I did get a few emails to inbox firstname.lastname@example.org. There's been a specific request for more Pumba.
Rebecca: That's so sweet.
Larry: Where is he?
Rebecca: He's actually not here today. Yeah, he's out at the vet. Pumba is a boy dog, and he is having a routine procedure, fill in the blank, so he's going to be in kind of rough shape the next few days. But next week, I got you. He'll be back, maybe a little bit less chipper.
Larry: Our thoughts and prayers are with you, little one.
Jeff: Well, I actually met Pumba this last week, and Pumba liked me, I think.
Larry: Oh, good.
Rebecca: He did. He doesn't usually like strangers.
Jeff: He didn't not like me.
Rebecca: Right, he was good, but then, when I went to go get my coffee, he was a little concerned, right?
Jeff: He would not eat. He would not sleep. It was only two minutes, but he was sort of beside himself.
Larry: Was that you, Jeff, or maybe he was aware of the upcoming procedure, so that could have put him edge.
Jeff: I didn't tell him anything. I didn't know.
Rebecca: Poor buddy.
Rebecca: Yeah, prayers for Pumba, please.
Jeff: Prayers for Pumba.
Larry: All right, well, next week, we'll bring Pumba back. Thank you for all your kind words. If you want to find us anywhere, specifically on social, this is how you find us. There we go. Oh, wow, I switched the boxes.
Jeff: I'm taking over your Twitter account.
Larry: Yes, you are.
Jeff: What am I going to put up there.
Larry: I'm going to give it to you, like who was it? Was it Denmark? I was reading an article somewhere, that apparently, up until 2018, it was a Scandinavian country would give the official Twitter account to a resident every week, just a random resident. I don't know how you signed up, and I don't know what it was all about.
Jeff: Maybe you could do that in Denmark.
Rebecca: That's interesting.
Jeff: It doesn't work so well here.
Rebecca: Wow, the Danish are pretty loose with their social media, okay. That's cool.
Larry: I don't know if it was the Denmark. I got find out what it was. It was a Scandinavian country, but I thought that, that's a pretty interesting idea. But anyway, we'll let you guys go. Rebecca, thank you for joining us again this week. Pumba will be back next week, better than ever or something like that.
Rebecca: A little lighter.
Jeff: He'll be back.
Larry: He'll be back. Jeff, any final words before we go?
Jeff: What's to add on top of that? There's nothing to add.
Larry: Rebecca, any final words?
Rebecca: No, just thanks, guys, good chat.
Larry: All right, guys. We'll see you guys next week. Thank you for downloading the show. Make sure you file the feedback. Send thumbs-up and subscribe and the bell and write a comment, all that other fun stuff, so we'll see you guys next week. Bye, bye, everybody.