Episode 204: It's Death Stranding time! Kirk, Maddy, and Jason spend some time talking about BlizzCon and Luigi's Mansion 3 before jumping into discussion of Metal Gear Solid director Hideo Kojima's new game (25:40), which all three of them have played. They talk about its slow start, why Jason couldn't play more than two hours, and why Kirk and Maddy are loving its weird clunkiness. The show ends with some off-topic talk (58:09) on Trick Mirror, Us, and the Legend of Gardner Minshew.
Music pick of the week: “The Other Side of Summer” by Elvis Costello from Mighty Like a Rose, 1991
To read: Death Stranding: The Kotaku Review [Kotaku];
What Happened to Deadspin, According to the People Who Were There [Slate];
The Future of the Culture Wars is Here, and it’s Gamergate [Deadspin]
Maddy and Kirk talk about games they're playing, with Maddy trying out Sayonara Wild Hearts and Kirk still diving into the interlocking brain systems that Disco Elysium gives its protagonist. After that, we bring on Kotaku staff editor Natalie Degraffinried (24:05) to talk about Ring Fit Adventure, which is Nintendo's latest attempt to make an exercise video game. We also look back on Wii Fit, Dance Dance Revolution, and more. We close with off-topic talk (54:52) about the Charlie's Angels movies, as well as Watchmen—the book, the movie, and the show.
Music pick of the week: “American Music” by the Violent Femmes from “Why Do Birds Sing,” 1991
Kirk and Maddy talk about games they're playing, which in Maddy's case is still Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3. Kirk beat Sayonara Wild Hearts, a music-focused game that he strongly recommends, and he just started Disco Elysium, a detective game with a ton of dialogue systems. We then break for some discussion of the news (32:23), touching on Kotaku's coverage of Pokemon Go and privacy, Blizzard's approach to China and Hong Kong, and the Fortnite black hole. We close with off-topic talk (56:53) about books each of us has read: Educated by Tara Westover, Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, and Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra.
Music pick of the week: “Begin Again” from the Sayonara Wild Hearts Soundtrack, by Daniel Olsen and Jonathan Eng, feat Linnea Olsson.
“The Creators Of Pokémon Go Mapped The World. Now They're Mapping You” by Cecilia D'Anastasio and Dhruv Mehrotra: https://kotaku.com/the-creators-of-pokemon-go-mapped-the-world-now-theyre-1838974714
“Are China's Tantrums Signs of Strength or Weakness?” by Zeynep Tufekci: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/10/why-does-china-care-about-daryl-moreys-hong-kong-tweet/600001/
To celebrate the 200th episode of Splitscreen, Maddy finally started playing Destiny 2. Meanwhile, Kirk beat Untitled Goose Game. We also bring on Kotaku staff writer Joshua Rivera (30:28) to discuss his article about Blizzard's crackdown on a pro Hearthstone player who spoke out about Hong Kong, and then the three of us discuss Borderlands 3, Destiny 2, and all the looting and shooting that can be done in those games. We close with off-topic discussion (1:17:50) about Gentleman Jack, The Great British Bake-Off, and The Real World.
Music pick of the week: “Since 99” by Vargas and Lagola
Wired PS5 Exclusive: https://www.wired.com/story/exclusive-playstation-5/
Planet Money on Hong Kong: https://www.npr.org/2019/07/19/743480237/episode-928-hong-kong
Joshua Rivera's Hong Kong article: https://kotaku.com/blizzards-hong-kong-missteps-prove-video-games-arent-ne-1838913631
Borderlands 3 review: https://kotaku.com/borderlands-3-the-kotaku-review-1838290570
Kirk and Maddy start by congratulating Jason on his new fatherhood, then get straight to the heart of the matter: video games. Maddy's still playing Fire Emblem and also tried two cool tabletop games, Sheriff of Nottingham and Escape from Aliens in Outer Space. Kirk's tabletop group is still playing Betrayal Legacy; Kirk also played the new Hitman level and... drumroll... Destiny 2: Shadowkeep. After a break (28:32), we bring on Kotaku's editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo to talk about Ghost Recon: Breakpoint and also attempt to define a sidequest (and shout out some of our favorite ones). We then close out with off-topic talk (1:08:15) about Elementary, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and Kirk's music pick.
Kirk and Maddy make do without Jason, who's busy with imminent fatherhood, and discuss the joys of Untitled Goose Game and playing games as a jerk (who is also a goose). Kirk is also stuck on a Gears 5 boss and trying out tons of new offerings in Apple Arcade. We break for news (31:04) about the Oculus Quest, further discussion of Apple Arcade and subscription services, and a bunch of listener emails about weird gaming traditions. We close with off-topic talk (59:54) about Dark Crystal, Hustlers, and Kirk's music pick.
Episode 197: Kirk, Jason, and Maddy talk about the great new visual novel AI: The Somnium Files, the wonderfully addictive Fire Emblem, and Remnant: From the Ashes, aka Gears of Dark Souls. Then they get into news (34:07) on Nicalis and Apple Arcade, plus a listener question about weird gaming traditions. Finally, off-topic talk (57:16) and the legend of Gardner Minshew continues (or does it?).
Music pick of the week: “Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin from Young, Gifted and Black, 1972
Episode 196: The Splitscreen krew talks Gears 5, Link's Awakening, and Telling Lies, then moves into news of the week (33:53) on P.T. discoveries, Destiny's five-year anniversary, and esports in the Olympics. Then they get into off-topic (48:58) chat on Derren Brown's 'Secret,' Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Succession, before bringing back "Jason's NFL story of the week" to introduce the legend of Gardner Minshew
Music pick of the week: “7” by Prince and the New Power Generation from The Love Symbol Album
Show notes: Joshua Rivera on five years of Destiny, Kirk Hamilton on three years of Destiny, Kathryn VanArendonk - Is Succession a Comedy?
Episode 195: Kirk, Maddy, and Jason talk about Gears 5, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, and Control, then dive into some listener questions (31:21) on buying games from problem companies, the best controllers, and silent protagonists. They close things out with off-topic talk (55:28) on Billions, Bundyville, and some Veronica Mars spoilers.
Episode 194: The Splitscreen Squad talks about the excellent Control, the grindy Dragon Quest XI, and Maddy's comparisons between Gears of War 4 and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Then they talk news of the week ((24:28) on Telltale getting revived (as a shambling corpse), industry sexual harassment allegations, and weird controversies surrounding the game Ion Fury. Off-topic talk this week (55:21) is all about The Family, Y: The Last Man, and Billions.
Music pick of the week: “Burning Up” by Marianas Trench from Astoria, 2014
Episode 193: Maddy, Kirk, and Jason talk about Gears of War 4 and the never-ending Fire Emblem: Three Houses before jumping into this week's news from Gamescom (Kojima! Insomniac! Ori and the Blind Forest to Switch!) and, finally, an Outer Wilds spoilercast (35:34). Then some off-topic talk (1:15:45) on Heaven's Gate, Billions, and Succession.
Music pick of the week: “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead from Amnesiac, 2001
Episode 192: Jason is back from book leave, so why not talk about the one thing that's been on his mind for the last four weeks: Internet distractions! First the gang talks about the games they've been playing, like Outer Wilds and Eliza, before getting into Fire Emblem (29:22) and some productivity tips. Finally, they talk about Saga, Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, and Veronica Mars (1:04: 26).
Music pick of the week: “Come Home With Me/Wedding Song” from Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell
Show notes: Rob Zacny (Vice) on Eliza, Nathan Grayson (Kotaku) on the Epic Games Store
Maddy and Kirk start by discussing the news from last weekend, citing Joshua Rivera's editorial "We Do Not Need To Defend Video Games From Politicians," as well as Maddy's coverage of the ESA leaking journalists' personal information. Next, they talk about games they've been playing; Maddy's still enjoying Phoenix Wright, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses has taken over Kirk's life. After that, Kotaku editor-at-large Riley MacLeod came on to discuss his coverage of the Fortnite World Cup (27:08) and the kid-friendly atmosphere of the event. We close with off-topic talk (1:01:10) about Schitt's Creek and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.
Music pick of the week: “All Will Be Well” by Gabe Dixon
Maddy and Kirk talk about what they're playing; in Maddy's case, that involves a brand new gaming monitor that makes Outer Wilds look so, so good. She's also playing Madden NFL 20. Meanwhile, Kirk beat Death of the Outsider, started up Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Fire Emblem, and tried Burgle Bros with his tabletop group. We then bring in Kotaku senior reporter Cecilia D'Anastasio (35:06) for discussion about her article, "For Men Who Hate Talking On The Phone, Games Keep Friendships Alive," and also, the importance of gaming etiquette, especially for competitive games. We close out with off-topic discussion (1:11:32) about Veronica Mars... again.
Music pick of the week: “What A Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke
Kirk and Maddy talk about the games they're playing (still without Jason): Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 in Maddy's case, and Dishonored: Death of the Outsider on Kirk's end, as well as Tetris Effect. Then, Kotaku's newest staff writer Joshua Rivera comes on for a segment (22:27) about the concept of being "tilted," (or frustrated by a game), and also, the perfect squad size. We close with off-topic discussion (58:57) of Billions, Good Omens, and Veronica Mars (again).
Music pick of the week: “Remind Me” by Emily King
Maddy and Kirk, left to their own devices, talk shop about the best gaming monitors and Kirk's continued Google-free lifestyle. Then they get into games they're playing, with Maddy on Outer Wilds, House Flipper, and a few board games including a bluffing game called Skull. Kirk's still playing Betrayal Legacy and has gotten back to playing Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. After that, they invite in Kotaku's Gita Jackson (34:28) for a segment about Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which sounds delightful, and some discussion of Gita's article, "The Video Games That Made People Question Their Beliefs." Lastly, we get into off-topic talk (1:10:37) about the podcast Criminal, Veronica Mars, and more.
Music pick of the week: “Bicyclops” by Bela Fleck and Chick Corea
Episode 187: Jason, Kirk, and Maddy talk about the games they've been playing, including Metro Exodus, West of Loathing, Mario Maker 2, and Dragon Quest Builders 2. Then it's time to talk about news (33:25) on Nintendo's new Switch Lite... Lite Switch?... as well as G2A shadiness (would YOU give up your integrity for $50 million?) and a Wind Waker discovery in Breath of the Wild. Then the gang talks Stranger Things, Veronica Mars, and Spider-Man: Far From Home (54:23).
Music pick of the week: “Crazy on You” by Heart
Episode 186: Happy fourth of July! Kirk, Jason, and Maddy talk about some video games (Mario Maker 2, Metro Exodus, Cadence of Hyrule) before cracking open the mailbag (22:32) for some listener questions about video game streaming in schools, how to review video games, whether Final Fantasy VII Remake will still be going until the 2030s, and much more. Then, off-topic chat (1:20:18) on Fullmetal Alchemist, Veep, and a very important question about Toy Story's Woody.
Episode 185: Jason, Kirk, and Maddy speedrun their way through a new episode of Kotaku Splitscreen, starting with some ranting and raving about Outer Wilds before talking Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Xbox Elite controller, and Bloodstained. Then they get into news (29:01) on Tifa's boobs, Auto Chess, and Jason's recent article about Treyarch's treatment of contract staff and the development of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. They close things out with off-topic chat (52:16) on Evangelion, Veep, and The Journalist and the Murderer.
Music pick of the week: James Brown, “Mother Popcorn,” released as a single in 1969
How video game breasts are made (Patricia Hernandez): https://kotaku.com/how-video-game-breasts-are-made-and-why-they-can-go-so-1687753475
Veep Is Over. Is America Next? (Jen Chaney): https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/veep-series-finale.html
DOOM: The Fake Outrage (Shaun_Jen) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l63nY0AYebI
Episode 184: Jason and Maddy are back from E3, regaling Kirk with tales of sweaty convention controllers and all the video games they played in Los Angeles. First, everyone talks about the games they're currently playing, like Outer Wilds, Cadence of Hyrule, and Collection of Mana. Then it's time for E3 chat (34:29) about The Avengers, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, Link's Awakening, Astral Chain, and many, many more games, followed by off-topic talk (1:17:18) on Dark Phoenix, Billions, and Chernobyl.
Music pick of the week: “Lunchtime” off of Cory Wong’s new album Live in the U.K.
At the Devolver lot across the street from E3, Maddy sat down with Cullen Dwyer and Joseph Bourgeois, two of the developers of Gato Roboto and also the Devolver Bootleg, which features eight faux-bootleg versions of Devolver games like Hotline Miami and Ape Out. This is Cullen and Joseph's first E3, which they celebrated by buying themselves cool robes to wear. We spend a not insignificant portion of this interview talking about the robes.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier chats with Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, quest director at CD Projekt Red on the much-anticipated RPG Cyberpunk 2077, about the scope of this massive game, how their approach to quest design has changed from The Witcher 3, and the importance of communication in game development.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier talks to Dave Lang, founder and C3PO of Iron Galaxy, about what it's like to run a large game studio that avoids excessive overtime, how to create a culture of healthy work-life balance, and why his title is C3PO.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier talks to Obsidian's Leonard Boyarsky, co-creator of the original Fallout and now co-director of The Outer Worlds, about what it's been like to go back into post-apocalyptic sci-fi after a decade at Blizzard, how his new game explores fascism and corporate governance, and how video game development has changed over the past 30 years.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier sits down with Marcin Iwiński, founder and co-CEO of Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red, to follow up on their conversation about crunch a few weeks ago. They also talk about Cyberpunk 2077's ambitious scope, controversies over trans issues, racial stereotypes, Keanu Reeves, GOG financial issues, and whether Cyberpunk will come to Switch.
At E3 2019, Maddy sits down with Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez, esports commentator and event host best known for his work on Overwatch League, Call of Duty, and Halo. Mendez actually used to cover esports for Kotaku years ago; now, he commentates and hosts massive esports tournaments in stadiums around the country. We talk about the traditional sports influences on the esports industry, the wide spectrum of esports personalities out there, and whether Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games will be the next great esport (it will). Lastly, Mendez talks about his new show, LVL UP, which is like Pimp My Ride but for gaming rigs.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier sits down with Destiny bosses Luke Smith and Mark Noseworthy for a deep dive into the future of Destiny 2, which is an MMO now. They talk about RPG elements, story loose ends, technical challenges, cross-play (or lack thereof), whether there will ever be a Destiny 3, Stadia latency, and what 2020 looks like for this franchise.
E3 2019: Jason Schreier talks to Larian Studios boss Swen Vincke and D&D creative chief Mike Mearls about how the Baldur's Gate 3 deal came together, what it's like to make a video game based on Dungeons & Dragons in 2019, and whether Minsc and Boo will be in the game. They talk about the confusion of D&D spell slots, the "infinite possibilities" in a game like this, and how great role-playing games are made.
Nintendo just announced a sequel to Breath of the Wild?? Also, a bunch of other E3 press conferences happened, with some good-looking games, some Keanu-shaped surprises, a very good dog, and a lot of loud music.
Kirk, Jason, and Maddy get together to talk through it all, breaking down highlights from Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Nintendo. Jason and Maddy will be back all week with interviews from the E3 show floor, so stay tuned to your feed for more.
PRESS CONFERENCE ROUNDUPS:
Square Enix: https://kotaku.com/everything-square-enix-announced-at-e3-2019-1835393070
Episode 182: Hell yeah, it's time for E3! Kirk, Jason, and Maddy talk about the games they've been playing (Outer Wilds, Timespinner, Gato Roboto) before jumping into E3 guesses, hopes, predictions, and rumors (32:46) involving EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Nintendo, and much more. Will The Avengers and FF7 live up to the hype? With Sony skipping this year's show, can Microsoft blow us all away as it fights for console dominance? And what kind of whispers has Jason heard about Ubisoft's showcase this year? You'll have to listen to the show to find out. The gang closes things out with off-topic talk (1:24:38) including Dragon Ball Z, 24, and Rocketman.
Music pick of the week: “Hangin’ with My Baby” by Tower of Power from their 2018 (!) album Soul Side of Town
Jon Bois on 24: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P52G4Kyq5M
Episode 181: Baby Ghost... Recon? Kirk, Jason, and Maddy talk video games, from Dark Souls 3 to Observation, then dive into news of the week (29:00) including Death Stranding's ridiculous new trailer (and 2019 release date!), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and EA Play. The crew hears from a listener who does game analytics for a major video game company, then they get into off-topic talk on Veep, Educated, Fleabag, 24, 24, and 24 (1:04:54).
Music Pick of the Week: “Grey Seal” by Elton John from his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Politico Article: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/25/how-silicon-valley-gamed-the-worlds-toughest-privacy-rules-1466148
Justin McElroy on Anor Londo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5yw0wHQx9A
Episode 180: We've gotten so many interesting listener e-mails about privacy in gaming, we just had to keep talking about it! First, the Splitscreen gang talks about some of the games they're playing including Phoenix Wright, Rage 2, and Destiny. Then they get into the news of the week (28:18) on Minecraft Earth, the God of War documentary, and a major shakeup in Call of Duty-land.
After the news, Kirk, Maddy, and Jason read some listener emails and talk more about advertisers using our data, targeted marketing, and whether the internet is just broken or what. Then it's time for off-topic talk (1:11:55) on Designated Survivor, Lemony Snicket, and much more.
Music pick of the week: “Ageless Beauty” by Stars from their 2004 album Set Yourself On Fire
The game of thrones has ended, and so has Game of Thrones. On this final bonus episode, Jason and Kirk wrap up their coverage of HBO's grand fantasy series by recapping the events of "The Iron Throne," then looking back at the show as a whole.
Zeynep Tufekci on the series' shift from sociological to psychological storytelling: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-real-reason-fans-hate-the-last-season-of-game-of-thrones/
Zach Kram on its shifting relationship with consequence: https://www.theringer.com/tv/2019/4/10/18304037/game-of-thrones-season-8-consequences-jon-sam-arya-cersei
Gita Jackson on Game of Thrones' Fullmetal Alchemist problem: https://kotaku.com/game-of-thrones-has-a-fullmetal-alchemist-problem-1834512907
Episode 179: Jason's wisdom tooth removal has left Kirk and Maddy by themselves to discuss Phoenix Wright and the music of mystery games. Kirk is also playing Rage 2, Destiny 2, and a tabletop game about bluffing called Sheriff of Nottingham. This week's news (33:32) includes a very pretty Final Fantasy 7 teaser and the announcement of Ghost Recon Breakpoint, which Kirk is excited about. We also discuss the Vox article “Angry Birds and the end of privacy” and our own concerns about games and apps that collect our data. We close out with off-topic talk (58:50) that ends up veering off into discussion of the works of Patrick Rothfuss.
With each new episode of Game of Thrones, the gods toss a coin and the world holds its breath. Too bad for us, "The Bells"' coin landed on the "unfortunate plot developments" side.
Kirk and Jason talk through the ins and outs of Dany's big day, along with the highs and lows of what was, in the end, a pretty disappointing episode.
Episode 178: Jason, Kirk, and Maddy talk about the new Kotaku piece about what it was like to work on Mortal Kombat 11's ultra-violent scenes, then get into the games they're playing: Danganronpa, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and a potpourri of Kirk video games. This week's big news (35:05) includes a U.S. senator introducing an anti-loot box bill, Riot employees walking out, and the Sonic movie changing course. Finally, lots of off-topic talk (1:01:28) on all sorts of TV shows and movies.
Kirk and Jason discuss the fourth episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, "The Last of the Starks." Jon's secret gets out, Brienne has some wine, Dany has a latte, Varys and Tyrion scheme, Cersei does evil stuff, and no one pets the dog. Let's discuss.
It's time for Teeth Talk with Kirk, Maddy, and Jason! First the Splitscreen gang talks about some video games they've been playing, like Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and Danganronpa, along with dropping some wisdom about just letting games go (like Days Gone) when you've had enough. Then they bring on former Kotaku writer and current comics writer Evan Narcisse (30:49) for a big spoilery chat about Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the future of Marvel movies might go, comic references you might have missed, and much more.
Music pick of the week: “Juice” by Lizzo from her new album “Cuz I Love You”
Squint and turn up your monitor's brightness, and you'll see that our special coverage of Game of Thrones season 8 continues with episode three, the nightmarish "The Long Night."
Our surviving heroes wage a desperate battle against the Night King's overwhelming zombie army - will the walls of Winterfell hold? Could the good guys possibly win? And in a battle like this, what does "winning" even look like, anyway? Let's discuss.
Kotaku Splitscreen's special Game of Thrones coverage returns with a double-header recap of the first two episodes of the show's final season. Kirk and Jason go over what they liked (and didn't like) about both "Winterfell" and "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," then share their hopes for the future, make some wild predictions, and guess who'll live and who'll die this coming Sunday.
We'll be back to recap that episode on Monday, and will be publishing Monday recaps from there on out to the end.
Links:"The Key to ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Isn’t Dragons or Swords or White Walkers or Even Incest. It’s Consequence." - The RingerA post from r/GameofThrones listing parallels between S8E1 and S1E1"Exhuming Lady Stoneheart: What We Lost in Game of Thrones’ Biggest Cut" - Tor.com
Episode 176: Jason's back from vacation to talk about all sorts of video games with Kirk and Maddy, including Mortal Kombat 11, Baba Is You, Hitman 2, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, and Phoenix Wright. Then the trio dives into Days Gone (42:16), the new PS4-exclusive that's all about killing zombies -- sorry, freakers -- and being sad on a motorcycle. Finally, some off-topic talk (1:02:10) on Avengers: Infinity War, Carmen Sandiego, and Barry.
Music Pick of the Week: “First it Giveth” - Queens of the Stone Age from their 2002 album Songs for the deaf
Show notes:"I watched 21 Marvel movies this month — and witnessed a decade of progress for women" - Washington Post
Jason's on vacation, so Maddy and Kirk get the podcast to themselves. We start with a listener email about how we'd react if our significant others broke our game consoles, then we cover the news, from the PlayStation 5 announcement (!) to the way that the Notre Dame fire has brought Assassin's Creed: Unity back to the forefront. We then talk about games we're playing (32:15); Maddy's enjoying a Switch indie puzzle game called The World Next Door, and also some good old Street Fighter. Kirk's still playing Root and Sekiro, the latter of which inspires us to discuss difficulty, accessibility, and the ways people say games "should" be played. We wrap up with off-topic talk (1:05:23) about what we're watching (Leaving Neverland, Shazam, and Captain Marvel) and reading (Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars). Kirk's music pick of the week is “Bustin’ Out” by GRiZ, featuring Bootsy Collins.
Episode 174: Lots of video game news this week! Maddy talks about her trip to Disney World, Jason describes the new Danganronpa-ish game Zanki Zero, and Kirk raves a bit more about Sekiro and The Division 2. Then the Splitscreen crew gets into a newsy week (39:57) full of info on the next Dragon Age, the next Assassin's Creed, and a few listener questions, followed by off-topic talk (1:16:31) on Golden Girls and Veep.Music Pick: “Sight of You” by Sigrid from her 2019 album Sucker PunchLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Baba is... everyone? Kirk, Jason, and Maddy are all playing the wonderfully clever puzzle game Baba Is You, which they're talking about this week alongside Sekiro, Pokemon, and Phoenix Wright. Then it's time to dive into Jason's new article about the making of Anthem (30:20) and the crisis of burnout at BioWare. Topics discussed include the video game industry's sustainability, how Anthem turned out the way it did, and whether big-budget video games can ever be made in a healthy way. Finally, some off-topic chat on PEN15, The Orville, and Captain Marvel (50:18).Music pick of the week: “Moanin’” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from their 1959 album Moanin’Show notes: How BioWare's Anthem Went Wrong by Jason Schreier; The Writer Will Do Something by Tom Bissell and Matthew BurnsLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Episode 172: Just what does newly minted Bloodborne expert Jason think of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice? How does Kirk feel about missing out on all that sweet, sweet GDC content? And why is Maddy playing Pokemon Go? Today on Kotaku Splitscreen, all those questions are answered and more. First it's video game talk, on the likes of The Division 2, Baba Is You, and Sekiro. Then it's the news of the week (50:29) on Zelda indies, Switch rumors, and Google Stadia, followed by off-topic talk (1:20:19) on The Dropout, Hamilton, and Umbrella Academy.
Music pick: “When it Rains” by Brad Mehldau from his 2002 album “Largo”
Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry, two members of the team that made Night In The Woods, are now part of a games studio without any bosses. It's a worker co-op called The Glory Society, and at GDC 2019, Scott and Bethany dropped by the podcast to explain why they prefer bylaws to bosses. In the second half of the episode, longtime Splitscreen guest Matthew Burns came by to talk about his new visual novel about artificial intelligence and also, how cool he thinks SpeedTree is.
Justin Ma and Matthew Davis, the creators of FTL and Into The Breach, sat down with Jason and Maddy at GDC 2019 to discuss the intense creative stress involved in making their most recent game. Despite wanting to pull the plug on Into The Breach many times, the duo forged onward and made a strategy game that is elegant in its simplicity. In the second half of the show, Christine Love joins us to talk about her past visual novels (Analogue: A Hate Story, Ladykiller In A Bind) and her pivot towards making an RPG called Get In The Car, Loser! which will have actual combat mechanics alongside the dialogue trees.
At GDC 2019, Double Fine boss Tim Schafer is losing his voice, but he still croaked through his annual Splitscreen appearance to discuss the union joke he told on stage at the IGF awards, the state of Psychonauts 2, and his thoughts on Google Stadia. We explained to him how unions work so that he can tell even better jokes about them next year. In the second half of the episode, Gabe Amatangelo of QC Games told us about his history at Bioware, the cancellation of Shadow Realms, and the eventual creation of a not-so-different dungeon crawler called Breach, which launched in early access earlier this year.
Jesse Snyder, creative director at NantG and formerly the creator of Call of Duty's Zombies mode, sat down with Jason and Maddy at GDC 2019 to tell the real story of how the zombies came to life. The mode began as a late-night passion project that actually got a lot of internal pushback, and eventually, Snyder realized he'd rather make "crazy" games than super-realistic ones. After that, we talked to Andrew Maximov about Promethean AI, a piece of software aimed at helping artists create in-game universes more easily. If it works the way that Maximov says, this AI tech will be like a (robot) junior artist who does the boring, fiddly grunt work so that video game artists can focus their creative attention on grander things.
At GDC 2019, shortly after announcing Google Stadia, Phil Harrison sat down with Jason and Maddy to reveal more details about Google's new game streaming platform. He didn't say how much it will cost, but he did clarify the importance of a good internet connection to making this service work as well as it should. Plus, you'll need a Chromecast and one of Google's new controllers to make Stadia work on your TV. After we try and fail to get Phil Harrison to tell us whether Google has official E3 plans, we sat down for another interview with Sarah Elmaleh, the voice of Anthem's female protagonist.
Episode 171: Devil May Cry 5 is outrageous, and Splitscreen's here to talk about it. First, Jason, Kirk, and Maddy get into the games they've been playing -- Breath of the Wild, Broken Age, Destiny, etc. -- before diving into the mania of the newest Devil May Cry. Then it's time for news of the week (36:03) on Nintendo's Labo VR, EA skipping E3, and Valve removing a game called Rape Day from Steam. Finally, some off-topic chat on Captain Marvel, Succession, Leaving Neverland, and tips for working well from home (59:53).
Music pick of the week: The Wood Brothers, “Snake Eyes” from their 2015 album Paradise
Episode 170: Surprise! It's a one-day-early episode of Kotaku Splitscreen, here to talk to you about Bloodborne (which Jason's finally finished), Danganronpa (which Maddy's almost finished), and the many games Kirk is playing, like The Division 2 and Ape Out. There's news of the week (36:13) on Pokemon, Anthem crashing PS4s, and THQ Nordic's major screw-up, and then Jason shares some impressions of the upcoming zombie game Days Gone, which he got to play for an hour and a half at a Sony event two weeks ago. Then it's time for some off-topic talk (59:16) on Killing Eve, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Big Mouth, followed by Kirk's music pick of the week and a brief Russian Doll spoilercast.
MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK:
“Under the Sea” by Fearless Flyers from their Debut EP
Watch the video here
LINKS:Wesley Morris on Michael JacksonSlate Culture Gabfest Russian Doll spoilercast
Episode 169: Kirk's on jury duty this week, leaving Jason and Maddy to talk about Bloodborne and Danganronpa without him. They also talk about beloved Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime retiring and the rumors of a Nintendo-Xbox love affair, then take some listener questions on Anthem and games as a service (35:10). Then it's time for off-topic talk (52:40) on X2 and Russian Doll as well as JASON'S surprise Music Pick Of The Week. It's a good one.
Episode 168: BioWare's Anthem is out! But is it any good? First up, the Splitscreen crew talks about the games they've been playing, like Bloodborne, Tetris 99, and Far Cry New Dawn. Then it's time for a breakdown of BioWare's new loot shooter (31:16), which Kirk and Jason have both been playing. They discuss Anthem's many bugs, the problems with EA's early access program, and how the game generally looks and feels. Finally, off-topic chat on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Russian Doll, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Music pick of the week: “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen from their 1975 album A Night At The OperaLindsay Ellis - 'Independence Day vs. War of the Worlds': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KioF1sTQFtEJake Kaufman & Tommy Pedrini - Final Fantasy VI 'The Impresario': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xFhULStbkQ
It's Nintendo Direct week, and you know what that means: Everything old is new again. First, Jason, Maddy, and Kirk talk about the games they've been playing, from Danganronpa to Bloodborne. Then they talk about Nintendo's big announcements including Super Mario Maker 2, Box Boy+Box Girl, and a remake of Link's Awakening (22:31), and close off the show by talking Sex Education, Big Mouth, and other shows they've been enjoying (49:43).
Kirk's music pick of the week: “Dancing Queen” by ABBA from their 1976 album Arrival
Kotaku's music pick of the week Spotify playlist
Maddy, Jason and Kirk take the stage at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY for a live episode of Kotaku Splitscreen. They talk Apex Legends, Battle Royale games in general, Mario vs. Zelda, and take a bunch of audience questions. Thanks to everyone who came out!
Maddy, Kirk, and Jason unite to talk about the many games they've been playing, including Resident Evil 2, Wargroove, Bloodborne, and Destiny 2. Then they take a deep dive into Kingdom Hearts (34:01), debating over whether the story is convoluted, analyzing why people love it so much, and dissecting the pros and cons of the brand new Kingdom Hearts III. Finally, off topic talk (1:06:45) on the Fyre Festival documentaries and Happy Endings.
Music pick of the week: “Use It” by The New Pornographers from their 2005 album “Twin Cinema”
Jason, Kirk, and Maddy open up the mailbag to answer some of your great questions on Bloodborne, video game music, the cults of personality that surround the video game industry, our dream Assassin's Creed settings, and much, much more. Plus: NFL playoff stories!
Music pick of the week: “Green Lights” by Sarah Jarosz from her 2016 album “Undercurrent” (video here)
Kirk, Maddy, and Jason unite to talk about one of the wildest video game news weeks in recent memory! First they talk about the games they're playing, including Resident Evil 2, Danganronpa, and Destiny 2. Then they dissect this week's news (32:41) on Bungie ditching Activision, the messy Gearbox lawsuit, and EA canceling its open-world Star Wars game. They close things off with off-topic talk (1:18:58) and the NFL playoff story of the week.
Music pick: “Overtime” by Knower, from their YouTube channel (seriously, watch it!)
Maddy, Jason, and Kirk talk about Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, Destiny 2, Crosscode, and Bloodborne before listing their video game predictions for 2019 (38:22). Each one makes 10 predictions, and whoever gets the most right throughout the year will get to force the other two to play a game of his or her choice. Then on off topic talk (1:03:13), Orphan Black, trackpads, and one wild football story.
Music pick of the week: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson from his 1982 album of the same name
On the very first Kotaku Splitscreen of 2019, Kirk, Jason, and Maddy talk about the games they've been playing to kick off the year, including CrossCode, Life Is Strange Season 2, and Minit. Then Kirk and Jason revisit their 2018 predictions (34:19) to figure out who won their big yearlong bet and gets to force the other to play a game of their choice. Finally, off-topic talk (52:09) on Into The Spider-Verse, Vice, Widows, Happy Endings, and The Fifth Risk.
Music pick of the week: Vulfpeck, “Animal Spirits,” from their 2016 album The Beautiful Game
It's time for the biggest episode of Splitscreen ever as Kirk, Maddy, and Jason gather for part two of Every Game We Played In 2018, starting with June and July, then August and September (42:28), October (1:13:37), and then November and December (1:47:20). The team discusses dozens of games this week, from Hollow Knight to Sushi Striker to Return of the Obra Dinn to... well, many, many more.
Kirk, Jason, and Maddy unite for Splitscreen's annual GOTY coverage! This week it's all the games we played from January through May, including Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Celeste, Secret of Mana, Into The Breach, Far Cry 5, A Way Out, God of War, Pillars of Eternity 2, Monster Prom, and much more. Next week: June through December.
Everything changes on today's episode of Kotaku Splitscreen. We start off the episode with a very special surprise, followed by some discussion of games like Celeste, Obra Dinn, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (33:28). Then The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley joins the show (48:34) to talk about the success of last week's show, how he puts together his exclusive reveals, and why he chose to support the streamer Ninja. Finally, off-topic talk and Kirk's music pick of the week (1:15:25).
Kirk's Music Pick Of The Week: Beyoncé, “Single Ladies,” from her 2008 album I Am… Sasha Fierce [Also examined on this week's Strong Songs]
Legendary Cypher on Twitter
"How To Travel In Time" exhibition
Celeste original soundtrack by Lena Raine
Cecilia's tips for playing Super Smash Bros Ultimate
It's nearly time for December E3, aka The Game Awards, and there's lots to discuss! First, Kirk and Jason talk about slaying Sean Bean in Hitman 2, the great new platformer Monster Boy, and the excellent Prey Mooncrash. Then they get into Game Awards talk (30:10) on what to expect at this year's show, hype versus awards, and whether game reveals actually matter. They close out the show with off-topic talk (59:47) on The Bodyguard, She-Ra, and To Kill A Mockingbird.Music: Hanne Hukkelberg, “Cheater’s Armoury,” from her 2006 album Rykestrasse 68 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq-gYOrU8bA
There are oh so many games to play this fall, and you should start with Return of the Obra Dinn, the fantastic puzzler that Kirk and Jason both adore. This week they talk all about that, along with Hitman 2, the Sega Genesis Classics collection, and other games they're playing. Then it's time for the news of the week (37:50) on Red Dead Online, Diablo 4, and The Game Awards rumors, along with some off-topic talk on Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born.
Music pick: Paul Simon, “You Can Call Me Al,” from his 1986 masterpiece Graceland
Subscribe to Kirk’s new music podcast STRONG SONGS on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.
It's an extra-special-early Thanksgiving episode! This one's a two-parter. First, Kirk and Jason bring on Kotaku's Ethan Gach to talk about Fallout 76 (06:51), the buggy new multiplayer game from Bethesda Game Studios. Then, it's the long-awaited Red Dead Redemption 2 spoilercast (35:32) as Kirk and Jason dive into the game's lengthy story and talk about everything they liked and disliked. (Warning: SPOILERS!!!!)Music pick: Mika, “Grace Kelly,” from his 2007 album Life in Cartoon Motion
Kirk and Jason talk about the games they're playing, like Tetris Effect and Hitman 2, then jump into the news of the week (21:36) on Detective Pikachu, Final Fantasy XV's canceled DLC, and Destiny 2's "disappointing" sales. Then old friend Evan Narcisse joins the show (40:56) to talk about Stan Lee's legacy and what he meant to nerds all across the world. Finally, some off-topic talk (59:53) on House of Cards season 6 and Bohemian Rhapsody.Music pick: Roy Hargrove & The RH Factor, “Common Free Style,” from their 2003 album Hard Groove
Kotaku's Maddy Myers returns to the show this week, joining Kirk and Jason to chat about the big Diablo disaster. First they talk about some of the games they've been playing, including Assassin's Creed Origins, Return of the Obra Dinn, and Red Dead 2. Then the three get into the news of the week on Nintendo removing a racist animation from the new Smash, BlizzCon announcements, and the big Diablo controversy. They talk about why Diablo Immortal frustrated fans and offer some theories as to why marketing is such a large part of video game culture. The three of them close things out with off-topic talk and Kirk's Music Pick Of The Week.MUSIC PICK: Lake Street Dive, “You Go Down Smooth,” from their 2014 album Bad Self Portraits
Who would've thought that the biggest game of 2018 would also be one of the strangest? First up on this week's episode, Jason and Kirk talk about the news of the week including the PlayStation Classic's sad lineup, the buggy Fallout 76 beta, and a surprise new game from the creator of Undertale. Then Kirk and Jason take another deep dive into Red Dead Redemption 2 (21:14), now that Jason's actually had a chance to play it. They talk about how Rockstar's new game subverts AAA open-world tropes, the intense level of detail, and why RDR2 has grown on them both so much before moving into off-topic stuff and Kirk's Music Pick Of The Week (KMPOTW).
Over the past week, Kirk has spent all of his time playing through Red Dead Redemption 2, while Jason has spent all of his time talking to the people who made it. Today's show is a lengthy dissection of the newest epic from Rockstar, the conditions under which it was made, and how the game's story parallels its creators in so many ways. Kirk and Jason talk about how RDR2 works and what makes it so special, dig into the nuances of working overtime, and discuss their own relationships with crunch and how it's affected them.
Kirk and Jason chat about rock climbing tents, meta-baiting, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey before getting into this week's big news story (26:51) on Rockstar's work conditions. What did Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser mean when he said they put in 100-hour work weeks? Why do people equate working hard with working long hours? And how should we balance our desire to play the hell out of Red Dead Redemption 2 with our concerns about how it was made? This is just the first part of this conversation -- much more to come next week, too!
Kirk and Jason briefly gush about the new Wonder Woman emulator Assassin's Creed Odyssey before bringing on Stephen Totilo for a lengthy chat about microtransactions (21:43). The three talk about how Assassin's Creed Odyssey's microtransactions work, whether they affect the game, whether their sheer existence plants a seed of skepticism inside the player's head, the "poisoning the well" argument, how video games have always been after your money, whether games should still cost $60, and much, much more. Finally, Kirk and Jason briefly chat about some off-topic stuff (1:19:55) like Better Call Saul and the new season of American Vandal.
Jason's back from his honeymoon and there's lots to discuss, starting with the Splitscreen boys' first impressions of the new open-world game Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Then, Kirk and Jason dive into this week's news (34:36) on a leaked Harry Potter game, Google's Project Stream, and much more. Finally, it's time for a Spider-Man spoilercast (56:27), getting into the strengths and weaknesses of the story, MJ and Peter's relationship, and what Kirk and Jason want to see from Spider-Man 2.
"We've Got A Wild Theory About The New Harry Potter Movie"
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: The Kotaku Review
Kirk and Maddy start off by talking about the biggest news of the last week: the sudden closure of Telltale Games, a move that left more than 200 game developers out of work with no severance. (Well REALLY, they start out by talking about comically huge mouse pads, if we're being totally accurate.) After talking about the Telltale debacle, they discuss Sony finally opening up the PS4 to cross-play with other consoles, how a Shadow of the Tomb Raider fan found an unintended post-credits cutscene by playing the game without the day-one patch, and how Nintendo's tight-lipped approach to explaining their games lets fans create things as wonderful as Bowsette, a.k.a. Peacher. They close out with some talk of how Destiny 2 has become life-devouringly good, how Maddy has been charmed by last year's Battle Chef Brigade, and some off-topic TV, podcast, and music recommendations.
Kirk's podcast breaking down why Toto's "Africa" is a great song
"Telltale Employees Left Stunned By Company Closure, No Severance," by Ethan Gach for Kotaku
Gita Jackson's article about Bowsette/Peacher
Sony finally relents and allows Fortnite cross-platform play
Kirk's review of Destiny 2: Forsaken and breakdown of all the cool new stuff added to the game this week
"My Hideous, Comfortable Gamer Chair Fills Me With Existential Dread," by Maddy Myers for Kotaku Compete
"n1c" By deerful on Bandcamp
Kotaku's Stephen Totilo finally had a chance to play Rockstar's upcoming wild west open-worlder Red Dead Redemption 2. For this bonus episode, he sat down with Kirk and Maddy to share his impressions of the game and answer questions about rusted guns, horse balls, and causin' a ruckus on the open prairie.
Stephen's full written preview of Red Dead Redemption 2
Jason's out of town, so Kotaku editor Maddy Myers joins Kirk to fill in as co-host. First up they talk about Nintendo's new Switch online service, the just-announced PlayStation Classic, how the maniacs who beat Destiny 2's new raid unlocked new stuff for everyone, and how streamers are reacting after someone shot a BB gun through the window of a popular PUBG personality.
Then Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo joins (33:33) to talk about Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a good game that's been unfortunately overSHADOWED (cough) by certain other September mega-games. Maddy and Kirk close out (55:23) with some talk of Assassin's Creed Origins, a couple TV recommendations, and a New Zealand-tastic music pick of the week.
"After Shooting At Dr Disrespect's House, Streamers Are Concerned For Their Safety," by Nathan Grayson for Kotaku
Stephen Totilo's review of Shadow of the Tomb Raider
"After Jacksonville Shooting, Gaming Event Organizers Pledge Better Security" by Maddy Myers for Kotaku
Heather Alexandra and Cecilia D'Anastasio on what they liked and didn't like about The Dragon Prince
Kirk's review of Assassin's Creed Origins and follow-up article about how absurdly huge the game is
First, Kirk and Jason talk some more about Destiny 2's Forsaken expansion, addressing the question "how much should creators listen to fan feedback?" and talking about the brilliant new Dreaming City location. Then Kirk sits down with video producer Lindsay Ellis to talk about Disney, Star Wars, fascism, and YouTube. Jason rejoins the show to cap things off with more Spider-Man love, which Kirk finally acknowledges is as good as Jason said it was.Lindsay Ellis's YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG1h-Wqjtwz7uUANw6gazRwSnarky Puppy - Lingus (live recording): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_XJ_s5IsQc
Kirk and Jason talk about web slinging and swinging in Spider-Man, the excellent new PS4 game, then dive into Destiny 2's new Forsaken expansion, talking about the new systems, the story, and the Destiny treadmill that never ends.
Kirk's back from vacation and raring to talk about games. What kinds of games? VIDEO games, baby!
He and Jason start off discussing what they've been playing, covering God of War's New Game+, Prey: Mooncrash, Destiny 2, The Messenger, and Dragon Quest XI. Then they talk a bit about the glut of indie games en route to the Switch and share some thoughts on that super-slick Cyberpunk 2077 E3 gameplay demo, which CD Projekt Red finally released to the public this week.
After that, Kirk has a chat with Ari Gibson and William Pellen, the Australian duo behind the wonderful side-scroller Hollow Knight, before he and Jason bring it home with some TV, book, and music recommendations.
Team Cherry Blog, Team Cherry on Twitter
Tim Rogers's Dragon Quest XI review
Cyberpunk 2077 48-minute E3 gameplay demo
Jason on the victims of the Jacksonville shooting
Kirk on learning different combat moves in God of War's New Game+
Kirk tries to explain Destiny 2's new weapons system
"How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million" by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Interview intro music: "Greenpath" by Christopher Larkin from the Hollow Knight OST
Jason brings on Square Enix's Koji Fox, who's been at the company since 2003 and currently heads up translation on Final Fantasy XIV. They talk about what it was like to join Square on the day it became Square Enix, how Final Fantasy XIV's overhaul affected the staff, and what it's been like to write for a story that never ends.
Jason and Kirk talk CPU cooling and Diablo 3 on Switch before diving into Dead Cells and the appeal (or lack of appeal) of video game grind in games like Destiny. Then, Jason talks to Arkane co-founder and Prey director Raphael Colantonio (41:03) about why he left the company he helped start, what he dislikes about big-budget gaming, and why Prey's final act was so different than the rest of the game.
Kirk and Jason crack open the mailbag to answer some of YOUR questions about RPGs as a service, how companies can afford to delay games, Microsoft potentially making an Xbox PC, and much more. As always, you can send questions to email@example.com.
Journalist and producer Alanah Pearce, formerly of IGN, joins Kirk and Jason to talk about No Man's Sky's game-changing new update, a recent Twitter shitstorm involving the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, and what makes for a perfect Switch game. Plus: D&D and Destiny 2!
Kirk returns from vacation and there's a whole lot to discuss, including Jason's first time DMing in Dungeons & Dragons, more on Octopath Traveler, and the ArenaNet debacle that left two people out of jobs.
Kirk's off this week, so Jason brings on Kotaku's Tim Rogers to talk about the structure and story of Octopath Traveler. Short version: The combat system is fantastic, and it looks and sounds gorgeous, but everything else... eh. Then Jason and Tim geek out about The Sopranos for a while.
Happy Independence Day! Kirk and Jason talk about shoveling hot dogs into your mouth, and also other things (like GDQ, the Cyberpunk E3 audio leak, Google Yeti, Hollow Knight, and the appeal of difficult games).
Jason returns from E3 with hands-on impressions about a ton of games, including Anthem, Spider-Man, Kingdom Hearts III, and many more. Then he and Kirk talk about a ton MORE games, including Hollow Knight, Yoku's Island express, and a whole lot of Dark Souls.
While at E3, Jason speaks with Yakuza localization producer Scott Strichart about the art and history of video game localization, how they approach the process with Yakuza games, and how it's been watching the long-running series finally start catching on in the mainstream.
At E3 in Los Angeles, Jason sits down with CD Projekt Red co-founder/co-CEO Marcin Iwiński to talk about the studio-wide effort to finish their much-buzzed-about RPG Cyberpunk 2077. They also talk about workplace crunch and game development labor issues, video game piracy, and a bunch of other things.
At E3 2018, Jason sat down for an entertaining conversation with game design legend Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Ultima Underworld, System Shock) about his storied career in video games, his wildest game design idea, and his return to immersive sims with Underworld Ascendant and System Shock 3.
Still at E3 in Los Angeles, Jason sat down with CD Projekt Red quest designer Patrick Mills to talk about his work on the studio's impressive-looking RPG Cyberpunk 2077. Kirk, meanwhile, sat at home in Portland mixing and editing podcasts while wishing, ever so faintly, that he'd gotten to see the the game's press demo.
At E3 in Los Angeles, Jason linked up with Sea of Thieves executive producer Joe Neate to talk about the challenges of working on a service game, the expansions that are in the works, and Neate's take on the now-infamous player who became the game's first "Pirate Legend."