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The Ringer


Every week, The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion delve into the virtual world, discussing the latest video game releases and trends, interviewing industry experts, and exploring fascinating subcultures.




Streaming Sins, Space Games, and 'Metroid' (Ep. 51)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss Jason's return to the new and (possibly) improved 'No Man's Sky' (0:55), then bring on colleague Justin Charity to talk about celebrity streamer PewDiePie's latest offense, indie developer Campo Santo's response, the uncertain symbiosis between streamers and publishers, and why gamers get toxic online (5:55). Then they bring on NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory systems engineer Molly Bittner to discuss her work on NASA's Cassini and Europa...

Duration: 01:12:08

'Blood, Sweat, and Pixels,' 'Destiny 2,' and 'Localhost' (Ep. 50)

For their 50th episode, The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion welcome Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier to discuss the industry trends and revelations inside his new book ('Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made') and their early impressions of 'Destiny 2' (2:50). Then they bring on Sophia Park and Penelope Evans, the cocreators of 'Localhost' and 'Arc Symphony,' to talk about how they provoke emotional reactions in players,...

Duration: 01:11:28

Recent Releases, 'Uncharted,' and 'Good Game' (Ep. 49)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss their impressions of 'Undertale,' 'Sonic Mania,' and 'Uncharted: The Lost Legacy' (0:45), then interview 'Uncharted' writer and Naughty Dog veteran Josh Scherr about the game's breakneck development, Naughty Dog's winning formula for 'Uncharted' ideas, and how he feels about working on sequels versus new series (16:30). Lastly, Ben and The Ringer's Alison Herman talk to Jesse Cox and Michele Morrow, cocreators and executive producers...

Duration: 01:17:43

Making Mo-cap Magic, and Going Inside an Esports Team (Ep. 48)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk to stuntwomen and voice actors Maggie Macdonald and America Young about their work in video games including 'Halo 5,' the 'Dead Space,' 'Uncharted,' and 'Saints Row' series, and the newly released 'Agents of Mayhem,' as well as how working in video games compares to big-budget movies, the advancement of video-game motion-capture technology, the most challenging stunts they've had to perform, and fighting while looking like Lara Croft...

Duration: 01:21:15

'Dream Daddy' and Giant Bomb's Successful Pivot to Video (Ep. 47)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion banter about 'No Man's Sky' updates, mundane objects that look great in games, and Ben's plans for a video game bachelor party (1:20), then bring on their colleague Alison Herman to discuss the summer hit 'Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator,' a Steam game that subverts the tropes of traditional dating sims (8:40). Finally, Ben and Jason talk to Giant Bomb founding member and video producer Vinny Caravella about the origins of the site and...

Duration: 01:05:56

Gamer Grooming and the Golden Age of Board Games (Ep. 46)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss the addition of a free-for-all deathmatch mode to team-based shooter 'Overwatch' (1:05), then bring on makeup artist Ada Trinh to discuss her work with Blizzard, Riot, and esports athletes; why gamers need help in the complexion department; and why it matters that competitive gamers look good (7:00). Then they talk to ESPN senior baseball writer (and Paste Magazine board-game reviewer) Keith Law about his gaming past, the current...

Duration: 01:07:12

'Tacoma' and 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' (Ep. 45)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss whether makers of future consoles will feel pressure to support portability to keep pace with the Switch (2:37), then talk about Ben's impressions of 'Tacoma,' the new game from The Fullbright Company (makers of 'Gone Home'), and the temporarily game-breaking bug that prevented Jason from playing it (7:19). Then they bring on professional fantasy sports player Al Zeidenfeld to discuss how he started streaming 'PlayerUnknown's...

Duration: 01:05:29

Developing 'Pyre' and Composing Supergiant's Soundtracks (Ep. 44)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk to Greg Kasavin, creative director and lead writer of indie developer Supergiant Games, about the company's new game, 'Pyre,' its surprising shoutout from Arby's, the apocalyptic settings of Supergiant's games, how 'Pyre' is different from their previous works, 'Bastion' and 'Transistor,' whether 'Pyre' has potential as an esport (and the pitfalls of online multiplayer), why the company wants to stay small, how he uses music to aid his...

Duration: 01:15:10

'Splatoon 2,' 'Destiny 2,' and Aliens and Love in 'Grand Theft Auto' (Ep. 43)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh, Jason Concepcion, and Justin Charity discuss their impressions of 'Splatoon 2' and the 'Destiny 2' beta (4:00). Then, Ben and Jason bring on Kai and Gramz, two members of 'Grand Theft Auto' data-mining group Team Guru, to talk about their years-long hunt for 'GTA' Easter eggs, what motivates them to keep up their quest, the tools of their trade, their successful hunt for in-game aliens, and their real-life, long-distance romance that was kindled in 'GTA' and...

Duration: 01:00:09

'Overwatch,' 'Castlevania,' and Games Done Quick (Ep. 42)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss some of the challenges facing competitive 'Overwatch' in Season 5, including depleted rankings and a misaligned rewards system (0:39). Then they bring on their colleagues Matt James and Micah Peters to talk to 'Castlevania' executive producer Adi Shankar about the new Netflix series, 'Spider-Man: 'Homecoming,' Shankar's creative process, and the secrets to making a good video game adaptation (7:14). Lastly, Ben and Jason talk to...

Duration: 01:03:23

Gamer Sensei, 'Pokémon Go,' and Funemployment (Ep. 41)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion first talk to William Collis, cofounder of Gamer Sensei, an esports startup that matches players with coaches who tutor them on how not to be bad at games (2:14). Then they welcome colleague Claire McNear to celebrate the first birthday of 'Pokémon Go,' discuss how the game has evolved, and explore the depths of Claire's determination to "catch them all" (26:44). Lastly, they bring on economist Ernie Tedeschi to critique the controversial...

Duration: 01:00:26

The Ascent of 'Rocket League' and a Comeback for 'Crash Bandicoot' (Ep. 40)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion briefly discuss Nintendo's SNES Classic (1:12), and then are joined by their colleague (and fellow 'Rocket League' enthusiast) Rob Harvilla for a conversation with Psyonix Studios' Corey Davis, the design director for 'Rocket League,' about the game's origins (3:23), the secret to its satisfying gameplay and controls (9:28), its advantages and rapid rise to prominence as an esport (14:23), its pursuit of cross-platform play (25:15), and...

Duration: 01:00:16

'Arms,' Animating Sex Scenes, and Long Loading Times (Ep. 39)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion discuss their impressions of Nintendo's new Switch brawler, 'Arms' (1:10), the pros and cons of motion controls and the Pro Controller (2:42), and the game's esports future (7:50). Then they bring on Kotaku's Nathan Grayson to talk about E3 impressions (9:15), why it's so difficult to do video game sex scenes (and why the ones in 'The Witcher' succeed) (14:19), why more powerful hardware hasn't shortened long loading times (35:30), why loot...

Duration: 00:50:25

Esports Roundup and a World-Size Sim (Ep. 38)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk to Compete's Eric Van Allen about Nintendo's surprising new esports acumen with 'Splatoon 2,' 'Arms,' and 'Pokkén Tournament' (2:07), esports franchising and the future of competitive 'Overwatch' and 'League of Legends' (4:33), the difficulty of producing a comprehensible esports broadcast (9:09), the high ceiling of 'Rocket League' (13:27), esports on college campuses (16:50), and esports in VR (20:00). Then they bring on Richard Knol,...

Duration: 00:50:54

All of Our E3 Reactions [Bonus Episode] (Ep. 37)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion digest the week's biggest news and announcements out of E3, discussing the notable trends, highlights—including Nintendo, Ubisoft, co-op and multiplayer, pirates, and long-awaited sequels and reboots—and lowlights like Xbox One X, the developments they're still skeptical about, and the evolution of their own video game greed.

Duration: 00:49:16

How a Good Game Goes Bad (Ep. 36)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk to Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier about why developers divulge details about troubled projects to reporters (2:55), Schreier's exposé of the problems plaguing Bioware's development of the disappointing 'Mass Effect: Andromeda' (8:28), the downsides of the gaming industry's reliance on Metacritic (29:25), how game engines such as EA's Frostbite can both help and hinder development (40:29), the potential for (and obstacles blocking) a...

Duration: 00:55:21

'The Walking Dead,' 'Rime,' and Casting Characters (Ep. 35)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk about the Switch as a mobile experience (2:20) and Ben's impressions of 'The Walking Dead: A New Frontier' (4:30), and 'Rime' (9:33). Then they listen to an excerpt from Ben's conversation with 'Rime' creative director Raúl Rubio (18:08). Lastly, they talk to longtime video game casting/performance director Tom Keegan about his experience casting actors for series such as 'Battlefield,' 'Call of Duty,' and 'Wolfenstein' (31:19), whether...

Duration: 01:02:29

Doug Liman, Jonathan Allen, and 'Dota' (Ep. 34)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion speak to director Doug Liman about the influence of video games on his movies 'Swingers,' 'The Bourne Identity,' and 'Edge of Tomorrow' (2:44), the narrative differences between video games and movies (8:57), how to tell stories in VR (13:38), and his latest projects, 'The Wall' and 'Invisible' (16:17). Then they bring on college football star and NFL first-round draft pick Jonathan Allen to talk about his taste in video games (24:21), his...

Duration: 00:52:48

'Prey', the Business of Gaming, the Future of E-sports, and Expert Glitchers (Ep. 33)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion pine for VR rigs and talk to their colleague Justin Charity about Arkane Studios' first-person shooter, 'Prey' (4:20), how the pace of a playthrough affects the player's impressions (6:05), and whether a disappointing ending can spoil a game (11:05). Then they ask Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah E. Needleman about covering the gaming industry from a business perspective (16:28), the future of e-sports (25:25), and the major trends she's...

Duration: 00:48:57

How to Get Back into Gaming and Laying Down Video Game Law (Ep. 32)

The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talk to colleague Justin Charity about how he's made up for lost time after an extended hiatus from gaming (2:10), his recent article on streaming culture (8:46), his second (!) playthrough of the lengthy RPG 'Persona 5,' (19:30), and his first impressions of the newly released 'Prey.' (21:47). Then, Ben and Justin talk to Stephen McArthur the "Video Game Lawyer" about the legality of fan-made games (26:55), how video game developers protect...

Duration: 00:59:07

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