The Cross-Generational Bottleneck: Ratchet & Clank Edition

Digital Foundry via Video shows Ratchet & Clank PC port struggling to run on a PS4 HDD by Jordan Middler for VGC

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a bottleneck post, but I think we understand why Sony and Insomniac didn’t make Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart a cross gen game. It seems like we are finally moving away from cross gen titles with Spider-Man 2 here in October. Microsoft is done developing Xbox One games, banking on streaming to provide those users with access.

Behind the Scenes of Chapter Select Season 5 – Resident Evil

Episode art generated by DALL-E 2 with the following prompt written by Max Roberts -  "A Resident Evil zombie with a bloody mouth looking behind itself over its left shoulder, only its head in frame, dimly lit in a dark room diorama."
Illustration generated by DALL-E 2, prompted and edited by Max Roberts

It is that time in the season once again. The end snuck up on me this time. Resident Evil went by so fast. When you throw in all the work we’ve been doing on Super Chapter Select and Season 6 – Pokémon, it felt like I blinked and it was time to write this season’s behind the scenes post. Thank God I take notes all season long. 😅

Download (14MB)

Wrapping up Season 5 marks a major step forward in Chapter Select. We have entered the membership game and continued to amp up the show overall. Both the audience and the show’s quality grew. I do feel like I was reaching max capacity on what I could create within our apartment. Sharing a office with a seventh-month-old (now 10 months old) really cramped my editing time. Thankfully, my family moved into our first home and I have an office once again.1 Once we are settled, I am eager to have space to create in the wee hours of the morning again without waking up my daughter.

Super Chapter Select is out there now. It feels strange to even being writing this before the announcement. After working on something in secrecy for so long, to just release it—with a new (to us) business model—is a bit frightening. Out of the gate, my goal is to have the show pay for itself. I’d love to make this an actual side hustle, but here at the start, self-sustainment will do. If you’ve signed up for the show, I hope you are enjoying the rich back catalog. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do! I am proud of our work and think you’ll enjoy the show. In the cadence and style of Sean Evans selling hot sauce

Pitch over 😅 Now let’s sink our teeth into some statistics.

Continue reading “Behind the Scenes of Chapter Select Season 5 – Resident Evil”

Chapter Select Season 6 is Pokémon

Art designed by Max Roberts

Welcome to Chapter Select Season 6!

We want to be the very best; like no podcast ever was! It is time for us to catch them all as we tackle Pokémon. “Rivals” Max Roberts and Logan Moore set out on a grand adventure to collect, battle, and study this legendary series.

Download (6MB) – Episode Transcript

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For the season’s structure, the classic bounce back-and-forth format of Chapter Select stands strong. We chose Pokémon generations as the backbone of the schedule. This allowed us to play the remakes where applicable. Here is the order we have for Season 6:

  • Episode 1 – Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen (2004) is releasing on August 23, 2023.
  • Episode 2 – Pokémon Scarlet and Violet (2022) is releasing on September 6, 2023 with special guest Chris Compendio.
  • Episode 3 – Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver (2010) is releasing September 20, 2023 with special guest Peter Spezia.
  • Episode 4 – Pokémon Sword and Shield (2019) is releasing October 4, 2023.
  • Episode 5 – Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby (2014) is releasing on October 18, 2023 with special guest Cameron Hawkins.
  • Episode 6 – Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon (2017) is releasing on November 1, 2023 with special guest Grant Callahan.
  • Episode 7 – Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl (2021) is releasing on November 15, 2023.
  • Episode 8 – Pokémon X and Y (2013) is releasing on November 29, 2023 with special guest Tomas Franzese.
  • Episode 9 – Pokémon Black and White (2010) is releasing on December 13, 2023.
  • Episode 10 – Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 (2012) is releasing on December 27, 2023.

While I am no stranger to the brand of Pokémon, I am to most of these games. Before embarking on this journey, I had only played Blue and Diamond. Much like the protagonists at the start of the games, I have embarked on my very own Pokémon adventure filled with discovery.

As for my rival Logan, he’s been earning badges and becoming Champion since the beginning. He’s played almost every mainline game before this season and is here to make sure I memorize the type chart.

These ten episodes are not all we have in store for Pokémon. Super Chapter Select members have access to our Poké Battles in every single game. It’s a 10 round rivalry-fueled gauntlet to see who truly is the best. You can sign up for just $20 a year for all these battles, longer shows, and exclusive episodes. You can learn more about Super Chapter Select here.

The art this season is taking the iconic Pokémon start screens and modifying them for the show. I’ve struggled coming up with this concept, but after playing around with fonts, colors, and console boarders, this is what we have chosen. As of this writing, I haven’t made most of the art yet, so I am excited to see where it goes!

We are thrilled to finally announce Season 6 – Pokémon! We’ve been working on this one for over a year. The first episode will be launching next month – August 23, 2023 – with new episodes following in a fortnightly manner. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

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Announcing Super Chapter Select

It is time to launch the next era of Chapter Select. Say hello to Super Chapter Select, a premium version of the seasonal, bounce back and forth podcast you know and love. For just $20 a year, you will gain access to longer episodes and supplemental bonus content for every single season.1 At launch, we have nearly 20 hours of member exclusive content. You can sign up right now to support the show and gain access the entire Super Chapter Select catalog.

Download (9MB) – Episode Transcript

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We have been working on Super Chapter Select for nearly two years now. The first journal entry I have fleshing out the idea is dated November 29, 2021. We began production in earnest with Season 3 – Banjo-Kazooie. That’s also when we planned on launching the membership alongside Season 6 – Pokémon.

You could say this has been a long time coming. Logan and I have made shows together for over eight years. We love podcasting together and producing the best show possible. We now feel like we have a special show and offering for fans to directly support the us and the program. Down below is a list of FAQs that should help out.2

Producing a premium show has been a goal of mine for over five years. I’ve been studying memberships and shows I adore to understand what makes them appealing to me and their audiences. I wanted to take our time and build our show right. I set out to apply their best principles in a way that fits our show and gives our audience a wonderful product at a fair price.

Thank you for joining us for this next chapter.3 We hope you enjoy!

Continue reading “Announcing Super Chapter Select”

Announcing the Next Three Seasons of Chapter Select

It is a big day here for Chapter Select. We’ve just launched Super Chapter Select, a member-supported version of the show; for just $20 a year, gain access to longer shows, exclusive episodes, and bonus videos. You can read more about Super Chapter Select in that dedicated post and sign up for it here. Alongside Super though, we are announcing the next three seasons of Chapter Select. We want to start announcing our plans ahead of time so that members know what they are signing up for the year ahead. Without further ado, here are Seasons 6, 7, and 8 of our show.

Season 6 is Pokémon

It is time to fill up that Pokédex as we play through all of the mainline Pokémon games. This season has been in the works since last summer. We chose Pokémon to launch alongside Super Chapter Select. The season and the membership program have been designed hand-in-hand. It has been hard to keep this one a secret for so long.

We are bouncing between the games and remakes on a generational basis. This allowed us to play new or old versions of games without having to worry. Season 6 starts on August 23, 2023. You can see the whole schedule, guest list, and more here.

Season 7 is Metroid Prime

Next year’s theme is “Metroidvania” with a slight tweak on the “Metroid” part of the name. For our Spring 2024 season, we are adventuring across space in the Metroid Prime game series; yes that includes Federation Force.

This first-person reinvention of the 2D classic took the gaming world by storm back in 2002. With the brand new remaster and the ever impending Metroid Prime 4, we thought now was the perfect time to see if Prime is worth the praise or better off in limbo.

Season 7 will bounce us through the home console and portable games. This let’s us experience the core trilogy’s story in order, while not neglecting the on-the-go titles. You can see the entire season order here.

Season 8 is Castlevania

As for Fall 2024, we are taking on the Lord of Darkness himself, Lord Dracula, in the Castlevania series. This season will be 19 episodes in length, which is nearly double the previous record holder Season 5 – Resident Evil. We could have doubled it, but we are omitting the original Game Boy games.1

The structure for this season is unique, even for Chapter Select. We have that bouncing back and forth, but rather than by release dates or the chronological narrative, we chose eras/genres of design. Those eras are “Classic,” with titles ranging from the NES to the Sega Genesis; “Iga,” which focuses on Koji Igarashi’s legendary design; and “3D,’ which will take a look at the 3D entires scattered throughout the franchise.

We feel this gives the season a fun and interesting pace, while also allowing us to answer the question of “what really makes a Castlevania game?” You can see the entire season order here.

As for guests in 2024, we do not have any lined up. We have lots of great people in mind and I hope they are willing to join us. We will be reaching out to them soon. If you would like to join us for either Season 7 or 8, please reach out to me at or on Twitter.

These seasons do have exciting Super Chapter Select content planned! While we won’t be revealing them at this time, I am incredibly excited to produce them alongside the seasons for our members.

This is an exciting time for Chapter Select, Logan, and myself. We have been and will continue to pour ourselves into this show. Thank you for listening, watching, and supporting us. We hope you enjoy Pokémon and the Year of Metroidvania!

1. Logan really doesn’t like OG Game Boy games. Except for Pokémon, I suppose. I was able to weasel Mirror of Fate on there though, thanks to the HD version.

Crappy Select from Bantam Banter

Crappy Select Ep.1: Redfall – Bantam Banter 38 by Michael Ruiz and Ricky Frech

Welcome to Crappy Select, a spin-off podcast from the crew at Bantam Banter! Michael, Ricky, and unofficial third chair Andrew McMahon sat down for a few hours to check out Arkane and Bethesda’s latest shooter Redfall. Is it as bad as everyone says it is? Listen and find out!

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Naughty Dog’s New Leadership

Co-President Neil Druckmann Shares an Update on Naughty Dog’s New Studio Leadership Team by Neil Druckmann

With the announcement that Evan Wells is retiring at the end of 2024, Neil made some new leadership announcements. Here’s the breakdown of the top dogs for 2024:

  • Neil Druckmann – President and Head of Creative
  • Alison Mori – Studio Manager and Head of Operations
  • Arne Meyer – Head of Culture and Communications
  • Christian Gyrling – Head of Technology
  • Erick Pangilinan – Co-Head of Art Departments
  • Jeremy Yates – Co-Head of Art Departments
  • Anthony Newman – Head of Production and Design

These are all long-time dogs and logical bumps up in management. Almost all of these people have been with Naughty Dog for 15+ years.

The biggest takeaway for me is Anthony Newman’s new role. Anthony was co-director on The Last of Us Part II and was (still is?) the co-director1 on the Factions multiplayer game that recently got delayed. It makes me wonder what the energy and development is like over there on their two or three projects. Interesting times at the studio, to be sure, but I feel it is safe to say that the team is in good hands.

1. Alongside Vinit Agarwal, who is a superb Factions player. This pair and their attention to detail in gameplay is a match made in heaven. Although, it just seems the game is not a match for longterm engagement and revenue.

Evan Wells is Retiring from Naughty Dog

Co-President Evan Wells Announces His Retirement from Naughty Dog by Evan Wells

I’ve been making games professionally for over 30 years, and Naughty Dog has been my home for over half my life! I’ve seen this studio grow from hire number 14 (me!) during the Crash 3 days in 1998 to over 400 Dogs today. Every major life milestone I can track with a Naughty Dog project – I met my wife during Crash Team Racing, we took our honeymoon after shipping Jak 2, had our first child E3 week when we announced Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and our second child was born right in the thick of development on The Last of Us.

Evan has worked on, shepherded, and released 13 games during his tenure at Naughty Dog. He became the co-president in 2004 when Naughty Dog’s founders, Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, left. For nearly 20 years, he has led the studio.

Evan started making games during his time at Stanford. There’s a great story about his time working on Gex during his senior year of college on The AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook podcast.

I couldn’t be more excited about our current projects and not getting to see those games to completion is going to be hard. But we’ve never had a stronger team in place to ensure that we will deliver them in a way that will set industry standards and exceed all expectations.

It’s hard not to wonder if that game total was supposed to be 14 with The Last of Us multiplayer game before that got sent back to the drawing board. What stands out more is “we will deliver them in a way that will set industry standards and exceed all expectations.” Evan and Naughty Dog have set industry-wide standards. And I would wager the company will continue to do so.

One of my favorite tidbits I’ve learned about Evan over the years is that he competed in gymnastics for Stanford, while going to school and working on Gex. You can see him on the rings during the 1994 NCAA championships.

I wish Evan all the best. I hope he enjoys his well earned retirement. Maybe he’ll get to play a Naughty Dog game someday that he didn’t work on.