Chapter Select Season 4 will be The Fast and the Furious. Logan has never been a part of the Fast Family, while Max has been riding with the crew since the Miami days. Grab a Corona, order up a tuna fish sandwich, and buckle up as we explore this legendary series.
As for this season’s slate of episodes, we are mixing up our usual formula. We are going to watch the series in chronological order. This is the order we have for Season 4:
Episode 1 – The Fast and the Furious (2001), releasing on August 24, 2022.
Episode 2 – 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), releasing on September 7, 2022.
Episode 3 – Fast and Furious (2009), releasing September 21, 2022.
Episode 4 – Fast Five (2011), releasing October 5, 2022.
Episode 5 – Fast & Furious 6 (2013), releasing on October 19 with special guest Mario Rivera.
Episode 6 – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), releasing on November 2, 2022 with special guest Michael Ruiz.
Episode 7 – Furious 7 (2015), releasing on November 16, 2022 with special guest Ricky Frech.
Episode 8 – The Fate of the Furious (2017), releasing on November 30, 2022.
Episode 9 – Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), releasing on December 14, 2022.
Episode 10 – F9 (2021), releasing on December 28, 2022.
Watching these movies with Logan has been something I’ve wanted to do for years. When I began working on what would become Chapter Select, I knew I wanted other forms of media to be explored. Movies were an obvious realm to explore—they were even apart of the concept art for the show. Tackling Fast & Furious now is also allowing us to produce a bigger and better Season 5 focusing on Resident Evil.
The art for this season felt like the opposite of last season. The idea came to me early on in the concept stage. Hot Wheels and Fast & Furious are a match made in marketing heaven. The only barrier was the cost, but that wall fell down fairly quickly when I realized how much I loved the idea. I’ll definitely be sharing the behind-the-scenes for the whole creative process in this season’s Looking Back post at the end.
Everyone buckle up for Season 4: The Fast and the Furious! The first episode will be launching next Wednesday – August 24, 2022 – with new episodes following in a fortnightly manner. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!
Banjo and Kazooie weren’t the only 3D platformer mascots Rare created for the Nintendo 64. Often lauded as one of the console’s best, Max Roberts and Logan Moore decided to both play Conker’s Bad Fur Day for the very first time. Was Rare firing on all cylinders in the late 90s or is Conker actually a great and mighty pile of poo?
The hype for God of War: Ragnarök is immense. With the release date officially announced for November 9, 2022, we have decided to share this special episode from the Season 2 – God of War archives. Fresh off beating the 2018 game for the season, Max and Logan dive into their predictions and theories for the sequel. Originally recorded in December 2021, we hope you enjoy this time capsule of speculation and excitement for Ragnarök.
There’s a first time for everything, right? I wanted to experiment with announcing the season topic well in advance for Season 4. As we ironed out the next few seasons, we ended up with a pairing in Season 4 and 5 that compliment each other quite well. So why not announce them both at the same time?
Season 4 is The Fast & The Furious
Yes. We are branching outside of video games. That’s actually been a goal from the show’s inception. And the first film series I wanted to do it with was The Fast & The Furious.
Logan has never seen these movies, outside of the first one, which he watched for the first time last year. I have been watching them since my aunt rented 2 Fast 2 Furious from Blockbuster in 2003. I have always wanted to share these movies with Logan. It’s going to be great.
I wanted the season to be a true bouncing back and forth, but Logan wasn’t into the idea of narrative whiplash.1 Instead, we are watching the movies in chronological order. Logan is very curious why Tokyo Drift is the fifth movie in this order.
We have three guests lined up for the season so far, but would love more. If you are interested, shoot me a message on Twitter.
The beauty besides Logan’s introduction to the Fast Family is the time commitment. Movies are (generally) much shorter than games. According to reddit, the total runtime of the entire franchise is just over 21 hours. That’s the length of onePaper Mario game. Saving all this time is allowing us to work on an ambitious, longer Season 5 for you all in the front half of 2023.
Season 5 is Resident Evil
It feels like there is no better time to make a season on Resident Evil than right now. RE4 Remake is out in March 2023, three games just got next-gen patches for free, Resident Evil Village is getting a third-person mode and DLC in October 2022. We are in a golden age for the franchise.
Logan has been a fan since playing them on GameCube. My introduction to the series didn’t happen until Resident Evil VII in VR. I’ve played others in chunks or in whacky orders. Speaking of which…
This season’s order is also not a traditional bouncing back and forth. Logan and I cooked up a special order given his knowledge of the lore and the versions we anticipate on playing.
Resident Evil (Based off 2002 GameCube remake)
Resident Evil VII: Biohazard (2017)
Resident Evil 0 (2002)
Resident Evil 2 Remake (2019)
Resident Evil: Code Veronica (2000, PS2 Version)
Resident Evil 3 Remake (2020)
Resident Evil 4 (2004)
Resident Evil Village (2021)
Resident Evil 5 (2009)
Resident Evil 6 (2012)
Resident Evil 4 Remake (2023)
I included the years of release to help paint the picture we want to present. We are bouncing back and forth through the years, versions, and remakes. We paired RE1 and RE7 for their similarities, according to Logan. We then have this Raccoon City chunk with RE0 through RE3R. Then its the modern-ish era of Resident Evil to round out the season. Placing the remakes throughout with the modern PS4/Xbox re-releases of the older games should give us interesting discussion with controls, design, etc.
We don’t have premiere dates locked in on the calendar yet. When these seasons are ready to premiere, you’ll find trailers in the podcast feed and posts here at Max Frequency. If you are interested in playing (or watching!) one of these titles with us for an episode, send me a message on Twitter and we can try to make it work.
Our best work is ahead of us and I cannot wait to share it with you all.
1. I think there are some interesting pairings when bouncing back and forth. ⏎
It is time to pack away your backpack and order a large pizza to get fat and lazy because the Banjo-Kazooie season of Chapter Select is done! We just barely got one season done within the first six months of the year. It wasn’t my plan to cut it that close, but we have been busy with other seasons of the show. 👀 I know I have said it in bothpreviousLooking Back posts, but Chapter Select remains to be my creative highlight. I suspect it will continue to be for years to come.
Season 3 – Banjo-Kazooie was our toughest season yet. There were creative hurdles. The show’s structure was tested. As is now tradition, I want to take time to pull back the curtain on the production of the show. I’ve got more data, insight, and pre-production assets than ever before. I think a lot of this was bore out of the challenges we faced this go around. I also think it has led to a better product – both this season and in future ones.
It’s time for Banjo and Kazooie to make their debut on the go! Max Roberts and Logan Moore wrap up Season Three-ie of Chapter Select with the portable (and mobile) debut of the legendary duo. Is this entry worthy of the name or would it be better to time travel back and forget Grunty’s Revenge?
Has there ever been a more perfect name for a sequel? Max Roberts, Logan Moore, and special guest Brian Henken explore the Isle o’ Hags to see if Banjo-Tooie is more than just a clever name. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
Some changes are coming to the video version of Chapter Select. While the video version has only been around for one and a half seasons so far, changes already need to be made. 😬 Given the priority of Chapter Select has always been audio first, this allows me to be flexible with the video production; at least this is what I tell myself.
The video version will be the episode length of (mostly) uninterrupted game footage over the final audio podcast. This change goes into effect tomorrow with Banjo-Tooie.
My two biggest problems were my own file storage limitations and time.
When I capture footage for these games, I generally record every second. I have these great ambitions of keeping an archive of my gameplay like Mark Brown at Game Maker’s Toolkit or Razbuten. These games seem to average between 600-800 gigabytes. God of War is over one terabyte. I don’t have the storage means or money to buy enough external drives. If this was my job, then I would keep it all and chase my ambitions of producing more videos with all this footage. In the mean time, I have to delete the gameplay no matter how much it pains my digital hoarding tendencies.
Okay, it didn’t hurt to delete Nuts & Bolts. That actually felt good.
Another consequence of recording every single second is that I am tethered to playing on the TV at all times. I thankfully have a standalone capture card (an Elgato 4K60S+) so I can play away from my computer, but my flexibility in how I play is restricted. For Grunty’s Revenge, I used my Analogue Pocket in the Dock to play and capture. Despite being a portable game, which factors into discussions around design, I played 99% of that game on the TV.
Pivoting to just needing a few hours of footage opens up hard drive space and my own freedom to play how and where I want without feeling guilty of not always recording. Will I miss some cool moments? Assuredly. But within the confines of where both the show and I am at right now, this is the better call for my hard drives and my sanity.
Time is the other factor that weighed into my decision. I make rather detailed cuts and edits that tie to the discussion in the show. While editing the audio, I note down clips, trailers, etc. that could enhance the visual presentation. One example I love was incorporating the Kratos Mortal Kombat trailer into one of the God of War episodes. These little jokes and references bring me joy. I think they make the show better too.
It pains me to stop editing the show like this. I throughly enjoy the process. I am proud of what I produce. This is the right call for where I am currently at in life though. It allows the show to keep a presence on YouTube and gives me a little something to whip up in Final Cut.
This change will begin with the Banjo-Tooie episode of Chapter Select. It was not my plan to implement this mid-season, but being sick for a week and then out of town for a week stunted video production on the Banjo-Tooie episode. To get the video version out on time, I had to start this new process now. My apologies.
Despite the change in presentation, I am excited for the future of Chapter Select. We have big plans coming down the pipeline. It’s a show that provides me with a creative challenge and engaging discussion. I cannot wait to show you what is next.
After an eight-year long slumber, Banjo-Kazooie comes out of hibernation with a brand new owner. Max Roberts, Logan Moore, and special guest Michael Ruiz pick up the pieces left behind by Rare and try to understand what Rare built on the Xbox 360. Are the bones of Nuts & Bolts strong or does it all fall apart under scrutiny?
Welcome to Season Three-ie of Chapter Select! Strap on your backpack, work on your rhyming schemes, and prepare to nab a lot of collectibles because this season revolves around Banjo-Kazooie. Max Roberts, Logan Moore, and special guest Michael Koczwara climb up Spiral Mountain to face the green witch and all her cronies. If Microsoft won’t give the Bear and the Bird a proper three-quel, we will (…talk about them).
Logan and I are thrilled to be exploring the Banjo-Kazooie series for the third season of Chapter Select. It’s been a long time coming, but it is still a shorter turn around than a proper Banjo-Tooie sequel.
This season has the highest ratio of guests to episodes so far in the show’s history. While tied with Season 1 – Paper Mario with three guests, there’s more variety to go around this season. We are stoked for the voices you’ll hear alongside Logan’s and my own as we explore Banjo-Kazooie.
The art this season was a challenge for me. I’ll save the deep dive for the “look back” post when Season 3 wraps up, but I was heavily inspired by my own Wiki Stories and the recent emoji kick I have been on. It’s like I just discovered the variety emoji have. 👀 Finding the font designed by Oakland Elliff gave the art the final push it needed.
The teaser we released is one of my favorite ideas come to life. It would not have been possible without the technical prowess and knowhow of Michael Koczwara. I am eternally in his debt for bringing my whacky idea to life.
I hope you are as excited for Season 3: Banjo-Kazooie as I am. The first episode will be launching next Wednesday, with new episodes following in a fortnightly manner. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!
It’s time to put away the Blades of Chaos because Season 2 is done!
I am so proud of this season and the show on the whole. We successfully executed our vision of two seasons in one year. We were on time and had a great time creating the show. As I said in the Season 1: Paper Mario wrap-up, this show has been my creative highlight of the year.
With a second season under our belt and a total of six months of data, I wanted to pull back the curtain on the production and reception once again. I think this type of analysis and behind-the-scenes enriches the show’s own narrative and, personally, helps me learn how yo make the show even better next time.
We slightly shook up the format this season. Instead of a true “first release to most recent” bouncing back and forth formula, we placed the most recent game (God of War, PS4) at the end of the season. This was Logan’s idea and I am immensely glad he convinced me to do so. At first, I was against the notion, insistent on adhering to the show’s purest structure. After thinking about it and listening to Logan’s reasoning, I agreed to make the change.
I could not be more happy that we did so. The show would have been worse off if I had vehemently stuck to my guns. It let us have a rich evolution of discussing the Greek games without being bogged down by a fresh play-through of the reimagined entry. It also gave listeners a little bait to stick around to the end of the season for what we imagine is the most desired game in the season. Plus, it leads perfectly into God of War: Ragnarök, which we plan on making an episode about once it releases sometime this year.
I recently was reminded of the saying “kill your darlings.” Chapter Select’s pure bouncing back and forth is my proverbial darling. It makes the show unique and leads to new conversations. Being convinced to tweak it slightly led to a better season. This doesn’t mean that the structure is being thrown out — far from it — but it does give me breathing room I didn’t think we had before.
The show started well enough with a growing base, transitioning from Paper Mario to God of War. November had a sizable bump to 1,206 downloads. I pegged this to mostly SEO blessing us with “God of War 2” pulling up our show for those Ragnarök searches.
What neither of us expected was a surge nearly four times larger in December to a whopping 4,605 downloads. Even when signing up for the advanced stats from Libsyn, I couldn’t quite figure it out. The top download agent was Safari at the time I checked with over 3,000 downloads. The next closest was Chrome at 113. I find it hard to believe that so many Safari users are downloading the show. I’m certainly not opening the show that many times on my devices. Podcast numbers are tricky to be precise. I wish I could figure out a way to truly get actionable data.
Arguably the two largest providers of podcasts are Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Both provide numbers, but not terribly well. Apple Podcasts Connect doesn’t seem to update data too often, with some episodes not having any data. Apple reports the shows all time numbers at 426 plays with 13 listeners, as of this post.
Spotify reports 216 “starts,” 88 “streams,” 82 “listeners,” and 7 followers. I can assume the difference between “listener” and “follower” is a subscriber. That makes sense. I wonder what the threshold is for turning a “start” into a “stream” or a “listener.” How long into an episode is that cut off? Why are downloads not accounted for on Spotify? It seems packed with the wrong kind of terminology. I would prefer “downloads,” “streams,” and “subscribers.” If retention is going to be tracked, I’d prefer concrete numbers over popular terms. Spotify does share a “wrapped” summary for podcasters like they do for music. That seems trendy and I like it.
One other avenue of performance to look at is YouTube. I’ll touch on the video production process below, but bringing the show to YouTube seemed like another popular and accessible avenue for listeners. Currently, all the episodes for this season total 283 views. By far the most popular episode is S2E7 – God of War (2018) with 168 of those views. That’s no surprise considering it is the most popular entry and the PC release is this Friday.
Our guest plans for this season didn’t go quite like I hoped. We were only able to get one person to join along with us this time, which somewhat surprised me. I totally thought people would be more willing to play these short action platformers over 30~ hour RPGs. Grant Huff joining us for God of War II was a treat, especially for one of the best games in the series.
For these first two seasons, we recruited guests with a cold call-to-action tweet so we could preserve the surprise of the season’s focus for launch. We’ll continue to do that for now, but I also plan to politely reach out to friends I feel could be interested in certain seasons/games. This may help us expand the range of voices you’ll hear alongside Logan and myself.
The show’s primary medium is still an audio podcast. Delivering a high-quality sounding podcast with chapters, art, and show notes is the driving force behind production. I make all decisions for delivering the show through this lens (or rather through this filter? Speaker? Insert your sound analogy of choice here). I tried something new by pre-recording show credits. I like the idea of it as padding between the show and any easter eggs. It also can let us put Twitter handles and sites in credits to not clutter the natural end of the show. I’m still feeling this idea out and will experiment more in season 3.
The biggest addition to the show’s production this season was video versions of the episodes. As I said above, the focus is audio, which is why you don’t see our faces in the video versions. This allows me to make the cuts and edits I want without it looking weird with so many jump cuts. This also allows for parity between chapters and show notes
Since I have to play the games for the podcast, I figure I could easily record the gameplay and splice together video versions to make the show accessible on YouTube. This process has been a great opportunity to flex some creativity. I take notes while editing the audio to know what clips or scenes to layer over when I make the video version.
It has been so much fun. In S2E4 – God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Logan offhandedly mentioned how the plot was “Mortal Kombat levels of ridiculousness.” Listening to the show, that carries its own weight in humor. But while researching for an episode, I stumbled across the announcement that Kratos was added to Mortal Kombat (2011). Remembering this in the editing process, I included that trailer over Logan’s joke to amp it up, to great effect I think. This editing process lead to plenty of easter eggs that, at the very least, made me chuckle.
Another angle of the video version was the visual quality. I made the decision early on to not stretch or scale footage beyond its original resolution. This resulted in three different resolutions used; 720p60, 1080p60, and 4K60. While this definitely impacted file size, I enjoyed working in the native resolutions. I’m a stickler for quality and trying to have the best in whatever medium I’m working in. I didn’t want to stretch footage without a proper way to upscale footage to 4K across the board. Maybe in the future it should all be the same resolution and framerate for consistency, but I like the range as an accurate representation of the gameplay when we did these episodes.
Originally, I wanted the God of War (2018) to be presented in HDR alongside the 4K60. I edited the entire episode in that 10-bit color space. Unfortunately, pushing the M1 processor to export nearly 2 hours of 4K60 HDR proved to take too long: After nearly two hours, the export was only at 2%. I couldn’t wait (theoretically) three days just to export the footage, especially when YouTube takes over four days to process 4K60 HDR footage in my testing.
Once a season’s focus is locked in, I spend the early weeks planning the look for the art. I want unified styles that tie together the franchise and the individual game being discussed. Paper Mario was easy with the crumpled paper background and textures. For God of War, my mind immediately went to the Greek gods and statues. There are plenty surviving pieces of art from ancient Greece. I thought having a statue of the game’s main god would be a neat way to showcase the games while unifying the season visually.
I liked the idea, but high quality and royalty free images of these statues proved to be not as accessible as I expected. So I pivoted to real images of objects or places that tie into the games’ themes.
I knew Episode 1 – God of War had to be burning coals or ash. The curse placed on Kratos defines his character, design, and motivations. For Episode 2 – God of War: Ascension, I wanted to find something to convey the multiplayer aspect. Thankfully, I found this wonderful picture of toy Spartans charging into battle. It was a dream come true.
Episode 3 – God of War II uses a statue of a winged man holding an hourglass. It totally captures Icarus and the time travel introduced with the Sisters of Fate.
The picture I chose for the Ghost of Sparta episode is not actually from Unsplashed. It’s a screensaver on the Apple TV. Being underwater captures both Atlantis and the pressure Kratos was under to save his brother.
The other PSP game, on the other hand, is an open field bathed in golden light (or as my wife calls it, “golden hour”). It reminded me of Elysium, which was essentially all I remembered from Chains of Olympus before we played it for the show.
The finale’s art was the episode that I designed the most. I found the picture of a boat in Hardangerfjord, Norway. The body of water looks surrounded by mountains reminded me of the Lake of Nine. The boat is shaped similarly to what Kratos and Atreus use. Knowing the picture was taken in Norway made me feel a level of “authentic-ness.” I added the reflection of the logo in the ripples on the water to give it just a smidge more omph than the others.
Season 2 has an interesting cloud looming over it in the form of God of War: Ragnarök, set to release this year. Our plan from the beginning was to make an episode when that game is released and to add it to this season. In fact, that was an element that led to us shaking up the recording formula a bit and placing God of War (2018) at the end.
As for Season 3, the series was decided quite a bit ago. Just like between Seasons 1 & 2, we’ll have a few months off here to work, play other games, and then jump into full production for the next season. This one will be a shorter season, like I’ve previously discussed.
We realized that we ought to work on longer games and/or series throughout the year, banking episodes and keeping that season for the back half of the year. As for the front half of a year, that can be a season focusing on a shorter series, whether in game quantity or actual game length. You will definitely see that approach taken for seasons 3 and 4.
Season 4 has a few ideas, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I’ll announce Season 3 shortly before it makes its own debut.
God of War has been a blast of a season to tackle. I haven’t played some of these games in a decade, while others I’ve replayed a few times. Revisiting the entire series with the current context of the franchise and PlayStation has opened my eyes to the lasting legacy that has had to evolve to survive.
Plus, getting the Platinum trophy is every game back-to-back was oh so satisfying. Now, I only need to play God of War 1 & 2 on Vita for all the Platinum trophies…
Each season we’ve done so far continues to prove to myself this is the right type of show to be making right now. I’m proud of the improvements we’ve been able to make in just one season and am looking forward to what we release here in 2022!
The Season 2 finale takes our hero Kratos to an entirely new realm. After nearly 15 years, Sony Santa Monica Studio attempted to prove both the God of War franchise and the studio itself could change. Max and Logan examine this pivotal title to find out if change is for the better.
The end of the Greek Pantheon is finally here. Kratos brings Mt. Olympus crumbling down as he extracts his revenge on his father, Zeus. Max and Logan rip through Sony Santa Monica’s version of Greece one final time to discuss where Kratos’ journey has taken him and see where he was left before entering the realm of Midgard.
We head back to Ready at Dawn’s original attempt at putting the power of Olympus on the PSP. Developed alongside God of War II, Kratos’ first prequel feels more like a traditional sequel. Max and Logan decide whether or not putting God of War on the go was a killer idea or just beating a dead centaur.