Ahead of the second season launch, co-creators Megan Ganz and Rob McElhenney and the remainder of the forged of ‘Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet’ — Charlotte Nicdao, Danny Pudi, Ashly Burch, Imani Hakim, F. Murray Abraham, and Jessie Ennis — chat about why the Apple TV Plus sequence is greater than about video video games
At the point out of ‘Hyderabad’, actor Danny Pudi breaks into a ear-to-ear grin, spreads his arms vast and exclaims over a video name, “Hyderabad!” with the familiarity of a man from the Godavari district. He continues, “One of my final journeys earlier than the pandemic was to Hyderabad, and I can’t wait to be again.”
Starring in season two of Apple TV+’s Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Pudi performs Brad Bakshi, the shark-like head of monetisation at developer studio Mythic Quest. Season one noticed a crew of recreation builders, testers, writers and different workers led by the egotistical Ian (Rob McElhenney), engaged on an open-world role-playing recreation – similar to World of Warcraft and Skyrim – referred to as Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.
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McElhenney and Pudi are joined by Charlotte Nicdao as Poppy Li, a socially-awkward MIT-educated recreation designer, David Hornsby as David, the studio’s often-overlooked govt producer, and F. Murray Abraham and C.W. Longbottom, a fantasy novelist-turned-MQ lead author. Jessie Ennis performs Jo, David’s weird assistant, whereas Ashly Burch and Imani Hakim play Rachel and Dana respectively, two testers who begin seeing one another within the second season.
So far the sequence – created by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia trio of Charlie Day, Megan Ganz, and McElhenney – has, in its personal particular manner, proven the non-gaming audiences the complexities of ‘artistic versus technical’ debates, the fixed pressures builders really feel, variety points within the trade and extra, whereas staying away from the standard geek style tropes.
The finish of season one, production-wise, got here on the cusp of the pandemic and the creators and forged managed to movie the final episode ‘Quarantine’ conference-call model, bearing on sleepless nights, anxiousness, boredom, and digital crew spirit. A bonus particular episode ‘Everlight’ which focussed on LARPing (live-action role-playing) was filmed post-pandemic, and marked the MQ crew’s return to work as did many gaming studios all over the world.
Dimensions of storytelling
Season two sees Poppy and Ian stepping up as co-creative administrators however not essentially getting alongside as they plan for an enlargement pack for Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. McElhenney is a identified fan of World Of Warcraft himself and he says the most important inspiration for the second season was “placing the pandemic behind them and making a present that appears to an optimistic future whereas understanding a return to normalcy isn’t simply completed.”
He elaborates on the worth of exhibiting a completely different facet to the gaming trade that has boomed, “It was vital to make a present that feels prefer it may happen anyplace. It’s additionally a present about interpersonal dynamics of people who find themselves pressured to work collectively, and this transcends tradition. However, we additionally knew the gaming trade was exploding and we observed a lot of tales that haven’t been informed on this world that felt genuine and so usually they’re derisive or poking enjoyable on the trade and players themselves — they don’t convey the complete dimensionality of who these individuals are. What comes together with that’s fodder for the present.”
Fans of the sequence had lengthy been ready for Poppy to take up a function of energy and, because it seems, so was Nicdao. “There are so many facets of the character which can be difficult as a result of though she is a fairly outrageous and goofy individual, there may be a lot of it that’s grounded within the actuality of what it’s wish to be a girl in a place of energy in any office. I cherished enjoying with ‘the concept of success’ this season. In season one, she had this clear objective of wanting extra artistic management over the sport. Now she has that management, she doesn’t fairly know tips on how to deal with it but. She’s a genius in the case of programming however not a lot in the case of being a chief.”
Pudi’s function as Brad is a far cry from his lovable character Abed in Community. Commercial positions in gaming are sometimes seen as nefarious and agenda-driven however they’re wanted for the trade to thrive as a lot because it does. Pudi feedback, “A big a part of the sport’s success is Brad’s work and he prides himself on discovering all of the nooks and crannies the place he can monetise the sport. At the identical time, there’s friction between him and the creatives, people who find themselves extra involved about cutscenes and the craft of storytelling. Brad is fearless and doesn’t care about that; product is product. It’s enjoyable to play somebody who’s not involved about being favored, high-fives and hugs – issues I care about.”
For season two, Pudi is worked up to have one in every of his finest buddies on board nevertheless it doesn’t spell a lot enjoyable for Brad. “You get to see his insecurities come about when Brad’s brother comes about. He is performed by Parvesh Cheena whose sofa I lived on once I first moved to Los Angeles. He and I did theatre in Chicago collectively too, so this was a fantastic expertise to work with a long-time collaborator. In the identical episode, we’ve got Snoop Dogg too, which is thrilling.”
Ennis says she is “grateful” she is nothing like her “unhinged” character who is usually seen crushing on Ian. “The solely factor we share is we do our work at 110% (laughs) however Jo has misguided tendencies in that she could be very violent and unrelenting. So it’s really enjoyable to play this agent of chaos.”
Probably one of the crucial stunning character arcs has been that of C.W., a author who continues to reside in his past-glory days which can be awash with success, failure, friendship and heartbreak. According to co-creator Megan Ganz, conversations with the sequence’ casting director concerned a want for ‘an F Muarry Abraham-type’ to which the casting director beneficial F. Murray Abraham himself, a lot to McElhenney and Ganz’s delight. Two episodes from season one introduced Abraham with the chance to “do all of it; make you snort and cry.” He continues, “Each character has a nice sense of humanity on this present, however everybody very clearly likes C.W., and if there have been any manner for you guys to return watch us do the present, you’d fall in love with place. And they pay me! (laughs)”
Burch is already well-known within the gaming circles as a voice and movement seize artist, that includes in recreation sequence such because the broadly in style Horizon Zero and Borderlands. She admits that all through manufacturing, she tried to get Hakim, Ennis and Nicdao into Animal Crossing. “I solely succeeded with Charlotte and we spent many an hour hanging on the market throughout quarantine. (laughs) There’s a video of Imani and I enjoying video video games in our trailers within the first weeks of engaged on season one, too. I’ve tried to indoctrinate all of them!”
During ‘Everlight’, remembers Hakim, “Burch gave everybody a masterclass on tips on how to do grunts from the diaphragm in some scenes. I might like to get into voice-acting for video video games in some unspecified time in the future although, and Ashly is so good at it. The present has impressed me a lot.”
A little bit of banter
The gaming world is understood for its crossovers so when requested concerning the chance of a Ted Lasso (a enormous Apple TV+ runaway success) and Mythic Quest crossover, McElhenney merely asks (jokingly, we hope), “What’s Ted Lasso? I’m not conscious of it. Is that a TV present? We spend sufficient time engaged on Mythic Quest, we don’t want to assist with some small factor. What is that referred to as once more? Sounds foolish.”
It needed to be requested: if McElhenney’s two iconic characters, Mac from It’s Always Sunny and Ian from Mythic Quest, met in actual life, what does the actor-producer suppose would occur? He laughs, thinks for a minute and responds, “I feel there would be a fistfight; it could be very hyper-masculine which suggests they’d bark at one another but in addition run away as shortly as they may.”
Nicdao asks, “Do you suppose Mac would have a crush on Ian?” to which McElhenney responds, “They’d have a crush on one another, each are egomaniacs and look very comparable.” Nicdao then chuckles, “Poppy wouldn’t be attempting to kind the battle out, she’d have popcorn. But in the event that they had been into one another, she’d be out of there as shortly as potential.”
The second season of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet streams on Apple TV+ on May 8.