Now worth around $140 billion annually worldwide, the video games industry is a serious business. In this scenario, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet tries to make the video game world more accessible to everyone by offering a sharp and intelligent comedy. The series certainly gets a laugh, no matter the context.
As an Apple TV+ product, the show takes place in the offices of Mythic Quest, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or MMORPG. The studio is about to release a new expansion called Raven’s Banquet.
A workplace comedy
The plot follows the creative director Ian Grimm (Rob McElhenney), whose egocentrism and undesirable behavior often trigger action. In the same way, Michael Scott of The Office disrupts his workplace, and so does Ian. He listens neither to the lead engineer Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao), nor to the rest of the team, so creating hilarious chaos. What results from this is a salty, yet funny, workplace comedy.
Mythic Quest shares features with series like Silicon Valley, Scrubs, or Space Force. The characters follow a coherent storyline without in-depth analysis, but still well-defined. There is the workaholic who tries to escape loneliness, but also the artist that can’t accept technological evolution and the money-hungry manager.
From the basics
Creators Charlie Day, Megan Ganz, and Rob McElhenney worked together for the American sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Therefore, sharp jokes and narrative rhythm come easily in their writing, but for Mythic Quest, they had to learn about the video games industry right from the basics.
That’s where Ubisoft, the video game company that creates Assassin’s Creed, comes in as the main partner of the show. “They were in the writers’ room with us,” tells Ganz in an interview. “They were guiding the whole process, letting us know, introducing us to the world. On top of that, they also facilitated people from many different studios coming to visit us”.
Women&Gaming and mental health with humor
Mythic Quest does use the technicalities of the video game industry but is also easy to watch. The viewer who never played before can sympathize with the characters and go beyond the setting. Moreover, the show deals with broader themes such as the gap between art and commerce, or the role of women in gaming, up to the mental health toll during quarantine.
Episode 5, for example, is a real exploration of the first topic. It’s a flashback that takes place 15 years before Mythic Quest, as a standalone episode. It doesn’t involve the main characters, but a couple who fall in love and make a video game. However, Doc and Bean (Jake Johnson and Cristin Milioti) will realize that making compromises is not easy. And the price sometimes is to give up your own identity.
At the heart of Mythic Quest, there is a reflection on the role played by traditional masculinity in the workplace. The video game industry, in particular, is a male-dominated field, so the struggles faced by Poppi Li or the game testers Rachel (Ashly Burch) and Dana (Imani Hakim) can also be seen through the lens of gender – as it happens in The Morning Show, too.
This show is not only a narration on gaming and developers but uses them to reflect on more profound themes with lightness and straightforward humor.