What I thought about: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet

A light hearted comedy produced in collaboration with a real games studio, this is a show for anyone that is into video game culture and wants something easy going to enjoy.

It’s never the Creative Director’s fault

What’s it about?
Mythic Quest is the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (in the show, not IRL). The show explores the studio that develop the game, and we pick up just as they release the game’s latest expansion, Raven’s Quest.

The show charts the highs and lows of running an online video game. Often, the problems come from the top – there are large disagreements between the game’s creative director, lead engineer, executive producer and, worst of all, head of monetisation.

To give you an example – Poppy, the game’s lead engineer, has developed a new shovelling mechanic in the game. It took a lot of work, the shovel can alter the physical landscape within the game and her hope was for it to lead to new ways of playing the game. Ian (pronounced eye-an, for some reason) thinks it should be a weapon instead. The reworked shovel is released – and the game’s players promptly dig holes in the shape of a penis. Welcome to the internet, folks.

What do I like about it?
The show addresses a broad spectrum of online video game culture, and everything that is shown is done really quite well. There’s a streamer (someone who plays games live for others to watch) called Pootie Shoe who has a massive following and who rates games on a scale of 1 to 4 ‘b-holes’. There are games testers in the back of the office. There’s a community engagement manager living in the basement who, despite being on the receiving end of often harsh criticism from the game’s players, is almost unnervingly upbeat.

They also do an interesting thing right in the middle. Episode 5 is a completely separate story about a couple who develop their own indie game, A Dark Quiet Death. As their studio grows and they plan a sequel, their publisher asks for key mechanics in the game to be replaced. Arguing that this destroys the game’s identity, one of the couple quits. This standalone episode is beautifully paced and doubles as a love story. It was a brilliant surprise.

What do I not like about it?
Not much – this was another binge watch for me. I would say that the show is often not laugh-out-loud funny. That’s not to say the jokes don’t land, they’re just not those kinds of jokes.

Some parts of the show are anxiety-inducing, especially if you are rooting for a particular character. As is often the case in video game development, things go wrong. Lots of things. Also, the show switches between good stuff happening, and then really bad stuff. This cycle of letting your guard down only to be worried when the next disaster strikes can be little anxiety-inducing.

Worth a watch?
If you’re a gamer, developer, or even remotely part of the culture, then definitely. It’s pretty accurate, and I have a feeling those who work on video games will appreciate it even more. If you’re not any of those, give it a try anyway. You might enjoy it.

By the way…

  • This show is only available on Apple TV+. You get it free with any Apple device bought since last November, else it’s £4.99 a month.
  • The show’s development was assisted by Ubisoft Montreal, a real video game studio.