Pop Culture

Apple TV+'s Mythic Quest Goes Where No Video Game Developer Stories Have Gone Before

Through the pandemic, to infinity and beyond!
Through the pandemic, to infinity and beyond! Screenshot

Mythic Quest is Apple TV+’s game development workplace comedy starring It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney. Apple TV+ is one of many streaming services trying to carve out its content library, but it doesn’t have the name recognition of Netflix. Surprisingly the service has some robust offerings from For All Mankind that has received tons of praise for its second season to the much-beloved Ted Lasso. Mythic Quest is yet another unique series on the Apple TV+ that is simply a good time, and now in its second season: It keeps getting better.

The workplace comedy follows the game development studio behind the world’s most popular MMO, the titular Mythic Quest, which is akin to something as massively popular as World of Warcraft. The first season revolves around the highly anticipated release of the studio’s next big expansion and the chaos and anxiety the upcoming release is causing among its staff. Mythic Quest is a hilarious and authentic look at game development and everything that goes into it, from the people at the top to lowly game testers.

The show is faithfully entrenched in gamer culture and does its due diligence to reflect a real-life game studio. Terms like “loot boxes” are thrown around in a way that winks at the gamers in its audience but allows itself to be easily digestible for someone with no knowledge of video games or the mechanics around them. The attention to detail pays off in how the show successfully dramatizes the ins and outs of making and maintaining one of the biggest games in the world. The show can poke fun at real-life problems in the gaming industry like gambling mechanics in games that prey on children and studios having poor histories hiring women.

The studio is led by Ian Grimm (McElhenney), who is an overly charismatic and self-described creative genius who dresses like Chris Angel. He is an idea guy, springing new thoughts on his staff and expecting the end product to form out of thin air. The person who has to deal with the brunt of Ian’s madness is Poppy Li (Charlotte Nicdao), the lead engineer and the real MVP behind the success of Mythic Quest. She is the person who makes real Ian’s every development whim, and in the first season, she’s getting growing tired of it. Poppy wants more creative control and to be adequately appreciated for once, and Ian wants to continue to be the sole official creative force and keep his vision for the game: the only vision that matters.

Other characters in the office include the executive producer of Mythic Quest, David Brittelsbee, played by David Hornsby, a frequent It’s Always Sunny collaborator, who is supposed to be the boss but lacks any real authority and is constantly undercut by Ian. Brad Bahski, played by Danny Pudi of Community fame, plays the head of monetization, who wants to squeeze as much money out of the game players as possible. He has no problem playing the bad guy or just starting trouble just to see his coworkers squirm. The series follows everyone from the lowly game testers and a malicious assistant— to the human resources representative that unwillingly serves as the office therapist. Mythic Quest’s characters all have their unique quirk, and the show is at its best when they bounce off of each other.

The episodic nature of the series means that every episode is its own self-contained story that is still connected to the overall arc of the season. Episodes explore different sides of video game culture, from conflicts with streamers promoting games to overworked staff unionizing. There is an episode where the studio has to appear at a major video game convention to find a new streamer to promote their game. In another episode the studio has to deal with the problem of Mythic Quest being the number one game for white supremacists.

In another episode the studio has to deal with the problem of Mythic Quest being the number one game for white supremacists.

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The second season‘s formula has stayed the same, but the show is even more confident now, pushing everything that made the first season good even further - fleshing out its characters even more.

Mythic Quest was not unaffected by the pandemic. During the early stages of production of its second season, the series released a special pandemic episode that took place primarily over Zoom. The cast and crew were stuck at home like most of the world and were able to pull off one of the best episodes of its first season with a genuinely heartwarming ending that sums up the unprecedented time the episode was made in.

Fans of other comedies cut from that cloth will enjoy Mythic Quest. It’s a series reminiscent of past workplace comedies, but it’s modern and fresh in its approach and setting, which sets it apart. Like Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest is well made with interesting characters that are all funny in their own right, and above all, it simply just makes you feel good.

Mythic Quest is available on Apple TV+, new episodes premiere every week.
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Contributor Jamil David is a native Houstonian and Texas Southern University alumnus. He is interested in TV, sports and pop culture. @JMLJMLD
Contact: Jamil David