Kelly Merka Nelson
From left: Ashly Burch, Charlotte Nicdao and Rob McElhenney
It’s not often that San Anto gets thrown a bone by Hollywood, but Apple TV+ decided the Alamo City was just the place to give fans a first look at the new, gaming-centric workplace comedy Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet
Looking to court Mythic Quest
’s target demographic prior to its February release, three of the show's stars — Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
), Ashly Burch (Horizon Zero Dawn
, Attack on Titan
) and Charlotte Nicdao (Content
, The Strange Chores
) — came to San Antonio to meet fans at the PAX South gaming convention, followed by a screening of the first episode at the AMC Rivercenter.
In the show, McElhenney, who co-created the series with It’s Always Sunny
co-star and partner in crime Charlie Day, plays Ian — prononced EYE-an — the narcissistic creative director for a wildly successful World of Warcraft
-esque MMORPG called Mythic Quest
. The pilot opens just prior to the release of the game’s first major expansion, Raven’s Banquet
, when conflict erupts within the dev team’s highest ranks over a virtual shovel.
It’s fair to say the show is hotly anticipated. According to a series rep, around 150 people were turned away from the theater on Friday. The episode didn’t disappoint, and the audience laughed heartily throughout.
During a Q&A following the screening, McElhenney explained the origin of the series. As it turns out, when he was first approached by Ubisoft — the AAA gaming studio behind the popular Assassin’s Creed
series — to make a show about the gaming industry, he had no interest in the project. But after Ubisoft convinced him to visit its Montreal studio, he changed his mind.
“I went into the studio,” McElhenney said, “and one of the very first people that we met was this guy — he had this kind of long hair, and this big beard, and he had 15 rings on each hand. … I said, ‘What do you do?’ He said, ‘I’m a creative director.' I said, ‘Oh, what does that mean?’ He thought about it for a second, he looked at me, and then he looked out into the distance: ‘I create worlds.’”
“I go and I call Charlie [Day], and I’m like ‘We’re making the show,’” he continued. “This is incredible.”
While McElhenney wasn’t versed in the game dev world prior to making Mythic Quest
, he did have gaming bona fides: “I grew up playing games and my kids now, they play a lot of games, but it just never crossed my mind that this would be an interesting place to set a show.”
However, Burch — who plays QA tester Rachel as well as writes for the show — has extensive behind the scenes experience in the gaming industry. She’s best known for her roles as Chloe Price in Dontnod Entertainment’s Life Is Strange
and robot-busting protagonist Aloy in Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn
If anyone in the audience still doubted the stars’ cred, their fears were assuaged by a lengthy discussion of video games they played on set, from Stardew Valley
to The Last of Us
. There was a mild kerfuffle when an audience member became distraught after mishearing that McElhenney may have killed Skyrim
’s benevolent dragon Paarthurnax.
“I said I didn’t kill him!” McElhenney exclaimed.
“You gotta be careful the shit you say here,” Burch quipped. “And the moral choices you make in video games.”
Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet premieres on Apple TV+ on February 7.
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