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"Mythic Quest" season three tackles the controversial subject of NFTs in the video game world.
Several characters launch an NFT project much to the chagrin of its players.
NFT projects from companies like Ubisoft and Square Enix have gotten backlash in the past.
In its third season, the Apple TV+ video game workplace comedy series "Mythic Quest" tackles one of the gaming industry's most controversial topics: NFTs.
NFTs — non-fungible tokens, digital assets recorded and stored on the blockchain — are collectibles that in some cases have been sold for millions, Insider previously reported. While they're a hot topic in the art world, NFTs have been introduced in the form of in-game cosmetics, as in Ubisoft's "Ghost Recon Breakpoint," or as digital assets bundled with real-world action figures, like those Square Enix announced in June.
NFTs have generated backlash due to their environmental impact: per the New York Times — the average NFT generates as much carbon as a 500-mile car drive — and the general sense that the whole thing is one big grift. NFT announcements in the gaming world tend to draw strong negative reactions, and yet company leaders continue pushing them. That tension is exactly what "Mythic Quest" tackles in season three.
'Mythic Quest' frames an NFT initiative as a shameless cash grab
In season three of the show, Carol (Naomi Ekperigin), the Head of HR-turned-underfunded Head of Diversity and Inclusion (HODI) at Mythic Quest (the game), turns to Brad (Danny Pudi), the game's former Head of Monetization, to help her generate cash for the game so that she can bring new faces into the company and effect change.
Their answer? Launching NFTs, much to the horror of the game's ineffably cheerful community manager Sue Gorgon (Caitlin McGee), who's responsible for interfacing with players online.
"NFT, huh?" Gorgon says. "Hey, I got an NFT for ya. No fuckin' thanks."
When Carol and Brad's plan generates plenty of hate but not nearly enough revenue, they enlist former quality tester Rachel (Ashly Burch) for her insight into players given that she is one. The walls come crashing down when executive producer David Brittlesbee (David Hornsby) receives a call from the company's bosses in Montréal who demand to know who's responsible for the project.
Carol takes responsibility, thinking she's going to be fired, and instead gets promoted to the Director of Unexplored Development Initiatives — a position with stock options and, more importantly, a hiring budget.
Producers saw the inherent humor in an NFT storyline
"Mythic Quest's" NFT storyline derives its humor from both the contorted premise — Carol and Brad overtaxing the game's art team and circumventing its executive producer in the name of getting her the money the studio can't in the name of diversity — and the innate humor of NFTs themselves.
Jason Altman, the Head of Film and Television at Ubisoft and an executive producer on "Mythic Quest," told Insider that each year, the writers' room sits down to chat through industry topics. Ultimately, he said that the "real ethos is that everything is on the table," whether or not it concerns or accidentally lampoons Ubisoft itself in the process.
When it came to NFTs, they were a topical concern. More importantly, they were funny.
"Because it is so controversial and because it's also difficult to understand, it is a gold mine for comedy," Altman said. "That was our thinking."
Ubisoft itself has tangled with NFTs in the past. The developer announced in December 2021 that it was venturing into NFTs, initially introducing them as in-game cosmetic options — similar to what Ashly proposes in "Mythic Quest" — in "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint." The backlash was swift, with one video that announced the launch on YouTube receiving 31,000 dislikes, PC Gamer reported.
David Hornsby, an executive producer on the show in addition to playing the beleaguered Brittlesbee, told Insider that the show isn't "putting Ubisoft on blast," but rather trying to reflect "the reality of the situation" on the show.
"They're only discussions if, 'Hey, what happens with this type of thing? What's the fan reaction if they're just giving us information?'" Hornsby told Insider. "I mean, they wanna portray the video game industry as it is as well. So it's nothing like a personal, 'Well, we'd appreciate if you'd not.'"
Ekperigin, who's also in the writers' room in season three, said that the team leaned on the developer to gauge whether NFTs were "really as dark" as they thought. Still, she felt like they "had" to touch on them, even if she worried that they may miss the moment.
"Sometimes when you touch on something that's happening, you think, 'Uh oh, what if this is now dated by the time this comes out?'" Ekperigin told Insider. "Nope, not at all."
Read the original article on Insider