So, Will, what was it like returning as Nicky? How has he changed
since series one?
It’s been a lovely treat! I love Nicky, he feels like my neurotic little brother that I wish would change, but I understand that we are who we are and love him for that. And actually, I have huge respect for Nicky. I wish I was a little more like him. On the whole, he doesn’t worry too much about whether his life is heading in the right direction, he just does what makes him happy. Of course, he has the odd freak out, worrying about everything from girls, to masculinity, to how he spends his time. But, on the whole, he proudly does what makes him happy from the privacy of his bedroom.
Nicky is very aware of his own mortality and he reminds himself regularly that we are all going to die one day... Maybe that’s why he takes more risks which I think is propelled by Meg’s adventurousness in this series. Gotta keep up, hasn’t he!
Obviously, with Kingdom Scrolls getting an expansion pack, Nicky will want to play it. And, with the animation last series being a key part of the show, what kind of thing have they done to ramp it up?
The animation is far more detailed, because the game has been given some upgrades. The landscape is grander, the colours pop, some really annoying gameplay creases have been ironed out. You know when you’re immersed, and your Avatar doesn’t step up onto a ledge but just sort of floats up onto it? This no longer happens. We’ve all had Avatar upgrades. We’re even more badass than last time. In the game, not in reality. In reality, we’re painfully the same. All hail the expansion pack.
What are the challenges of acting in a show like Dead Pixels? It’s obviously unique in that you spend a lot of time behind a screen talking to others.
It’s refreshing to have a unique set of circumstances and stipulations. When we are playing the game, we obviously can’t see each other, so we make sure that we play that truthfully, and manufacture an ‘in game’ experience. Alexa and I had a dividing wall that exists in the flat between our bedrooms, and we did our dialogue through the wall. And the other cast were always on set to feed lines for each other but also, out of sight. So, it’s exactly as it would be where we all plugged in during a session. It’s different.
What would be your perfect videogame?
A game where I get to play out a variety of alternate realities and see how it turns out had I made different choices in my life. Just imagine a mixture of good times and shit times. That sounds like fun, full of smiling and tears.
Has there been a push to make the jokes even bigger and ramp up the craziness level?
I think naturally the craziness increases as you get to know characters. They are pushed to their limits. Whether that be in their relationships or their limits of depravity, Jon Brown pushes us to places we haven't been before, and is always working for the characters to explore a deeper side of themselves.
The chemistry between you and the other cast members feels really close and a lot of the jokes feel organic. Is there a lot of ad-libbing?
Not really. That’s the power of Jon Brown. Every line is like a perfectly wrapped gift. Sometimes something brilliant will appear, but the magic is already there.
Do you think videogames have the power to connect people and inspire?
I think that’s at the heart of the show. When we began making series one, we knew we weren’t making a show that was commenting on the isolation of gaming. The show isn’t funny because it’s making jokes about hardcore gamers, but because it is glorifying what it means to be completely obsessed with a game. Whether it’s World of Warcraft or Candy Crush, we’ve all had that beautiful moment when we’ve been totally lost in a game. And Dead Pixels is celebrating that immersion and commitment on an extreme level, with these gamers who live to play. And through playing, they grow, they share, and they connect. The circus of early adulthood is played out in the Ninth Kingdom, you know.
A new character comes into Nicky’s life this series, what can you tell us about her?
She’s something of a Kingdom Scrolls pin-up. She’s a big deal and makes a real impression on an already incredibly impressionable man. She definitely takes him to places he’s never been. It’s a real whirlwind.