For the past few years Minecraft has hosted its annual convention called MineCon, a community event that invites players and content creators from all over to celebrate the many characters, worlds, and limitless creation the game offers. However, with the massive Minecraft community continuing to grow, every player won’t be able to attend as tickets sell out almost instantly. With that in mind, Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, has announced MineCon Earth – a new interactive show that will take the best bits of previous events and incorporate them into a condensed show dedicated to all things Minecraft.
The show will grant opportunities to fans who can’t attend a way to still participate and enjoy the event via live stream. On the other hand, Earth helps the convention keep the friendly, intimate community atmosphere that’s made previousMineCon’s so special. As an alternative to the actual convention, Mojang is promoting official community Minecraft events across the country for groups of local fans to gather. One such organizer is Minefaire, which will be hosting its first Northern Virginia event August 19-20 at the Dulles Expo Center in Dulles, Virginia.
To kick off the launch of MineCon Earth, actor/comedian Will Arnett will be joining Mojang’s Brand Director Lydia Winters in Atlanta to host the live streaming show. Will has been making us laugh out loud for years appearing in tons of movies and TV shows, like Arrested Development, LEGO Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bojack Horseman. We caught up with Arnett to discuss the importance of this gaming convention, his Minecraft skills, the difference between working on a movie versus a video game, and more. Check out the Q&A below.
MineCon Earth kicks off on November 18, 2017. For more information on the event, head over to Minecraft’s site here.
How did the MineCon hosting job come about? Did Mojang approach you? Did you reach out to them?
I think it was one of those organic things that just happens … but I know they were looking for people, and people that I work with mentioned that this is the space that I’m interested in. Certainly, gaming is a space I am very interested in and on top of that Minecraft itself is a game that is very popular in my house with my kids. I’m familiar with the game very much. I think it was one of those “Oh, this is like a great fit.” If I’m being totally honest there is a part of me that really thought I could get some cool-cred with my kids.
You’ve previously hosted other live events including the NHL Awards and Syfy Live at Comic-Con, how did the preparation differ from those event versus MineCon?
Well, this is such a celebration of the Minecraft community, which is a worldwide community, that is obviously very well versed in Minecraft world and so it’s important. Sometimes you do an award show or host things and people have a passive interest about something that people are very passionate about and understand very well, and I think it’s important that they understand how much this is a celebration of that. I intimately want to do whatever I can to help in that celebration in a really real way. In a lot of ways, I wouldn’t say theirs more pressure, but it’s just important to connect with the Minecraft community in an authentic way. I understand their passion because I see it first hand all the time, and I really want to respect that and be a part of that too. It’s exciting in a lot of ways.
Are you an avid player of Minecraft?
I can tell you the first time I became super aware of it was when my eldest son, who is now 9, probably two years ago, comes to me and he’s going “Hey dad, look at this world I created. You got to cut this house and then I built this thing and then this.” What’s that, I go? “That’s a guy at the restaurant so it’s next door.” He started walking me through. It wasn’t like in terms of the scope of the Statue of Liberty but it was very detailed. The creativity that was involved and how much he expanded his imagination in order to get there that I was like, wow, this is really rad. He’s not just doing something, he’s actively creating here. That really stoked my own imagination. You could really do anything with Minecraft.
It’s pretty crazy. Of course, I’ve watched endless hours of videos with my sons from the various gamers who post on youtube. YouTubers who post stuff that they’ve done. We’ve all heard Dan TDM’s voice rising through the house or Pat and Jen going on some adventure. That’s a common occurrence at my house.
Coming off the success of LEGO Batman, is there a difference in the workload from voice acting in movie roles versus video game roles?
When we make the film, that really takes place over a few years and that has to do with the evolving nature of the script and of course the animation and there are so many parts to that. There are so many stars of that film. The writers and the animators and the people who created the film. Filmmakers who are kind of the unsung heroes who make all this beautiful animation. That is a very collaborative and long process. By the time we get to make the game I come in later in the process but it’s also happening before the film is released. At that point the story in the game mirrors the story that’s happening in the film, for the most part. It’s similar, it’s not that different for the movie. At that point we kind of know what the pieces are that we need to get for the game.
In terms of my participation it’s more about recording all that dialogue, getting in there and doing those performances. That takes place over shorter periods of time. It’s no less intense when we are doing it but it just happens over a shorter period of time. It’s super fun when you’re into the world and you’re into doing it and I love being part of the Lego Universe. I’ve got to record the game, I’m excited to just do it because it’s all just part of the experience.
Are you open to take on more roles in video games in the future? We would love to see a Teen Titants game? (Arnett was recently voice casted in the upcoming “Teen Titans Go!” animated film.)
That would be pretty rad. I’m really excited about the Teen Titans feature that we’re making right now that I’m producing and also in. I think audiences will really dig it. While I’m doing those I got to be a part of the Lego Movie game and also the Lego Batman game. I really enjoyed it. It’s a natural extension of the films that we made and it’s a cool interactive way to extend that involvement with the audience. Teen titans would be rad, I’d love to be able to see Beast Boy and Cyborg in the game. That would be pretty hilarious.
10 years ago, did you think that you’re career would be this diverse?
No, I wish I was smarter than I am. To have more foresight. No, I really didn’t. I kind of came into the gaming world in the online world from a very personal and organic place myself. I’m a gamer, and I like to play, and I play a lot on different platforms. The first thing I ever did was creating content through DumDum, this online venture that I had with Jason Bateman, for a while. We did some stuff with Activision a few years ago because we just loved the space. We wanted to engage with other users and gamers who were legitimately loved the space as well. That kind of piqued my interest just went further into that. We do game chat, an online talk show where we talk about different games and introduce new games, and play. We’ve done live streams on twitch, and we’ve done lots of different things. I guess it just kind of happened. I didn’t really see it happening, but it did just kind of happen, and it does feel, weirdly, like a natural progression.
Has Netflix played a role in opening up your career?
Netflix, the way they do their shows is not based on ratings, and all that stuff, it’s really based on the users and what people want. Getting what they want when they want. It’s very simpatico with gaming in that way. There’s a connection there and for me it makes sense. I get to, once again, reach immediately to a worldwide audience because we are all actually connected by the internet. I will say this, if had I been able to predict that it was going to go this way in this diverse manner I probably would have bought stock in a lot of different companies. [Laughs]
What other avenues would you like to break into?
None as of yet. I don’t know what I could do. I guess billboards? [Laughs] I don’t know. Not really, I sort of joke with you like I didn’t have any foresight or plan. I try to do as much as I can. Work on things that I will enjoy and feel like I can do or seems like it would be fun to do. I’m at an age where it’s important that if you’re going to spend time and get involved with something that it’s going to be fulfilling creatively and it’s going to be a fun process to work on. That’s how I try to approach things and if something were to come up that was kind of new and I hadn’t really thought about it and I could get my head around this. I would go for it.
What role were you most fearful for, but turned out be one of your favorite ones?
I don’t know if there were any I was fearful of but there is often trepidation. You want to make sure you execute it the right way. Certainly when you come onto something, like Arrested Development, that was the first role that I took that had any kind of recognition. Where people were excited about it in a real way. You get a script like that and it’s really well crafted and really precise and you want to make sure you do it justice. That’s kind of the fear that comes. You want to make sure that you kind of do your part. That you deliver. A show I do on Netflix, called Flaked, a show that I created with my partner, Mark Chappell. I want to make sure it comes across the way I wanted it to in its inception.
There is an added pressure and of course, I wear a lot more hats in that process. From writing, it to directing it to producing it. We run the show and then we edit and help with every aspect of it. From music to everything. There is a nervousness because you wanted to do it right. It’s funny, actually, I worked with Phil Lord and Chris Miller before. Early on in the different version of Cloudy with a Change of Meatballs that ended up getting scrapped and ended up going a totally different way, and it was much darker, the original version of it. They came to me a few years later and said “Hey, we’re going to make the Lego Movie, and we’d like you to voice Batman.” And I was like, I don’t understand what that sentence is but sure.
Then they kind of walked me through and talked to me about what the movie was going to be and there was the Lego Movie and I really had a lot of respect for Phil and Chris as writers and creators and, because of my past experience, I wanted to make sure that they were happy with it. Also, doing the voice of Batman, even in the Lego form is a lot of responsibility with that character because there’s so much history and so many die hard fans. You want to make sure you do it justice. I think there was a little bit of trepidation about being the voice of Batman and I wanted to make sure I did a good job.
With two Netflix shows and a Teen Titans movie on the way, what else can fans look forward to?
We’re in the middle of recording and working on the Fifth season of Bojack. We’re also shooting the 5th season of Arrested Development, and that’s all kind of happening at the same time. Then in the spring I have a new film called Show Dogs. It’s coming out, it’s going to be with Natasha Lyonne, last year, which I’m really excited about. It’s a really farm-family-friendly-film that I was excited to take part in. I pitched the idea to my kids when it came my way. What do you guys this about a movie where I partner up with a dog as an FBI agent. They were like “yes. What?” My kids support mew on a lot of stuff that a choose to do because I get to share it with them and that’s an awesome experience and I feel really fortunate that I can do that. Yeah, I’m excited about Show Dogs and it comes out next spring. Hope folks like it.
For more on Minecraft, Highsnobiety spoke with lead designer and developer, Jens Bergensten.
- Main / Featured Image: Courtesy Photo / Xbox