Animal Crossing New Horizons: Behind The Scenes Of A Popular Virtual Talk Show

Published 06/14/2020, 2:37 PM EDT


Since releasing in March, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has taken the gaming community by storm. One can simply enjoy for hours without having to worry about rules, missions, or enemies. Moreover, with new content making its way into the game regularly, the experience remains fresh. These aspects make the life simulation video game relaxing, as well as immersive, adding to its immense popularity during the worldwide pandemic.

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With social distancing a primary necessity, New Horizons has given players an outlet to meet their friends virtually. Subsequently, the game has laid out the foundation for a popular in-game live talk show, Animal Talking. Screenwriter Gary Whitta hosts the virtual talk show, with a guest coordinator and stage manager, Kate Stark, managing the critical backend details.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, the stage manager provided a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes. Kate Stark, who is also a Twitch streamer, first appeared on Animal Talking, as a guest, in the third episode. She is longtime friends with Gary Whitta and offered to help him with certain backend aspects of the show. Eventually, she assumed her role as the guest coordinator and stage manager for Animal Talking.

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Behind the scenes of Animal Crossing New Horizons virtual talk show

The screenwriter has a proper in-game setup, just as accurately detailed as any other talk show set. He has a room in his in-game house with a mic stand for his opening monologues, and then he sits behind a desk. The desk has a coffee mug, and the background has stage lights, as well as a city skyline. Guests appearing on the show sit on the couch beside the desk, chatting over Discord. The whole presentation is streamed to viewers on Twitch.

Speaking to Business Insider, Kate Stark outlined, the multitasking and coordination required to run the show, is the most challenging part. Perhaps the most critical aspect of the virtual talk show is the audio. Thus, as a stage manager, she must ensure the audio is crisp, and the show proceeds smoothly to keep viewers entertained.

The guests fly into the screenwriter’s island before each episode airs. Taking a tour of Whitta’s island and engaging in a pre-interview, helps them get accustomed. Meanwhile, the guest coordinator manages two distinct Discord channels. One of those is a backstage channel, a virtual green room. The other channel serves as the primary source for the talk show’s audio.

Stark stays in the greenroom channel for the entirety of the show, monitoring audio levels. It’s her protocol to ensure no background noises are hampering the audio quality. She also speaks with guests, not used to virtual talk shows, to make them feel comfortable. Finally, Stark drags them into the main Discord channel when its time to go live. Another part of her job is to find in-game gift items and wardrobe for the guests.

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Celebrities who have appeared on Animal Talking

The screenwriter and the stage manager reach out to celebrities interested in New Horizons via Twitter, or personally. Recently, T-Pain, Elijah Wood, Danny Trejo, and many other well-known celebrities have appeared on the show.

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Danny Trejo featured as a correspondent and gave viewers, and the screenwriter, a tour of his island paradise. The actor introduced the showrunners to some of the villagers and also went fishing.

T-Pain, on the other hand, spoke of his favorite villagers in the game. The record producer received a crown worth 1.3 million Bells as a gift, which he wore for the entire duration of the show.

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On an ending note, the team hopes to continue with the virtual talk show as long as possible. Their aim is to keep the guests and the viewers amused and entertained. Season One of Animal Talking concluded last month and Season Two is on the horizon, with an episode for each week. With regular talk shows on hold at the moment due to the pandemic, this virtual show genuinely fills the void in its own unique way.

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Souhardya Biswas

490 articles

Souhardya Biswas is an eSports writer for EssentiallySports. He joined the organisation in 2020, wanting to explore the sphere of professional eSports journalism. His passion for gaming started with titles like GTA San Andreas, Far Cry 2, Modern Warfare 2, FIFA 09, eventually developing an interest in Battle Royale games like PUBG and Apex Legends.

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