When Pedro Pascal isn’t busy starring in The Last of Us and The Mandalorian, or being daddy, he’s solving a mobile game’s weirdly intense murder mystery. Yes, Pascal has joined the Merge Mansion universe, starring in the mobile game’s latest ad.
The cinematic ad is named “A Twisted Game,” where Pascal plays a detective named Tim Rockford. Let me back up a little bit before explaining why a mobile game needs a detective: Merge Mansion is essentially a match-three puzzle game. There’s some storytelling that happens between the separate puzzles, but the gist of it is that Merge Mansion has a mystery involving a grandma. Now, forget about the game entirely; Merge Mansion is also a cinematic universe made up of live-action short films that’s built a mysterious lore around the game, which centers on two characters, Maddie and Grandma Ursula.
Maddie turns up at the titular mansion on her wedding day, left at the altar by her husband-to-be. Grandma Ursula hands her over the keys to the mansion that Maddie is tasked with repairing (through match-three gameplay). Throughout the short films (which were animated before developer Metacore went live-action) we learn more about grandma’s secrets. All this is told through these out-of-game ads, which have become increasingly unhinged. Kathy Bates stars in one where she twirls a statue’s nipples to open up a secret passageway, which has seemingly been scrubbed from Merge Mansion’s YouTube channel.
The good news is that if you’re lost, Pascal’s Merge Mansion ad is a recap of basically everything — a family, a mansion, and lots of knives. It includes Merge Mansion’s infamous Grandma Ursula arrest scene, where she holds a hand up to the cop car’s window with a message: He is alive.
But look, don’t try to understand it all — not even how this weird-as-hell mobile game got Pascal for an ad. (Hint: It’s a lot of money. On top of what Merge Mansion earned from its 2 million active players, it raised roughly $180 million in funding in 2021.) You’re supposed to be confused. Just enjoy Pascal. Something tells me that not even Pedro can solve this mystery.