Finding Yeezus is a new documentary series centered on solving the mystery of Kanye’s Quest 3030, an unlicensed fan RPG that had a secret ending – and led some to believe it was part of a recruitment drive for a cult .
Starting September 26 and airing weekly on Grouse House (a web series channel created by Australian comedy group Aunty Donna), the show is hosted by comedians Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James. On their Finding Drago and Finding Desperado podcasts, the pair have previously delved into the mysteries of unauthorized Rocky sequels and lost world-record-holding movies, but this will be the first time they’ve tackled a gambling topic.
“There’s something so exciting about a video game mystery,” Toliopoulos tells me over email, “it feels so present to us. In the realm of video games, it’s less like trying to look back and more to uncover an urban legend that is forming right now.”
It’s a legend that began to be told almost a decade ago. Toliopoulos explains how he and James discovered the mystery and what drove them to solve it:
Uploaded to the Internet virtually anonymously in 2013, Kanye Quest 3030 was a simple Pokemon-style RPG where you play as Kanye West rapping other famous rappers. Due to its humor and premise, it became kind of a slightly viral sensation.Then it disappeared like those things…until 2 years later a hidden level in the game was discovered.
“If you prove yourself worthy (by solving enigmatic puzzles), the game admits that all you’ve experienced up to this point was just a front. With the promise of ‘Ascension,’ the game will reaches out in real life. This led many to believe that the game was a recruiting tool for a new-age cult called Ascensionism. It’s such a fascinating mystery! I remember playing the game there years ago, but I only discovered the mystery at the end of 2020, when we had just finished doing Finding Desperado and I started to feel the urge to challenge ourselves with something new. ‘even bigger to unravel.’
It quickly became a much bigger mystery than the pair’s previous work – hence their evolution from investigative podcasters to on-screen hosts. The effort has apparently been worth it – there have been many investigations into Kanye Quest over the years, but Toliopoulos and James open the first episode by saying the mystery has never really been solved – until now .
“The true story of Kanye Quest and the cult of ascension will be revealed in the latest episode of Finding Yeezus,” Toliopoulos tells me. “We’ve become very good investigators since our early days as journalism degree dropouts.”
But the key to Finding Yeezus and the hosts’ previous podcasts is that it’s as much a comedy as it is an investigation. Toliopoulos and James tend to pick mysteries from the sillier, weirder side of things, but they make it clear that the show’s comedy is built around the real investigation – you don’t see them building something for a laugh rather than some answers :
“We’re obsessed seekers and uncovering history is a real organic process,” says Toliopoulos. “For us, it’s about the joy of discovery and finding the emotional connection that fuels curiosity. With documentaries, you have to plan so many things before you start shooting, but the excitement comes from the surprise that the end product is almost completely different from what we anticipated. It’s hard to anticipate real life! It’s about finding the narrative in reality and for us, it’s also about building in the comedy.
Having seen the first two episodes myself, Finding Yeezus is already proving as funny as it is intriguing, with a higher twist-per-minute ratio than I could reasonably expect. There’s a real joy behind it, too – amid a culture of documentary filmmaking that so often reveals the darker parts of modern life, it’s nice to find something that just wants to revel in how people can be strange and interesting. At least… until now.
Finding Yeezus begins exclusively on the Grouse House YouTube channel next Monday, September 26. There will be six episodes in total, dropping weekly on Mondays until a finale on Tuesday, October 25.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s news editor. He thinks Finding Drago is quite possibly the best podcast ever and you should give it a listen. Follow him on Twitter.