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Pro Streamers Reveal What Free Guy Gets Right About Gaming - Exclusive

"Free Guy" is not the only video game movie out there. Heck, it's not even the only one to come out in 2021. There is a fundamental difference, though, between "Free Guy" and the other major video game movie of the year, "Mortal Kombat" — the latter is a movie based on a video game, while the former is really about games and gaming culture in general.


Even before Guy (Ryan Reynolds) begins his path from clueless NPC to self-awareness in "Free Guy," he's already telling audiences something about the way people play online, sandbox games. Guy and his fellow NPCs are treated badly in the name of gamers completing quests, earning money, and getting cool, new outfits — and the entire enterprise is treated as perfectly normal. 

If anything, Guy and his friends love being part of their messed up, constantly-exploding world. But through watching events play out from their point of view, fans are reminded of something all gamers already know: There's something simultaneously fun and wicked about running around, blowing things up, and then dancing over your fallen virtual enemies. The experience is fun, but every once in a while you can't help but stop and wonder what it is you're doing with your life.


That doesn't make playing video games bad by any stretch. To the contrary, a lot of "Free Guy" is about the ability gamers have to find empathy with NPCs — but, yes, it's also about running into walls being a hilariously bad sport.

"Free Guy" might get games and gaming culture more right than any other movie before it, which is a notion that the streamers who cameo in the film seem to agree with.

Why basing a movie on a made up game was important

When it comes to playing video games, there is no one "type" of person, and yet for a long time, the perception of gamers was one of sad and lonely dudes in their mother's basements. "Free Guy" dispenses with the stereotype entirely, showing people of all ages, genders, and races engaging with the fictitious open world of "Free World."


And, yes, there are a lot of real-life streamers in "Free Guy" as well, including Ninja, Pokimane, DanTDM, JackSepticEye, and Lazarbeam. SVG spoke with all of these gamers about what "Free Guy" gets right about games and gaming.

"I think it is one of the most authentic looks at gaming culture that we've had thus far," says Pokimane. "I mean, can you name any other gaming-related movie that actually went the extra mile to include actual gamers and livestreamers into their films? I really like that they've looked at it from different angles."

One thing a lot of the streamers agree on is that "Free Guy" was smart to create a new game, rather than use an existing one as its source. "They create a new game, new worlds, and it's a really good one," says DanTDM. "It's obviously based off of certain games, but the fact that it's not having to appeal to an already established fan base is where it wins and why it works so well."


"It honestly feels like an actual game that would exist and then sort of their boundaries, and their limits are a lot different than another video game movie would be," says Jacksepticeye, who agreed with DanTDM's take. "They don't really have to please the audience of the video game, because it doesn't exist in real life. And they don't really have to try and make it seem a certain way. So the fact that they can just make up whatever they want, as long as it fits the narrative of the game that they've made, then they can kind of just do whatever."

Talking with gamers and embracing Gen Z

If you're wondering how "Free Guy" manages to get as much right as it does, it turns out the answer is pretty simple — the filmmakers asked real gamers about what belongs in a movie about games.

"I think they did the best job they could, and I think they did a good job of it because I think it all comes back to the director actually caring about if he got it right," explains Lazarbeam. "I think no one will ever probably do it a hundred percent perfect, but I think they got as close as they could have because I know, working with [director Shawn Levy], how much he respected people's input. He didn't just go in thinking, 'I know everything. I'm the smartest man alive. I'm a suit in Hollywood. I know what people want. They just want this and that.' He actually asked questions and listened when you spoke."


LazarBeam continued, "Even in my parts in the movie, he allowed me to have input in what I was saying and how I was acting and stuff, and he actually cared. He admitted that he didn't know everything and cared to learn, so I think that's really reflected in it."

Mostly, though, the best part about "Free Guy" is that it is accessible to any gamer, not just the hardened ones who sit around streaming and playing games incorrectly on purpose to entertain others. When SVG asked Ninja what he thought "Free Guy" got right about gaming he was effusive in his praise. "Everything," he said.

"Everything gaming related, right? I mean just the, like the language, right? The comedy, what is actually happening in the game and in the movie. It's all stuff that happens in actual video games, the pop culture. I mean, they did everything right. And I think that gaming in general usually is a little bit of a younger audience, right? So you have to have that comedy and that language that caters to them. And also obviously, my generation, and they nailed it. They hit everything. They hit, like, Gen Z. They hit fricking all the boxes, bro. Nailed it."


"Free Guy" is in theaters now.