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Who Made the Game Free City? An In-Depth Look

Hey friend! As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I know you‘re curious about the virtual world of Free City from the movie Free Guy. Let‘s dive into the history and influences behind this fictional game world together!

Free City Created by Soonami Studios

To get right to the point, Free City was developed by the fictional company Soonami Studios, led by the character Antwan. Within the movie, Antwan and Soonami steal the code for Free City from young programmers Millie, Keys and Guy.

While Soonami Studios isn‘t real, it satirizes greedy executives and studios in the real video game industry. According to screenwriter Matt Lieberman, Soonami‘s unethical business practices are meant to critique how major studios like EA and Activision sometimes prioritize profits over creativity.

The Original Vision by Millie, Keys and Guy

Here‘s some cool backstory! Originally, Millie, Keys and Guy had conceived Free City under the code name "Life Itself." Their vision was for an open world game focused on freedom, creativity, and helping in-game characters.

Some key facts about Life Itself‘s design:

  • Players could freely explore the world and express themselves.
  • The game would track "acts of kindness" as the central gameplay metric.
  • NPCs would have advanced AI for complex interactions.
  • The world would continuously evolve based on player actions.

This early concept clearly drew inspiration from virtual worlds like Second Life and the original promise of massive multiplayer games. Unfortunately, the idealistic Life Itself was hijacked into the commercialized Free City.

Gaming Influences Behind Free City

Once Soonami Studios took over, they molded Life Itself into something resembling today‘s most popular franchises. Let‘s analyze Free City‘s major influences:

Grand Theft Auto

Free City immediately evokes Grand Theft Auto with its urban open world setting. Players can explore cities, jack cars, get into shootouts, and go on missions, often involving criminal activities. Even small details like the circular mini-map feel inspired by GTA.

According to developer Rockstar Games, the GTA series has sold over 280 million copies worldwide as of 2018. With its massive cultural impact, it‘s no surprise that Free City would take cues from this gritty game world.


Free City also copies some key features of Fortnite, which popularized the competitive "battle royale" genre. For example:

  • 100 player matches with a shrinking battlefield
  • Cartoony art style and cosmetic skins
  • In-game emotes for expressing yourself
  • Regular updates and live events

By last year, Fortnite had amassed a staggering 350 million players, so it‘s another obvious influence. Antwan even tries to buy out Soonami Studios for billions like Epic Games, Fortnite‘s publisher.

Second Life

As mentioned earlier, Free City‘s sandbox DNA comes from pioneering virtual worlds like Second Life. Launched in 2003, Second Life allowed users to not only game, but socialize, create, and even conduct business. Free City evokes this freedom before Soonami restricts it.

At its peak around 2006, Second Life had about 1 million active users. This might seem small now, but it was revolutionary at the time!

Critical Reception of Free City

We can also look at critical analysis of Free City to glean some insights about its design:

"Free City is both immersive escapism and biting satire rolled into one. With its mix of familiar game elements in a subversive package, this virtual playground says a lot about consumer culture and power dynamics." – IGN Review

Many reviews praise how Free City takes game concepts we‘ve seen before, but reconfigures them to deliver social commentary. This shows how even a fictional game can reflect real issues!

Unique Aspects of Free City

At the same time, Free City has some original twists that set it apart:

  • Sunglasses to distinguish human players from NPCs
  • The ability to "break code" and change the game from within
  • Guy‘s growing self-awareness and rebellion against his coding

These concepts explore exciting ideas about free will in virtual worlds. The sequel plans to dive even deeper into this according to director Shawn Levy.

The sunglasses motif also shows a fun stylistic flair. I mean, who wouldn‘t want to wear neon pink shades while carjacking in first person??

By The Numbers: Free City‘s Scale

To appreciate the sheer size of Free City, let‘s look at some key stats revealed in the film:

  • $27 billion in total revenue
  • 936 million players worldwide
  • Over 300,000 concurrent players daily
  • 800+ employees at Soonami Studios

These numbers seem totally absurd at first glance. But they‘re not too far off from realities like Fortnite earning $9 billion in its first two years and some major gaming companies employing thousands.

This exaggeration highlights the obscene scale of profitable franchises. Free City‘s over-the-top success emphasizes how games become commercial products instead of creative endeavors.

The Future of Free City

While Free City isn‘t real, the film‘s popularity has sparked interest in exploring this virtual playground more. Director Shawn Levy has confirmed that Free Guy 2 is currently in development!

Story details are under wraps, but Levy hinted that a sequel could build out the world even further. I‘m keeping my fingers crossed that Guy somehow makes it into the real world. Just imagine the wacky possibilities!

The doors are also open for potential spin-off media like shows, books or a real Free City game. But for now, discoveries in this wonderfully weird metaverse will have to stay on the big screen.

In Conclusion

Well friend, I hope this inside look gave you some gamer fuel! It‘s really cool seeing how Free City remixed major franchises to say something new. This funny Frankenstein of gaming shows us the industry from a fresh angle.

Let me know if you‘re hungry for more gaming insights in the future! It‘s been awesome geek chatting about our digital passion. Game on!