September 21, 2021


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‘Free Guy’ production designer explains the video game Easter Eggs

5 min read

“Free Guy,” in theaters on February 13, revolves around a world – video game Free City. Ryan Reynolds plays Guy, the game’s background character is Jodi Komar’s Molotov Girl, who is trying to save Free City from being destroyed by its creator (Taika Weitti). Once Molotov Girl puts Guy in special glasses that allow him to watch the game, the work stops.

Production designer Ethan Tobman (“Black Is King,” “Beautiful Boy”) has set foot on his biggest project so far, working with director Shawn Levy to bring the video game to life. Levy and Tobman collaborated closely, the director said. “We need to create a video game that doesn’t exist, that has inspiration, but that is a completely singular aesthetic, and an aesthetic that is immediately and consistently different from the way we portray the real world.” He added, “Ethan and I created a visual Bible that created the rules of the world,” Levy says. “The colors, the lenses, the composition and the style of the camera movement – everything had a place, and everything had to adhere to that aesthetic.”

Below, Tobman breaks the world of Free City.

“Real” World vs. Free City

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Ryan Reynolds as a free-singing guy in a 20th-century studio. Courtesy Twentieth Century Studio. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
Courtesy Twentieth Century Studio

“Life outside of video games is cloudy and dirty. The frame is blurry, soft focus, and a lot of gray and it rains all the time. Things are messy and boring. Inside the game, things are clean, symmetrical and saturated. Frames are clean, and everything is in focus.

“We had an incredible time burying Easter eggs across Free City. We were constantly joking about the idea that people were stuck. There are travel agencies out there that offer flights anywhere, anywhere, anywhere. There are signs in all the stores that ‘tomorrow is sale’. When you go to an ATM, the balance is always designed just below what you want to carry. We were inspired by Japanese garbage cans and Danish telephone booths, things that seem a little retro but pop art in color. We will paint the cars in the same colors as those garbage cans and telephone booths. It’s subtle, but the idea is that you’re a computer designer and you’re moving fast. That world is hyper-colored and hyper-physicalized; There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek references to movies and video games. Cars, signboards, branding, newspaper stands – everything from ‘Inception’ to ‘The Truman Show’ to ‘Pleasantville’ and everything that is a movie in any movie.

“The idea is that it should be like a video game and it should be like a video game designer who likes every color.”

Stash House

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Ethan Tobman

“Badas: With Stash House, every game player can collect resources like cars, weapons and guns. I wanted it to be huge and architecturally meaningless. It’s buried in a mountain after the volcano erupted in Iceland, where the volcanoes are. It has formed strangely strange rocks mixed with strange angles. It is not like the castle of Sol companionship in ‘Superman’, but made of black granite. “

Guy’s Stash House

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Ethan Tobman

“It’s just a renovation site that’s a warehouse on the rough side of town. I thought Hogg had gone wild and wondered if he was going to collect all the weapons in his hand – and the vehicle – probably there was a NASA pod and a horse.

“We crossed the Fancett nightclub in New York, somewhat inspired by the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station and the Boom Boom Room at New York Standard. But it was a mixture of Turkish, Moroccan and Thai influences with vaulted brick ceilings and arches. Yes, there is a consensus for the “Star Wars” canteen, but a lot is happening and this is our world. You will not be able to accept references and movies that have come before us.

Guy’s apartment

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“He’s a background character who wasn’t given brain-cell bandwidth [game] Designers will evolve into something dimensional. In the same way, he has become an economist. His house should look like a half-thought sentence. The stairs bend to go up to her bedroom and then disappear and reappear. There is a bed on the floor where there is no 10 foot drop with no railings. If you wake up and go the wrong way, you will die. There is a calendar on the wall that is missing Tuesday. There is a pencil with a sharp. There is a notepad that you cannot open. Some books are color-coded, but they have no titles.

Multiplayer lounge

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Digital domain

“The multi-player lounge has gone through 20 revisions because what is it? It’s a place where everyone gets a little naughty and in this case the guy sees the world behind glasses.

“My first pitch was, what if it was like a Bangkok street market or the huge underground spice market and shops in Morocco’s Souks, Marrakesh and Fez? But what we finally got was some inspiration from New York’s Aesthetic Club, Grand Central’s Oyster Bar and Boom Boom Room. It has Thai influences with Turkish, Moroccan, even arched brick ceilings and arches. And yes, there is some consensus for the “Star Wars” canteen. “

Tsunami headquarters

“It’s dirty. We like the idea that every cubicle of the office was made of pure glass so you can see everyone at any moment. Taike’s character is visible to everyone at every moment. He’s extremely paranoid and controlling, so it’s like a panopticon. He’s the prison warden. A.

“There’s ambiguity, there’s it, there’s half-eaten Chinese food, there’s piles of tissue paper for people who don’t have time to go to the bathroom and blow their noses. This is a sweatshirt in Silicon Valley.

“We have this crazy modular wall that we built and we did 3D printing. It’s a compliment to Minecraft, but also plays with the idea of ​​old eight-bit graphics.

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