FREE GUY: Stop being a NPC

Directed by Shaw Levy, with Ryan Reynolds and Taika Waititi, Free Guy was released on the last August 11th 2021. It’s a science fiction action comedy that entertains, amuses and above all makes thinking.

Guy is a NPC, that is a no playable character in a videogame called Free City. He is an extra, one of those characters that the players do not consider and that often pay the cosequences of their missions. But Guy is different. He wakes up one day from his routine made buy the same clothes, same lines and gestures and realizes that there is something more.

Guy is an example. He is a fictional characther who however embodies real values and gives useful lessons for who, a bit older, is able to read between the lines.


Guys routine

Guy wakes up every day, greets his red fish Gordy, has breakfast listening to the news od the day, takes the same medium coffee, cream, two sugars at the cafe and goes to work with his best friend Buddy. There he postmarks documents repeating the same line “Today won’t be a good day, it will be excellent”.

The NPC is trapped in a routine of gestures and behaviors about which he has never been aware until one day he meets a special character who wakes him up and makes him aware of his condition. So, Guy decides to change the things, take the opportunity to change his life and breaks the routine.

Everyone is trapped in a routine without even notice it, we do every day the same things, automatically. We are trapped and like an hamster we keep running in our wheel without never stop. But, like Guy we can wake up and change the things if we find the courage to do it.

Yes the courage because the human being is habitual and he hardly changes his habits once they are established. Because it’s easier staying in our comfort zone rather than trying to do something different, something unknown. “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t” is the saying and this don’t knowing is one of the main obstacle to change.


Buddy is Guy’s best friend. Played by Lil Rel Howery , is the securty guard of the bank where he and Guy work. When Guy becomes aware about himself and the possibility to change, he offers that possibility to his best friend who however turns down the offer. Guy realizes that the guard is afraid, so he does not force him but he tells him that when he will be ready he will be there for him.

Everyone is afraid to change, changing implies accepting to not have controll, not knowing what will happen. It means to be ready to jump into the unknown (Elsa knows something about that) that can have positive or negative consequences. Not all the people are ready and prepared to change, so when the change comes they run away, like Buddy. In this way, there is the risk to loose some opportunities that never return.

Even the eventuality to change can make people freak out. The girl of the cafe where Guy takes the same coffee every morning is surprised when he asked a different drink, a cappuccino. Her face twitches and we almos see her head blowing like a teapot on the fire while the panic raises.

Even in this case, Guy avoid to make things worse. He accepts the usual morning drink and leaves, greeting Johnny the policeman. He does not know that he has unleashed something into the girl who, we will see later, will have learned to make more drinks, breaking in this way her routine.


Guy god mode

When Guy goes of the grid, he draws the attention of the developer off the game on him. They think his an hacker and tries to kick him out. The NPC shows to be hard to kick out, forcing the developer to go in the so called “God Mode”.

The “God Mode” is a mode avaible for the developers of a game where they can do everything they wants in the game, they have everything avaible, they can modify whatever they wants, any settings.

Keys and Mouser, the developer on charge to control Free City, modify the road where Guy is driving and make the building move to obstacle him and crush him. They represent all the obstacle that we can meet aong the way of changing. Moreover, they represent also the possibility itself to change.

Everyone can go in the “God Mode” in his/her own life. We can controll everything and everything but we can have control over our life and change it if we want. Obviously, we could meet some obstacles along the way.

So, we can break our routine, we can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want but in order to do it we have to look at the world with new eyes and above all move.


Guy glasses

The philosopher Kant claimed that we do not see the reality as it is but we filter it in some way. What we see, what we hear, what we feel is filtered throught a metaphorical pair of glasses that hide the rel world and its characteristics.

Guy has a pair of glasses but, unlike Kant’s glasses, they do not hide the reality but reveal the world in its true shape. Guy’s world is made of flying icons, numbers and words. Things that before were hidden and Guy couldn’t see.

So, looking at the world from another point of view makes Guy to listen to that feeling that told him there was much more, that he could be much more. Wearing those glasses, having a new vision of the world gives him the confirmation that he could change.

That is to say that if we want to change, to break the routine, we have to wear a pair of glasses. We have to look at the world from a different point of view, a different mentality. Only in this way, we can realize what is really around us.


Guy gets the glasses that reveals the truth about his world taking them from one of the so called heroes. Heroes, he explains, are those people who wear glasses. They are cool, fly in the sky, drive beutiful car or bike and wear cool clothes.

The heroes Guy refers are no other than the players of the game who to level up have to accomplish some missions like stealing a car, robber a bank, punch or shoot someone on the street. These are not obviously heroic actions. These people are idolized by people like Guy, they are taken as a model, an ideal to follow but they are not good example. It’s meaningful the name of the game “Free City” in this sense.

It happens often that wrong people are idolized, above all among the youngers. These wrong heroes are turned into myths and behavior model. It also happens often that wrong actions are considered as good. In this time, with the techonology evolution, with the social media, there a whole other world whose rules not always are the same of the real world.

Robbering a bank, shooting people, driving fast are in the game actions needed to level up, to be considered strong and cool. In the real world these are all dangerous and wrong actions that in the youngers mind could be considered as acceptable, funny and even useful. However, there are other ways to be cool and strong, to level up. Guy levels up doing good things, he has understood that those poeple weren’t heroes. In this way, without betrayng his ideals, he finds other way to reach his goals.

Instead of robbering a bank he stops the robbery, instead of stealing car he stops the thieves, instead of shooting people he helps them. Guy becomes a real hero with real and right values to follow in and above all outside the game.

So, the younger ones have to keep always in mind the difference between what is real and what is not, between what is right and what is wrong. They have to understand, and in this they should be helped, who are the real heroes in life, to follow and by who be inspired to grow up correctly.


The saying is “one makes a difference” and Guy is an example of it. Slowly the PNC change not only himself and his world but also the real world. The other characters of the game are touched by his actions: after speaking with Guy the bartender learns to make new drinks, another girl decides to stop following the bad guys and writes a book. In the same way, all the people outside the game, in the real world, are amazed and fascinated by Guy.

Moreover, Guy is able to pursuade all his friends to fight together to save their city, he tell them to stop being a PNC, a no playable character, and becoming a player.

This also applies to all of us, if we want to change our life we have to stop being an extra, a spectator and start to be a real player. If we want to change the world, we have to move together. Indeed, all the NPCs of the game disappeare, only then the players realize how important they are. Their absence is loud and makes more evident theis presence.


To change, we have to move, we have to become a player and in order to do this we have to be brave and we have to believe in ourselves. Guy doesn not stop believing in himself after discovering the truth about himself and his city, instead he keeps believing in himself and his abilities.

In the movie, Keys and Milly (Joe Keery and Jodie Comer) are the creators of the code on what Free City is based. The code has been stolen from the publisher Antoine (Taika Waiti). While Milly fights against Antoine for having back the code, Keys instead distances himself from his partner. The young game developer, unlike his friend, is not sure that Antoine has stolen the code. He is doubtful, this because he does not believe in himself enough. His unsecurity makes him refuse even a promotion.

Guy believe

However, in the end Keys understands, he starts believing in himself and in his capacities. So, he helps Guy and Milly to save the city, to get back the code of their game and to unmask Antoine.


To conclude, Free Guy is not a simple science fiction comedy but it hides some interesting and deep lessons and messages. We have discussed about them in the article, these lessons and messages are hidden among the action and the laughs, the cameos and the appearences.

We all should be like Guy, stay true to ourselves but at the same time grow up, learn from our mistakes, not being afraid to ask, to experience new things, to be able to accept what happens and if there the chance to do something, move.

So, let’s stop being a NPC, no playable character in life and let’s become real player.

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