Interview: Smosh Games Talks Operation Open World and Team Dynamics
Do you ever wonder what it's like to sit 6 best friends on a couch and give them a video game controller, just to see what's going to happen? If you said yes, you will love watching Smosh Games.
Winner of the Best Gaming Channel award at the Streamies, Smosh Games is a popular YouTube gaming channel where they play games like Friday the 13th, PUBG, and even Tetris. They also produce Honest Game Trailers, where they take your favorite games and tell you what they are really about.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Flitz, Boze, Damien, Josh and Creative Producer Matt Raub of Smosh Games to talk about their upcoming show, "Operation Open World". We also got to chat about how they choose what games to play for the channel and what their guilty pleasures are.
Operation Open World brings Smosh to Egypt to promote the new Assassin's Creed: Origins. It is their job to compare the Egypt in the game to modern-day Egypt. When asked about their thoughts on this new adventure, Josh said:
"Very exciting. When you look at the evolution and roller coaster that Smosh Games has been, to now say we have a travel show is great. It's going to be fun."
While Josh may not be excited about his 10-hour plane ride, he said that he has his Switch with him to make the time pass. He is currently playing Stardew Valley and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.
On their channel, the Smosh team plays a whole variety of games -- but how do they select the games they decide to play? There are a few factors that go into the decision-making process, according to Creative Producer, Matt Raub:
"Do we want to play the game? Are we a fan? Top-down games don’t do as well but fan favorites like PUBG or Friday the 13th where you can jump in and yell at each other is just fun."
But perhaps one of the biggest draws for new Smosh viewers and subscribers alike is the channel's Honest Game Trailers series. If you are a fan of the Honest Game Trailers like I am, you know how hilarious and ridiculous they can be -- like the Pokemon Sun and Moon trailer the team uploaded recently.
But aside from the hilarious trailer itself, the story behind the Pokemon Sun and Moon HGT demonstrates the dynamic among the members of Smosh. Towards the end of the video, the team creates new names for all the Pokemon that were featured in the teaser. Matt Raub told me the story behind that"
"We will sit with pizza and soda pop. We'll order 10 pizzas and just have like a mini party where we just sit there. It's almost like that scene in Animal House where you have like a projector and put up one of the Pokemon. We're just yelling out dumb names."
How does this tight-knit team choose which game they'll rip on next? It's mostly a matter of which games are popular, or which games each creator is currently enjoying. Smosh doesn't hate the games it makes fun of -- the team just wants to make jokes in good fun. According to Matt, it's a form of flattery that makes the show as enjoyable as it is:
"That's the most fun of that show. We can totally pick apart on stuff."
The cast is really what seals the deal, though. Matt gave them plenty of props for keeping the Smosh channel fresh and making engaging content:
"The benefit to what we do on Smosh Games is because there are 6 different cast members and they're all into something very different."
Smosh Games takes everyone's passions and makes videos based on them. The Halloween Just Dance videos, for example, were created because both Flitz and Mari are professional dancers.
One topic that punctuated a considerable portion of the interview was how Boze loves Tetris and would love to shout-cast a competitive Tetris tournament one day. Though Boze wouldn't describe her love of the block-puzzle game as a guilty pleasure, I did get everyone else to indulge their guilty pleasures.
For Damien, it's JRPGs and Dance Dance Revolution. But before he could feel too embarrassed about his love for an arcade style dancing game, Matt came to his defense:
"But that's not embarassing unless you're bad at it. You just look cool."
Boze chimed in with her two cents as well:
"As a person that could play any song on doubles heavy, I do not look cool playing that at all."
Meanwhile, Josh admitted that his guilty pleasure was the Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius mobile game -- and Flitz's is Marvel Future Flight (though he has a computer to do all the hard work for him while he naps).
What's Next for Smosh?
The Smosh team has a lot of ideas about projects they'd like to work on. Most of them (Matt excluded) are particularly keen on a series where Matt gives Boze his own personal money and lets her spend it on anything. But that likely won't appear in their lineup anytime soon.
What Smosh fans can look forward to is Operation Open World -- a three-part series that will premiere on October 19. In this saga, Jovenshire and Mari will team up to "explore the world and take fans inside the games they know and love". The duo will bring a camera out in to the most open world of all -- the real world -- while traveling to notable events like Tokyo Game Show in Japan and Oktoberfest in Germany.
I'd like to thank Smosh games for taking the time to chat with me and giving me a peek at the team that makes the magic happen. If you'd like to keep up with the team to catch the next Honest Games Trailer or check out their upcoming projects, you can follow them on Twitter (@SmoshGames) or visit the official Smosh YouTube channel.