FIFA 23 players have discovered an unusual Easter egg hidden in the game: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who provided their voices for a bit of gentle trash-talking.
Reynolds and McElhenney are both well-known actors, but this isn't a conventional case of celebrity voice acting. Along with being famous Hollywood stars, the pair are also owners of Wrexham AFC, a Welsh football (or "soccer," as it's known to us in North American) club—the oldest in the country, in fact, having been established in 1864, and the third-oldest in the world.
To be clear, Wrexham is not a top-tier team in the UK. It competes in the National League, which according to Wikipedia is a semi-pro league, ranked as the fifth-highest in the country, well below the pinnacle Premier League. It's a bit like, say, baseball's Frontier League in North America: It's pro sports, but people aren't exactly lining up for Lake Erie Crushers merchandise. That's why you don't normally see Wrexham or similarly-ranked teams in big-time games like FIFA.
But in September 2021, Reynolds and McElhenney revealed that Wrexham would be included in FIFA 22 in the "Rest of the World" category, a kind of catch-all for teams that may not play in the top leagues but are interesting for other reasons.
This is a statement from the press office of Wrexham AFC regarding #FIFA22 "We're in the game".Ends.@EASPORTSFIFA 🔴⚪️ #WxmAFC pic.twitter.com/88tYTs2lkXSeptember 12, 2021
Wrexham then returned for 2023, and this time its owners have come along for a little bit of the "shit-talking" McElhenney alluded to in 2021.
There's some gentle ribbing of Liverpool in one video, in which they describe Liverpool FC (one of the most famous clubs in the world, and the one that Peter Moore actually ditched Electronic Arts for) as a "minuscule, improvisational version of a football club":
In another, they express just a hint of bitterness about Stockport County, which as Polygon explained was promoted from the National League to EFL League Two last year—ahead of Wrexham:
It's obviously all in good fun and Liverpool isn't likely to suffer any grievous injury as a result of a Wrexham zing, but just in case, McElhenney took to Twitter to reassure everyone that "no insult" was intended.
As for why it took more than three months for people to realize that Reynolds and McElhenney are in the game, the best guess is that nobody noticed because nobody plays Wrexham. Naturally, that leaves open the possibility that there may be more R&R voice clips lurking around in there somewhere—I've reached out to EA to ask if players can look forward to more, and will update if I receive a reply.