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The Second Rise of Fall Guys

Izabela Tomakic

Fall Guys is a quirky fast-paced platform battle royale game initially released on August 4th, 2020.  Developed and published by Mediatonic, Fall Guys gathers 60 cute jellybeans to clash in a series of fantastic mini-games. Although Fall Guys instantly stole everyone’s hearts, the game saw an uncompromising decline in player base after the initial surge primarily due to its hype fizzling out. However, on June 20th, 2022, Fall Guys witnessed a sudden rise in popularity, the result of the game both coming to new platforms and switching to a free-to-play model.

fall guys

Image Credit: Mediatonic / Epic Games

The Loveliness of Fall Guys

Fall Guys is, without a single doubt in mind, one of the most popular games in gaming history. While other historically famous games shaped the genre and featured intricate storylines, ground-breaking gameplay, and a series of unique customizations, Fall Guys leads the players into a wacky world of jellybeans and clumsy physics. Many have pondered how Fall Guys managed to establish such a shockingly large community; while the original publishers, Devolver Digital, are well-known for franchises such as Hotline Miami and Enter the Gungeon, Fall Guys was a transcendent hit.

Since the gaming community today, as a rule, enjoys quick user-oriented matches, Fall Guys, with its fast queue times and whimsical mini-games that can entertain you while waiting in queue, easily fulfills this non-negotiable demand. However, Fall Guys, with its latest playlists, tournaments, and Twitch Rivals events, also grants a highly competitive environment, always leaving room for improvement.

According to Dave Bailey, one of Mediatonic’s founders, Fall Guys’ charm has laid in its unbelievable positivity and light relief, especially during trying times such as the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Additionally, Fall Guys is teeming with relatable comical elements, such as hitting, pushing, and falling.

A Short History of Fall Guys

Fall Guys was developed and published by Mediatonic, a British game studio based in London. Although Mediatonic’s mind-blowing achievements today seem effortless, they did, in reality, navigate through many obstacles.

In the beginning, Mediatonic was a traditional work-for-hire studio, developing games for clients such as Adult Swim Games. However, as Mediatonic was in the midst of developing four large-scale games, their lives turned upside down when all four clients canceled their games due to internal structuring and acquisitions. Suffering the collateral damage, Mediatonic urgently reorganized and rebranded itself as a game-developing studio focusing on developing its own titles. Although Mediatonic, at all costs, wanted to avoid developing yet another battle royale, game designer Joe Walsh immediately advocated the development of a different type of battle royale game. Inspired by obstacle-course television shows like Takeshi’s Castle and Total Wipeout, Walsh dreamed of developing a silly battle royale. With this, the idea of Fall Guys was born.

During the development phase, Mediatonic ran into many setbacks, such as funding and physics challenges. Despite these hurdles, Mediatonic successfully launched Fall Guys. Surpassing everyone’s expectations, Fall Guys instantly became a hit among both average players and streamers. However, after only two months of undeniable success, Fall Guys’ player base significantly dwindled, leaving only the most loyal fans clashing with the goal of winning the crown.

For a year, Fall Guys averaged around 10k daily active users. On March 2nd, 2021, Mediatonic was acquired by Epic Games, themselves makers of Fortnite and owners of Psyonix, makers of Rocket League, among others. Although Epic Games absolutely loves Fall Guys and aims to support the game long-term, the company did, in fact, introduce a significant change that drastically affected the game. Previously $20 on Steam, Fall Guys became a free-to-play game, much like Rocket League before it. Although everyone expected Fall Guys would top the charts, no one dared to imagine skyrocketing numbers of 50 million players since going free-to-play.

Fall Guys Rises Again

When Mediatonic and Epic Games relaunched Fall Guys as a free-to-play game, a sudden surge of players and server overloads were more than expected. However, skyrocketing numbers of game installations and millions of players excited to join the game were definitely not in line with their expectations. Predictably, this led to terribly long queue times and connectivity issues for the first couple of days. 

In hindsight, this sudden rise in popularity of Fall Guys is a direct result of the game taking the free-for-all route. Fall Guys had previously limited its user base, not only because of its purchase price, but because it was limited to PC and PlayStation consoles. Although Fall Guys is already breaking records, the game will only grow and attract even more players in the future with its numerous tournaments, promising competitive scene, and continuous diligent development.