Fall Guys Was Pitched To 10 Publishers Before Devolver Digital Picked It Up
No one could have predicted the phenomenal success of this goofy battle royale.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a rousing success for developer Mediatonic. The whimsical battle royale is selling exceptionally well on Steam, and the decision to include it as a PlayStation Plus freebie is a stroke of genius. Early in development, however, no one could have predicted how popular it would eventually be--especially not the publishers who opted not to fund it.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Mediatonic creative designer Jeff Tanton talks about Fall Guys' initial inception, its early development, the creation of the Beans, and the difficulties the studio had finding a publisher.
It began back in January 2018, when lead game designer Joe Walsh came up with an idea for a 100-person battle royale inspired by Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle. The game was initially titled Fool's Gauntlet, and while the core conceit of Fall Guys was already there, the first draft was a bit more punishing than the game we eventually got. For one, death always resulted in elimination, and it was possible to finish a game with no winners. How very Takeshi's Castle.
Cut to Jan 2018 - and I invite Joe Walsh (@gosujoe) to brainstorm on a completely different internal pitch - something just clicked and he had his epiphany moment midway through.— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
I got the one-pager for "FOOLS GAUNTLET" a few days later pic.twitter.com/NBU8PeqdqT
Tanton was immediately sold on the idea and forwarded it to one of the studio's founders. From here, the team started working on a pitch deck to establish the look and feel of the game. The focus was originally on the courses, but after principal concept artist Dan Hoang designed the Beans as characters, the focus of the game suddenly shifted to the competitors and how heroic they would always be in their "indefatigability." Tanton says that this is probably where the Fall Guys name emerged from.
Second, the BEANS. Obviously just little capsule shapes Dan had thrown in but suddenly we realized the focus of this game was the competitors... not just the course pic.twitter.com/bKETRIpJS1— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
That's probably where 'Fall Guys' as a game title first appeared (RIP Fool's Gauntlet and 'Stumble Chums') - our characters that would fail for our amusement, but crucially always get back up again. Always. They would be heroic in their indefatigability. pic.twitter.com/Cjbc1FIE2w— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
Tanton pitched Fall Guys to about 10 different publishers during GDC 2018 until Devolver Digital decided to fund it. Development began some six months later.
The rest of the thread is well worth reading, as Tanton talks about the original Fall Mountain course, the redesign of the Beans and their costumes, some of the challenges the studio ran into during development, and the decision to drop the player count from 100 to 60.
In other Fall Guys news, Twitch streamer DrLupo has been awarded a special in-game costume for being the statistical best player in the world. Mediatonic has also released a new patch that makes some tweaks to two of the game's finale modes. If you need some tips to help you win Fall Guys' coveted Crown, we've got you covered with a comprehensive beginner's guide.
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