Mediatonic and Devolver Digital have created one of 2020's biggest smash hits. Now, Mediatonic's Creative Director Jeff Tanton has revealed how Fall Guys development led to a game that has nearly 20 million people playing in less than a month.
"So [Fall Guys Lead Designer Joe Walsh] pitches a battle royale," Jeff Tanton said in a lengthy Twitter thread. "The NERVE of this guy. I'd already said that the market was going to be saturated with Battle Royales in 2 years, so if there's one genre to avoid it should probably be this. Then I read it."
Having read Walsh's Fall Guys pitch, Jeff Tanton immediately forwarded it to one of Mediatonic's founders.
They began fleshing out the pitch into a full presentation later that same afternoon.
Fall Guys Development Had Some Scary Beans
A number of screenshots were posted in Jeff Tanton's Twitter thread, and some of them are a little bit unsettling. The prototype characters in Fall Guys development still maintained that classic "bean" look, but some of the designs were slightly more terrifying.
Just take a look at that green bean above! That's not the adorable characters that are navigating cutesy obstacle courses for Fame and Crowns. That's a monster of the week from The X-Files.
Scarier still, however, was Mediatonic's fear of failing. The team felt like they had something great here, but some of Mediatonic's past releases didn't do so great.
"It's hard to imagine now but we had no idea whether Fall Guys was going to be a success," Tanton explained. "As a studio we've taken some tough knocks in the past and picked ourselves up again - there's a resilience and learning through that, a humbleness that I think runs through the studio culture[.]"
"It also means we had a whole bunch of muscle memory around near-misses and might-have-beens, but not for 'completely unprecedented levels of success and attention'," he continued. "When I say it was a shock I mean I spent the first week kind of numbly updating social media and shaking."
Fall Mountain Hasn't Changed Much
These early images from Fall Guys development retain the essence of what the game looks like today, but that doesn't mean that it didn't have some drastic changes.
The players are still beans, yes, but they are now wearing costumes instead of being less-personable blobs. The maps from the pitch aren't quite exactly what we have today, but Fall Mountain was the first map made for the game and they essentially have left it unchanged for the final product.
Hilariously, one of the more notable moments in Fall Guys development was the addition of a hugely important gameplay detail: butts.
If you're wondering why the game looks good enough to eat, it's because art-lead @B10n1c_Ch1mp picked a colour palette and treatment that was directly influenced by candy and sweet treats. The first time fully arted stages landed was joyous. pic.twitter.com/MJg0Z4eu3s— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
60 vs. 100
Fall Guys is undeniably a Battle Royale, but it isn't quite the same as Apex Legends or Call of Duty: Warzone. Aside from the lack of guns and whatnot, there's another strange difference: the game falls 40 guys short of the traditional 100 players in a Battle Royale game. Why?
"[We] went for a big round 100 [players] initially, but revised that during development for a bunch of reasons - one of the clearest being that, over a certain size, the games stopped being readable or fun[,]" Tanton explained.
These are just some of the details on Fall Guys development shared by Jeff Tanton — go ahead and give the whole Twitter thread a read for some insights into what led to the creation of one of 2020's biggest games. If you haven't yet picked up Fall Guys, you can buy it on PC via Steam or PS4 via the PlayStation Store starting at $19.99 or your regional equivalent.
What do you think of this dive into Fall Guys development? Is there anything you wish they had kept from the original pitches? Let us know in the comments below!