Battle royales often make you think of the literal inspiration for the genre, with lots of violence and killing. A massive amount of players parachute onto an island, and only one team or combatant will be left standing.
Fall Guys takes a different approach. Inspired by shows like Takeshi's Castle (brought overseas as the dubbed-over comedy series MXC) and Total Wipeout, Fall Guys is a game show battle royale. Speaking to Joe Walsh, lead game designer at developer Mediatonic, the goal was to do something different within the multiplayer gaming space.
"We thought that, multiplayer gaming online, there are sections of the gaming community that feel quite underrepresented," said Walsh. "People who don't like shooters, or else they don't have twitch-gameplay reactions, and we wanted to try and make something that made those people feel like they had something to play online that appealed to them."
For Fall Guys, making the game about elimination in a game show sense allows Mediatonic to have a little bit more fun with it. Goofy "fall guys" tilt and tumble, fall over, and get flung around by the obstacles and contraptions set up along the course. But rather than being frustrating, it's funny. Compared to current battle royales, which can end in a frustrating split-second decision, it's refreshing.
"You spend a lot of time running around, picking things up, and then you get shot in the head from 50 feet away and that's it, and it can feel quite frustrating," said Walsh. "We wanted to try and make a game that makes the idea fun, makes it entertaining to be eliminated. That you should be laughing as you go out, rather than being like, 'Actually, I didn't really do anything.'"
I interviewed Walsh over the weekend as part of Rezzed Digital, ReedPop's online digital conference. We talked a lot about Fall Guys, including inspirations for the game, dream obstacle course ideas, and clever additions like a "dive" button. Check it out in the video below, and head over to the Rezzed site to see more content from the weekend.
Fall Guys will arrive in 2020 for PS4 and Steam. And remember: Don't! Get! Eliminated!