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Gameverse | September 26, 2020

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How Fall Guys Can Stick Around When the Novelty Wears Off

Robert Endyo

Fall Guys is undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of the year. Not just for the public, but the developers and Devolver Digital – being their largest game launch ever. It has captured the attention of dozens of streamers and content creators as it’s both fun to play and entertaining to watch. Especially since it elicits exuberant (yet usually positive) reactions regardless of success or failure. The endless replayability of its “battle royale-style” jump-right-back-in design ensures hours of fun. However, few games maintain this level of popularity for very long. Especially ones that require dozens of players just to get started.

Currently, Fall Guys is doing well on Steam sitting comfortably behind the mainstays of CSGO and Dota 2. These highly competitive titles have grown and maintained relevancy by having ranking and high skill ceilings that keep people striving for greatness.  Fall Guys, contrarily, doesn’t have that competitive flair. Without this long-term motivation to “git gud,” or at the very least climb through ranks, what can Mediatonic do to keep people playing months or even years down the line?

Mountains of Maps

The relative simplicity in the design of Fall Guys may make this option extremely effective. If they can work out a system for regularly pumping out new and interesting map types and additional game modes, people will love coming back. They can even put existing game modes on new maps, of course, though I still prefer the “race” style maps the most. Even though they’re randomly chosen, getting a new experience is always more enjoyable than the one you’ve seen a dozen times. In the short term, this may be the best way to keep player interest as high as possible.

Mild Competitive Additions

Having a game be competitive with ranks and facing off against similarly skilled players is a classic way to keep your game going forever. Many people love competing and the challenges it brings. I think it would be important to keep this as low key as possible in the process, however. There’s just not enough to distinguish the best player from the worst player in any given match. Experience often goes further than being good at running and jumping around. Perhaps just taking the people with the most wins or top X finishes in a period and awarding them a minor cosmetic award would be a good start for this.

Free to Play

What I would hope would be the final card played to bolster a potentially declining player base is going free to play. While everyone can enjoy free to play games, it comes with some potential issues. We’ve already seen server issues, so an influx of tens or hundreds of thousands of players would reignite that problem. There’s also the fact that free to play multiplayer games often have more hacking. This is something they are already encountering and fighting against. Being able to pop back in the game under a new account (or with a reset IP) in minutes would make those efforts less effective.

Mediatonic wasn’t prepared for this level of success, but they seem to be adjusting well. Within this first month of launch, they’ve managed to market the game further using a very active and entertaining Twitter account. Their charity drive with the reward of a custom Fall Guys outfit has already generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in bids so far. Things couldn’t be going better for them. I hope that by this time next year, the game will still be thriving and entertaining people at least as much as it is today.

 

Do you think Fall Guys has a long-term future in the gaming world? What are your ideas for how it can maintain popularity down the line? Let us know in the comments!