Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a smash hit, with the chubby jelly bean battle royale game taking over social media and streaming platforms. On Aug. 20, Mediatonic creative director Jeff Tanton posted an extended Twitter thread showing off the pitch doc and development process for Fall Guys. It’s worth looking through the entire thread for a look at early level designs like Fall Mountain, but there are a few fun facts about the titular Guys that stood out.
Fall Guys by @mediatonic has been out two weeks now and in that time has smashed our modest, and then wildest expectations of success.— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
This is how the initial @gosujoe pitch came about and why this moment means so much pic.twitter.com/7F2WCzLHzc
The original pitch was for a 100-player game called Fools’ Gauntlet. This obviously changed before launch. When the games were at 100 players, it quickly became unclear and difficult to read what was happening. Another change was the name, which went through a few more iterations, including Stumble Chums.
Fall Guys was the easiest deck to ever come together. As a designer you dream of getting that pure bottled-lightning moment; a unique, instantly understandable, and sellable idea - and Joe had basically nailed it. We had a skeleton deck ready 24hrs after the one-pager pitch pic.twitter.com/vf9893DW9Y— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
The pitch art and prototypes also made it clear that the beans would be the hero of the story. They are tenacious little warriors, each scrabbling for a chance at that golden crown, no matter how often they fall, or are nailed in the face by a giant banana, or find themselves thrown from a platform, or are haplessly shoved into slime.
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
Over time and iteration, the playable beans were honed into their current state. Two big choices that proved to be pivotal were adding faces to bulky mass, and giving them butts. Tanton briefly discusses the challenges in making the falling and stumbling animations as lovable as possible in the thread.
The redesign of the Fall Guy at the start of the project (@danhoangart again) Pre-prod art lead @biskyns is still most proud of giving them butts. The moment of understanding that face-holes should be in the chest of 'big' costumes is a tiny, wonderful revelation pic.twitter.com/4bsSUAZRBj— Jeff Tanton (@Jeff_Tanton) August 20, 2020
The design clearly worked. Right now, brands are battling it out via charity auction to put their own costume into the game, with the bids entering the hundreds of thousands. It’s clear that these little beans hit the mark.