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Royale Rumble: How ‘Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout’ Became Gaming’s Wholesome Hero

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License Global speaks to Mediatonic to find out what made “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” one of the most talked-about gaming brands this side of 2020.

For decades, video game protagonists have all been exceptionally good at what they do. Think of game characters like Mario, Sonic, Master Chief or The Doom Slayer.

However, the top-heavy “Beans” of 2020’s “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” are terrible at just about everything.

“It was a conscious decision to make ‘Fall Guys’ uniquely bad at exactly what you’re asking them to do,” says Jeff Tanton, creative director, Mediatonic. “If you take someone like Mario, he’s great at jumping. It defines him. Mario is the best jumper there has ever been, so it makes sense that you put him in a game where he jumps. Our starting point was not to emulate

Mario, but to emulate the kind of obstacle course television shows like ‘Total Wipeout’ or ‘Takeshi’s Castle,’ in which the people involved are very bad at jumping.

That’s why you enjoy it. You’re watching them for the moment they fall over. From a fundamental starting point, we wanted people to fall over. ‘Fall Guys’ will roll. They will lose their balance. They were designed purely so they could fall over.”

License Global can elaborate for those of you who have yet to experience one of the new decade’s biggest gaming titles. In “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout,” each player is pitted against 59 other contestants to jog, bumble, fall, grab, slip and jump over a series of wild and wacky obstacle courses. Designed to fall, these stumbling protagonists and the ensuing chaotic gameplay they create, build an accessible, light and fun multiplayer experience that is

enjoyable for all player levels, characterized by a unique brew of slapstick style, simple controls, in-game costumes and outright fun.

“I have been making games for nearly 15 years now,” adds Tanton. “But the idea of playing a first-person shooter still terrifies me. It’s the idea of setting myself up for that humiliation and failure because the general barrier to entry is so high. So, when we were thinking about ‘Fall

Guys,’ there was a discussion of how we can create a multiplayer experience that doesn’t require a deep understanding of how a control pad works. We’ve all been there. If you

play games, you give the control pad to someone who is not familiar with them, and it’s baffling because they hold it like this incredible foreign object. Then you’re asking them to use this thing they do not understand to move around a 3D space with reflexes required to do exceedingly difficult and complex things. Also, if you fail, a teen somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean will scream at you. So, for us, ‘Fall Guys’ was about creating a multiplayer experience that everyone can understand, everyone could enjoy and could be played without that inherent pressure.”

The fact that anyone can play is what made “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout” the most downloaded game on PlayStation Plus – of all time – last year. Since then, numerous gaming brands have collaborated with Mediatonic to introduce new costumes into the game, such as “DOOM,” “Sonic The Hedgehog,” “Among Us,” “Godzilla” and “Cuphead.”

Want to learn more? Check out the rest of the article in our April issue, out now!

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