Warzone, H1Z1, PUBG, Fortnite, Apex… The Battle Royale world has long been dominated by shooters. But with Fall Guys, a new trend is emerging. Is the game inspired by Takeshi’s Castle stealing the crown from its competitors?
- Explosion of players
- Why does it work?
- Fall Guys does its H1Z1
Explosion of players
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout has always been on a roll. After an announcement arousing great enthusiasm, the game from Mediatonic and Devolver recorded a remarkable release, to say the least. 1.5 million players in less than 24 hours, best launch of a Devolver title on Steam, “most downloaded PlayStation Plus game of all time”, peak of players at 123,000, 23 million hours of cumulative viewing on Twitch in one week… The game very quickly becomes the fresh phenomenon of summer 2020, with all the problems that this also entails (cheaters, overwhelmed and unavailable servers …).
If the latter have pushed some players not to restart the game, this is not enough to bury Fall Guys, quite the contrary. Three months after the launch, no less than 10 million PC copies have been sold. And then time passes, the enthusiasm wanes, the new players are fewer and fewer, the evenings dedicated to the game on Twitch too. However, the title continues its little way until it comes out on Nintendo Switch and Xbox, and goes free-to-play.
It does not take more to restart the machine and even more impressively. In 48 hours, no less than 20 million players jostled on the tracks of Fall Guys. In two weeks, the number is more than doubled: Mediatonic proudly displays its 50 million players.
That was three weeks ago. No new record announced since, but that does not mean that the servers are struggling to fill up. While new player acquisition is certainly slowing down, many are staying in the game. On Steam alone, Fall Guys is particularly lively. It is among the top 50 most played games on Valve’s platform, with 16,395 active players. as of this writing and a peak of 33,791 during the day on July 20 (almost a month after it went free-to-play). A statistic that is all the more impressive since the game is no longer available on Steam today. The players recorded by Steam statistics are therefore only players who acquired the game before its passage in free-to-play and as an exclusivity on the Epic Games Store. So you can add to that all those who started racing only when the game became free, and one can imagine many of them.
With such a rise, one could be tempted to see Fall Guys at the top of the bill and crush all the others battle royale. But if Mediatonic’s game has made a name for itself, it is still far from the 100,000 million unique users on Call of Duty: Warzone, the longevity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and its more than 300 thousand daily players, or the famous Fortnite and its nearly 300 million players per month. Especially since the explosion experienced by Fall Guys is easily explainable. Between dedicated events (Zlan, Fight For Sub…) and the transition to free-to-play, Fall Guys is in full growth spurt. The challenge now will be to stabilize and be attractive enough to continue to welcome new players on a regular basis. Fall Guys therefore still has a long way to go to become the king of battle royale, but so far it is on the right track, both on paper and in practice.
Why does it work?
Shortly after its release, we had already taken stock of the potential and strength of Fall Guys. Nothing has changed since, Fall Guys is still a battle royale refreshing and changing the codes of the battle royale classic, dominated by shooting games of all kinds. Whether through its concept more focused on board game or by its tangy artistic direction which even catches the eye of non-players, Fall Guys stands out from the clichés of the genre and it feels good. Especially since it thus makes it possible to reach a much wider audience, including those usually hermetic to battle royale.
You also have to consider the potential that the game has for content creators. Both fun and competitive, the game is perfect for organizing events with friends/colleagues that are enjoyable to watch. Simple to understand, this kind of content is also pleasant for players who know the game and those who have never launched it. As we know, being a game played on Twitch and Youtube can make a difference today. It is through this that Apex Legends had also managed to make itself known and to be a hit when it was released. Among Us had also given itself a second youth with an unprecedented enthusiasm on Twitch and others.
And then there is the system of collaborations, which makes Fortnite a game that is still as popular and lucrative as ever. Like its sidekick, Fall Guys offers a number of cosmetics. Between the cute cats from Pusheen, the special Assassin’s Creed celebration, the flamboyant skin straight out of NARAKA: BLADEPOINT or those related to the worlds of Halo, Godzilla, Ratchet & Clank or even Horizon, there are for all tastes. We all know someone in our entourage who ended up cracking up and dropping a little note to buy the skin or the celebration of their dreams. Under these conditions, cosmetics become a real argument in favor of the game, which some will relaunch just after the announcement of a collaboration making them eye.
Add to that content that changes quite regularly, but also developers who react quickly as soon as a problem emerges. (the recent case of automatic purchases is a good example of this) and you get a game that is fun to play again. Again, it remains to be seen if Fall Guys will be able to keep this course to win the race. But what is certain is that the game has already succeeded in imposing its style. A very nice victory which results in the arrival of several clones.
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To do well :
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— Fall Guys… FREE FOR EVERYONE! 👑 (@FallGuysGame) July 15, 2022
Fall Guys does its H1Z1
It was with H1Z1 that the fashion for battle royale. If today the game is little talked about and has even discreetly renamed itself, it will have had an undeniable impact on the world video game landscape. Although there were already mods battle royale on Minecraft and DayZ, it was H1Z1 that first made it possible to popularize the genre with the general public, in particular thanks to content creators. If the latter quickly fell back on PUBG, still very powerful today, H1Z1 will still be remembered as the first BR. In another kind of BR, Fall Guys is in the process of acquiring the same aura and is even already beginning to see its little spiritual ones grow.
Do you know Stumble Guys? If this is not the case, you suspect, given its name, that it is a clone of Fall Guys. And when you look at some gameplay images, this is all the more obvious. Fruit of the work of the Finnish studio Kitka Games, Stumble Guys uses the same principle: crazy races and survival trials that follow one another until there is only one survivor. Stumble Guys is clearly a Fall Guys with less means and a more retro aspect. And yet, it works!
The title is a real hit. If we take our Steam statistics from earlier, it ranks among the 100 most played games, around twenty places behind Fall Guys. But it is especially on mobiles that Stumble Guys is a hit. A few days ago, the game managed to rise to first place in the top of the “Action” type games on the AppStore. And if you want impressive figures, there is plenty to do: 100 million downloads on the Play Store, 1.5 million daily players, $6.6 million in revenue in June alone… A year after its release, the game is a hit and proves that Fall Guys has opened up a gap for a whole bunch of little experiences of this kind. And even the big names in video games are now trying to get into it.
Recently, an announcement from Nintendo also produced a deja vu effect. And it’s one of Big N’s mythical mascots who will embark on crazy races: Kirby. Scheduled for this summer, Kirby’s Dream Buffet offers a colorful universe and crazy races made up of obstacles of all kinds, one after the other. Some plans are particularly reminiscent of circuits from Fall Guys and we could have shouted at the clone if Kirby’s Dream Buffet was not a board game playable up to four only (locally and online). Notable difference, so it’s not a battle royale. But the fact that players immediately made the connection with Fall Guys shows that the title has developed an important aura that few games can boast of.
If, in terms of number of players, Fall Guys is still far from stealing the crown from Fortnite, Warzone and others, it has already managed to change the face of the battle royalelike H1Z1 in its day. Mediatronic can therefore boast without worry of being the precursor of a genre which is likely to welcome many other small ones in the future. Fall Guys may never win the war, but it has already won a significant battle that makes it a good contender for the throne.