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Fine, Fall Guys is probably a better name than Stumble Chums

Would Fall Guys have been half as popular if it’d been called Fool’s Gauntlet? How about Stumble Chums? I’m quite fond of the latter myself, so it’s probably for the best I’m not Jeff Tanton. The Mediatonic creative director today posted a whimsical dive into Fall Guys’ early life, winding a wobbly trail through concept art, ditched names and winning over publishers with Japanese gameshow gifs.

Those daft names came out of Tanton’s Twitter feed earlier this afternoon, with the creative director offering a peek into the process of getting Fall Guys off the ground. See, it seems you can’t just tell the moneymen you want to make videogame Wipeout and instantly get funding – there’s a whole system of putting together internal pitch docs and bashing together mock-ups before you can even consider showing it to publishers.

The first “one-pager” bashed together to sell the game to management imagined “Fool’s Gauntlet” as a 100-player obstacle course that swung back and forth between teamwork and dicking each other over. Like Takeshi’s Castle, the initial plan was to have a prize pot split between all surviving players at the end – more players means a higher likelihood of getting through, but a smaller reward on victory.

100 players were whittled down to 60 for performance and readability reasons (and because games allegedly stopped being fun at 100), and the devs eventually settled on the name Fall Guys by way of a brief detour into “Stumble Chums”. The wobbly shape of the ‘guys was also landed on fairly early on, building on some basic capsule characters tossed together for some concept art.

The entire thread is a well good read, diving further into the process of nailing the look of the ‘guys, taking the game to shows, and flooding your powerpoints with star wipes into Takeshi’s Castle gifs – something Tanton recommends “even if it has absolutely zero connection to the game you’re pitching.”

Of course, the rest is history. Fall Guys comes out, and is so immensely popular Mediatonic’s server crumble under their own weight. If you’re playing today, an update just came out to prevent team games from occurring back-to-back, along with timer changes to Team Tail Tag and Royal Fumble. Fall Guys is available on Steam for £15/$20/€20.

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Natalie Clayton

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