|Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4|
|Genre(s)||Battle royale, platformer|
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a platformer battle royale game developed by Mediatonic and published by Devolver Digital. It released for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 on 4 August 2020. The game draws inspiration from game shows like Takeshi's Castle, It's a Knockout and Wipeout, and playground games like tag and British Bulldog. Fall Guys received positive reviews from critics, who praised its chaotic gameplay and visual appearance.
Up to 60 players compete in matches with battle royale-style gameplay. Players, represented as jellybean-like figures, move around a three-dimensional playing field, with additional moves such as jumping, grabbing/climbing, or diving to assist gameplay. The aim is to qualify for subsequent rounds by successfully completing each of the randomly selected mini-games. Certain mini-games involve running towards a finish line at the end of the map, playing tag with other players, while others add elements of teamwork. On every mini-game, obstacles appear around the map for added complexity. Players who are too slow, who fall into pink slime or who fail certain requirements for a mini-game are eliminated. On the final round, the remaining few players compete in a final match with a randomised mini-game designed for a smaller player size. The winner of the match is the last player standing.
Using an in-game currency, "Kudos", players can purchase cosmetics and emotes for their character to show off in-game. Players obtain Kudos by completing matches and get "Crowns" (the premium currency) by winning. The game supports microtransactions for the purchase of additional in-game currency. Regularly, new costumes become available, usually only for a limited time. Some of the costumes are of characters from different games, such as Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life series, P-Body from Portal 2, Sonic the Hedgehog from the eponymous video game franchise, Doomguy from the Doom series, Scout from Team Fortress 2 or Jacket from Hotline Miami.
|Season 1||8 August 2020 – 7 October 2020||The original season.|
|Season 2||8 October 2020 – 14 December 2020||Medieval-themed, with added maps and cosmetics with the same theme. Other cosmetics have been added along the way too, including the added feature to change nicknames and banners.|
|Season 3||15 December 2020 – present||Winter-themed with winter obstacles new cosmetics and new shows, This season is nicknamed as "Winter Knockout".|
Development and release
The conception of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout began when Mediatonic was discussing another project in January 2018. One member, lead designer Joe Walsh, made a throwaway comment that it reminded him of game shows such as Takeshi's Castle and Total Wipeout. He drew from that inspiration to create a pitch document for what would become Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Originally titled Fools' Gauntlet, Walsh's pitch featured 100 players competing in a battle royale composed of physical challenges. Creative director Jeff Tanton, while initially skeptical that creating another battle royale game would be successful, was quickly convinced of the game's potential, and forwarded Walsh's pitch to Mediatonic's founders.
Tanton and Walsh then began working on a pitch deck for the game. For the pitch deck, principal concept artist Dan Hoang created images featuring colorful, bean-shaped characters racing on an obstacle course in the sky. Tanton explained that Hoang's character designs helped shift the focus of the game away from the obstacle course itself, to the characters. With the pitch deck completed, Tanton pitched the game to 10 different publishers at the 2018 Game Developers Conference. After Devolver Digital agreed to publish the game, development began six months later.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout began its initial prototyping process with a small team, growing to 30 people during development. Initial progress on individual minigames was slow which caused the team to worry that there wouldn't be enough content for launch. A turning point came when the team came up with a group of pillars that "Took the opinions of people out of the occasion" and allowed the developers to "kill ideas faster". Such pillars include making sure a minigame was "50-50 chaos and skill" and that a level had to be "different every time". In an attempt to remain faithful to the game shows they were inspired by, as well as differentiate from first-person shooter battle royale games, Mediatonic's focus was on gameplay variety. By presenting the player with several, randomized rounds of game modes, Mediatonic hoped to recreate the experience of being on a game show. To help keep the "spirit of playground games and game shows", Mediatonic created an internal rule that game modes needed to be explained in three words. Over time, the game underwent numerous other changes. The player count was decreased from 100 to 60, as the games "stopped being readable or fun" when there were too many players competing. To the latter point Mediatonic noted that when testing the game players would overestimate the number of players in a given level stating "we didn’t need as many players as we thought to create the crowds we wanted the gameplay to include." 
It's a Knockout, a game show that forced its contestants to dress up in oversized costumes, inspired the idea that the characters should "have that element of being completely uniquely, badly designed for the task that we were gonna put them through". The ragdoll physics were implemented on purpose, because Mediatonic did not want them to be like "hyper athletic Ninja Warrior characters" and because "falling over is funny". According to Walsh, striking the right balance between funny ragdoll collisions and game performance was critical, because "as soon as you lose the ragdoll-ness of the character, you lose the comedy". The character designs were inspired by the look of vinyl toys.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout was announced at E3 in June 2019 and was released on 4 August 2020 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. Prior to release, it was announced that Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout would be free for PlayStation Plus members during the rest of August. Additionally, skins for Scout from Team Fortress 2 and Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life series would be added as available costumes for Steam players, and Jacket from Hotline Miami for PlayStation players.
On 13 August 2020, the first new round, Jump Showdown, was added. Midway through the season this was followed by a new update, varying the gameplay of selected mini-games with extra obstacles across the playing field. Subsequently, Mediatonic would release a similar mid-season update during the second season, which also includes the introduction of a costume for P-Body from Portal 2. Along with this update, an anti-cheat system was implemented into the game, borrowing from an existing anti-cheat system as used by Epic Games' video game Fortnite Battle Royale.
On 8 October 2020, the game's medieval-themed second season was released. Mediatonic began working on Season 2 before the game's release with level designer Joseph Juson, noting that it was more of an "expansion" compared to season 3 where the team tried to bring new ideas to the table. Along with improvements to general gameplay, a character skin for Sonic the Hedgehog from the eponymous video game franchise was released on October 13th, in celebration of Sega's 60th birthday.
In preparation for Season 3, Mediatonic announced that they had hired more staff for the Fall Guys development team in order to maintain the game's high popularity from its initial success. While the Mediatonic team were working on the release of Season 3, they later released teasers for what would later be revealed to be costumes based on the Doom series. On 7th January 2021, Mediatonic officially announced the release of three costumes based on the Doom series arriving on January 12th for a limited time.
|PC Gamer (US)||80/100|
Tom Wiggins of Stuff magazine praised the game, calling it "Super Monkey Ball for the Fortnite generation". Mercury News praised the "controlled chaos" gameplay of Fall Guys, stating it to be utilizing a combination of the elements from the battle royale game Fortnite and the party game Mario Party in such a way that made it "tailored to the coronavirus age".
While the two games are not functionally similar, Fall Guys has been frequently compared to Among Us, in that both are online games which grew in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Result||Ref.|
|Golden Joystick 2020||November 24, 2020||Best Multiplayer Award||Won|||
|Best Family Game||Won|
|Best Gaming Community||Nominated|
|PlayStation Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Ultimate Game of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2020||December 10, 2020||Best Community Support||Won|||
|Best Multiplayer Game||Nominated|
|Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Playstation.Blog Game of the Year||December 18, 2020||Best Independent Game-Platinum||Won|||
|Best Multiplayer Game-Gold||Won|
Within 24 hours of release, the game had an active player base of over 1.5 million players. On 10 August 2020, Devolver Digital announced that the game had sold 2 million copies on Steam. During the first day of release, it was reported that the servers for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout unexpectedly overflowed due to popularity.
The popularity of the game caused several brands to express interest in collaborating with Mediatonic in creating custom content for the game. Shortly after release Mediatonic announced a fundraiser by which the brand that donated the most money to the charity SpecialEffect would have their custom skin featured in the game.
By 26 August 2020, Fall Guys had sold over 7 million copies on Steam and had become the most downloaded monthly PS Plus game of all time. By November 2020, the game had reached over 10 million sales on Steam. According to firm Superdata the game's digital revenue for PC in its first month equaled 185 million making it the biggest launch on that platform since Overwatch by those metrics. Multiple outlets would go on to describe the game's popularity as a "phenomenon". In December 2020, Mediatonic confirmed that Fall Guys had sold over eleven million copies on PC.
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