TOKYO – UK independent company Tonic Games delivered the latest hit-and-run wellness game, “Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout,” after Sony Corp brought it to subscribers and harnessing the power of streamers and social media.
Drawing inspiration from classic TV shows such as “Takeshi’s Castle” and “It’s a Knockout,” players navigate awkward, costumed avatars through a series of life and death minigames in what has been widely hailed as a new twist on the saturated battle royale genre.
The title’s popularity comes as consumers flocked to games after the coronavirus outbreak shut down other entertainment options, with Nintendo Co Ltd’s breakout of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” among the hits in evasion.
“Fall Guys” has been available through August for nearly 45 million PlayStation Plus subscribers – a service that is part of Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida’s strategy to generate recurring revenue across the group.
The title became the service’s most downloaded game.
Launching on PlayStation Plus allowed each game to quickly attract the starting 60 players, said Paul Croft, co-founder of Tonic Games.
“We knew we had to go big at the start,” Croft said in an interview.
“Fall Guys” has also been purchased over 7 million times on Valve’s Steam platform for PC, following the dual-platform launch strategy successfully used in 2015 for the developer’s “Rocket League” Psyonix, which was later acquired by Epic Games.
Its television influences and emphasis on fun and humor, with avatars that chaotically cycle through levels and tumble down from platforms, helped ensure regardability, propelling the game above its limits. Big budget peers in the rankings on streaming platforms like Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch.
The buzz around the game has also been driven by a savvy use of social media to joke with players, retweet fan art, and tease game updates.
Income streams for “Fall Guys” include players purchasing costumes for avatars, dressing them up, for example, like a pineapple or a T. Rex. Costumes are also acquired by playing and winning the game, with updates including new levels as the developer seeks to boost continued player engagement.
Tonic Games is currently auctioning costumes to companies for charity, claiming on Twitter that “brands’ thirst was unreal” and reflecting the commercial interest in hot titles.
The company, which currently has no plans to accept external funding, hopes to bring the game to other platforms, Croft said.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing)