The struggle against hackers is never-ending even for mega-studios like Epic, Valve, Blizzard, and Riot, so when Fall Guys kicked down the doors to the zeitgeist treehouse, it was inevitable that hackers would worm their way in, as well. Now developer Mediatonic is dealing with one of the downsides of overwhelming success.
Hackers, at this point, do not plague every match but they’re doing enough damage that it’s starting to weigh on some players. Many employ illicit cheats that allow them to bypass start countdowns, move at ludicrous speeds, jump incredibly high, and teleport. They do this in order to either pick up easy wins (and therefore, crowns, which they can spend on rare cosmetic items) or troll other players. Fall Guys players battle not just each other, but also against slapstick comedy physics and the sheer momentum of a crowd moving in definitely-not-lockstep toward a single goal. Cheating in these particular ways goes against the spirit of the game.
Despite its psychedelic visuals, Fall Guys is grounded by its commitment to a childlike sense of fun rather than the fist-clenching competition of other battle royales. Players, then, have been surprised to see hackers blasting through their matches at blinding speeds. Some have united to undermine these first (and almost certainly not last) rule-benders, losing team games on purpose so that cheaters can’t advance. But others have merely ground their teeth in frustration and complained to the developers about the issue.
The WORST HACKER in the HISTORY OF FALL GUYS…… pic.twitter.com/amB9g1knmr
— FaZe Cizzorz (@cizzorz) August 11, 2020
Mediatonic is in a unique spot. While it’s clear that they, alongside longtime indie publisher Devolver, had high hopes for Fall Guys, it’s unlikely that they expected it would ever end up a fixture in Steam’s top five, with only GTA V, PUBG, Dota 2, and CSGO ahead of it in terms of concurrent players. Devolver, especially, is no small fry, but Fall Guys still doesn’t have the resources of the aforementioned live service game behemoths. But even by those standards, the game did not launch with many public-facing tools for the purpose of combating cheaters. There is no reporting system within the game, for example. Instead, Mediatonic has asked players to report hackers in Fall Guys’ official Discord. This makes the process less convenient, meaning that players are much less likely to actually do it.
Mediatonic isn’t sitting on its hands, though.
“We have had a system in place since day one which has been learning through the actions of our honest players,” Fall Guys technical director Rory Marquis told Kotaku in DM. “We’ve now started using this to tune our approach to detecting and addressing cheaters. This is something we will continue to do with the support of the community whose help has been key to keeping Fall Guys a world of beans who just wanna have fun.”
Sure enough, in recent days hackers have begun reporting that they can’t just leap into matches with blatant cheats anymore.
“Oh btw don’t do crazy high speed,” wrote one user on a popular cheating forum. “Looks like I got banned for 100x [regular speed] in main menu. Didn’t even join a match.”
Others, however, have said that Fall Guys’ particular structure makes it easy to exploit with common cheating methods, meaning this problem probably won’t go away any time soon. As with any major game, it’s going to be a process, and Mediatonic’s personal starting line is further back than many of those in the league Fall Guys now occupies.
Marquis, for the moment, is trying to take the good with the bad.
“I also prefer praising our players for being great [rather] than slamming the cheaters for being bad. That isn’t how I roll,” Marquis said. Then he shared an emoji of a Fall Guy dabbing, because even in times of crisis, the Fall Guys Brand does not stop.
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