Game development, like any creative endeavour, is an iterative exercise in brainstorming and fine-tuning. A recent Twitter thread by Mediatonic creative director Jeff Tanton gave everyone a brief glimpse into that process as it pertained to Fall Guys, which apparently had several possible titles before the studio settled on its final name.
Fall Guys got its start as Fool’s Gauntlet, a one-page pitch developed by lead game designer Joe Walsh. While it’s obviously the seed that germinated into the eventual project, there are a few differences between that early idea and the Fall Guys we know and love today. The original plan was to have a much higher number of players compete in every game, and everyone left at the end of a set number of rounds would split a prize pool of 1,000,000 gold.
“As you can see, we went for a big round 100 initially, but revised that during development for a bunch of reasons — one of the clearest being that, over a certain size, the games stopped being readable or fun,” Tanton explained. He was so struck by Walsh’s initial pitch, which referenced Japanese television program Takeshi’s Castle as a major influence, that he immediately sent it to the Mediatonic studio founders.
A day later, the idea had expanded to a “pitch deck” complete with early art from principal concept artist Dan Hoang, which established the core aesthetic and early designs for the titular Fall Guys, bean-shaped competitors that were, as Tanton puts it, “heroic in their indefatigability.” These qualities are what eventually led to Fall Guys getting its name, beating out other working titles like Stumble Chums, which certainly has its own charms but pales in comparison.
Tanton’s thread is a wealth of information about Fall Guys’ development. Fall Mountain, for instance, was the first complete level, and Mediatonic used that Nickelodeon Guts-like experience to sell the project to Sony. There are also some really great costume sketches and details on how the Tip Toe game came to have two solution paths rather than one.
Be sure to check out the original post for more details of how this wonderful game came to life.