Stuck Inside With: The Fall Guys phenomenon

Provided by Mediatonic

The Fall Guys phenomenon continues to captivate players and viewers around the world, and the gamers of the ESPN Esports crew are no different.

With more than 1 million followers on Twitter, the No. 1 spot on Twitch and one of the best gaming stories of 2020 already under its belt, Fall Guys looks like it'll be in the spotlight for the foreseeable future. But how long can that last? What makes the fun take on the battle royale genre such a hit? And, most importantly, when are we getting Fall Guys as an esport?

Our panel of certified Fall Guys experts looked at all those questions and more below.

First things first: Have you caught a dub in Fall Guys yet?

Arda Ocal: No. I came in second on my second attempt. But now that Tim "TimTheTatMan" Betar has finally gotten his dub, I can now assume the role of "awful Fall Guys player who can't get a win." Follow my stream at twitch.tv/ardawillcatchthesedubsbossman

Jacob Wolf: Yep! I got my first dub about three days into playing and have made it to finals a number of times. Was really difficult, and I missed the crown on Fall Mountain the first time I jumped for it, but managed to get it on my second jump. Oh, the sweet taste of victory.

Emily Rand: Sadly no, I have not. To save my pride, I'm going to say it's because I haven't had a lot of time to play due to spending more of my time watching other esports. That's definitely the reason.

Sean Morrison: I'm proud to say I got one on my first day of playing, which makes me the undisputed king of Fall Guys at ESPN. The fact that there are people out there who have the five-wins-in-a-row trophy absolutely blows my mind, though. So much of this game feels like it comes down to luck. I've been within a couple Hex-A-Gone tiles of two wins in a row, but five feels like a mountain that's impossible to climb.

Tyler Erzberger: I would have won already if it wasn't for my teammates weighing me down during the team-up challenges. On my own, I'm up there with some of the very best in the world, on the cusp of being a true professional Fall Guys player. Alas, I'm continually paired up with teammates who don't know how to kick an oversized soccer ball into an equally oversized net and thus, I remain crownless.

What is it about the game that's made it such a hit?

Ocal: I think it's the right game at the right time: a lot of fatigue from prominent streamers looking for a game that's fun and mindless at the exact time that Fall Guys is released. The battle royale element helps immensely, and most of all it has the "easy to learn, difficult to master" secret sauce that many great games truly have at their core.

Wolf: Rounds are short -- meaning it doesn't take a lot of commitment -- and the game is fresh, meaning rather than piling onto a genre people have already played time after time, it's something new. I think a lot of people generally find survival and obstacle course shows like "Wipeout!" and "American Ninja Warrior" at least a bit interesting, and Fall Guys does a good job of blending that interest with virtual competition.

Rand: It's fast, and it's fun. There's an addictive quality to rounds because they go by so quickly that even if you lose horribly, you want to keep playing. Fall Guys is something you can play for hours, or just play in between queue time for another game like League of Legends or VALORANT, or as a palate-cleanser from either of those games.

Additionally, anyone can play and be bad. I know there's a lot of capital-D discourse on how hardcore one should be as a capital-G-gamer regarding Fall Guys of all things, but the perfect thing about Fall Guys is that you can be completely serious or just playing for fun and still be entertained.

The best games, in my opinion, are like this. There is also enough of a competitive element to it that you don't feel completely cheated *cough* Mario Party stars awards *cough* and victories feel earned.

Morrison: As the commissioner of the Mario Party Championship Series, I take serious offense to Emily's last take, but her other points are good. My friends and I use Fall Guys when our Call of Duty Warzone lobbies get too sweaty. It's a nice way to refresh, and although there are plenty of rage-inducing elimination moments in Fall Guys, we always find a way to laugh our way through it.

Erzberger: It's the same reason why Fortnite is so popular. Unlike another popular new game title, VALORANT, you're allowed to choose how much time you want to put into your gaming session. If I want to play a competitive game of VALORANT, I'm at least spending 10-15 minutes warming up, probably playing a Spike Rush or Deathmatch that takes another 10 minutes and then committing myself to another 45 minutes to an hour of actual ranked gameplay. In Fall Guys, even if you make it all the way to the finals, it might take a little over 10 minutes to play through everything. It's the perfect game for Twitch and the ever-evolving world of video game streaming.

If you could delete one game mode forever, which one would it be, and why is it Perfect Match?


Wolf: I actually don't mind Perfect Match. My strategy is to say out loud and point to where each fruit is. I absolutely cannot stand See Saw and Slime Climb. I hardly ever get through Slime Climb, and See Saws are annoying because people are stupid and like to run to one side of the thing the entire time, rather than balancing it out. Burn them both.

Rand: I actually agree with Jacob regarding See Saw. Having to rely on other players to balance it out just makes me want to yell at them ... very loudly. Falling once can cost you a lot because you generally need people to balance the seesaw in order to make your way across the course quickly. Relying on other people is actually the worst.

Morrison: I wrote this question, so you know my stance here. I have seen more than three people eliminated by Perfect Match twice: once on TimTheTatMan''s stream and once in a match the other day when like 15 people confused a grape with a cherry. The only fun thing about this game mode is trying to push people off the edge of the platform everyone (usually) correctly picks. And yes, I am the horrible person who grabs and shoves you in that game mode.

Not that it matters too much. You can literally win this game without playing. Look.

Erzberger: It's the stupid tail team-up game where none of it really matters until the last 10 seconds, where you can go from first to last in the blink of an eye. As someone who prides himself on competitive integrity, I feel like Team Tail Tag needs to be changed or stricken entirely from the game. If we're going to keep it in the pool of game modes, at least make it so the teams who hold onto the tails the longest are prioritized over teams who survive by performing Hail Mary dives with five seconds left on the clock.

If you could form a Fall Guys team with streamers and esports pros, who would you pick?

Ocal: I would pick Ali "SypherPK" Hassan as captain for his analytical and strategic mind, Ben "Dr Lupo" Lupo since he keeps winning and Action Jaxson because he's good at everything. TimTheTatMan would be our manager and Lauren "GlitterXplosion" Laracuente would be our head coach.

Wolf: I'll take Lupo also cause he seems pretty good at it. Get Tim out of here, Arda. He's worse than like 90% of the people who have played this game at this point.

Rand: I pay very little attention to streamers but I'll pick the Offline TV group for the branding and to watch William "scarra" Li lose his mind in yet another game.

Morrison: I'm going for a squad with an Infallible trophy core. That includes FΓ©lix "xQc" Lengyel, though he'd definitely need a no-comms clause in his contract to preserve my hearing. The other would be random Reddit person TheMrMadzen, who had early proof of five dubs in a row, and Dr Lupo seems like an obvious choice. The final spot goes to Kirby "ReVoIX" Tattersall, who frequently carries me in Call of Duty but is the TimTheTatMan of our friend group in Fall Guys. These three could definitely help him get his first crown.

Erzberger: Like any good North American esports owner, I'll get back to you after I scout the South Korean Fall Guys scene.

Is this game a quarantine fad, or do you think it has longevity?

Ocal: It would have hit whether or not there was a quarantine in my opinion, but longevity is a different story. When I talked with SypherPK today, he said that one thing that would help is the ability to create levels and upload them, and I agree for sure. Like a Mario Maker-type thing where you can have others try your levels and game modes. The game can be in danger of becoming stale if it doesn't refresh, much like any other BR title, but we are still in the honeymoon stage for at least another 2-4 weeks.

Wolf: Hard to tell, but I do think it can last because of those short game times and how fun of a game it is to stream online. Need to kill some time but don't want to dive into a League of Legends or VALORANT match? Well, there's Fall Guys. Got like 30 minutes to break from something else? Fall Guys. It's definitely one of those games that falls into that fun-when-busy type of things. If it comes to more platforms, like Nintendo Switch, Xbox and maybe even mobile, I see it lasting.

Rand: I don't think its explosive popularity and Twitch dominion will last because, like all things, part of it is a fad. However, I definitely think that it will stick around as yet another game to play in between queues or something quick and fun to play with friends. Again, anyone can play this game and I know people don't like hearing this sometimes, but that's a great selling point. The best thing about Fall Guys is how open it is.

Morrison: Will Fall Guys slow down? Yes. Will it fall off the map? I don't think so. This is a fun-for-all ages game with huge streamer appeal. It might not be in the No. 1 spot on Twitch a few months from now, but I can see it in the top 10 for years to come if the devs play it right.

Erzberger: It's obviously a flavor of the month and will slow down like every game not named Fortnite and League of Legends, but I definitely see a bright future for it, especially on Twitch. A game like Dead by Deadlight has been a consistent performer on Twitch for over a year now, so I don't see why Fall Guys can't fill a niche for variety streamers needing to play a game when they just want to relax or chat with friends. A lot of Twitch now is streamers trying to find a way to use games to collaborate and hang out with fellow streamers, and there are few games better than that than Fall Guys.

Fall Guy esports. Can it happen?

Ocal: Twitch Rivals, charity tournaments, sure! A franchised league or several serious tournaments year round? Probably not. But it doesn't have to be. Not everything has to be "esports!"

Wolf: Yes ... and I want it to be.

Rand: Anything can be an esport. Jokes aside, I think Fall Guys will be a fun charity tournament thing as Arda mentioned. I see Fall Guys a bit like Warzone in that since anyone and everyone can play it or plays it already, there are a lot of tournament opportunities there, but I don't see people forming Fall Guys esports teams.

Morrison: So, remember that Mario Party esports thing I mentioned before? Even though it was entirely for fun, there was a trophy (thanks, Tyler) and we played for keeps. It got intense. I could see the same thing with Fall Guys and offer my services as a former nonsensical esports league commissioner if anyone wants to provide the money, venues, players, casters, marketing, social media management and broadcast tools.

Erzberger: See you guys at the 2021 Fall Guys World Championship Invitational Spectacular Extravaganza wherever they decide to hold it.