Fall Guys avatars stumble over each other as they're controlled by an Xbox controller.
Download Fall Guys now so you can say, 'I was playing that game before it was cool.' (Illustration by Sydney Sabbota, University of Michigan)
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Fall Guys avatars stumble over each other as they're controlled by an Xbox controller.

YouTubers, Twitch streamers and even Kentucky Fried Chicken have already jumped on the new game’s bandwagon.

Popularity is something that is hard to predict. From YouTube videos to TikTok videos, virtually anything has the potential to become popular. This is no different for video games. Several years ago, my friend introduced me to an online video game called Fortnite (yes, that Fortnite). When I first started, the game had barely come out. The map was nearly empty and there weren’t many features. You probably know what happened next.

The game blew up. Today, almost everyone has heard of Fortnite. It became the game virtually everyone was playing between 2018 and 2019. As of May 2020, the game has amassed over 350 million players worldwide. It became so big that other big franchises, such as “Avengers” and “Star Wars,” collaborated with it.

Fortnite’s popularity also turned many Twitch video game streamers into internet celebrities and even led to Fortnite tournaments.

Back then, I knew the game would get somewhat popular due to its straightforward gameplay, but not to the level that it is today. Years of updates have made the game unrecognizable — to me, at least — since they want to keep players from becoming bored.

Now, however, there is a new game in town that might reach Fortnite’s success — Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout.

You are not alone if you have never heard about Fall Guys before; it was released less than a month ago. I only found out about it a few weeks ago.

I was asked by a friend to play the game since it was multiplayer and because he said it was fun. The first few games instantly hooked me. From the battle royale-type gameplay to the vibrancy and colors, I thought to myself, “This will be the next big game.”

Premiering on August 3, Fall Guys is a 60-person multiplayer game you play with other players around the world in real-time. A single game consists of a series of four to six minigames that each player has to endure before reaching a final round, where there can only be a single winner. Think of it like a Mario Party game combined with the chaos of Overcooked.

There are currently 13 different minigames that are all distinct from one another. A majority of them involve obstacle courses where every player is on their own, although you can play with up to three friends at the same time.

For example, in the Seesaw minigame, players navigate across a map consisting of only — you guessed it — seesaws. Players have to hop from one seesaw to another to reach the finish line, but they must be careful. Too many players on one side will cause the entire seesaw to knock everyone off the map.

At the end of each round in Fall Guys, a certain number of players advances to the next round.

Players also have the chance to play in teams. Usually, this happens when the lobby has a number of players that can be evenly split into two, three or four teams. The team games typically have a point system, and the team with the fewest points gets eliminated.

A notable team game is Egg Scramble, where there are a large number of eggs in the center of the map. Teammates have to work together to grab as many eggs as they can and put them in their basket without having them stolen by other teams. It’s almost like Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The gameplay itself isn’t the only thing that’s great about Fall Guys. If you were to open the game up for the first time, the first thing you would probably notice is its vibrancy. From the maps to the characters, Fall Guys is very colorful.

The colorfulness isn’t the only thing that attracts players; the Fall Guys avatars do as well. Each player begins with a jellybean-like character in a single color — basically a blank canvas. While players are allowed some minor customization to start off with, they have the chance to level up and earn new gear. Not only that, but every round that a player wins also gives them more experience and in-game currency, which lets them buy new clothing or colors to make their characters stand out.

The simplicity of the game’s character design is a smart move by the development company, Mediatonic. It gives players endless opportunities to mix and match gear however they like. For example, one player could have the head of a pigeon and the lower half of a pineapple, while another player could have a soda can as a helmet and chicken legs as their bottoms.

The game has reached a point where even big brands, like Kentucky Fried Chicken, want to hop onto the Fall Guys hype. This costume mock-up made by KFC could give us a glimpse into the future of the game.

When Fall Guys eventually reaches Fortnite-level status, many companies and brands will obviously want to collaborate with Mediatonic to capitalize on the game’s future popularity, which would be smart not only on the collaborating brand’s part, but also on Mediatonic’s.

Fall Guys already has crossovers with games like Half-Life 2 and Hotline Miami, and players can expect even more collaborations. Players will want to access exclusive content — in this case, brand-specific gear — to show off to their opponents, so for Mediatonic not to do this would be a missed opportunity.

Currently, Fall Guys is on PlayStation and PC platforms, but if and when the game goes big, players can expect it to be on Xbox and perhaps the Nintendo Switch.

Mediatonic created something special with Fall Guys. It feels unique but familiar at the same time. Combining “easy enough” gameplay and free-range customization, the game will no doubt become more popular within the next several months. Even popular gaming YouTubers and Twitch streamers have jumped on the Fall Guys bandwagon, exposing their followers to it.

Mediatonic is expected to announce a new update for Fall Guys within the next few days, but it’s likely that the upcoming update will be the first of many, and that Fall Guys is here to stay.

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