Fall Guys Goes Free-To-Play, Servers Immediately Crash

·3-min read
A giant A Fall Guy looks at a penguin toy in key art for Fall Guys.
A giant A Fall Guy looks at a penguin toy in key art for Fall Guys.

Oops, they did it again. Fall Guys, Mediatonic’s bubbly platformer royale, released on Xbox and Switch yesterday as part of a big free-to-play overhaul. The game’s servers immediately combusted, with reports of connectivity woes continuing more than 24 hours later.

First released for PlayStation and PC in August 2020, Fall Guys was one of the breakout games of the lockdown-era pandemic. You have to remember, life really sucked back then (okay, in covid terms, it still sucks). For a moment, Fall Guys brightened up some dark times, its chaotic vibes and bite-sized 60-player minigames—not to mention a turn as the monthly “free” game from PS Plus, and a Twitch-based marketing campaign—helping propel it to massive popularity.

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In March 2021, Epic Games acquired Mediatonic outright. Part of that deal meant moving Fall Guys off the Steam storefront and onto Epic’s proprietary game launcher. (Fall Guys is no longer for sale on Steam.) But another part meant pivoting the game to a free-to-play model, adopting an approach similar to Rocket League, whose developer, Psyonix, was scooped up by Epic in 2019.

That free-to-play rollout happened yesterday, as part of Fall Guys’s sixth season, aptly titled “Free For All.” Players immediately reported trouble actually playing. Like the social media feeds of the game they tried (and failed) to play, many of those reports took the form of memes.

At 10:02 a.m. ET, the official Fall Guys Twitter account acknowledged the woes, followed by a second acknowledgement 50 minutes later. It then switched back to business as usual, firing off tweets about cake, in-game cosmetics, and the unsettling fact that Fall Guys’ titular fall guys are six feet tall. The game’s official feed has not said whether or not Mediatonic considers the issue resolved.

Players sure don’t. On social media, some say they have to sit through long waits to get into a match, or have to consistently reset to play. Others say they can’t get into games at all. Mediatonic has not provided a timeline for a fix. It is, as with many online game launches, a mess. The only difference between this and, say, Outriders is that Fall Guys has already been out for almost two years.

When reached for comment, representatives for Mediatonic forwarded Kotaku to Epic. Representatives for Epic did not respond in time for publication. (Update, 3:15 p.m. ET: A Fall Guys spokesperson sent over the following statement: “The Free For All launch yesterday set multiple records for Fall Guys, including the highest number ever of concurrent and single-day players. This put high loads on our servers and affected some of our matchmaking systems periodically throughout the day, and we apologize to [everyone] who had to wait to jump into the game. Thankfully multiple fixes have already been implemented successfully to stabilize performance, and we’re glad to see so many people jumping into the game with friends across platforms.”)

This is not the only time Fall Guys has been hobbled by serious server failures. In 2020, Mediatonic built up a ton of pre-release buzz by granting early access to Twitch streamers and their vast fan bases. When the game launched, a reported 120,000 players tried to play at once. The servers sputtered. What’s that saying about time and flat circles?


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