Fall Guys and Among Us: the Rise of Casual Battle Royale

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How we got from battle royales to casual battle royales

Battle royale games are the hottest trend of the last few years. The concept is simple: 100 players, big map, last man alive wins the game. Battle royale games quickly became popular because of these reasons:

  • equality — every player starts the game with bare hands;
  • randomness — any player can find a good weapon and grow his chances to win;
  • permanent death — if the player is dead there is no respawn, but some games still implemented limited respawn mechanics.

DayZ, first battle royal game, was launched in 2012 as a mod for the military simulator ArmA. Then its creator Brendan Greene got a job in Bluehole studios and made a standalone game — PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or PUBG.

PUBG gained popularity with the help of game streamers. Battle royale concept can generate endless funny situations which aren’t possible in major competitive shooters like Counter Strike or Overwatch. Big developers started launching their own free to play games: Fortnite, Counter Strike Danger Zone, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, BattleField V Firestorm and Hyperscape. And all of them, except Fortnite, have failed to get an audience.

The reason for Battle Royale’s failure is simple: skillcap. Every shooting game requires skills like aiming, hearing, moving, positioning and using abilities in time. In competitive shooters your rivals have similar skill level and you can play with them equally and have fun. But in battle royale there are always 1-5 skilled players which you can’t beat. So what’s the point in trying, if you are doomed to lose to those headshot machines?

In ordinary shooters you can learn basic game mechanics by playing with bots or practice with particular weapons on the shooting range. To improve your skill you can join deathmatch or similar game modes with fast respawn. Most battle royales don’t have such modes. They force you to loot for 10 minutes to die in a 15 seconds shootout where you can’t learn anything. And that’s why the audience prefers classic shooters over BR ones. Because they can’t literally win in battle royales.

What is a casual battle royale game

The casual battle royale games are here to overthrow the old giants like Fortnite. Their concept is similar to common battle royale games but with one difference: they do not demand a perfect aiming.

Let’s begin with Fall Guys. There are 60 players who must survive through obstacle courses. The first guy to get the golden crown wins the game.

fall guys lucky

Basically the Fall Guys is a 3D platformer game like Mario or Crash Bandicoot. But this game is multiplayer-only, which means that players can hamper each other and fight for the victory. It is called casual because everyone can play it no matter how experienced gamers they are.

The other game is called Among Us. The players are the space engineers in a spaceship and they have a few impostors among them. The peaceful players must repair the spaceship and the impostors have to kill peaceful ones. The ordinary players can defend themselves by voting players one by one: the voted player is thrown off the ship into open space. In order to win, the real crewmates must vote off all the imposters or repair the ship, and the impostors must kill almost all crewmates.

Among Us also takes almost no mechanical skill: you must just run and do tasks to repair the ship or run and kill crewmates if you are the impostor. But the game is still fun because nobody trusts each other and tries to survive.

among us game

So what is similar between Fall Guys and Among Us? There is no respawn, you can trust no one and you can’t win just because you are good at headshots or farming. That’s why we call these games the casual battle royales.

Why Among Us and Fall Guys are so popular

The games are simple. You can learn how to play in a few minutes just like with mobile hyper casual games.

Experienced players have no advantage. For example, a famous streamer TimTheTatMan, skilled in multiplayer games, got his first victory only after a few weeks of playing Fall Guys.

Sometimes it depends on luck. In Fall Guys the spinning rods can thrust you to the finish line, but in the next round you can just fall from track by accident. In Among Us you can vote off the impostor on the first try and lose the next game just because nobody has extinguished the nuclear reactor. You never know what you will get and this is fun.

fall guys game

The visual design is bright and cartoonish. Everything potential danger is clearly visible and you don’t need to glaze at every bush in fear that there is someone waiting for you.

Great emotional reward. Most players are in your field of view at any given moment and you can be just satisfied with “Ha, I outrun that guy with expensive skin because I’m better”.

You can’t do all wrong. In every competitive game you can experience bad emotions because you’ve done something wrong: didn’t check the corner, land a headshot, used an ability too early or something else. In Fall Guys and Among Us you will always feel good because there is no way to lose by something so minor.

Is it the start of a new genre?

Certainly it is. In september 2020 Fall Guys and Among Us are in the top 5 of Twitch. Their only competitors are League of Legends, Fortnite and Minecraft. Today there are no games with similar gameplay on a whole Twitch, but we expect them to appear.

You can become a part of a new trend by developing similar games. Remember, that it is OK to copy some mechanics if you change the setting and visual style. By doing this you can sell the game to the audience who sees the Fall Guys as too cartoonish. And these games will be greeted on mobile phones because there is no alternative.

If you want to take part in a casual battle royale — contact us. We will help you with developing a concept, game mechanics, visual style and a complete game.

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