Fortnite creator Epic Games is acquiring video game studio Mediatonic, the maker of smash hit Fall Guys, for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced on Tuesday. The deal marks one of Epic’s higher-profile acquisitions of late, following its 2019 purchases of social video app Houseparty and Rocket League developer Psyonix.
According to the blog posts and FAQs detailing the announcement, Fall Guys will remain available on Steam for the time being, and the developer is still bringing the game to both the Xbox and Nintendo Switch platforms. Epic and Mediatonic say there are no plans right now to make the game (which currently costs $19.99) free-to-play, as Epic did with Rocket League. Epic later confirmed it plans to make the PC version of Fall Guys available on the Epic Game Store.
Interestingly, Fall Guys is built using the Unity game engine, a rival to Epic’s Unreal platform. Despite that, the companies say they hope to bring Fortnite-style features like crossplay to Fall Guys in the future.
The acquisition includes Mediatonic and Fortitude Games, both of which are owned by parent company Tonic Games Group, which announced the deal with Epic today. “It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the Metaverse and Tonic Games shares this goal. As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who know how to build powerful games, content and experiences,” said Epic CEO Tim Sweeney in a statement.
“At Tonic Games Group we often say that ‘everyone deserves a game that feels like it was made for them.’ With Epic, we feel like we have found a home that was made for us. They share our mission to build and support games that have a positive impact, empower others and stand the test of time and we couldn’t be more excited to be joining forces with their team,” said Dave Bailey, CEO and co-founder of Tonic Games Group, in a statement.
Officially called Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, the platformer battle royale game released last August as a timed console exclusive for the PlayStation 4 and also on PC. It became a fast hit and, like the indie sensation Among Us, an instant part of the gaming zeitgeist for the ways it let friends craving social experiences during the pandemic team up and compete against both one another and lobbies full of strangers while they were stuck at home.
Fall Guys draws inspiration from game shows like Takeshi’s Castle and Wipeout by making players compete in ludicrous mini-games that often result in slapstick failure for large swaths of the participants until only one player is left standing. Since the game’s release, Mediatonic has followed closely in Fortnite’s footsteps by releasing seasonal themed battle passes and also cutting deals with brands to bring trademarked designs and characters into the game as optional character skins, a business model Epic is quite familiar with and likely plans to continue.