- Related Games:
- Fall Guys
Fall Guys is 2020’s biggest breakout success story, and its popularity is inextricably linked with its Twitter account. Since the game’s beta stages, Mediatonic‘s Senior Community Manager Oliver Hindle has been incredibly active on social media, with his irreverent tweets creating huge online buzz for the game before it had even been released.
Whereas most gaming companies on Twitter can either appear too “dry and professional,” as Oliver puts it, or can seem like they’re trying too hard to fit in with their community, Fall Guys‘ tweets strike the perfect tone for its target audience. Tweeting in the first-person, Oliver clearly understands the community he’s appealing to, joining in with their in-jokes and celebrating fan art rather than ignoring it. It’s often ridiculous, occasionally incomprehensible, and has put the multi-million dollar marketing campaigns of other games to shame.
Understand how seesaws work
— Fall Guys 👑 (@FallGuysGame) August 12, 2020
While the game wouldn’t have been as popular if it wasn’t as fun as it is, Oliver has helped catapult it to a level of success Mediatonic wasn’t expecting. With every brand from KFC to Walmart now trying to get Oliver and the Fall Guys Twitter account to notice them (which includes us and our most-wanted crossover skins), we wanted to know what it’s like to play such a big part in the year’s most unexpectedly popular game. So how exactly did one lone community manager wind up being more influential than entire games marketing teams?
GAME REVOLUTION: At what point did you realize, “Oh no, the game I work on is suddenly massive?”
OLIVER HINDLE: Being in charge of the @FallGuysGame twitter account, I could directly see all of the notifications start pouring in and the follower count start to increase exponentially. I think it was during our first open beta when this started to skyrocket on Twitter and Discord. Our first reaction was “Okay, this is awesome, but will it last?”
We kept expecting it to sort of dip back down and fizzle out a little but luckily, the hype kept building. Our second beta weekend was bigger than the first, and then launch day was even bigger again. Crazy times.
GR: The average player might not know that a Senior Community Manager isn’t linked to the development of the game, so for that player — what is your role within the Fall Guys team, and how do you feel have contributed to its success so far?
OH: I do get a lot of people tweeting at me to say “FIX THE SERVERS” when servers are down lol. I don’t think anyone on the team would trust me to go anywhere near the servers though.
I see my role as building a connection between the developers of the game and the community. My responsibility to the players is to keep them informed of what we’re working on, let them know that we’re listening to all of their feedback and ideas, shining a spotlight on anything cool that they make, and trying to do it all in a way that’s entertaining.
To me, good Community Management means extending the experience and value of a game beyond the game itself and into social media and real-life. You don’t just have to sell the game, but you have to provide enough value to players that they are willing to invest their time in engaging with your community. Time is precious and there are a lot of things competing for it.
On a day-to-day basis, I work on growing the reach of our social media channels, writing spicy tweets, posting blogs and content, hosting videos and streams, working with our mods on discord, working with influencers, planning marketing activity, and then, of course, lots of meetings with every department – engineers, designers, server team, customer support, marketing, producers, artists, and QA.
Some Community Managers find it useful to write tweets ahead of time and schedule them, but I always have writer’s block if I try to do it that way. I like to have a general strategy and an idea of what I want to tweet about… but the actual tweets, I just wing them as I go. I only tweet when I have something important, interesting, or entertaining to say. It ends up feeling much more genuine that way.
In terms of contributing to the success of the game – I definitely think the community strategy has had a strong impact. I always say that marketing is a multiplier on the success of the game itself. You need a good game first and foremost, but then if you have that, you can multiply its success with good marketing strategies. I applied for the job at Mediatonic specifically to work on Fall Guys as I was sold on the concept straight away, and I knew I could contribute something to the game through my experience with growing communities.
I think my biggest contribution to the successful launch was the way that I hyped up the beta keys on the run-up to our beta weekends. I gave out keys in lots of different ways — through twitter, through Discord, and through Twitch. We also gave out a huge number of beta keys to influencers so that they could give keys out to their audiences while playing. It ended up working so well that on our second weekend, even though we had given out over 200,000 keys, there were still thousands of people still wanting them. Ridiculous.
GR: How has it been managing the social media accounts of one of the biggest games of 2020?
It’s been super fun! I feel really lucky that the teams at Mediatonic and Devolver have given me so much freedom in how and what I post from the Fall Guys accounts. It’s cool that I managed to establish the tone and everything right at the start, so I haven’t really changed the way in which I communicate or anything. It’s funny that you see all of these big games tweeting in a really dry professional way and then I’m just there tweeting memes in first-person.
It was hard to explain why I thought the strategy would work, but Mediatonic and Devolver were all super supportive and once they saw that it was working, they were fully behind it.
On a practical level, there’s always something exciting going on… the biggest challenge is making sure I don’t miss cool things. The Twitter account has blown up so much that the volume of notifications actually constantly breaks twitter and stops it from loading.
GR: What has the internal reaction to Fall Guys‘ success been like in Mediatonic? How did the team react to reaching the top of Steam and overtaking Fortnite on Twitch?
I think everyone was hoping the game would be well received, but it’s performed way higher than any of us possibly expected. When you are planning for the launch of a game, you usually plan for a few different scenarios. You typically have a low case, medium case, high case, and then a breakout success case. It’s safe to say that Fall Guys has already massively surpassed our definition of breakout success. None of us were expecting things to skyrocket quite as intensely as they did.
I’m not sure it’s entirely settled in for everyone on the team yet! We’re still trying to figure out what this all means for the team, company, and how we can best make sure that we can keep adding new costumes, levels, and features to the game fast enough to keep up with the demand.
GR: Among other things, you’ve thus far managed to get Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 to fight over you, KFC turned Colonel Sanders into a Fall Guy, and Konami has transformed Snake into a bean, too. What’s your crowning achievement so far?
Haha, I actually think those were some of the coolest moments. Every day I think we’ve peaked, but then more cool things keep happening lol. Who knows what will happen tomorrow.
I personally find it quite rewarding when people mistake the Twitter account as being run by an entire social media team lol. On the flipside, I’m also occasionally referred to as the ‘social media intern’. You win some, you lose some, I suppose. lol.
GR: The popularity of Fall Guys on social media has undoubtedly helped fuel its popularity — what do you think are the most important factors in bringing new eyes to a game via different platforms such as Twitter?
When I was originally coming up with the strategy for the game, I specifically wanted to focus on just Discord and Twitter. We discussed Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc… but I really felt that Twitter would be the platform that would allow us to reach the most people, and then Discord would be the best place to act as a home for those people and grow a close community.
The games industry is usually really savvy when it comes to anything online… but social media is weirdly one area where it’s actually a bit behind. I wanted to try and use a similar approach to the best fast food brands, and it seems to have worked really well. They basically started tweeting in first-person and really speaking like a human. Wendy’s is one of the best examples of this.
I think that’s one of the keys to growing quickly on a platform — using it in the same way that normal users would, rather than like a brand trying to fit in. It’s been working really well for us so far!
Watch us play Fall Guys on Twitch! Follow us here.
GR: Fall Guys understandably had some teething issues given the huge number of players hitting its servers. How do you handle being the first point of contact for complaints?
I think, because I tweet in the first person, and I’m really open about the fact that I’m the Community Manager and not actually coding the game or working on the servers… players respect that and have been super understanding. I’ve tried to be really honest and upfront about the fact that we’re an indie studio, the game has done way better than we expected, and we’re all working super hard to cope with the massive playerbase.
I’ve also tried to post updates as soon as I have them, and continued to engage with the community during downtime. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going quiet when things aren’t working. If you’re not present and keeping the community informed, then things can easily go south.
The Fall Guys community has always been super wholesome and positive. I would like to take credit for that, but I actually think it’s largely because the game itself is so wholesome, colorful, and positive. It brings out the best in people, which makes my job much easier haha.
GR: What does your day typically look like in a post-Fall Guys world?
We’re still very much trying to understand what this means for the studio. We’re looking to hire in more people to help us support our players and create new content. We’re also looking to expand the Community team which I’m very excited about!
GR: What’s a part of your job as Senior Community Manager that people really don’t understand?
I think it’s just how much time is eaten up behind the scenes with planning things strategically and collaborating with various departments. It would be easy to assume that I just sit on Twitter all day posting memes. I mean, that’s exactly what I do, but also there are also lots of things going on behind the scenes lol.
GR: What do Fall Guys players tweet at you about the most?
OH: I’ve actually got a list:
- Yellow team are bad
- See Saw is Dark Souls
- Why isn’t Fall Guys on Xbox/Switch?
We also get a lot of Fan Art, which I love to see. I’ve always retweeted fan creations even when they tie into other games. I don’t think other game accounts usually do that, but if it looks cool, I’m going to retweet it!
Tag someone who gives off strong YELLOW TEAM energy
— Fall Guys 👑 (@FallGuysGame) August 10, 2020
GR: What’s your favorite — and I don’t want to say least favorite, but one that you don’t perform so well at — Fall Guys round so far?
OH: My favorite round is Hex-a-Gone. Always feels pretty fair and skill-based for a final round.
I’ve got a really bad memory so my least favorite is probably the memory one with the pictures of fruit and the falling tiles… I’ve forgotten its name.
GR: How many times have you managed to grab that crown..?
OH: I’m only on 2 wins at the moment, both of which were live on stream! I’ve played the game a lot off stream too, but I mainly focus on sabotaging other players when nobody is watching me play lol.
GR: On a personal note, since E3 2019, GameRevolution has repeatedly said that Fall Guys was going to wind up being one of our most-played games of 2020. When do we get our GR-themed Fall Guy, Oliver? Who do we need to bribe?
OH: Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to get costumes in the game, else there would be a lot more memes in there. I’ve also got pet rats, so I’d request a rat costume. You’ll have to interview one of the artists next time, you might be able to bribe them.