Fall Guys once had a secret 'Cheater Island,' but had to close it down

(Image credit: Mediatonic)

Mediatonic promised last week that a big update that will help crack down on the problem of cheaters in Fall Guys is on the way. Today, to help us pass the time while we wait, it served up something a little different: The twisted, terrifying tale of "The Rise and Fall of Cheater Island."

(It's actually neither twisted nor terrifying, but it is a fun story about the lengths that some people will go to in order to "win," even in a game like Fall Guys, and the knots that developers have to twist themselves into in order to do something about it.)

It turns out that Fall Guys actually had its own built-in anti-cheat system at launch, which included Fall Guys Cheater Island, "a magical place where cheaters could happily compete against themselves for the Cheater's Crown." 

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But populating Cheater Island proved tricky, because the developers were taking a very slow approach to lowering Fall Guys' detection threshold to ensure it wasn't triggering any false positives. As a result, cheaters would often find themselves "falling forever" at the start of games, because there weren't enough of them to fill a server. Being stuck on the loading screen looked like a bug, and Mediatonic was hesitant to say too much about it for fear of tipping its hand.

Cheaters eventually began to realize that they could get around this apparent glitch by teaming up up with non-cheating friends, or by using a family-sharing exploit. Changes were made to eliminate these loopholes, and the island finally started filling up. But then, ironic twist!

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"We DO know that Cheater Island matches were happening," Mediatonic said. "We just DON"T know if that's what these videos show. For that reason, we have closed down Cheater Island. Instead, cheaters are now unable to login."

It's a shame, but it does make for a good story—one that Mediatonic is presumably willing to tell now because it's incorporating Epic's anti-cheat technology in the next Fall Guys update, "Big Yeetus and Anti-Cheatus." There are no details at this point, but the "Big Yeetus" part of the title suggests that it won't be quite as subtle as Cheater Island.

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Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.