Mediatonic's plan to exile Fall Guys cheaters to a cheaters-only queue backfired

The plan was to have cheaters matchmake exclusively with other cheaters, but the Fall Guys team noticed its plans for Cheater Island were actually hurting the game's reputation.

Fall Guys, like very nearly every high-traffic competitive game on PC, has attracted the attention of cheaters. And while developer Mediatonic included cheat detection safeguards into the game from day one, the actual punishment doled out to players flagged as nefarious has had its ups and downs.

One of the issues with fighting back against cheaters, as Mediatonic points out, is that the more transparent you are about your anti-cheat and policies, the easier it is for cheaters to find ways to circumvent those precautions. This can, as outlined in a recent Twitter thread, lead to some unusual ideas and situations. 

The Fall Guys team shared the story of what’s affectionately dubbed Cheater Island in that thread, walking through how cheaters were gradually flagged and placed in a separate matchmaking queue, allowed to play only with other cheaters, then eventually banned when Mediatonic noticed online videos of Cheater Island were likely giving the game a bad rap.

Since at least 40 players are needed to actually start a game of Fall Guys, those queued for Cheater Island were stuck in a loading screen that saw their character eternally plummeting through the air which, Mediatonic notes was often called out as a bug by folks who didn’t realize they’d been caught using cheats.

Once enough cheaters were caught in the web, they’d finally be able to load into a match populated entirely with fellow cheaters. While comical and effective at isolating game-breaking players, Mediatonic quickly noticed an unintended side-effect of Cheater Island’s secret existence.

“Last week...something exciting happened," explains the dev team. "There were finally enough cheaters to actually matchmake and create Cheater Island matches! Here's a new problem though...People were uploading videos that we *think* are Cheater Island…”

But, both to Mediatonic and its playerbase, videos of Cheater Island matches are indistinguishable to legitimate matches. To those that come across Cheater Island videos online, their only possible takeaway is that Fall Guys has a rampant cheating problem to the point that entire matches are filled with cheaters, rather than the reality that those videos represent players exiled for their past behavior. 

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

There’s a more in-depth breakdown of the story to be found in the full Twitter thread, but the Fall Guys team says that, upon realizing they’d entered into an “Arms Race” with cheat-makers, they’ve now teamed up with Epic Games to use the company’s anti-cheat system.

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