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Creating Authentic Universes in Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse

Andy Owen's Avatar + Posted by Andy Owen on Oct 26, 2012 // Lead Producer, Activision

Making a licensed game is hard. Making a good licensed game is hard.

As huge Family Guy fans, when the opportunity came to make a game based on the hilarious TV show, with Heavy Iron Studios at the helm, it was impossible to pass up. But there was one giant hurdle we had to get over in order to make a good Family Guy game – we don’t work at Fuzzy Door, Seth MacFarlane’s production company, and we aren’t involved in any way with the Family Guy TV show. And it wouldn’t matter how much effort we put into the graphics, or the level design, or the action. If it didn’t feel like Family Guy — if it wasn’t funny, or if Stewie shouted “Blast!” and it was clear we’d just hired some actor to do a mediocre Stewie impression – fans would hate it. WE would hate it.

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We knew that if we were going to do this, we had to do it right. Everything from the script to the presentation to the way it will make you feel playing on your couch at home had to feel like Seth MacFarlane took a coding class and made it himself. If we wanted to create a genuine Family Guy experience, we needed to be faithful to the show’s spirit, and we needed the people who make Family Guy to be involved from the ground up.

So that’s what we did. Building the story that would become Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse was a tremendous challenge. The show has done so much already — where do you even start trying to translate that into a game? Then the writers started talking about the Season 8 premiere episode, “Road to the Multiverse,” in which Brian and Stewie get lost travelling to parallel universes. It was perfect. Of course, in one episode they could only do so much; but the possibilities were endless, and we could explore them even further. Our imaginations just started running wild.

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The game is littered with countless references, in-jokes, and tributes to the show’s great moments. We knew we were on the right track when Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing Tube Man became an in-game item.

We’ve had an incredible amount of access to the Family Guy production crew throughout the entire development process, and that collaboration has made all the difference in giving the game its authentic feel. Writers Mike Desilets and Anthony Blasucci have penned a hilarious script for us, and more than just creating dialogue, they’ve been instrumental in helping us shape the game around the story. And having Seth MacFarlane and the Family Guy show talent in the recording booth to bring those characters to life brought it all together. This is unmistakably Family Guy, from top to bottom.

Family Guy has always been such a communal experience. After all, it was fans buying the original DVD sets and sharing them with friends and family in their living rooms and dorms that helped put the show back on the air. For that reason, offering a local co-operative play option in Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, where you can drop in or out at any time, was a big deal for us. Local co-op has sort of fallen to the wayside nowadays, but both comedy and games are more fun when other people are around. We wanted this to be an experience you can share.

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And when you get down to it, Brian and Stewie are the ultimate co-op team. Their adventures make up some of my all-time favorite Family Guy episodes, and their relationship is arguably the strongest on the show (actually, Mayor West and taffy might have the strongest relationship on the show….but Brian and Stewie are definitely second!). So being able to give players the chance to finally team up as this great duo is a nice bit of wish fulfillment for us.

We’re very proud of the game we’ve put together — not just as its creators, but as gamers and fans of the show. We’ve put so much energy into crafting an experience that looks and feels like Family Guy. The result is something both fun and funny. We hope you join us when Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse hits the PS3 on November 20.

//Add Your Own

34 Comments   8 Replies

1

+ deCarvalho7 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:09 am said:

Debating on getting this game but waiting for the price drop same with the South Park game on 360 these games aren’t worth 59.99


2

+ Richlando on October 26th, 2012 at 7:14 am said:

Been looking forward to this game since it was first announced. Family Guy is a daily ritual for my family, we dont miss a day watching it. To get a chance to play a FG video game is really a dream come true. The game looks excellent and I cant wait to try it out. Even put in a review request months back because if there is one thing I can write about it has to be Family Guy. Brilliant work and I know this is going to be a hit.


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 11:52 am said:

    @Richlando: Thanks! Glad to hear you’re excited to play it!


3

+ Ryumoau on October 26th, 2012 at 7:17 am said:

This game has two strikes against it in my book. The first being that the first Family Guy game for PS2 sucked big time. The second is that the series hasn’t been funny in years. The non-sequiters have become predictable and it gets way too political for its own good.

I only see myself renting this at best, just for the novelty of playing as Stewie shooting things.


4

+ aelurio1980 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:18 am said:

I love family guy, I hope the game matches series


5

+ Ryumoau on October 26th, 2012 at 7:20 am said:

Also, you guys failed with the last licensed game you made, 007 Legends. That game was literally a movie tie in, with every mission poorly representing older Bond movies (mostly terrible ones at that-Die another Day, License to Kill).


6

+ Od1n757 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:24 am said:

@ ryumoau you comment on everything iv ever seen come on the blog i believe or maybe every thing i look at cool avi where did you get it
agreeably these kind of games are not worth 60 dollars and should never be marketed as such


7

+ Ryumoau on October 26th, 2012 at 7:30 am said:

@6 this avatar is a character from Warriors Orochi 3 game on psn. Hes called Nezha.


8

+ Android66 on October 26th, 2012 at 7:49 am said:

@5: Heavy Iron Studios had nothing to do with 007 Legends. Eurocom developed that game, which I’m playing right now and which is nowhere as near as bad as you suggest…if you are a Bond fan, that is. “Literally a movie tie-in”…uh, yeah, that’s what it was supposed to be. If you want a non-movie tie-in, get 007: BloodStone instead,

You are criticizing a game which hasn’t been released yet because the publisher put out a totally different game you didn’t like. So, I guess you think God of War: Ascension sucks because Sony also gave us Kung Fu Rider?

I do agree with your other points– the PS2 Family Guy game was awful (although it didn’t come from Heavy Iron Studios or Activision, though), and the series itself has gone downhill in my opinion. But they still might be able to make a decent game out of it.


9

+ Ryumoau on October 26th, 2012 at 8:03 am said:

@8 yeah ‘true’ bond fans wanted 5 short missions based on older movies with Daniel Craig shoe-horned into them, delivering memorable lines like “Do you expect me to talk” terribly.

This game was released to mark the 50th anniversary of the film franchise, yet they couldn’t be bothered to give us the original Bonds or give us more memorable movies View to a Kill or ANY other Brosnan 007 film.

The gameplay was a lazy CoD knock off, with terrible stealth elements slapped on. Having Bond gun down millions of henchman in every mission is not only repetitively boring, its not very Bond. There have been a couple revenge driven 007 movies (Quantum of Solace and License to Kill), but they sucked because of that.


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10

+ Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 8:09 am said:

Hi everyone! This is Andy Owen, Lead Producer at Activision and writer of the blog. I’ll be here, commenting throughout the day to answer any questions you may have on Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse.


11

+ BrianMcGuinness on October 26th, 2012 at 8:12 am said:

To the nerd in comment #1, why isn’t the game worth $60? Have you played thru the whole thing already? Please let us know how it is k thanks.

To the nerd in comment #3, why were you so fast to comment on this since, in your expert opinion, Family Guy hasn’t been funny in years? Why even bother? If you don’t like the show, why does this announcement about a game get your panties in such a bunch?


12

+ Ryumoau on October 26th, 2012 at 8:17 am said:

@11 ‘nerd’? lol. Thats the best you have?


13

+ jgrizzle358 on October 26th, 2012 at 8:29 am said:

girls girls please, you’re all equally pretty, now please grow up already, simple rule of common courtesy and maturity: if you don’t like it, don’t comment on it. Plain and simple.

Now, that being said I am a HUGE Seth MacFarlane fan and cannot wait for this game to come out. Lemme ask you Andy does the game have the original voice cast? Or at least some VERY good impersonators?


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 8:59 am said:

    @jgrizzle358: Good question. Having the original voice cast for the game was super important to us and also to everyone at the show. We’re very happy to say that we have the show’s VO cast on-board, including Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, and a bunch more. I don’t want to give away the entire list as it would reveal some of the characters and levels we want the fans to discover on their own, but it’s extensive and we worked closely with the show to make sure we had the right people in the booth.


14

+ TERWALLACE on October 26th, 2012 at 8:33 am said:

Andy, glad to see you guys have put some pretty serious effort into this! I’m especially interested in the local co-op mode. (Feel like that’s been missing a lot this gen)

Can you give us any more details on co-op?


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 8:46 am said:

    Hi TERWALLACE, thanks for the question. We felt the co-op mode was really important and one of the big ideas behind the game was that it would be a Brian and Stewie “Road to…”-style adventure. Brian and Stewie always end up on these adventures together, including in the Road to the Multiverse episode, so we wanted to capture that. You can play through the entire campaign in local co-op with one player as Brian and one as Stewie. Each has their own weapon loadouts, strengths, and special ability. You can also drop-in or drop-out at any time, so if a friend is partway through they don’t need to start over for you to join in. There are actually two OTHER characters you can play as in one of the levels, but I don’t want to ruin any surprises for the fans. Any Family Guy fanatic is going to love it. On top of that we also have Multiverse Madness which is a 4-player co-op survival mode.


15

+ ps_n_blog_ac on October 26th, 2012 at 8:34 am said:

i LOVE Family Guy and the idea of returning to the multiverse for the game but… i don’t know…

are you guys (Activision) going to give more details/ gameplay in the PS Blog before the release?

How i feel about the game:

+it’s family guy +Multiverse setting + Brian and Stewie!!! +comedy

– graphics and design (YES I’M ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE *to other users…-_-) but i’m aware you guys aren’t focusing on that ^ top page… so i MIGHT just forget about that

want to know:
=replay value =special treats EX: trophies and unlockables *delete scenes will be nice :)

= changes in game play during the game? EX: mini-games


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 9:23 am said:

    @ps_n_blog_ac: Lot of info in your post, glad to see you’re a Family Guy fan! We hope to share a lot more news and information with the Sony Blog community, so I’d stay tuned! In terms of replay value and unlockables, we have a huge number of different items to unlock. You can get new weapons, characters for multiplayer, outfits, concept art, and more. There’s plenty to keep you playing for days. As far as changes in gameplay, the game is primarily an action adventure and we try to mix it up across the levels so you’re not always just pulling the trigger. One of my favorite ways to mix up the gameplay is by using various power-ups and special abilities. For instance, if you pick up a golden egg item and throw it out into the world, the Giant Chicken appears and starts laying waste to enemies in the area.


16

+ shb23 on October 26th, 2012 at 8:53 am said:

@ Andy Owen

What is the replay value? Typically local co-op games typically become party games, how open ended is it is the story?


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 9:49 am said:

    @shb23: I wouldn’t categorize Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse as a party game, though we do have a bunch of different modes in the game to keep you coming back. Between the main campaign mode, the challenge levels, and the multiplayer modes, it should keep you busy for a while. One of the other great things is that if you replay it, you’ll encounter new gags and hear new jokes that you hadn’t seen or heard before. Similar to how the show is very rewatchable, the main campaign is very replayable and explorable, and the other modes provide additional challenge and fun.


17

+ theXsilentXchild on October 26th, 2012 at 8:58 am said:

@3 I would have to agree with u. The first game was a a giant turd. This one just looks just a bit shinier albeit still a turd. I have watched many gameplay videos of this game and even the staff seem very unenthusiastic about it 2. It’s reminds me of southpark64. I love Family Guy but and I would bet for this game to fail.


18

+ NauseousPenguin on October 26th, 2012 at 9:14 am said:

This likely isn’t going to be a first-day buy for me (seeing that All-Stars releases the same day), but I’m definitely interested in the game. Hopefully we’ll see some gameplay soon!


19

+ GhostMachine1 on October 26th, 2012 at 9:30 am said:

I can’t wait to play local co-op. Pictured, I see Peter, Glenn, Cleveland, and Meg. Any videos coming soon about what their special abilities are? Thanks for putting so much effort into making a legit Family Guy game.


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 11:50 am said:

    @GhostMachine1: Thanks for the question. We’ll have some more info soon on special abilities, but rest assured they’ve got a great Family Guy feel to them.


20

+ Vonbane on October 26th, 2012 at 10:17 am said:

Two questions:

Will there be musical numbers?
Will Conway Twitty make an appearance?


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 12:01 pm said:

    @Vonbane: Those are some good questions! We’re actually using quite a bit of music from the show, along with some key tracks tied to specific jokes and episodes. I think when you play (and hear) the game you’ll be happy with how the soundtrack works with the gameplay.


21

+ krae_man on October 26th, 2012 at 10:59 am said:

I liked the PS2 game a lot and the FTP MMO has it’s charms. I’m looking forward to giving this a go. As long as the writing is on par with the show and the gameplay is decent, I’m sure I will love it.


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    + Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 12:08 pm said:

    @krae-man: Thanks! We think you’ll really enjoy the game when you get to play it! Writers from the show penned the script, so it will definitely be authentic Family Guy.


22

+ drepsx3 on October 26th, 2012 at 11:50 am said:

What’s going on with Crash Bandicoot back at the headquarters of Activision?


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23

+ Andy Owen on October 26th, 2012 at 1:45 pm said:

Thanks for your comments and questions all! I hope you enjoy Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse when it’s available on November 20th!


24

+ mrk1976 on October 26th, 2012 at 1:46 pm said:

Slightly off topic, but curious:

Besides Black Ops Declasified, is Activision planning to support the Vita whatsoever? No Amazing Spider-Man, Deadpool, Transformers, 007, Family Guy, etc.?


25

+ Biggz124 on October 26th, 2012 at 2:07 pm said:

Can we Play as Cleveland’s family? I wanna play as Cleveland Jr.


26

+ PrimeroIncognito on October 26th, 2012 at 4:07 pm said:

What the hell does the PS2 Family Guy have to do with this game? What a ridiculous “point” to make.

What the hell does the TV show not being funny anymore (opinion) have to do with how this game is going to turn out? Ridiculous “point” #2.

You might as well say, “The South Park game on PSone was crappy, so this game will be too. Just because. It’s based on a cartoon. And umm, I haven’t played it yet, but still, I just know.”


27

+ Kodyan on October 26th, 2012 at 7:19 pm said:

pre-orderd and ready to go! i love the series and think this will be a great game,


28

+ thunderbear on October 26th, 2012 at 9:03 pm said:

@3 You just need to accept that you were wrong about the same developer doing 007 Legends and this game. Also, for the sake of education, you do also realize that even when a developer makes two games that come out around the same time that they have two different teams working on them right? I wish people like you would stop spewing negativity all around you. It’s not really constructive to anyone.

As for the quality of Family Guy later seasons, the Brian and Stewie episodes are still awesome. Road to the Pilot is one of my all-time favorites. I certainly hope this game turns out great, but we’ll see!


29

+ spartankilla00 on October 27th, 2012 at 10:49 pm said:

REALLY????????????


30

+ OPIE_TAY on October 28th, 2012 at 3:11 am said:

Hell yes I’m going to play the hell outta this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


31

+ hoi1ma on October 28th, 2012 at 11:00 am said:

i love family guy, but wait, activision, no thanks.


32

+ california_Teddy on October 29th, 2012 at 12:27 am said:

Would Love to see a downloadable DEMO of this game in the playstation network. Looks cool wife and i love Family Guy.


33

+ iREVOLTER on October 29th, 2012 at 9:04 am said:

I love Family Guy, but please release a Demo to try this one before it gets released.


34

+ EXQUISITEEMPRESS on November 24th, 2012 at 8:46 am said:

Eagerly, looking forward to this game nothing beats watching one of your favorite shows then playing one of your favourite shows, toss in time travelling and it just gets better and better.


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