Creating Authentic Universes in Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
Activision Lead Producer Andy Owen has outlined what it takes to create authentic universes in Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse today.
To quote: 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.
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.
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.
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.