Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff Takes the Show on the RoadEric Walkuski |
“It’s a pleasure to see you at the Drunken Clam,” says Mayor Adam West to a tipsy crowd. No, this isn’t an episode of Fox’s ‘Family Guy,’ this is real life.
The scene is the Happy Endings bar in L.A. - which has been dressed to resemble the famed Drunken Clam from the show - and West is just one of several members of the ‘Family Guy’ troupe to be attending the launch event for Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, a new city-building mobile game from developer TinyCo. Like many of its contemporaries, The Quest for Stuff is a free-to-play title that will incorporate micro-transactions.
TinyCo was kind enough to invite yours truly to the event so I could play The Quest for Stuff and speak to some of the enthused creative team behind the game, which is certainly reminiscent by the success of another Fox freemium offering, The Simpsons: Tapped Out.
A quick note on the story: Peter Griffin and his arch-rival Ernie the Giant Chicken have destroyed Quahog after one of their brutal bouts; the town basically lies in ruins. Your job is to help Peter find all the characters who reside in Quahog and rebuild the city however you like it. While the story is a fresh one (and the game is nothing if not reliant on its story), fans of ‘Family Guy’ will certainly recognize the seemingly limitless references to past episodes, while practically every member of the show’s eccentric cast show up in one way or another.
Peter being Peter, has to be poked and prodded along to get him complete missions, such as put out fires, or maybe just get Chris a new pair of pants because he wet himself. You receive coins for every task you complete, which helps rebuild Quahog while also taking you deeper into the story. Eventually, you’ll be able to pay for additional levels, costumes, storylines, etc. The game will be issued with three months of content at launch, so each player will have that long to sift through every last piece of Quahog.
Among the many events you’ll encounter: Helping Peter to realize his dream of becoming a pirate; traveling through the multiverse with Stewie and Brian (Brian is indeed alive and well in the game); stopping an alien invasion; getting revenge on the Giant Chicken; helping Quagmire search for the fabled God Digger Island; surviving Quagmire’s Running of the Bulls thanks to Mayor West.
Speaking to members of the TinyCo staff, it was clear how important it was to them to work alongside Fox and the writers of ‘Family Guy,’ who were clearly integral to the construction of the game (which has been about one year in the making).
“We have writers who write for the series who create all the content collaboratively with our designers, and then our friends at Fox Digital who help us with the production of the game, literally reviewing the content and making sure it’s up to snuff for the brand,” TinyCo’s Greg Damiano told me. “This brand is incredible and it has enchanted billions of people and we want to make sure everything we’re putting into the game is up to their standards.”
Another member of the TinyCo team told me the characters and their individual stories were more important than anything else.
“We were very focused on making it character-driven, like the show. if you watch the show, it’s more about the individual characters and how they develop throughout the episode, the different costumes they wear, the funny situations they’re in. Much more than the landscape or the background. We chose to make the game very focused on solving dilemmas for the characters and their individual needs.”
Some of the cast was present at the event, including Alex Borstein, who plays Lois Griffin in the show and game. She spoke briefly to me about her experience on the project.
“They used some existing dialogue and we created some new dialogue, but they have some more specific regulations about what you can and can’t say with an app... It’s like a totally different ballgame from the show, which is fun," Borstein said. "Someone else is making it, someone else is producing it. Honestly, I just show up, I don’t give any notes, I do what they tell me and that’s it. And it looks gorgeous, the animation is really smooth. And the characters are right on model, it’s really rare for a game to be so spot-on.”
And that was the aspect of The Quest for Stuff hammered home the most: How much the game actually looks and feels like the show. While surely a casual watcher of the long-running animated sitcom will find plenty to enjoy here, there’s no doubt a point has been made to cater directly to the loyal fans the Griffin family and friends.
The first content update will hit in approximately three to four weeks from launch; TinyCo and the ‘Family Guy’ writers continue to work together in order to support the game with new content for years to come, and eventually the best case scenario involves the game being updated with goodies from the latest episodes of the show days after they air. There will also be a social component to “The Quest for Stuff” - You can show off your own version of Quahog while looking at other players’ versions of the town.
Thanks to my brief encounter with “Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff,” I can attest it’s an absolutely enjoyable city-builder - not thoroughly taxing on the brain but definitely engaging, and capable of holding your interest for what I can only imagine will be long stretches of time. Obviously, the closer you are to “Family Guy” the more you’ll be compelled to dig deeper into the game, but any fan of freemium mobile games will find much to enjoy here.
Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff will be available on iOS and Android on April 10.