Family Guy Online open beta targeted for this year

Q&A: Fox and Roadhouse say free-to-play, microtransaction-based title will have RPG elements; show writers include Alex Carter and Andrew Goldberg.

20th Century Fox may have initially been skeptical of Family Guy's prospects, going so far as to cancel the unabashedly crude cartoon in 2001. However, the production company has changed its tune considerably in the here and now. Today, Fox officially announced its Web-browser-based, free-to-play title Family Guy Online, saying that the 3D title is targeted to enter open beta this year.

Family Guy Online will feature more than 150 characters from the show.

Comic-Con 2011 will act as a coming-out of sorts for Family Guy Online, even if its official website has been active since mid-June. However, gamers can expect a good deal more content on that website today, as Fox and developer Roadhouse Interactive have set live Family Guy Online's character creator to promote the title.

The real question, though, is what does Family Guy Online have for fans of the show?

"It's just a great way to extend the television show and allow users to engage with each other in a community in a game product that is being developed really in association with the show," Gary Rosenfeld, senior vice president of new media for Fox Consumer Product, told GameSpot in an interview. That collaboration includes help from two senior writers on the show: Alex Carter and Andrew Goldberg.

The experience begins with character creation, and Roadhouse Interactive cofounder and chief creative officer Ian Verchere told GameSpot that players will have a wealth of customization options. Verchere also noted that rather than having players assume the identity of, say, Peter Griffin, they will be able to select from four character-class archetypes that typify the different attributes of the dysfunctional family.

Fox and Roadhouse aren't entirely ready to talk about Family Guy Online's actual gameplay, but Verchere indicated that it will have elements akin to the role-playing game genre. Those mechanics include character progression and experience points. The game has both single-player and multiplayer options.

"We're not just sticking Family Guy into Champions Online or making Dungeons and Quahog or whatever," he explained. "In the same way that the show riffs on popular culture and on TV, [we've been thinking about] an intelligent way to bring Family Guy online. At its heart, you are going to earn experience and progress through the game. There are familiar structures that gamers will be able to relate to and engage with, but it is going to feel like Family Guy."

"When you come into the game and create the character, you can literally create billions of different characters," he continued. "When you go into the game, you're not going to play as you would in a console game as, say, Peter Griffin. But when you build your own character, it makes sense from a game mechanic perspective to associate with the positive and/or negative aspects of what each of the Griffins represent. If you look at how you would map out an attribute table, Peter is obviously big and slow and tanklike, and Stewie is small and ranged attack. OK, there, I said 'ranged attack.'"

Family Guy Online will, of course, include leopard-print undies.

Of course, Family Guy Online will come heavily laden with personalities from the show--some 150 in total. "Once the user gets into the game, the user will interact with show characters," Rosenfeld said. "The show characters act as guides. They will send the user off on adventures that allow [them] to advance through the game. "

Rosenfeld also expressed optimism over Family Guy Online's ability to react to current and popular culture trends. In other words, the game will be an open-ended experience where players will be afforded new and culturally relevant quests.

"The idea behind the project, or the thing that's most exciting about it, is that we will be able to react to certain elements that the show can't react to because of the production timeline," he said. "So for instance things going on in pop culture that we might want to riff on, we'll be able to react to as a result of how we set this up. Building it in Unity, we've got the flexibility to update content, add new content, pretty quick turnarounds in regular intervals."

Family Guy Online will be free-to-play, where virtual currency and in-game goods rule the day. Rosenfeld explained that the game will include microtransactions, and the studio will likely also make use of ad and sponsorship components as well as other premium content.

Rosenfeld also briefly addressed the Family Guy game that is in development at Activision, saying that Family Guy Online exists entirely apart from that project. "We want to make sure there is a Family Guy experience for fans on all the different platforms," he said. Rosenfeld declined to comment on whether that game is still on for this year.

Fox and Roadhouse plan to have a significant presence at Comic-Con this week. In addition to having Family Guy Online's character creator up and running on the show floor, Quahog mayor (and seminal Batman actor) Adam West will be on hand to sign exclusive posters for the game. Comic-Con attendees who create a character at the show will also earn an exclusive in-game item.

Check out GameSpot's coverage of Comic-Con 2011 for more on Family Guy Online and other games from the show.

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Discussion

45 comments
Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

I want to like this, but i have a feeling they will screw it up

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Family Guy is a stupid show anyway. South Park is MUCH better.

blackace
blackace

Should be interesting. Wonder what you'll be able to do in it. I hope it ain't a bunch of minigames. The best thing to do with this is run various stories from the T.V. show with various objectives and lots of voice comments between the characters. It should be action/adventure.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

This Game = FAIL. I see it ether getting cancelled or going F2P then shutting down.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

I shall be Peter Griffon's evil twin. He he

SnakeEatinBeans
SnakeEatinBeans

I'd create my character and make a bee line to Mr. Herbert's house. lol

BillyColeman
BillyColeman

Poodger ty yes wtf point is there to a Family Guy Online sounds like a crap fest

Poodger
Poodger

Too bad Family Guy stopped being funny not long after it was revived

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

No Comment... Damn I messed it up again!

UnknownPerson55
UnknownPerson55

I would rather play Maplestory...and that game is terrible.

X_Colbert_X
X_Colbert_X

This entire game will be even more of a troll-fest than Global Agenda's city chat.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Just what we need, another dirty cartoon show turned into an interactive computer game. I can see it now: Choose your campaign mode! 'Sex Campaign' or 'Blood & Gore Campaign'.

controlfreak25
controlfreak25

"the Family Guy game that is in development at Activision" -_- Let me guess, they are going to release a $15 cartoon map pack for you to run around in and basically do nothing else. Activi$ion why cant you just stck to your shooters and stay away from everything else?

Malscyllis
Malscyllis

I can see it now: LFG Dungeon: quagmire's palace. need woman with 100+ stamina or no invite.

slappylad
slappylad

I received my character creator invite this morning, decided to give it a spin, looks to be a fun F2P game...

Connor728
Connor728

it's Family Guy and it's in game form, plus there is one being developed by Activision (for consoles I presume). It's free and it should come with some laughs, who cares if it's bad, some of you play Minecraft after all !!!

MrHatnClogs
MrHatnClogs

" the Family Guy game that is in development at Activision, " Did it suddenly just get cold in here? I feel like the joy in me just got sucked out.

1701adguru
1701adguru

This is the most stupid free-to-play game ive ever seen...

Zero_resistance
Zero_resistance

When they say "it has RPG elements" it usually means you can go to shops and buy stuff. Thats about as close as this game will get.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on in these people's ******* minds?

burgeg
burgeg

This game sounds like a bigger buzz kill than Buzz Killington.

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

Sounds interesting. I might wanna give this game a shot being as how i find the series hilarious. last time i played a family guy game was on the ps2 a few years ago and it was okay. If this game has fights with the giant chicken then i'm down.

Kenshiro_Kenoh
Kenshiro_Kenoh

lol i like watching family guy but this is too much

001011000101101
001011000101101

what an awful idea. But the show has been pretty awful for the last few years anyway, so maybe it's fitting.

Hate_Squad
Hate_Squad

that sounds like the failest thing ever

jfontalba
jfontalba

i won't even consider this game if you can't have a Quagmire chin

sircyrus
sircyrus

Even after reading what the developers said, I honestly do not understand what this is supposed to be.

Harrymanhunter1
Harrymanhunter1

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Great. Tonnes of 16 year old kids screaming "DONT'CHA KNOW THAT THE BIRD IS THE WORD!"

boarwar
boarwar

adam west would be dope...but i dont support facebook games. According to gamespot, people would rather play facebook games then a long singleplayer AAA tittle

blakeney
blakeney

I want a clan full of mayor adam west's!!:P