At a pre-launch event last night, we got a brief demo of the upcoming Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff mobile game from TinyCo and Fox Digital Entertainment. The game’s scheduled for release on iOS and Android on April 10.
At its core, The Quest for Stuff resembles The Simpsons: Tapped Out, another free-to-play city-builder game from Fox. Both titles have you rebuilding their respective towns after the main character accidentally destroys it. In Family Guy’s case, a drawn-out brawl between Peter and Ernie the Giant Chicken levels the city of Quahog, sticking Peter with the task of recruiting his friends to clean up.
The Quest for Stuff doesn’t introduce any groundbreaking gameplay mechanics, instead relying on animation, storytelling and humor to match the high bar of production quality that the show has set.
The game does support in-app purchases, but TinyCo emphasized that users won’t encounter any hard walls that they’ll have to spend money to bypass. Real-money purchases can help speed up progress in the game and unlock rare outfits and bonus characters.
When we asked Andrew Green, TinyCo’s head of business operations, about balancing monetization, gameplay and the IP in the title, he said:
The most important thing was that we first started with the core pillars of the game: if the game wasn’t an authentic Family Guy experience, that you were getting what you love about the show – humor, characters, art and animation, the world, non sequiturs – in the game, then it was going to fail.
Green added that TinyCo wanted to make sure that the game didn’t get blocked up from having too deep of a mechanic. A shooter, for example, would feel inauthentic to the Family Guy experience. After looking at other mobile simulation games, the team decided to make The Quest for Stuff story-driven.
Family Guy fans have several months of content to look forward to in the game, with loads of easter eggs and jokes to discover throughout the game.
The game developers worked closely with the show’s writers, voice actors and animators in order to ensure everything was up to the Family Guy standard.
“[Fox] drove us really hard to make sure the animation was perfect and on model. At the end of the day, that drives the value,” Green said.
The amount of thoughtfulness that has gone into the game is refreshing, considering that some brands just slap a skin on an existing title. In a sense, you could think of The Quest for Stuff less as a game and more like a long-form interactive experience with the show’s characters and their world.
If Family Guy’s peculiar sense of humor appeals to you, then you’re in for an immersive treat, but the inside jokes and shallow gameplay could turn you off if you’re new to the series and just looking to pass some time.
I was curious what Green had to say to Family Guy fans that are skeptical about the game because of negative experiences from other TV tie-ins on mobile.
“I would say you’re going to get what you love about Family Guy, just in a different medium,” Green said. “Give it a shot…If you want more Family Guy, more access to humor, you want to laugh and you want to spend more time with characters, you’re going to get that from this game.”
Of course, no sane developer would undermine their own game before launch, but my conversations with the TinyCo team yesterday definitely gave me the impression that they’re supremely confident the experience they’ve created will hold up to scrutiny.
Green shared what it was like collaborating with the show’s writers:
Family Guy deals with a lot of funny, sometimes controversial content. It was fun working with the writers and having email chains floating around where we figure out, “Can we say dick three times in one sentence?” – email chains with very funny topics related to the humor of the show.
The writers of the show are so good and fast, [I don’t know] how they come up with the amount of ideas that they come up with. They’re always so rigorous about the quality of the game. [We went through] a lot of rewrites, just like writing the show. You have to iterate a lot on the humor and the dialogue in order to get the best jokes out.
Family Guy is known for taking inappropriateness to controversial lengths, and that same attitude made the jump to mobile too.
“We didn’t pull any punches,” Green said. “It’s all in the game.”
Green noted that Apple and Google were on board with Fox’s efforts to remain true to the show’s comedy, even if it meant going with a 17+ rating instead of a 12+.
With 12 seasons and over 200 episodes, Family Guy already has plenty of content for you to view, but starting next week, you’ll be able to get hands-on with the Griffins and their Quahog neighbors on your Android and iOS devices.