Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse Preview from E3 2012 -- Amish BewareBy Adam Rosenberg - Posted Jun 12, 2012
Activision is taking Family Guy back to the multiverse in the fall 2012 action game, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse. Springing out of the animated comedy series' season eight premiere, Multiverse sends Brian and Stewie on another adventure through a series of increasingly bizarre alternate realities. It seems that Stewie's bio-bro Betram is out to kill our two stars, and so they set out to track down the hyper-intelligent toddler.
The behind closed doors demo of the game at E3 2012 showcased one of the game's unusual locations, with Brian and Stewie exploring a version of Quahog in a world controlled entirely by the Amish. The gameplay suggests a relatively simple third-person shooter in which players can swap between the two playable characters--and their uniquely character-specific weapon sets--with the press of a button. Co-op is also an option, but it's split-screen couch co-op only; no online mode for Back to the Multiverse.
The demoed level starts Brian and Stewie out in a farmhouse, with a pop-up alerting you that Brian's added a sniper rifle to his arsenal. The weapons you'll have access to suit each character's persona from the show. Stewie's got a ray gun in this level; he can also throw his dirty, used diapers like they're grenades. Brian carries a pistol along with his sniper rifle, and he's also able to whip out a whiskey bottle to use as a melee weapon.
The gameplay looks like it delivers fairly standard third-person run 'n gun action gameplay, with the big draw being the multitude of in-joke references to the show. The level itself is a nod to Family Guy's odd fascination with all things Amish. You'll also see Peter manning a butter churn. And the fan-favorite Greased-up Deaf Guy. And Herbert, the creepy pedophile. All as you run around bringing varying amounts of firepower to bear on your Amish enemies.
There's more depth to Multiverse than that, but Activision isn't showing off much just yet. The environments seem to offer a fair amount of interactivity, assuming the demoed level is a good indicator. Things like beehives and lanterns can be shot out for more inventive kills than "death by bullets/laser beams." There are also pick-ups to be found that are, again, heavy on the in jokes. The one in the demo spawns in a giant chicken that pummels any nearby bad guys with its feathered fists.
You'll also come across a variety of collectibles, in the form of costumes and other items that have yet to be revealed. Downed enemies drop cash that you'll be able to spend on upgrades--both cosmetic and functional ones, apparently--though, again, details on this stuff are being held back for now.
The demo was admittedly a short one, but I need to throw out a few personal observations based on what I saw. Frankly, it's surprising to me after seeing the game that it's going to be coming out in a matter of months. It's either woefully unfinished or it's going to be lacking a certain level of polish when it hits stores.
Take Brian and Stewie. The starring pair seem to be suprisingly under-animated. Their faces are frozen in a static position at all times, even when one or the other is speaking. The level of detail and fan service is immediately apparent, but I'm worried after seeing the game in action that quantity is going to come at the cost of quality.
To be fair, let's all remember that this is an unfinished game. A lot can happen before the final retail code hits stores. That said, we're talking about a game that is supposedly just a few months away from shipping. Is the enough time to polish up the elements that so desperately need it? We'll have to wait and see.