Preview: 'Family Guy Online' Part Three - Customizing Your Character

Yesterday, we showed you how the Family Guy Online team was working to get as much of Quahog into the upcoming free-to-play MMO. Today, we're going to look at how you can customize and tweak your character in the game, how those folks at FGO plan on making money off of this whole thing, and how the game actually plays.

When customizing characters, all of the presets and character parts are taken from the show bible, so facial shapes, sizes, etc. are taken directly from the art direction of Family Guy. Ian Verchere, CCO of Roadhouse Interactive said that some customization elements like costumes, hair, and such would be available for purchase in-game as part of the revenue model, proposing that Roadhouse will pull costumes from upcoming episodes of the series and the show bible for purchase.

The game is dual-currency with cash and clams, the former being the actual monetization. Verchere explained that even though skills and abilities would be available for purchase, they would still be locked behind an XP wall to keep players from buying their way through the game. During the recently-concluded Beta, players were able to purchase in-game items and abilities tied to the release of the 21 Jump Street movie.

There are two sets of skills: attacks and social. One was "Generic Body Spray" which causes nearby characters dance, and gives the player XP based on how many characters in the surrounding area dance. Verchere walked us through some of the abilities such as "Shoebox Diarreah" which stuns enemies, Verchere joking that you'd likely never heard of an ability with that name before.

Verchere says that down the line, members who've been part of the game's community for a while will receive special rewards and mounts as well as additional items for purchase beyond what's available for the general audience. As for allowing users to create their own content, Verchere says that this is something Roadhouse might investigate, but right now they're focusing in the stability of the game. He did say that machinima and other content created by the community wold be interesting, but there are challenges with regards to being fair to the IP and letting the users essentially create their own Family Guy seasons.

As for how it plays: well, the game is still pretty early, but based on the hour or so I had hands-on with Family Guy Online, I can say that at this stage, the team behind it have at least the foundations for a title that should appeal to that "mid-core" audience they're hoping to court. I spent most of my time roaming Quahog, looking for things to click and punch, and there were more than enough opportunities on this front. The actual combat is your usual MMO click and attack system that you've been playing for years, with a Family Guy skin over it. The menus and console commands will take a little getting used to in terms of navigability, but it's nothing along the lines of having to manage an excess of inventory and items.

While some of the fetch quests will have you roaming solo, I found that when it came to combat, it was best to find some friends and stick close to them. You pick up new abilities at a decent clip, but when you're surrounded by multiple enemy characters (in my case, rampaging criminals inside the Quahog police department), those battles are usually pretty one-sided with your character on the bad end of a beating. With one or more support players in tow, this is less of a problem.

While it would have been nice to have a little more time with FGO to bring you more comprehensive impressions, I was pleased with what I saw at this stage.

Family Guy Online will be entering its open beta soon. You can register for beta keys on their site.

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