Family Guy: Back To The Multiverse is an action adventure title, which was developed by Heavy Iron Studios. It was released in November 2012 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. However, over a year before its release, the company was also working on 3DS and Wii versions of the title.
In May 2011, Activision put Heavy Iron in charge of creating a new game, based on the hit TV series, Family Guy. Given the difference in power between the HD platforms and Nintendo’s 3DS and Wii systems, the developer was initially ordered to make two separate versions of the game. While the 360/PS3/PC game was a third person adventure game with shooter elements, the other took on an isometric perspective; not wholely dissimilar to Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff on iOS.
The Wii version of the game was being designed around the Wii remote and nunchuck, although did not make use of any of its unique features, such as the motion sensors or pointer. It was planned to be almost entirely identical to the 3DS version in terms of gameplay.
Whereas the shooting mechanics in the released HD title used a manually controlled reticule, the 3DS and Wii game used what one developer described to us as an “auto targeting system” instead, given the isometric camera view. This automatically locked on to potential targets within the immediate area to fire at with Stewie’s laser gun or Brian’s pistol.
According to one of the programmers on the Multiverse project we spoke to, the 3DS and Wii version were outlined to be otherwise “completely undifferentiated” in terms of story; even featuring the same dialogue and voice acting clips. It would have also included the two main playable characters of Brian and Stewie Griffin from the other version.
Playable prototype builds were created but shortly afterwards, the 3DS and Wii games were cancelled in August 2011, another developer told us.
“We stopped working on them around August. They weren’t that far along but both were up and running just fine. Everyone working on it was transitioned into working on the other version of it after that”
The same former Heavy Iron employee gave us two reasons for the projects’ demise.
“The Wii version was dropped first and then the 3DS one quickly after. I think it was a combination of them wanting us to focus on making one version of the game and growing concerns about how it would perform on those platforms”
Neither of the games ever received an official announcement prior to cancellation.