Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane says he 'had to have somebody explain to me what the f*ck Fortnite is' before they could add Peter Griffin to the game

Peter Griffin from Family Guy strides purposefully towards the camera, while a gaggle of Fortnite characters do the "Bird is the Word" dance around him like he's some prophet come to portend the end of the world.
(Image credit: Epic)

Fortnite added Peter Griffin from Family Guy recently, and if you can push past the existential dread that sentence may give you, it's a no-brainer. Once a PvE co-op builder, Fortnite's battle royale game mode has long outgrown its humble roots and become an 'Oops! All Franchises' monolith.

But somehow, Seth MacFarlane had never heard of it. As discovered by IGN on the premiere of the Ted TV series (debuting on Peacock), MacFarlane did not know what Fortnite was when he was approached.

"I had to have somebody explain to me what the fuck Fortnite is," MacFarlane says—like a man discovering the McDonalds of an alien planet. "And then I said 'well that sounds kinda cool! Yeah, why not, let's do it.' That's a lot of what my career is, somebody explaining to me: 'how about this' and I say 'what's that?'"

I decided to absolutely decimate my YouTube recommendations for the foreseeable future by looking up whether Family Guy has made a Fortnite joke and, sure enough, there've been a couple of throwaway gags, one where Stewie says he's going to watch the older boys play Fortnite in an electronics store—and another where Joe says he "levelled up in Fortnite", which does sound like something someone who doesn't play Fortnite would say.

Granted, Seth MacFarlane doesn't write every episode of Family Guy—nobody deserves that—and the show itself occupies the territory of 'must reference current thing'. I completely believe him when he says the game passed him by. His admirable ambivalence to battle royales also manifests when he talks about Peter's muscular physique: "I was told that they didn't have the budget to create his actual body". 

Not to detract from the character's size, but the issue probably lies less with the rendering of Peter Griffin and more with how much the game's standard moveset would prove a clipping nightmare for his body. No developer team is going to create a whole set of new animations for one character, not even for Peter Griffin Fortnite.

Still, this is a pretty good measuring stick of how popular the game has become. While you might think snagging the licence to use a character in a game is hard—and you'd be right—it's staggering that Epic Games were able to approach MacFarlane and get him to agree to using one of his most recognisable characters, despite him having zero investment in the game whatsoever. Luckily, there is now a Family Guy.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.