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Fighting is Magic
Fightingismagic
Developer Mane6
Designer Nappy

Prominence
Jay

Artist Leedin

Anukan
Lauren Faust

Composer RainbowCrash88

DJ Derpy Hooves
Ken McGill

My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic is a two dimesional fighting game that utilizes a gaming engine similar to the one used in Street Fighter. The production of the game was led designed by Nappy, Prominence, Jay, while the artwork was drawn by Leedin and Anukan, while the music was composed by RainbowCrash88 and DJ Derpy Hooves, all part of what they call, "Mane6".

While the development of the game lasted for almost two years and attracted attention from venues such as Evolution Championship Series, none of their works were granted authorization by Hasbro. This lack of legal control would later bite them back two years after development had begun.

Concept and Development

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Mock-up art that begun the discussion of a Pony Fighting Game.

The intentions of the original game were to feature the entire Mane 6 cast[1], along with what appears to be 11 more players. All moves from the alpha builds had unique character moves by pony. Initially developed as a multiplayer game only, the development eventually expanded to include single player modes, alongside a story mode. The stages themselves were to represent places in Equestria, such as Sweet Apple Acres, Cloudsdale, and Twilight's Library.

443

SCOOTABUSE DENIED!

It is very common for one of the brony fandom to parody other commercial works using characters and sequences from the show, and this game was to lightly follow that vision. One member of the team, Anukan, prior to the development of the game itself, designed images of a hypothetical "Marevel vs. Clopcom" game, which later became the origin of the idea[2]. However, the concept became very popular in the game, enough to actually get a thread on 4chan's /v/ board surrounding the discussion of it archived. Anukan eventually teamed up wih Nappy, discussing the potential of such a hypothetical game. Soon enough, members such as Lucas, Prominence, James Workman, all found themselves involved in a development team known as Mane6.

"Fighter Maker" Engine

Despite their admitted lack of experience of designing a two-dimensional fighting game, the team worked around the fighting engine to include features of their own, including the "bounce effect" when moves are effective[3]. The team initially aimed for a simple three button fighting game due to the large-scale effort that would be performed on simply the animation tweens themselves. Further considerations on the game led to the expansion of a six button fighter - three normal moves, three special moves, and a group of unique combo moves that could be executed when the EX meter was full.

Capture

Fluttershy's title card. Note that she is the only pony in the game tagged with a secondary character.

At the planning of the Mane6 beta release, it was planned the inclusion of all six of the main characters from the show, thus giving time for the aforementioned inclusion of secondary and background characters that would later fill up the 17 spaces in the roster. The mane 6 characters would also hold special items that would often be seen with them in the show. Twilight, for example, would be carrying a book, while Rarity would be seen with a silk cloth, and Pinkie pie, in the hammerspace would launch her party cannon as an external weapon, and Fluttershy, the timid one, would assist in attacks with her and companions and fight indirectly instead. Overall, the team has promised to keep the nature of the character's fighting moves within similar nature of the show.

Non-bipedal Postures

The animation tweens themselves, while not direct exports of flash files, were designed in adobe flash as animated vectors where they were exported as individual bitmap frames to be compatible for the game's engine. The team has mentioned previously that the non-bipedal posture had proven to be yet another difficult workaround to the development of the game due to the fact that the infliction of attacks had to be emphasized with the use of sparks and other cosmetic features to undergo trial-and-error. The other obstacle the team had to work about in the engine was the placement of hitboxes, which were more horizontal than vertical as would be the case in human or humanlike characters to model attacks correctly.

Rise of Popularity

Threadxiii

Anukan's 13th /collab/ thread - the final one before the cease and desist letter.

The project itself had spread attention to major news outlets of the MLP fan community, including Equestria Daily, Equestria Forums, Equestria Gaming, 4chan's /co/ and /v/, Ponychan, Reddit's /r/MyLittlePony, and and later, a dedicated subreddit on the game called, /r/FightingIsMagic. The spreading of this attention had mainly begun with a pre-alpha release showing off a two player battle with two Applejack players. The team also opened a wiki here on wikia giving detail on the game's progress[4].

One of the most peculiar contributions, specifically, was the soundtrack. RainbowCrash88, known for his 8-bit remixes of the show, had composed the vast majority of the game's soundtrack, using instruments ranging from the vibraphone to the banjo, to the electric guitar, both lead and rhythm[5]. The soundtrack of the game, notably the Twilight Sparkle Theme, has been voted in the top ten brony music soundtracks of 2011.


MLP Fighting is Magic Combo Exhibition07:42

MLP Fighting is Magic Combo Exhibition

Beta Leak

On August 2, 2012, an anonymous user of /mlp/ had created a thread claiming that he had a leaked build of Fighting is Magic that he likely snuck on a flash drive during one of the convention's Q&A panel. The response was led with skepticism, but was later revealed to be a legitimate build of the game. The beta build had spread in various outlets before Mane6 and Equestria Daily ultimately caught wind of it.

They initially responded with a harsh lockdown of public updates, including the termination of the QA program and the refusal to host any future convention panels. The following day, they revised their response to return their promise of attending convention panels and use the feedback of this leak as constructive criticism to improve their fighting simulator. Developers, on this same day, have reportedly been seen engaging in online matches with other curious gamers.

Legal Consequences

While this game was entirely an unlicensed work of Hasbro's intellectual property, the Dev Team had hoped that Hasbro would let the game slide away from legal troubles, just like they did with the majority of the "brony" phenonmenon that branched from the internet remix culture. As stated through many interviews with Hasbro Representatives back in 2011, they had no intentions of filing takedown notices as they sought this as "Free Advertising and Spreading". On top of these statements, Mane6 has always remained non-profit, and has not taken any monetary donations for their free release of a game. The game features light cartoon violence, however, doesn't show any gore or blood, seeing as they wanted to keep it in the vision of the show. 

Cease and Desist

Announcementofcd

Announcement of the Cease and Desist letter.

On February 8th, 2013, shortly following the game's showcasing at the Evolution Championship Series (EVO)[6], the Mane6 had announced that they had received a cease and desist letter from a lawyer representing Hasbro, and according to the developers, was filed a few weeks before their planned release of the initial version of the game. The team immediately took down all of Hasbro's intellectual property from their site and shut down development, as demanded in the letter, while Elosande had departed from the game's development. After seeking legal advice to fight the Cease and Desist letter, their response that while the results might not be in their favor, the legal battle would also be very expensive[7].

New Direction

Manesix

Lauren Faust's public offer.

On the same night of the legal shutdown, Lauren Faust herself reached out to the Dev Team publicly on Twitter, and on that same night, offered new and original characters to replace Hasbro's assets being used in the game[8]. Jay Wright, one of the developers, called Lauren Faust on Skype, where she explained, "I'm willing to give you guys some time every week to work on these." On March 1st, the team announced that they were ceasing any legal negotiations with hasbro and announced the introduction of Lauren Faust herself to the team. Francisco Copado, another developer commented, "As far as we know, we're the first fighter game with a cast that is composed mainly of four-legged fighters, and everything that implies graphically and mechanically."


Previewsilhouette all

Silhouette sneak previews leaked by the Mane6.


Mane6 later endorsed a campaign to switch their game's engine to fund for the game engine, titled "Z-Engine" of Lab Zero, the same developers of Skullgirls[9]. The team set their goal initially to $150,000 to fund the license on March 21st with the deadline at March 27th. Within four days of the campaign, the game had already received over $650,000 in funds, and the Mane6 challenged the bronies to crowdfund it to $725,000. On the final day of the deadline, the goal was reached a total of $829,049. It must be highlited, however, that these funds are for the goal to "Keep Skullgirls Growing", and the Mane6 were not associated with the campaign[10]. It only raises their chances of receiving the engine for free. On March 30th, the team received the new "Z-Engine" offered by Skullgirls.

On April 23rd, it was announced that while the team is not actively looking into team expansion, they likely will in the future[11].

External Links

  1. http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111190-My-Little-Ponies-Throw-Down-in-Fan-Made-Fighter
  2. http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-most-unlikely-fighter-youve-never-heard-of-6402004/?page=1
  3. http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-most-unlikely-fighter-youve-never-heard-of-6402004/?page=1
  4. http://fightingismagic.wikia.com/wiki/My_Little_Pony:_Fighting_is_Magic_Wiki
  5. http://www.youtube.com/user/RainbowCrash88
  6. http://www.capsulecomputers.asia/2013/01/my-little-pony-fighting-is-magic-will-be-part-of-evo-2013/
  7. http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/4/23/4252660/friendship-really-is-magic
  8. https://twitter.com/Fyre_flye/statuses/300098640150687744
  9. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/keep-skullgirls-growing
  10. http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4118064/lab-zero-games-to-donate-engine-to-mlp-fighting-is-magic-if
  11. http://www.mane6.com/2013/04/polygon-article-and-general-update.html

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