Them’s Fightin’ Herds began in 2011 as a fan-made fighting game called My Little Pony: Fighting is Magic. The project was shut down by Hasbro’s lawyers in 2013, only to return in 2015 with a new name and original characters designed by My Little Pony series creator Lauren Faust. On April 2, the four-legged fighter finally launches out of Early Access on Steam. April 2 While a lot has changed, it’s still a My Little Pony game at heart.
It’s been one hell of a ride for Them’s Fightin’ Herds. Over the course of nine years it has transformed from a fan project cobbled together in 2D Fighter Maker 2002 to a full-fledged original fighting game running on Lab Zero Games’ Skullgirls engine. When Hasbro’s cease and desist kept developer Mane6 from letting My Little Pony characters Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Rarity do battle, Friendship is Magic’s creator stepped in and gave them six new four-legged friends “inspired by” the popular ponies.
Arizona the cow, Velvet the deer, Oleander the unicorn, Paprika the alpaca, Pom the sheep, and Tianhuo the half-horse, half-dragon are not Hasbro characters at all. Only one of them is a full-blooded pony. Any similarities to the personalities of My Little Pony’s main characters is purely coincidental. On purpose. Shhhh.
Them’s Fightin’ Herds has been in early access since 2018, racking up a slew of very positive reviews on Steam. With only six characters to juggle, it’s very well-balanced and a ton of fun to play. It’s got animated online lobbies, a nice tutorial, and a store where players can shop for clothing for their lobby avatars. The 1.0 release, being published on Steam on April 2 by Humble Bundle, adds the beginning of an episodic story mode that will no doubt further distance its fiction from that of any hypothetical Hasbro property.
It does my heart good to see a fan project come to fruition, especially one I’ve been closely following for the better part of a decade.