I’m not altogether sure I enjoy it when something which once caused astounded pointing and giggling later becomes An Actual Real Thing. Case in a point, I’ve got a sneaking feeling I’m going to enjoy Them’s Fighting Herds a lot less once it’s a fully-functioning fighting game installed on my hard drive than I did when it was but a totally unexpected video of suspiciously My Little Ponylike toonimals with football-sized eyes kicking seven bells out of each other.
(Oh, and before you start chanting “four legs good, but only when officially-licensed by Hasbro”, bear in mind that the art design is by the showrunner of the MLP: Friendship Is Magic series.)
It’s due out in less than three weeks, and there’s another one of those ‘this is unbelievable / I can’t believe no-one’s done this before’ trailer to remind us that mortal enmity is magic too.
Accusing Them’s Fighting Herds of a blatant pony inspiration isn’t simply a matter of clocking the characters’ giant peepers and the involvement of aforementioned Friendship Is Magic boss Lauren Faust, by the way. It began life as an unofficial My Little Pony fan-game, entitled Fighting Is Magic, but a hasty rethink was required once Ian Hasbro came a’knocking.
With over half a million dollars racked up via IndieGoGo back in 2015, the involvement of Humble as a publisher and a couple of years added to the originally-estimated release date, these more pan-quadroped hooves of death will become a reality towards the end end of this month.
I am weighing up whether or not to traumatise my Twilight Sparkle-obsessed niece with that. Fortunately my own daughter is worryingly into the idea of cartoon animals fighting, so she’ll be cool with it.
Obviously there’s a big multiplayer element to the game, but for singleplayer it’s going further than the usual loosely-linked AI battles. There’s an overworld you can explore, chat to NPCs and choose costume options in, and looks like a very light version of the sort of RPG elements you’d see in a Pokemon game.
Worth noting that this element of the game isn’t going to be finished in time for launch, with the story mode to be completed via free, post-release free updates. Other fighters will be sold as DLC.
Oh, and it’s formed an alliance of sorts with a few other cute-o’punch-’em-ups, Skullgirls, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 and Blazblue Centralfiction. If you own any of those, you’ll unlock bonus outfits and hairstyles for your murderous mammals.