TRACEY JOHN

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MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC

PLATFORM iOS/Android

DEVELOPER/PUBLISHER Gameloft Auckland

ROLE Narrative Designer

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a city builder with fun mini-games based on the popular animated TV series by Hasbro.

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You can’t pick your fans, and it just goes to show that the writing is really amazing… It’s about bringing people together. And I think the show has done that for a lot of people.
— ASHLEIGH BALL, VOICE OF RAINBOW DASH & APPLEJACK, ON HAVING FANS OF ALL AGES
 
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CHALLENGE: WRITING FOR A DIVERSE AUDIENCE

Although My Little Pony was created for young girls, the franchise has attracted fans of all ages—including adult women ("Pegasisters") and adult men ("Bronies"). The challenge was to create a fun, accessible game for young children while also engaging older fans who've come to love these characters and the universe of Equestria. 

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RESEARCH: NO HORSIN' AROUND

In addition to working closely with Hasbro, I watched every episode of the show (thank you, Netflix), and conducted research by looking at previous Pony materials (tablet apps, fan sites) to get a sense of the characters and the stories, as well as what fans expected. 

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DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT PROCESS: BRONIES ACROSS THE WORLD

My New Zealand development team was 16 hours ahead of me while I was based in NYC; however, despite the extreme time zone difference, I worked late hours in order to coordinate with the team and work together in real-time. I worked closely with the lead game designers to design the macro objectives based on the premise of the first few episodes of Season 1 (which pit the ponies against the evil mare Nightmare Moon). I also wrote the dialogue, quest text, Pony bios, and item descriptions.

Additionally, I composed the voice-over script for the cutscenes and character barks, which utilized the show's voice actors (the ultimate fan service!). We also tested the game with fans—young and old alike—to get feedback on the gameplay mechanics and in-game text, which is how we were able to implement the voice-over to help younger players understand how to play the game.

 
There are many features to love... the voice-acting, the high-quality graphics, the city builder gameplay, and the inclusion of mini-games. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.
— 148 Apps REVIEW
 
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