MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC
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.
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.
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.
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.