“Shinobi 7 primarily goes out and looks for licenses and makes games; Ninja Division publishes their games,” Ninja Division Partner and Sales and Marketing Director Deke Stella explained. “Ninja Division has always been really good friends with Alessio from River Horse. The opportunity for My Little Pony came out. Shinobi 7 made an arrangement with River Horse, because River Horse is European-based, for Shinobi 7 to be able to release the game in North America. Ninja Division does all the publishing and distribution for anything that Shinobi 7 does, so here we are with My Little Pony on its way.”
River Horse, formed in 2010 to market the games of Alessio Cavatore but expanding to take on additional game design roles, has experience in developing games based on licensed properties, including Terminator Genisys (see “’Terminator Genisys: The Miniatures Game’”) and Labyrinth (see “Jim Henson’s ‘Labyrinth’ Comes to Tabletop”). Art for the My Little Pony RPG comes from screen pulls from the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV show and art from Hasbro's My Little Pony artists.
Three initial SKUs are planned for March 2017 release:
My Little Pony: Tales of Equestria Core Rulebook, a 152-page full color hardcover.
Tokens of Friendship, 12 gemstones with a collector’s bag.
After these initial releases, new My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria products will be released on a quarterly basis.
We asked about miniatures to use with the game. “We currently have no comments on that,” Stella laughed. “We're starting out with the core rulebook, an adventure story set, and some gemstones, but River Horse is currently working on a big line for it. They have lots more exciting things that they're planning for it.”
We asked about the target audience, and Stella explained the gameplay style. “The target audience for the game is very much My Little Pony's core target audience, which is the tween demographic,” Stella said. “However, one of our goals with it is to make it accessible to everybody. It really focuses in on friendship, cooperation, things like that. It's a roleplaying game, but we're using the term a storytelling game. It's a light roleplaying mechanic.”
“It's designed to very much be something that you can enjoy with your families so that any age demographic can enjoy it,” he continued. “There's a lot of roleplaying games out there that are just a little bit too crunchy or their appeal is a little bit higher than what you might want to play with your kids.
River Horse very much wanted to focus in on the fun and adventure that the My Little Pony show has, so it's very much targeting that same group.”
That makes My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria one of the very few pen-and-paper RPGs appropriate for a kids audience (Monte Cook Games launched and continues to support the only other one that comes to mind, see “Two ‘No Thank You, Evil’ Expansions”).
There may be some light organized play for game stores. “Like with most roleplaying games, as far as organized play, what we'll probably look at is doing some game nights, some introductory adventures, and things like that, kind of light engagement stuff that makes it so that you can learn how to play a game at night with a group of people, that sort of thing,” Stella told us. “Since it is a cooperative storytelling game, there's not really a competitive edge or anything.”
Ninja Division is selling the game into the book channel, and expects a simultaneous launch in all channels.
For a preview of box images and interior rulebook pages see “Preview: 'My Little Pony' RPG.”)