Them’s Fightin’ Herds Is a Triumph for Fan Games

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Them’s Fightin’ Herds went from a free My Little Pony fan game to its own widely released game. Other fan creators should be inspired by this success.


The indie fighting game Them’s Fightin’ Herds has gained enough popularity to be featured at events like Combo Breaker and was even part of EVO in 2021. While the game is no Street Fighter or Tekken, this is still a significant level of success for a game that once started out as a fan production. Originally, Them’s Fightin’ Herds started out as a fan-made fighting game based on My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. In fact, developer Mane6’s name is a reference to the six main ponies from the show on which the original game build was based.


Even the original version of Them’s Fightin’ Herds, titled Fighting is Magic, had gained a lot of positive attention before Hasbro sent Mane6 a cease and desist, and they were forced to change course. Luckily, with fan momentum behind them, Mane6 was able to remake the game into their own original IP while keeping the unique nature of a fighting game involving non-humanoid creatures. The game’s recent wider release on consoles just goes to show how successful it has been. Them’s Fightin’ Herds should serve as a source of inspiration for other fan projects as to just how far they can go.

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Them’s Fightin’ Herds Grew Beyond Its Origins

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Fighting is Magic game compared to Them's Fightin' Herds

Many fan games would likely see an official cease and desist as the end of the road. Luckily, Mane6 had enough support to continue developing the game, including from some unlikely sources. My Little Pony Friendship is Magic‘s creator, Lauren Faust actually helped Mane6 design all new characters who fit the same general spirit of the original fighters, but without infringing on Hasbro’s IP. Accomplished voice actor and My Little Pony alum Tara Strong is also involved with Them’s Fightin’ Herds as the voice of Arizona the cow. This involvement from members of the show helped Them’s Fightin’ Herds create its own identity while keeping the support of My Little Pony fans.

The physical release of Them’s Fightin’ Herds in October 2022 is another testament to the game’s success. Physical releases increase the exposure a game can get as players can find it on shelves at GameStop as well as online. Few fan games that start as free downloads ever reach this point, but it’s great to see that it is possible. In fact, more fans with an interest in game development may be inspired to create their own games knowing that it could lead to this level of success.

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Them’s Fightin’ Herds Can Be an Inspiration for Future Fan Games

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Fan-made games are usually a labor of love and creators likely don’t expect acknowledgment from the inspiring show’s cast and creators. However, Them’s Fightin’ Herds clearly proves that it is possible to not only get attention from the original creators, but it’s even possible to get them involved in the game’s development. The title also received a lot of crowdfunding from donors on Indiegogo, showing how much a fan base can accomplish when working together. The support Mane6 received from both fans and people involved with My Little Pony proves just how far fan projects can go if well-received.

There are obviously barriers that all fan games will have to face throughout their development. Many of them will also receive cease and desist orders if they achieve the same level of popularity as Fighting Is Magic did. However, indie developers can look to Them’s Fightin’ Herds as a blueprint of how fan support can be used to get attention for their own creative ideas. If the games are as well-liked as Mane6’s original build, then these developers can find similar success in redesigning what was originally a fan game into an original title.



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