FiMFlamFilosophy is a name a lot of bronies might be familiar with. He's the mind and voice behind The Mentally Advanced Series and Rainbow Dash Presents, one of the two big Friendship is Magic abridges series' and a semi-animated, goofy retelling of some of the fandom's more messed-up fanfics, respectively. TMAS is a bit of an acquired taste--it takes a little getting used to the fact that one guy is voicing all of the female characters, and the humor is so dry it could be used as kindling--and RBDP relies on quite a bit of outside knowledge of the fandom, but as a member of both target audiences, I highly recommend checking them out.
Recently, he's been playing through Pony Fantasy VI, an overhaul of my favorite game of all time, Final Fantasy VI (or III, on the SNES in America), only with the main cast replaced by ponies. Combining colorful pastel equines with the greatest JRPG of all time should be right up my alley, and yet the more I see, the more frustrated I'm getting. Ponies and FF6 were never going to fit all that well together, but for all the effort the game's creator obviously put into making custom sprites and rewriting tons of dialogue, time and again he seems to have forsaken chances at doing something clever in favor of pushing some obnoxious bit of fanon or referencing a meme.
It's frustrating to watch, but Flam's done a damned good job already going through the game and pointing out its flaws. No, I'm not interested in critiquing Pony Fantasy VI; I'm just curious if a good story could have been made out of it at all.
For you Philistines who haven't played Final Fantasy VI, here's as brief a recap as I can manage. A mysterious girl named Terra with magical powers unseen in over one thousand years is brainwashed into service of the evil Empire. An encounter with a creature frozen in ice--an esper--breaks the Empire's control, and she's quickly recruited into the Resistance, an alliance of rebels and free states dedicated to, well, resisting the Empire's advances. Eventually, the Emperor is betrayed by his insane right-hand-man, Kefka, who claims ultimate power, nearly destroys the world, and then rules what's left for awhile as an arbitrary and vengeful god.
That's the very, very broad strokes, of course. The meat of the game comes from its cast of characters and their individual journeys. There's Locke, the treasure hunter, whose carefree swagger masks a deep insecurity after failing to protect someone he loved. Celes, the former Imperial general, infused with magic as a child and raised to be a loyal and fearless soldier. Edgar and Sabin, the Princes of Figaro, and the fateful coin toss who decided which brother would take the throne and which would be free to live his own life. Even the characters you don't get to play are often memorable and compelling, like General Leo, the honorable and brave Imperial commander who stands against Kefka as an increasingly lonely voice of sanity and reason.
There's a lot going on. Trying to add ponies into this mix and make it actually work is a daunting task. So how would we go about it?
Again, I'm not interested in what Pony Fantasy VI did. We're taking this idea from scratch.
So, we've got our primary antagonists. We're building a ponified version of this game, and our goals are thus:
1) Cast existing villains/antagonists in roles that are the most appropriate for their canon personalities.
2) Casting should keep in mind the original characters' particular alliances and rivalries, given that they will be sharing scenes together.
3) Important primary and supporting roles should be given only to characters who are named and who have speaking roles on the show, with exceptions to be made for characters like Derpy who are widely recognizable even to casual fans.
So. Villains. Let's do this.
I think we've got a decent start, here. Next time, we discuss the heroes and the setting itself. Stay tuned.