• My Little Pony Generation 5 - What We Know So Far & My Opinions (Editorial)

    The cat's out of the bag on this one, and now that they are actively joking about it at their preview events, I think it's time to drop my two cents on the matter. Pony is life after all, and the idea that pony life will be drastically changing in a few years is interesting... to say the least.

    We've learned a lot about their plans for the upcoming reboot, and while nothing is completely finalized yet, we have a pretty good grasp on what they are planning. Is this a good move for pony? Or are we about to hit a 3.5 level, Newborn Cuties dark age?

    Obviously my opinions, good or bad, will be all over this one. I need to exercise my editorial muscles with more than potential cartoon horse mares to date for Valentunes day after all!

    Head on down below!

    What We Know About the World

    So far, it sounds like the world for generation 5 is going to be one of their most complex yet in the My Little Pony franchise. They have a multi-dimensional hybrid plan set up where each tribe of ponies has their own separate plane, connected in some unexplained way so they can interact with one-another. Each one will be themed, and a lot of focus will be placed on trying to make the Earth pony zone more interesting as the tone of the postings seem to hint that they feel the race overall needs "something" to set it apart from their two counterparts.

    Along with this, it was briefly mentioned that they wanted to deal more with adventure and slightly darker themes to pander to a wider audience range. 

    World Opinion

    I love Equestria, and would really like to see more of it explored, but I can see the potential in a crazy idea like the one they are dropping in G5. Ponyland has slowly become more and more like Earth over time, and that has somewhat diminished it's charm for me. A rebooted world bringing us back to the roots with some potentially awesome lore about their shattered environment seems like it's absolutely filled with cool concepts they could run off of.

    Part of me is wary on a the idea of a "darker world" since the colorful beauty of our current one is one of the main reasons I love it so much, but I'm open to see what they come up with. It's not like we are going to end up with Dark Souls level skulls and blood pools everywhere, but having extra layers to explore opens up story opportunities FIM really couldn't delve too deeply into.

    How dark they will go remains to be seen. FiM overall has definitely ventured deeper and deeper into more adult oriented territory over the years. Starlight's season 6 two-parter went further than I ever thought this show would go. World is just a piece of the pie though, and their next change has a lot of people somewhat confused...

    What We Know About the Characters

    Concepts for the new characters have been flooding all over the internet these past few months, with multiple ideas popping up for what they will look like. They definitely seem to be looking at more complex models now that technology has caught up enough to easily and inexpensively animate such things. Fandom-side reactions in our comments and elsewhere seem to be split right down the middle on liking and disliking these new ideas. We've seen a LOT of fan art over the years take the base pony design and expand it into all sorts of wild new ideas, and this has made most of us pretty picky.

    So far, we know Twilight seems to be favoring moving toward being an earth pony, with Fluttershy picking up the unicorn slack. Pinkie Pie suddenly sprouted wings in the concept art even though the sentiment seemed to be focused on keeping her an earth pony, but having only one pegasus would be a little weird.

    Obviously none of these have been finalized yet, but it does give us an idea of the overall feel they are going for. Most of the Rainbow Dash models include much larger wings, and the classical lanky unicorn style is prevalent throughout in the Rarity and Fluttershy categories. Earth Ponies are much stockier in comparison.

    We've known since the first round of links back in December that Applejack would be getting a complete rework. They wanted to diversify the cast a bit more, and their choice to pick up a more city-oriented ebonics dialect for her has already been debated to death in the fandom. We can only guess at why they have decided to reboot her so thoroughly, but most people guess that little girls weren't too thrilled with buying farm equipment toys, and pulling in an extended audience that can relate better to a spunky city pony is more appealing for the future of their brand. 

    Characters Opinion

    This section is where I'm... less than enthusiastic. I really just don't understand the thought process here, and it feels like most of you agree with me based on the recent poll we ran. Names have been regularly recycled plenty throughout the lifetime of the My Little Pony brand. Rainbow Dash last generation was a fashionista who "always dresses in style" and looked completely different from her current form.

    This though? It's a weird change. To take ponies we've all grown attached to over the last decade, barely change their character models (and in some cases uglify them), but give them brand new personalities and backgrounds just seems... pointless I guess? If you stumbled upon any of those Rainbow Dash models up there in fan art, you'd immediately know who it was. Outside of Applejack, they aren't changing them at all on colors or mane/tail styles. Maybe Applejack will be the only one with a new VA and personality? Twilight's lack of horn means she really doesn't have a choice but to go through a massive transition to something else. I suppose their new earth pony magic concept could be explored more, but again, it just seems redundant.

    Even from a toy selling perspective, is it really wise to release the same characters for another decade? They will have slightly different molds sure, but is an old Twilight good enough for someone to represent the new one? I guess this would be solved by the idea that a new generation of kids would grow up and want merchandise of a new generation of pony, but for all the teenage and up fans out there that grew up with G4, I doubt many will want yet another Twilight Sparkle, even if she doesn't have a horn or wings.

    It feels like a brand new cast of main characters would have been much more interesting. Even branching outside of the Earth/Pegasus/Unicorn/Alicorn concept and including some more unique pony types would have met that diversity quota up there. Let the mane 6 rest and get us something new to buy. And I'm not just saying that because I really want a giant plushie of a bat pony with fluffy ears, leathery wings, and slit eyes~

    Again though, none of this is finalized completely. We could see brand new ponies added and a few of the ones above removed. I even got EG completely wrong with my first impression. The first dolls looked pretty terrible, but the minis were great and at least from my perspective seemed to be well loved. It just seems like a strange option to pick when so many good ideas on both a merchandising and storytelling standpoint were available to them.

    What We Know About the Movie

    With that, we come to the trigger for the reboot. A brand new, My Little Pony movie to help introduce our slightly changed mane cast and their vastly different world. While the actual episodic show that follows will be done in more traditional 2D animation, they are going all in with CGI for the film. It's understandable why they would aim in this direction. 3D movies are kind of "the thing" for theater releases, and many a studio has ramped up their ability to produce them due to the sudden huge demand.

    We don't know much else here, as things were still in the early planning stages. Character models and world weren't even decided on at this point.

    Movie Opinion

    I'm personally a little worried about the amount of time they have to pump this one out though. A complete revamp of a beloved franchise, re-designing assets from the ground up, plus a movie in two (maybe 3?) short years seems like a monumental task even for the people busting out 26 episodes of horse every year for the last decade.

    Coming from the world of MMORPGS, I've watched countless amazing ideas die horribly at the hands of corporate scheduling. Can something of this caliber be completed in time with the quality people expect? There is a TON of pressure to top Friendship is Magic after it's insane amount of success. Lauren Faust created something incredible here, from the super appealing design of the ponies to the lore they are built into... it's a lightning bolt many a company has tried and failed horribly at re-capturing ever since.

    The Overall

    In the end, these 6 in this style in that world are why I've been here for so long. Since their introduction, I and millions of others have been enamored with them. Lauren struck gold when she designed these the base pony model and flash style for the world. Everything about them and the place they come from is fun.

    I've seen countless fan art styles that found a way to take that design up there and improve it.  I've read piles of fanfics that thrust these 6 and plenty of other ponies into worlds completely unlike Equestria while making them even more interesting. The ability to do it is there, and on time tables that would make the movie I worried about above a piece of cake. Can the team working on generation 5 pull it off? I really hope so. Meghan McCarthy in particular seems like she really wants to create a worth successor based on what I've seen floating around the internet. Hopefully the same passion that stormed the world with Friendship is Magic is being riled up in the group of people working with her.