When design team first sat down after the switch, we realised two things, the first was with the new engine we can refine all our previous ideas to be much more intuitive and streamlined. The second thing was that we now had to remake Fallout Equestria from the ground up. Needless to say, we were a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and the work ahead of us.
Now despite all the work, design team pressed on and decided to start right where the player did, Stable 2. We began writing up a document of all the things that would need made for Stable 2 to actually be finished, one of the things was character creation. Back in the GECK, one of the issues we found was that character creation would have been very difficult due to how the GECK handles models. However, with Unity we found that we could make a character creator of our very own, one that would actually work. When that got brought up so did a question, “do we allow the player to play as other races?”
We began thinking of ways to make this work, but also be fully balanced. The most obvious answer was to go the typical RPG route, unicorns being mages, pesasi being rogues/assassins, and earth ponies tanks/warriors. While this seems like a simple fix, we had to ask ourselves: “what reasons does the player have to choose any of these classes?” Unicorns and Pegasi were the most simple, “to use magic and to fly”, but what reason does one have to play as an earth pony? Many said “to role play”, a very good argument when dealing with a game so centered on role playing, but unfortunately this was not enough considering that would limit it to only people that already like the race. The next answer was “to play as the tank character”, another good answer but when competing with one class that can throw enemies around like rag dolls with their mind and another that can fly around dropping enough explosives on hostiles to bring a tear to any American’s eyes, this was again not enough.
We continued bouncing ideas around but at every turn the same problem came up, when dealing with the other two classes our fixes and attempts at making the classes balanced just came off as bad gimmicks to make earth ponies more fun to play as than they actually are. Now after all the brainstorming on how to make earth ponies fun, a few designers asked: “why do we even need a reason for people to choose to play as an earth pony, even if no one picks the class, why does it matter?” But the thing is is that it does matter, adding content for the sake of having content is just bad design. It causes your game to seem padded and uninspired, not to mention make balancing other mechanics more difficult. Which brought us to our final decision, if there was nothing to really make earth ponies fun to play as outside of role playing, then there is no real reason to have them.
Once was all said and done with earth ponies, we came to yet another problem, how to keep pegasi from being to overpowered? In game design, flight is almost always a designer's worst nightmare, because it is next to impossible to make flight fully balanced around a game not centered around flight. We came up with ideas like making the player more vulnerable when flying or only allow limited flight, but when dealing with an open world RPG like Fallout neither of them would do much in the way of keeping flight not over powered. Which brought us to our next unfortunate decision, to not include pegasi as a playable race.
That left the unicorns, this was a bit of a no brainer considering the main character in the story. However, limiting the player to only the unicorn race also allowed us to make the animators job much easier. With the other two races, one of the problems was camera cluttering when using mouth held weapons. Unicorns were not an issue since they had telekinesis to hold weapons. Limiting the player to the unicorn race also allowed us to focus on magic, and make it much more refined and fun, but also balanced. If we were to have the other two races as well, that would have meant that not only would be need to make the spells balanced between each other, but we would also have to keep the other playable races in mind as well every time we tried to design a new spell.
Of course there are other races aside from the three pony races as well, most notably the zebras and griffons. While there would be story related reasons you could bring up, in the end it comes down to mechanics and the races being fun to play and balanced between each other. The zebras are pretty much identical to the earth ponies mechanics-wise, so naturally leaving them out meant leaving out the zebras as well. Same goes for the griffons and pegasi due to their ability to fly, and where thus decided to not be included as a playable race.
While the said races won’t unfortunately be playable, rest assured that they will still be present in the game, so you will have plenty of chances to kill the representatives of your least favorite race.