What I mean by this is... will we ever see Lego pour the same passion and, well, budget into a toy line that could make it take off the way Bionicle did way back when, at least when it comes to construction figures?
Let's think about just how much Bionicle had going on when it began. Okay, so... you have the six main figures. All right, so we have our main heroes. Then you have the Turaga. Okay, now we have a source of exposition and myth-building, along with there now being twice as many masks as before. Then you have the "McToran". Okay, looking good! now the place feels populated. Then you have not only the main Rahi sets... but their combiner models. All right! That'll flesh things out a bit.
But then, on top of the actual sets, there were the comics, the CDs that came with the figures, AND probably most important of all... The Mata Nui Online game. In my opinion, this is what made Bionicle what it was. The guys at Templar studios not only made a fun game, but they managed to squeeze soooooo much lore into it, and they did a great job fleshing out the LIFE on the island, really giving Bionicle its identity. I must again refer to the McToran, who came in so many crazy color combinations that you were always meeting new faces. And some time later, came another very important contribution... the master builder 15-in-1 rahi set. This was a potluck of all the animals that appeared in the MNOG, along with a bunch of new ones, and this, along with all the previous Rahi, their combiners, the Toa, The Turaga, and the Matoran just made Bionicle EXPLODE. It was more than just a toy line, it was ALIVE. And in the years that followed, we'd see other stunning places like Metru Nui come to be, but I don't think such things would've been as likely to pass if Bionicle didn't begin the way it did.
Now, looking back... I don't think I've ever seen Lego produce anything else with that much life in it.
Well, to be fair, they do seem to have put a lot of passion into Legends of Chima... at least in terms of its world, if not the writing >shudder<... but in terms of buildable figures, well... I think you can see where this is going.
Okay, so, Bionicle- Toa, Turaga, Matoran, and a huge whopping pile of Rahi.
Hero Factory- Heroes, Villains, a hover ship, and a motorbike.
...Compared to the former, the launch of the latter was kind of a step down.
Granted, there was also a Hero Factory game, but all you really do in it is just shoot stuff over and over and over until the game itself loops. Aaaand then there's also the show, but... come on.
Iook, I don't want to give anybody the wrong idea. I don't hate Hero Factory. In fact, I really LIKE it as a toy line (most of the time. Brain Attack was.... ugh), but I could say the same thing about Bionicle. I could say the same thing about the Slizers, and the Roboriders. No matter what name they go by, I'll probably always enjoy Lego's construction figures. But none of them will resonate with me the way Bionicle did. And that's not just nostalgia talking. When you bought a Bionicle toy, you were also getting this whoooooole world to go along with it. It was an ADVENTURE! Compared to it, Hero Factory's world seems so small despite spanning almost as many planets as a Ratchet n' Clank game.
What I think made Bionicle resonate with kids of the time more than the Slizers did, and Hero Factory does now, is that it had a strong BASE. It had a great foundation to build upon, and that's why it sold, and GREW, as explosively as it did. Let's say it didn't have that... let's say it was just the six heroes, a few Rahi, no story, and that's it. Sure, the toys would've been cool, but the line wouldn't resonate like it did. It would be the same as the Slizers, Hero Factory and so on. Nifty toys, but that's it.
For some reason, the guys at lego just don't seem to have the same drive for the toys they're making now that they did at the turn of the millenium. I guess Bionicle was the sort of thing that could only happen once, and that's what makes it so enduring. That said, I think it's pretty safe to say Hero Factory won't go on forever. And whenever it goes, I hope Lego doesn't give up on buildable figures altogether. Not only that, but I hope to one day see them produce something that once again has that PASSION and life injected into it, something that really leaves a mark. And contrary to the title of this thread, I don't want it to be a Bionicle clone... just something that could stand as strongly as it did.