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Will we ever see another "Bionicle"?

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#81 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 09:02 AM

 

I'm not sure that one medium could contain that yinourmus complex story Bionicle had. A centralized medium generally means a reduction in complexity. 

 

Now, granted, the "new Bionicle" could have a TV show, then serials or books to expand on it like HF, but that wouldn't be as inherently complex and full of mystery because of the need to "cut around" the details in the books/serials for the TV show viewers. 

Good- too much complexity was the problem with BIONICLE.

 

 

The way I see it, Bionicle is like a tree. As I've said in previous posts, there was a simple, basic plot at the root of it all. There were just a lot of other plot threads branching off on their own that added to it. You didn't NEED to read something like Federation of Fear or Brothers in arms to understand what the Toa Nuva were doing in the three books that were released that year. It was just there, and there is nothing wrong with that.


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#82 Online DeeVee

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Posted Dec 24 2013 - 06:41 PM

 

 

I'm not sure that one medium could contain that yinourmus complex story Bionicle had. A centralized medium generally means a reduction in complexity. 

 

Now, granted, the "new Bionicle" could have a TV show, then serials or books to expand on it like HF, but that wouldn't be as inherently complex and full of mystery because of the need to "cut around" the details in the books/serials for the TV show viewers. 

Good- too much complexity was the problem with BIONICLE.

 

 

The way I see it, Bionicle is like a tree. As I've said in previous posts, there was a simple, basic plot at the root of it all. There were just a lot of other plot threads branching off on their own that added to it. You didn't NEED to read something like Federation of Fear or Brothers in arms to understand what the Toa Nuva were doing in the three books that were released that year. It was just there, and there is nothing wrong with that.

 

You're right, there is nothing wrong with that, the problem was that, as has been mentioned before in this thread, is that the cast list was too big, the backstory was too enormous, too all-over-the-place, and too spread out via various media. And even in the books, which we've established was where most of the central plot really existed, characters would pop in and out with no explanations or descriptions or any acknowledgment of who they were or where they were from or if they had been a toy or whatnot, you know? It got to a point where the toys would be a set of characters from that year, and the story revolved around them, but there would be all this backstory from prior years in the books and things that made it intimidatingly hard to get into as a new fan. Many members here did it successfully- but you are all the committed fans, and are not the norm. As TLG has pointed out constantly and consistently, the deep story was a plus, but its complexity lost sales and frustrated newer fans.

Many people keep asking for that kind of storytelling to reappear, but it will not happen, as successes like Ninjago and Chima show. TLG -did- learn from their mistakes with BIONICLE, and they learned them really, really well.


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#83 Offline Makaru

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Posted Dec 28 2013 - 03:44 AM

Step 1: Murdering all the characters you grew up with and loved only ever works for Transformers. Dark and gritty may work for the original fans, but is incredibly detrimental in getting young kids, AKA the buying market.


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#84 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 29 2013 - 08:16 AM

Step 1: Murdering all the characters you grew up with and loved only ever works for Transformers. Dark and gritty may work for the original fans, but is incredibly detrimental in getting young kids, AKA the buying market.

 

What are you talking about? Matoro? Not that many characters died.


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#85 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 29 2013 - 06:01 PM

Step 1: Murdering all the characters you grew up with and loved only ever works for Transformers. Dark and gritty may work for the original fans, but is incredibly detrimental in getting young kids, AKA the buying market.

 
What are you talking about? Matoro? Not that many characters died.

Well, there were a number of character deaths in the serials, but a lot of those characters (Karzahni, Botar, etc.) were not extremely important to the story even when they were new and performed a useful marketing function. Killing off such characters is sometimes superfluous, but it hardly creates major problems with regard to sales.

Matoro's death was not a problem from my perspective. It was treated with the appropriate amount of gravity, after all. And since he probably would have faded into nigh-insignificance otherwise, it's not like a lot of story potential was wasted.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Dec 29 2013 - 06:05 PM.

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#86 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 29 2013 - 07:07 PM

 

 

Step 1: Murdering all the characters you grew up with and loved only ever works for Transformers. Dark and gritty may work for the original fans, but is incredibly detrimental in getting young kids, AKA the buying market.

 
What are you talking about? Matoro? Not that many characters died.

 

Well, there were a number of character deaths in the serials, but a lot of those characters (Karzahni, Botar, etc.) were not extremely important to the story even when they were new and performed a useful marketing function. Killing off such characters is sometimes superfluous, but it hardly creates major problems with regard to sales.

Matoro's death was not a problem from my perspective. It was treated with the appropriate amount of gravity, after all. And since he probably would have faded into nigh-insignificance otherwise, it's not like a lot of story potential was wasted.

 

 

I know. I agree with everything you just said.


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#87 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Dec 29 2013 - 08:45 PM

Step 1: Murdering all the characters you grew up with and loved only ever works for Transformers. Dark and gritty may work for the original fans, but is incredibly detrimental in getting young kids, AKA the buying market.

 
What are you talking about? Matoro? Not that many characters died.

Well, there were a number of character deaths in the serials, but a lot of those characters (Karzahni, Botar, etc.) were not extremely important to the story even when they were new and performed a useful marketing function. Killing off such characters is sometimes superfluous, but it hardly creates major problems with regard to sales.

Matoro's death was not a problem from my perspective. It was treated with the appropriate amount of gravity, after all. And since he probably would have faded into nigh-insignificance otherwise, it's not like a lot of story potential was wasted.

 
I know. I agree with everything you just said.


Lhikan died, but he was essentially introduced for that purpose. Carapar also died, but that was years after he left store shelves and a place of prominence in the story. So yeah, while Bionicle may have at least been starting to develop a problem when it came to killing off characters once they ceased to be relevant, that was far from a cause of its declining audience and sales.

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#88 Offline Damaracx Caratas Xarian

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 01:04 AM

Alright it took me a few seconds, but I think I can already tell you an excellent reason why we might not and how we could get another Bionicle.  The answer is quite simplistic, really.

    Those of you who have been anime fans might comprehend the comparison I'm you are about to receive.  Remember when you were younger and stopped watching anime like Pokemon and Digimon (Along with all the other corresponding ripoffs of ripoffs) and moved on to PG-13 anime(come on, we all did this at a relatively young age.)?  Both had outstanding action, but the latter kept that while simultaneously creating a rather more enigmatic and darker plot.  The same goes for a Hero Factory and Bionicle comparison and this is because Bionicle was produced for an older audience which allowed Lego to create a more intricate and more sinister plot that only the audience it was specifically dedicated to and older could conceive.

    At one point in time Lego understood what a difficult conundrum it was to make a toy-line with a plot that would simultaneously appeal to the twain younger and older audiences (and lets face it; this is difficult.  Bionicle in a way accomplished this and a few other story-sagas I can think of (Such as Avatar:  The Last Air Bender) did, however others that tried usually failed miserably (I'm looking at you some of the movies in the genre under the appellation "Children and The Family" and your obnoxious pop-culture references)), however they soon forgot and as of a result we got HF.  Don't get me wrong about what I think of HF.  I love it.  It's not the next Bionicle, but I feel this because it was not meant to be considered as such.  It has its own unique story-line and there for it personally HF didn't feel like a replacement.

So, as a conclusion the only way we'll get another Bionicle is if Lego decides to make the decision it made with Bionicle; to create a story-line that was dedicated to pre-teens and beyond.


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#89 Offline Adventurer

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 02:53 AM

I think a lot of the specialness of Bionicle for us is due to nostalgia goggles - but that being said it was still wildly successful and long running. I haven't been following the storylines of HF or Ninjango particuarly closely (outside of playing with the sets and watching the TV sets with my little brother :P ) but I have a feeling TLC took the attributes they thought made Bionicle successul and tried to incorporate them into their future projects. Attributes such as an extensive lore and a well built world, unique and distinct characters, heavily stylised visual themes and spreading the franchise across many forms of media. I think Bionicle recieved a lot of its "passion" from them due to the fact it was successful and they decided to keep running with it. In the same way RoboRiders and Slizers led to Bionicle, Bionicle has led to these current lines. Difference is - we now have multiple lines with extensivesly made charcaters, storys and media extras so perhaps rather than just seeing the success of one franchise and running with it - they've decided to try different versions of what made Bionicle successul. Such a decision would probably broaden their market, increase their chances of success and allow for my experimentation as to what is successful and what is not.

 

 I don't think TLC will want to put all their eggs in one basket though and have only one such franchise like we moreorless (*with few exceptions) during the Bionicle era - rather they're spreading their efforts in that department across these multiple projects for the aforementioned reasons. Personally I feel like Chima is my favourite of these new lines and I hope they keep the momentum going with it because it has a lot of potential. :)


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#90 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 08:21 AM

Well, as I've said... what, twice now? I think Ninjago is great. I think it's Lego's best show. It's playful, but it's also pretty smart. Seeing how that turned out, I was excited to see Legends of Chima.

 

....yeah, I'm sure you guys can see how badly they've screwed that up.

 

honestly, seeing what Lego CAN do, how well they CAN make something engaging, I don't understand why they make things like Hero Factory and Chima so... well... stupid. That's what bugs me about these productions. Because I know they CAN do so much more, and kids will clearly still like it, but for some reason, they insist on marginalizing their demographic by trying to ONLY appeal to little kids, even though Lego is supposedly something for all ages to enjoy, whether you're four or forty.


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Dec 30 2013 - 08:22 AM.

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#91 Offline bonesiii

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 11:40 AM

Legends of Chima.

 

....yeah, I'm sure you guys can see how badly they've screwed that up.

 

honestly, seeing what Lego CAN do, how well they CAN make something engaging, I don't understand why they make things like Hero Factory and Chima so... well... stupid.

Actually I'm not so sure it's as obvious what you mean as you may think -- I'm curious if you could explain? Not just for you but me too 'cuz I've felt there's something not quite there with Chima but haven't been able to put my finger on it yet. I mean, it's good worldbuilding (though I think now I'm pretty satisfied with the world as-is and wouldn't feel much reason to see it expand... but we'll see), some good characterization (at least the central plot was good), and a cool idea of the Chi and stuff. But somewhere along the lines it somehow seems to be missing something and not sure what.

 

I wouldn't call it "stupid" though, it just seems aimed younger than Ninjago by a bit. Same with HF; I feel like it's alright for what it does, but it's more for the younger side of the target audience. There's definitely something that I feel both Ninjago and Bionicle have/had that the other two don't. But we do also have to keep in mind taste -- it may be that you and I (or maybe there's differences there too) are in one taste group and others may feel differently, regardless of age.

 

As for how they can make different stories, well, they can be aimed at different tastes, ages, etc., or can be handled by different people with their own different tastes, and part of it is just if you're going to tell a variety of stories, that increases the likelihood that one or two will "hit" with certain people, but also means some won't. (And they might end up not working if the ones who like it prove too small in number.)


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#92 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 01:46 PM

Well... in my opinion, most of the characters in Chima are morons. It's as simple as that. Any conflict that arises could easily be solved if they didn't make it hard. They make bad decisions left and right and bad developments are drawn out to keep the story going because they can't seem to make a better story.

 

I mean, something like Cragger's sister entrancing him with the flower was a cool idea... but that's the sort of thing that should only go on for a little while, like, two episodes at most. But every time I check out an episode out of curiosity, it's the same ol' thing. Bad decisions, inept characters, cringe-worthy plot.

 

But, again... that's just what the show looks like to me. Of course there are bound to be kids who love Chima, but only because... well... they're kids.

 

I see Ninjago as a standard that they SHOULD try to meet with their other cartoons. It isn't really anything that special, but it's entertaining because, well, it isn't as overwhelmingly childish as Chima and Hero Factory are. It isn't so dark and gritty that kids won't enjoy it, but it isn't so dumb that it fails to draw older guys like me in, either. It's just right. Again, I really don't understand why they can't make those shows as intelligent or witty as Ninjago.


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#93 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 03:26 PM

Alright it took me a few seconds, but I think I can already tell you an excellent reason why we might not and how we could get another Bionicle.  The answer is quite simplistic, really.
    Those of you who have been anime fans might comprehend the comparison I'm you are about to receive.  Remember when you were younger and stopped watching anime like Pokemon and Digimon (Along with all the other corresponding ripoffs of ripoffs) and moved on to PG-13 anime(come on, we all did this at a relatively young age.)?  Both had outstanding action, but the latter kept that while simultaneously creating a rather more enigmatic and darker plot.  The same goes for a Hero Factory and Bionicle comparison and this is because Bionicle was produced for an older audience which allowed Lego to create a more intricate and more sinister plot that only the audience it was specifically dedicated to and older could conceive.
    At one point in time Lego understood what a difficult conundrum it was to make a toy-line with a plot that would simultaneously appeal to the twain younger and older audiences (and lets face it; this is difficult.  Bionicle in a way accomplished this and a few other story-sagas I can think of (Such as Avatar:  The Last Air Bender) did, however others that tried usually failed miserably (I'm looking at you some of the movies in the genre under the appellation "Children and The Family" and your obnoxious pop-culture references)), however they soon forgot and as of a result we got HF.  Don't get me wrong about what I think of HF.  I love it.  It's not the next Bionicle, but I feel this because it was not meant to be considered as such.  It has its own unique story-line and there for it personally HF didn't feel like a replacement.
So, as a conclusion the only way we'll get another Bionicle is if Lego decides to make the decision it made with Bionicle; to create a story-line that was dedicated to pre-teens and beyond.

The problem with this idea is that Lego actively tried to do that multiple times during Bionicle's run. 2005, 2006, and 2007 all represented the franchise getting progressively darker and more mature, and it absolutely did not pay off in greater sales.

As for trying to reboot it (or create a similar replacement) for an older audience now, it'd be a fool's errand. There is no money in trying to win back the fans of Bionicle, many of whom by now have moved on either to other Lego themes or away from Lego entirely. And I honestly doubt Hero Factory and Bionicle could effectively run alongside each other—as different as they are, they're just too similar, both essentially telling stories of sci-fi mechanical heroes with elemental powers fighting evil. They'd cut into each others sales, and potentially create brand confusion on top of that. If something is to run alongside HF, it'd have to be something vastly different, like the Chima constraction figures or the Knight's Kingdom figures that ran alongside Bionicle. Those both are not only aimed at different audiences, but are different genres, and have different sorts of figures and characters.

 

Anyway, Hero Factory is still aimed pretty squarely at the same demographic Bionicle was: pre-teens to teenagers (the fact that Bionicle attracted a small periphery demographic of older fans is irrelevant, and that applies equally to Hero Factory anyway). The difference is that todays teens and pre-teens are not the same audience as the teens and pre-teens of 2001, and that Bionicle's ever-expanding mythos proved to be an unsustainable sales strategy in the long run.


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#94 Offline fishers64

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 03:48 PM

Anyway, Hero Factory is still aimed pretty squarely at the same demographic Bionicle was: pre-teens to teenagers (the fact that Bionicle attracted a small periphery demographic of older fans is irrelevant, and that applies equally to Hero Factory anyway). The difference is that todays teens and pre-teens are not the same audience as the teens and pre-teens of 2001, and that Bionicle's ever-expanding mythos proved to be an unsustainable sales strategy in the long run.

 

Now I don't buy this. Hero Factory is aimed at a lower audience than Bionicle, at least in terms of the kiddy storyline/jokes/simplistic-er builds. 


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#95 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 04:17 PM

Anyway, Hero Factory is still aimed pretty squarely at the same demographic Bionicle was: pre-teens to teenagers (the fact that Bionicle attracted a small periphery demographic of older fans is irrelevant, and that applies equally to Hero Factory anyway). The difference is that todays teens and pre-teens are not the same audience as the teens and pre-teens of 2001, and that Bionicle's ever-expanding mythos proved to be an unsustainable sales strategy in the long run.

Now I don't buy this. Hero Factory is aimed at a lower audience than Bionicle, at least in terms of the kiddy storyline/jokes/simplistic-er builds.

Just because the two themes managed to hit different demographics doesn't mean they are aimed at different demographics. BIONICLE's aim just didn't hit its mark as consistently. Needless to say, both themes' stories are intended to appeal to the same demographic as the toys, since the story exists to advertise the toys. And most Hero Factory sets are barely any different from similar-sized BIONICLE sets when it comes to their recommended age range. At most, there's a year difference in the minimum recommended age for a small Hero Factory set and a small BIONICLE set.

Also, for the most part, Hero Factory sets don't actually have more simplistic builds than BIONICLE sets. They have a similar level of complexity in a lot of ways and even more complexity in others.
  • Each section of a Hero Factory limb tends to have a separate shell and beam, unlike a lot of BIONICLE lower limb beams where the limb segment and the armor would be a single piece.
  • Some Hero Factory sets even have an additional detail piece on top of the shell to serve as shoulder armor, whereas BIONICLE would have specialized shells to cover both the arm AND the shoulder.
  • Hero Factory also tends to have more diverse builds, with fewer "clone sets" and more diverse armor layouts even among sets with the same basic body structure. It does not frequently tend to create "artificial diversity" by introducing new parts that perform the same function as existing parts.
  • Several Hero Factory sets include action features (including, in three sets, a gear function). None of these other than basic launcher functions rely on specialized elements, unlike most action features in BIONICLE.
  • Only two BIONICLE canister sets (the 2007 Kongu set and 2008 Tahu set) ever had a higher piece count than last year's Stormer, even though Stormer is a considerably smaller set by weight.
  • Not a single BIONICLE canister set ever had a higher piece count than the medium-sized sets from the 2014 "Invasion from Below" series. The 2014 mid-size set with the fewest pieces, Furno Jet Machine, has five more pieces than the BIONICLE canister set with the most pieces, Toa Mahri Kongu.
  • You might argue that these 2014 sets' piece counts are artificially inflated by the nine-piece minifigures, three-piece mini-jumpers, and minfigure weapons — but even so, Toa Mahri Kongu's piece count was likewise inflated by his sixteen ammo pieces. Subtract Furno Jet Machine's nineteen minifigure parts and accessories and Kongu's sixteen ammo pieces, and Furno Jet Machine STILL comes out on top (Furno Jet Machine: 60; Toa Mahri Kongu: 58). Subtract pins and axles from both sets as well, and the difference goes back to being exactly five pieces (Furno Jet Machine: 48; Toa Mahri Kongu: 43). Incidentally, the next runner up, Mistika Toa Tahu, would fall right behind Furno Jet Machine (47 pieces not counting pins, axles, and ammo).
Overall, the claim that Hero Factory sets are more simplistic than BIONICLE sets might have been justifiable in 2010, before the new building system was introduced. Since then, it's just a myth that grows stronger by repetition.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Dec 30 2013 - 04:48 PM.

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#96 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 04:43 PM

All I can say is that as a dry, soulless toy commercial, Hero Factory, as a theme, is better than Bionicle. Better for Lego, more efficient at selling toys with less effort.

 

However, as a STORY.... Hero Factory just has so little going for it. As a story, Bionicle is so much better, because it has more... meat to it.

 

But I understand if people say that for a toy line, that isn't important.

 

I like the HF toys, to varying degrees, and... well, I guess that's all Lego needs. I guess all any of this really amounts to is what matters more to us fans, and what matters to the company providing these products. Whatever they "should" or "aren't" doing, whatever they can be expected to do, whether or not we're expecting too much of them now that we've seen their a-game, how much we could possibly be invested in what they're creating... things as abstract and subjective as "soul" and "heart"... in the end, it's all down to priorities.


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Dec 30 2013 - 04:57 PM.

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#97 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 05:19 PM

All I can say is that as a dry, soulless toy commercial, Hero Factory, as a theme, is better than Bionicle. Better for Lego, more efficient at selling toys with less effort.

I wouldn't say there's less effort with Hero Factory. I imagine Hero Factory gets a similar amount of manpower and monetary investment as far as marketing is concerned, but it's just being spread out differently. So while BIONICLE's marketing budget went towards deepening the story, the Hero Factory marketing budget goes towards spreading the basic story out across more distribution networks, like the Hero Factory FM podcast, television episodes, and mobile games. I have a feeling that the mobile and online games for Hero Factory get a much more substantial investment than online games for BIONICLE did, especially in the later years.

BIONICLE did have its direct-to-DVD movies, but if you add up the running time from all four BIONICLE movies, you get about 290 minutes. After 2014, the Hero Factory theme will have been around only half as long as BIONICLE, but the eleven-episode TV series will have had a total running time of around 240 minutes. BIONICLE only has Hero Factory beat by about an hour.

It also shouldn't be ignored that Hero Factory does not necessarily need as much time and money poured into its story as BIONICLE did. In some respects, BIONICLE was the LEGO Group's saving grace at a time that they as a company were failing. It was thus one of the wisest places to invest money and manpower. The LEGO Group's financial situation is a lot different now. It has lots of wildly popular in-house themes such as City, Ninjago, and Legends of Chima. Even if Hero Factory performs just as well as BIONICLE it will only ever be a footnote in the LEGO Group's annual reports, just as BIONICLE was for the better part of its lifespan. And given the choice between investing a whole lot of marketing money in a money-making powerhouse like Ninjago or City and putting that same investment into a niche theme like Hero Factory that performs alright with the budget it already has, which would you choose?

There might BE another BIONICLE one day, but there's no reason to think it'll be a constraction theme when the core of the LEGO Group's business is built on a stable foundation of traditional plastic bricks. The LEGO Group has learned from its turn-of-the-century mistakes, and I don't think they're ever again going to feel pressured to move their core business away from the building toy category that both made them a household name decades ago and helped them rise from the ashes and reach even greater heights in the past ten years.

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#98 Offline meowmachine

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Posted Dec 30 2013 - 09:18 PM

The problem with extensive stories is focus.

 

Star Wars has a niche group of fans who adore every aspect of it from the Knights of the Old Republic to the One Sith. The problem is when they make a new movie, they will have to have an almost all-new cast. The favorites of old are all dead. That is why people are terrified of Star Wars 7.

 

Bionicle and the like have similar problems. "Evolving" the main cast is seen as cheap and tacky while giving a brand new team alienates fans. One good thing about hero factory is that the heroes alternate. Bulk and surge are temporarily off the team for new heroes like Rocka and Evo to show up. 

 

Bionicle's teams were close-knit groups. Exchanging one member for another new/reserve member is ridiculous.

 

Hero Factory has a wash-rinse-repeat pattern which allows for uncumbersome sudden style changes. Bionicle and any other well-defined story will have problems trying to give convincing reasons why style changes so quickly. Attempting to reboot the franchise alienates old fans while new fans, only aware of the reboot, may leave after seeing the true nature of the franchise.

 

Another problem lies in the fact that this is a toyline. Characters constantly evolve to please fans. The original clone wars cartoon was made to have a different art style and attract new fans. Many old fans didn't like it. Beast Wars wasn't seen as true G1 canon for transformers.

 

LEGO is taking the easy way out by making a cartoon series for their franchise. They can effectively channel the plot while advertising on the TV with even minor profits. Other forms will be hard to follow. The comics were not exactly easy to find. Skipping one made it difficult to read the next. I only understood my first Bionicle adventures book after buying the encyclopedia. The Bionicle Chronicles were exceedingly difficult to follow. The game was confusing at times. The movies were placed at the worst times.

 

Will a Bionicle-like series return. No

 

LEGO made the Bionicle profits off of fun toys. The story-line was obligatory. Now LEGO knows to put more effort into toys than story, I temporarily quit Bionicle from 2007 to 2009 because of the bad toys at that time. In terms of story, I think those are pretty good, but the toys were what made LEGO rich. In the end, they are a company for profit.


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#99 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Jan 01 2014 - 12:34 AM

Fair warning, I'm going a bit off topic here.

 

Why don't we iron out and clarify the aspects of BIONICLE that made it great, and then, when we have an essay or 1AC ironed out, we discuss "can this kind of thing happen again?" Truly, opinions will differ about how important BIONICLE's elements are to its success, but what common ground we find and clearly explain would make this kind of discussion much MUCH easier to follow.

 

Now, to the subject at hand....

 

No. BIONICLE is unique, in a unique set of circumstances. There can't be another theme quite like it.

 

That said, I find it unlikely that in the status quo, LEGO will put a significant effort into lore and story around the products to be sold. The point is to sell toys, for LEGO, so if they don't need to spend money on good story, they won't. This is my opinion of LEGO's position.

 

I'm pessimistic. Unless LEGO decides to aim a theme for TFOLs, I think we're out of luck.

 

I now stand ready for cross-examination.

 

EDIT: to aid in speculation as to what might bring about a new "BIONICLE" theme, could we have some analysis of the kinds of things that led to the financial issues that LEGO used BIONICLE to ward off?


Edited by Nujanii: Kanohi Master, Jan 01 2014 - 12:37 AM.

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And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

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#100 Offline DuplexBeGreat

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Posted Jan 01 2014 - 02:40 AM

I'm going to chime in from a perspective that I don't think anyone else in this topic has come from yet.

I became a Bionicle fan in 2006. I had some of the toys in 2005, but didn't care about and possibly didn't even know there WAS a story. Once I became interested in the story itself, I learned the basics of the '06 plot, realized that I couldn't understand anything from that alone, went to the Bionicle website, and watched the 01-03 story year animations. That helped not very much. Through a combination of scrounging through old product descriptions from older issues of Lego catalogs, playing almost all the online games then available, finding some of the books in my school's library, and reading the comics online, I somehow managed to grasp the entire story with ALMOST no big misunderstandings. I was then, and have been since, a lore fanatic, which probably made it significantly easier for me to do this than most other kids in similar situations, including my friends who introduced me to the series and were promptly outclassed in lore knowledge within a few days. A similar thing happened between us with Pokémon, and years later, and with a new set of friends, MLP: FiM. And Starcraft.

Getting back on topic, one lore issue that I did mess up was, iirc, the fault of the comics. Iirc, at the end of the '05 comics, the issue of the Visorak and Hordika is dealt with, and then they move on to the beginning of the '06 story WITH NO TRANSITION AT ALL. I understood the nature of the 04-05 storyline as a flashback told by Vakama, and I was under the impression for the first half year of being a part of the Bionicle fanbase that the '06 story was a continuation of that flashback. I was trying to figure out how Jaller and the gang turned back into Matoran from Toa.

The point is, despite to this day never having played MNOG (ohmygawdhesneverplayedmnoghesnotatrufan)(geewun), I was able to fully assimilate the Bionicle series into my heart and mind. Similar things occurred with Star Wars (I have never seen the movies, and I read the "prequels" first, before the original trilogy, but I definitely know more about the EU than the average casual fan), and Transformers (I don't own a single toy, but Beast Wars is probably my favorite animated action TV series ever), but in all of these cases iirc I am the exception that proves the rule. Most people don't have enough interest to pick up every little detail of a fanbase they are joining late, and most kids getting their first Bionicle sets in 05-10 definitely did not care enough to research the Island of Mata Nui and the Quest for the Masks, terms definitely irrelevant by that point in the franchise for newcomers.
It really doesn't work to make a franchise that is so wrapped in layers upon layers of lore that you can't pick it up without being required to understand all the past history, because you lose 80% of latecomers (except for the ones who only care about the toys and not the story) to boredom.

The overall point I'm making has pretty much been said over and over again by everyone else in this topic; I'm just saying it again from a different perspective and with different support. Happy Gregorian New Year.

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#101 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 01 2014 - 11:44 AM

Fair warning, I'm going a bit off topic here.
 
Why don't we iron out and clarify the aspects of BIONICLE that made it great, and then, when we have an essay or 1AC ironed out, we discuss "can this kind of thing happen again?" Truly, opinions will differ about how important BIONICLE's elements are to its success, but what common ground we find and clearly explain would make this kind of discussion much MUCH easier to follow.
 
Now, to the subject at hand....
 
No. BIONICLE is unique, in a unique set of circumstances. There can't be another theme quite like it.
 
That said, I find it unlikely that in the status quo, LEGO will put a significant effort into lore and story around the products to be sold. The point is to sell toys, for LEGO, so if they don't need to spend money on good story, they won't. This is my opinion of LEGO's position.
 
I'm pessimistic. Unless LEGO decides to aim a theme for TFOLs, I think we're out of luck.
 
I now stand ready for cross-examination.


Well, I'd argue that the LEGO Group has ALREADY put a significant effort into lore and story around current products, specifically Ninjago. It's not the same kind of story as BIONICLE, per se, but it's still very complex and engaging.

EDIT: to aid in speculation as to what might bring about a new "BIONICLE" theme, could we have some analysis of the kinds of things that led to the financial issues that LEGO used BIONICLE to ward off?

 
Well, this book goes into a lot more detail about the sources of LEGO Group's financial difficulties (and their many failed attempts to deal with them) than I can list, but here are some brief bullet points:
  • The LEGO Group's patents for interlocking bricks expired in 1988, spawning a lot of cheaper competitors.
  • The LEGO Group had enjoyed fifteen years of double-digit growth that finally petered out in 1993.
  • The LEGO Group responded to these alarming developments by creating loads of new product lines between 1994 and 1998 in hopes of arriving at a "hit". The result was higher production costs but also a lot of failed product lines, like Znap, Scala, and Primo.
Now, with this said, the idea that a theme like BIONICLE can ONLY emerge out of desperation is silly. Many of the lessons that the LEGO Group got from BIONICLE are just as applicable today as they were back then. Why else do you think themes like Ninjago and Legends of Chima have such diverse media partnerships, huge casts of characters, emphasis on collectible artifacts and competitive play, and generous helpings of playful anachronism?

It's true that desperation can lead any company to step outside its comfort zone, but bear in mind that BIONICLE was just one good decision out of dozens of poor decisions that emerged during this period of desperation. And now that the LEGO Group has been a witness to its potential, they can easily take inspiration from its successes and its failures without having to resort to that kind of reckless and haphazard experimentation. What made BIONICLE's origins unique was that it was something unprecedented... but if you want something like BIONICLE, then "unprecedented" is out the window, because BIONICLE is your precedent.

I'm going to chime in from a perspective that I don't think anyone else in this topic has come from yet.

I became a Bionicle fan in 2006. I had some of the toys in 2005, but didn't care about and possibly didn't even know there WAS a story. Once I became interested in the story itself, I learned the basics of the '06 plot, realized that I couldn't understand anything from that alone, went to the Bionicle website, and watched the 01-03 story year animations. That helped not very much. Through a combination of scrounging through old product descriptions from older issues of Lego catalogs, playing almost all the online games then available, finding some of the books in my school's library, and reading the comics online, I somehow managed to grasp the entire story with ALMOST no big misunderstandings. I was then, and have been since, a lore fanatic, which probably made it significantly easier for me to do this than most other kids in similar situations, including my friends who introduced me to the series and were promptly outclassed in lore knowledge within a few days. A similar thing happened between us with Pokémon, and years later, and with a new set of friends, MLP: FiM. And Starcraft.

Getting back on topic, one lore issue that I did mess up was, iirc, the fault of the comics. Iirc, at the end of the '05 comics, the issue of the Visorak and Hordika is dealt with, and then they move on to the beginning of the '06 story WITH NO TRANSITION AT ALL. I understood the nature of the 04-05 storyline as a flashback told by Vakama, and I was under the impression for the first half year of being a part of the Bionicle fanbase that the '06 story was a continuation of that flashback. I was trying to figure out how Jaller and the gang turned back into Matoran from Toa.

The point is, despite to this day never having played MNOG (ohmygawdhesneverplayedmnoghesnotatrufan)(geewun), I was able to fully assimilate the Bionicle series into my heart and mind. Similar things occurred with Star Wars (I have never seen the movies, and I read the "prequels" first, before the original trilogy, but I definitely know more about the EU than the average casual fan), and Transformers (I don't own a single toy, but Beast Wars is probably my favorite animated action TV series ever), but in all of these cases iirc I am the exception that proves the rule. Most people don't have enough interest to pick up every little detail of a fanbase they are joining late, and most kids getting their first Bionicle sets in 05-10 definitely did not care enough to research the Island of Mata Nui and the Quest for the Masks, terms definitely irrelevant by that point in the franchise for newcomers.
It really doesn't work to make a franchise that is so wrapped in layers upon layers of lore that you can't pick it up without being required to understand all the past history, because you lose 80% of latecomers (except for the ones who only care about the toys and not the story) to boredom.

The overall point I'm making has pretty much been said over and over again by everyone else in this topic; I'm just saying it again from a different perspective and with different support. Happy Gregorian New Year.

This is a very interesting perspective. Thank you for sharing!

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#102 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Jan 01 2014 - 05:06 PM

 

Well, I'd argue that the LEGO Group has ALREADY put a significant effort into lore and story around current products, specifically Ninjago. It's not the same kind of story as BIONICLE, per se, but it's still very complex and engaging.
 

 

I agree. Ninjago is very good. In fact, I'd say THIS is the standard as far as Lego's productions go, if not Bionicle. Compared to it, though... Chima and Hero Factory are pretty weak.


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#103 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Jan 01 2014 - 08:43 PM

 

 

Well, I'd argue that the LEGO Group has ALREADY put a significant effort into lore and story around current products, specifically Ninjago. It's not the same kind of story as BIONICLE, per se, but it's still very complex and engaging.
 

 

I agree. Ninjago is very good. In fact, I'd say THIS is the standard as far as Lego's productions go, if not Bionicle. Compared to it, though... Chima and Hero Factory are pretty weak.

 

 

To be fair, I haven't followed the Ninjago story in about six months. Even so, I can clearly tell a difference between the level of BIONICLE's story and the other themes'. I agree that they put effort into Ninjago's story, but less than what they put into BIONICLE. I think that we won't be seeing BIONICLE-level, that is complexity and scope, story again unless TLG opts for an older audience or the situation changes to the point where TLG might feel detailed lore--with the element of mystery--could be viable in the sale of a theme.


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And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

If you should be doing your homework right now, copy and paste this into your signature.
 

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#104 Offline Kopekemaster

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Posted Jan 09 2014 - 07:09 PM

A note I'd like to make:

 

I would think that Bionicle was originally aimed at a similar demographic as HF is aimed at. But here is where they differ:

LEGO seemed to somewhat take a Harry Potter-path with maturing Bionicle at a similar rate as the early-on-fans matured.

They don't seem to be doing this with either HF, Ninjago, or Chima. They seem to be trying to continue aiming at the same demographic.


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#105 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 09 2014 - 07:53 PM

A note I'd like to make:
 
I would think that Bionicle was originally aimed at a similar demographic as HF is aimed at. But here is where they differ:
LEGO seemed to somewhat take a Harry Potter-path with maturing Bionicle at a similar rate as the early-on-fans matured.
They don't seem to be doing this with either HF, Ninjago, or Chima. They seem to be trying to continue aiming at the same demographic.

This is probably for the best though. There's no sense in trying to have a toy line graduate out of a reliable buying audience. Even the story growing more mature over time was unreliable — for every bit of praise I saw for the sophistication of later story years, I saw complaints from long-time fans about how the theme was losing touch with what made the early years so great.

Honestly, if people start out liking a simple, childish story, then the best way to keep that audience is to stay true to what those people love. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic provides a good example. The creators did NOT anticipate an audience of adult fans at all. When they became aware of it, how did they respond? By continuing to maintain the same sorts of sophisticated yet kid-friendly storytelling that had made the show popular in the first place.

I'm not saying that Hero Factory, Ninjago, and Chima are presenting that same quality of storytelling (though Ninjago has maintained a pretty high quality of storytelling so far). My point is that when you have a formula that has made your product a knockout success, there's no sense in changing that winning formula. After all, it's a kids' toy. It's normal for kids to "grow out of it", and lots of kids will grow out of it no matter how many changes you make.

I'm not saying BIONICLE's changes were a waste, though. After all, while its sales peaked in 2002, the changes the LEGO Group made did keep that decline in check rather well. Then again, not all of those changes were making it "more adult" either.

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#106 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 07:45 AM

I do recall Greg saying that by '06 Lego were aiming to please the generation after the 'Mata Nui' generation. But the later years didn't win the next generation over in the phenomenal way the first years did.

 

That could be attributed to various reasons - that the story had already been unfolding and was difficult to get into when starting in the middle, or that the story became increasingly dark and only appealling to older fans, or that media efforts failed to make it engaging with so much information being isolated in books of rather limited availability.


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#107 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 11:30 AM

I do recall Greg saying that by '06 Lego were aiming to please the generation after the 'Mata Nui' generation. But the later years didn't win the next generation over in the phenomenal way the first years did.

 

That could be attributed to various reasons - that the story had already been unfolding and was difficult to get into when starting in the middle, or that the story became increasingly dark and only appealling to older fans, or that media efforts failed to make it engaging with so much information being isolated in books of rather limited availability.

Or that trying to appeal to older fans, the majority of whom are likely to outgrow the theme anyway, is a losing battle. With a long-running book series like Harry Potter, it makes sense to try to mature the story along with its original audience. Not so much for a toyline, since after a certain point kids are going to start being teased for still playing with "Bionicles".


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#108 Offline You just lost the game

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 11:43 AM

Would Lego ever put as much effort into a theme ,as they did with BIONICLE, ever again?

The math says yes.

I don't think that particular theme is around yet.


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#109 Offline Nujanii: Kanohi Master

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 04:15 PM

The "appeal to older kids" part probably won't happen again until LEGO comes up with a way to appeal to young AND old audiences simultaneously. 

 

Which I deem unlikely.


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And also, incidently, why people shouldn't be acting like Bionicle's "dead" -- it's still continuing in story form unlike just about any other line and has a very strong chance of coming back some day, so it's wisest for people to remain interested in LEGO, showing their support for HF, etc. The best way, as we've shown long ago, for Bionicle to come back, is for us to be on here showing support for HF and Bionicle at the same time, accepting both, knowing that one day HF too will lose the "new factor" and eventually Bionicle will be ready to come back.

If you should be doing your homework right now, copy and paste this into your signature.
 

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#110 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 05:51 PM

The "appeal to older kids" part probably won't happen again until LEGO comes up with a way to appeal to young AND old audiences simultaneously. 
 
Which I deem unlikely.

Technically, most LEGO themes appeal to both younger and older audiences simultaneously even (I'd almost go so far as to say especially) the ones with barely any story at all like City, Creator, Technic, Castle, and Architecture.

Licensed themes have been targeting multiple age brackets for a while as well. Sets inspired by Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit tend to feature advanced building techniques and muted color palettes in order to arrive at the level of accuracy that older fans tend to demand.

As far as in-house story themes are concerned, the LEGO Movie also seems to be targeted at an all-ages audience. I recently learned that there exist LEGO Movie T-shirts in adult sizes (I'm going to have to get myself one of those at some point). There are a number of jokes that appeal largely to older LEGO fans, including pretty much anything involving Benny, the 1980-something space guy.

There's something important to keep in mind about BIONICLE. In spite of its darker tone than many LEGO themes, older BIONICLE fans (i.e. adults or kids in their upper teens) were still nothing more than a tiny fraction of the theme's buying audience, just as with most LEGO themes. Even towards the end, I guarantee you that the majority of sales for the sets (and possibly even media like the books) came from kids in the 712 age bracket, just like plenty of other themes like LEGO Ninjago. After that, you start to hit the point where a lot of kids will "grow out of" a toy. It's not that there's any fault in the toy itself, just that for a lot of kids, adolescence means putting aside the things they used to enjoy and trying to carve a newer, less childish identity for themselves.

Us fans on BZPower? The dedicated fans who spent hours reading and discussing new BIONICLE stories? We've always been outliers, and LEGO representatives like Greg Farshtey never hesitated to remind us of that when people asked why seemingly "unpopular" changes were being made (like the color change for Toa of Stone, the cancellation of the BIONICLE collectible packs, etc). It's easy to think that sites like BZPower with such deep and lively discussion of the franchise represent the entirety of the fandom, but we've always been just a small sample, and not even a representative sample. And so it's easy to forget that for every fan who was "hooked" when they first encountered the franchise and never gave up on it, there were dozens if not hundreds who would grow out of it as easily as any other toy.

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#111 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 08:18 PM

In the latest TTV podcast, there was a point they brought up, concerning Ninjao and Chima... basically, that Lego wanted to replace Ninjago with Chima and, even now, plan for Chima to be an evergreen theme well beyond 2015... and also have Ninjago around for some time, as long as the demand for it remains.

 

I find this interesting because some have brought up that it would be a bad idea to keep Hero Factory going alongside whatever new construction theme comes around next year, because they could both end up being so similar that they'd distract each other's fans and sort of cancel each other out. In the end, the two themes would only hinder each other, so it's better to replace Hero Factory with something new, something better, and let that be what potential new buyers have to focus on.

 

I don't think this could be any more true for Ninjago and Chima... from a certain point of view. Granted, both lines actually ARE selling very well, so it kind of becomes a moot point in this case, but nonetheless, Lego isn't satisfied with Chima's performance and the attachment people have to Ninjago, forcing them to share Chima's spotlight with another theme.

 

I remember a few years back when it was said that someone working for Lego tweeted something along the lines of, "Once you see this new theme... you won't want Ninjago."

 

Clearly, they were wrong. And I think I know why, but we'll get into that later.

 

More to the point, one of the guys in the podcast said "They want Chima to be the next Bionicle. I'm sorry Lego, but it ISN'T."

 

And then it hit me, and... everything became so clear. Just look at how much has been invested into promoting this theme! It's obvious now that they wanted this (and still kinda want it) to become their next big, flagship theme as Bionicle was for a while! And I'm just trying to imagine what it must be like to be one of the minds behind it at this moment, how FRUSTRATING it must be to see your line lose focus because, for some reason, people are still latching on to something that should be old news. And now, they not only have to divide their resources and advertising between both themes, but they'll always have Ninjago cutting into Chima because... Chima is just weaker. They know that there are a lot of people who just love Ninjago more, even though they're not "supposed" to, in Lego's eyes.

 

And why is that?

 

Well... it's because Ninjago IS better... or at least, it's a better story. The Chima sets are... pretty great, in my opinion. And with all the tribes and lands an' whatnot cultivating the theme, they very well have laid the groundwork for something with AMAZING potential. I'll be honest, I was EXCITED to see the first episode of Chima, because hey, Ninjago was pretty good, and this new world looked interesting! So, after making the assumption that the writing quality and storytelling of Chima would be on par with that of the overall solid, entertaining and endearing Ninajgo... I was sorely disappointed.

 

And I think that's how a lot of people felt. Anyone who was willing to put the past behind them and accept Chima as long as it proved to be a worthy successor to Ninjago, something that was just as good that could fill that void just as Lego promised them it would, felt BETRAYED when they saw what a let down it turned out to be. So, they wanted Ninjago back, and it is inevitably drawing focus away from Chima.

 

Now, here's the meat of the matter... I think these two series have proven something very important. Despite the assertions some have made that the story only goes so far to effect the sales of the product, and shouldn't really matter much in a toy line... the emotional investment people have in these themes is clear, be it positive or negative.

 

Honestly, I think the plot of Chima is just awful. I think it COULD'VE been amazing, but the writing is cringeworthy and childish, and any conflict that ever gets brought up is purely a result of the characters being moronic. There is no actual SUBSTANCE to the show, no POINT to it, and that's what's turning people off to Chima.

 

Like it or not, one's emotional investment in a product (such as the Star Wars sets) DOES go a long way to influence whether or not they'll be willing to buy it. Lego simply cannot expect people to be sufficiently emotionally invested in such a stupid story, which in turn, leads to the controversy that, frankly, they've brought upon themselves by mishandling a great theme and another theme that could've, SHOULD'VE been great.

 

Lego clearly wishes this was something that could resonate with people the way Bionicle did, and can't seem to comprehend how badly they've screwed this up. No matter how beautiful its world is and how awesome the sets are, the whole CHARACTER of Legends of Chima is just... lacking. And that's more important than some would let on.


Edited by NickonAquaMagna, Jan 24 2014 - 08:26 PM.

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#112 Offline ToaJaller77

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Posted Jan 24 2014 - 11:21 PM

I found this. It's all the hope i've had since BIONICLE Ended: http://en.wikipedia..../Tenkai_Knights


Edited by ToaJaller77, Jan 24 2014 - 11:21 PM.

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IS IT?


#113 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jan 26 2014 - 02:32 PM

The issue with that analysis of Chima, though, is that Chima has still been wildly successful, even if it didn't knock the ball out of the park the way some pre-release projections had forecast. Ninjago's return also didn't have anything to do with poor sales of Chima, since planning for the new Ninjago sets began well before Chima hit store shelves. Ninjago was planned to end in 2013 because the LEGO Group had originally envisioned Ninjago as a three-year theme. The fact that it maintained steady sales even in its second and third years when sales had been expected to dwindle led the LEGO Group to extend their forecast, but by that time they had already missed their chance to maintain a steady release schedule with no hiatus, hence why there were no new sets released in summer 2013.

Legends of Chima definitely set out to be as successful as Ninjago or BIONICLE. I don't know if it achieved quite that level of success at launch, but it's still incredibly popular with kids despite a TV show that at least started out frustratingly mediocre (I've heard rumors that the Legends of Chima TV show has improved somewhat since the first three episodes, but it hasn't convinced me to give the show another chance just yet). Part of that probably owes itself to the quality of the toys, which are the foundation of any LEGO theme's sales. That's something that BIONICLE fans sometimes forgot, especially when BIONICLE was first cancelled and some fans had the bizarre expectation that the BIONICLE story should be able to continue at full strength even without a toy line to serve as its foundation.

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#114 Offline Great Being Velika

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Posted Feb 18 2014 - 10:35 PM

It's got to be the story that holds me back. I've always liked technic sets more than system sets, so Ninjago and Chima to a lesser extent are out of the question. I'm not much of a fan of HF's new(er) building system, but I'm finding that it's pretty fun. The one thing that kept me into Bionicle for all these years was/is the extensive and deep storyline. Even though HF has a storyline, it is episodical and can't "pull you in" like the Bionicle story. Bionicle had this certain air of mystery to it that HF doesn't have. You actually had to dig deep to find the charaters' true intentions (Makuta's plan took 8 years before it became fully known). Until Lego strikes that perfect balance of set quality and captivating storyline (in a constraction theme, of course), I personally don't think we'll be seeing a new Bionicle-like theme.


Edited by Great Being Velika, Feb 18 2014 - 11:16 PM.

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#115 Offline Sir Kohran

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 07:08 AM

It's got to be the story that holds me back. I've always liked technic sets more than system sets, so Ninjago and Chima to a lesser extent are out of the question. I'm not much of a fan of HF's new(er) building system, but I'm finding that it's pretty fun. The one thing that kept me into Bionicle for all these years was/is the extensive and deep storyline. Even though HF has a storyline, it is episodical and can't "pull you in" like the Bionicle story. Bionicle had this certain air of mystery to it that HF doesn't have. You actually had to dig deep to find the charaters' true intentions (Makuta's plan took 8 years before it became fully known). Until Lego strikes that perfect balance of set quality and captivating storyline (in a constraction theme, of course), I personally don't think we'll be seeing a new Bionicle-like theme.

 

Very true, but it was also the very complex story that at least partly led to Bionicle's end. A new line would have to strike some kind of balance between complexity and simplicity.


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#116 Online Emotionless

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 01:20 PM

 

It's got to be the story that holds me back. I've always liked technic sets more than system sets, so Ninjago and Chima to a lesser extent are out of the question. I'm not much of a fan of HF's new(er) building system, but I'm finding that it's pretty fun. The one thing that kept me into Bionicle for all these years was/is the extensive and deep storyline. Even though HF has a storyline, it is episodical and can't "pull you in" like the Bionicle story. Bionicle had this certain air of mystery to it that HF doesn't have. You actually had to dig deep to find the charaters' true intentions (Makuta's plan took 8 years before it became fully known). Until Lego strikes that perfect balance of set quality and captivating storyline (in a constraction theme, of course), I personally don't think we'll be seeing a new Bionicle-like theme.

 

Very true, but it was also the very complex story that at least partly led to Bionicle's end. A new line would have to strike some kind of balance between complexity and simplicity.

 

I said that exact same thing somewhere else in this forum, so I naturally agree with you. It can't go under/overboard.


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#117 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 02:21 PM

Well, I don't entirely know whether a new constraction theme with a BIONICLE-like level of seriousness and depth would HAVE to be considerably different in complexity to succeed. After all, BIONICLE was not terribly complex in the early years. The big issue with it was that each new year significantly added to the complexity of the overall story — the status quo could radically change over the course of one or two years, and a full understanding of the significance of the characters' current quest often depended on researching the story years that had come before.

I think if a BIONICLE-like theme were designed with a shorter lifespan in mind, it could have a similarly epic tone and a similarly immersive story without having nearly as much difficulty with continuity lockout. Of course, part of what made BIONICLE so ambitious was its long lifespan — it took seven years for Mata Nui to be awakened and his true nature to be revealed, and that reveal might not have been quite so impressive for long-time fans if there hadn't been so many years of buildup beforehand. But was the length of BIONICLE's lifespan really what made it enjoyable? I personally don't think so. I enjoyed it plenty back in 2001 and 2002 when I had no idea how long it might last or how much more complex it would eventually become.

There are also ways in which the method of storytelling could be changed to allow for complex, ongoing stories. The Ninjago TV show frequently makes reference to previous stories, but unlike BIONICLE, it was designed with the TV show as its core story medium. The books and graphic novels tell side-stories that enrich your understanding of the world and characters but are not essential to following the story being told in the TV show. BIONICLE was always meant to be a little bit of a challenge to get into — you weren't supposed to get the entire story from any one source. This increased fan engagement as far as telling the current story was concerned, but became problematic in later years when new fans had to play catch-up and some important story media (particularly comics, online games, and online flash episodes) were no longer easily accessible. If a theme like BIONICLE could maintain one single core story platform, it might be able to last at least five years, just as Hero Factory has done and Ninjago is now expected to do.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Feb 19 2014 - 02:22 PM.

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#118 Offline NickonAquaMagna

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 06:36 PM

 

It's got to be the story that holds me back. I've always liked technic sets more than system sets, so Ninjago and Chima to a lesser extent are out of the question. I'm not much of a fan of HF's new(er) building system, but I'm finding that it's pretty fun. The one thing that kept me into Bionicle for all these years was/is the extensive and deep storyline. Even though HF has a storyline, it is episodical and can't "pull you in" like the Bionicle story. Bionicle had this certain air of mystery to it that HF doesn't have. You actually had to dig deep to find the charaters' true intentions (Makuta's plan took 8 years before it became fully known). Until Lego strikes that perfect balance of set quality and captivating storyline (in a constraction theme, of course), I personally don't think we'll be seeing a new Bionicle-like theme.

 

Very true, but it was also the very complex story that at least partly led to Bionicle's end. A new line would have to strike some kind of balance between complexity and simplicity.

 

 

Like Ninjago!


Well, I don't entirely know whether a new constraction theme with a BIONICLE-like level of seriousness and depth would HAVE to be considerably different in complexity to succeed. After all, BIONICLE was not terribly complex in the early years. The big issue with it was that each new year significantly added to the complexity of the overall story — the status quo could radically change over the course of one or two years, and a full understanding of the significance of the characters' current quest often depended on researching the story years that had come before.

I think if a BIONICLE-like theme were designed with a shorter lifespan in mind, it could have a similarly epic tone and a similarly immersive story without having nearly as much difficulty with continuity lockout. Of course, part of what made BIONICLE so ambitious was its long lifespan — it took seven years for Mata Nui to be awakened and his true nature to be revealed, and that reveal might not have been quite so impressive for long-time fans if there hadn't been so many years of buildup beforehand. But was the length of BIONICLE's lifespan really what made it enjoyable? I personally don't think so. I enjoyed it plenty back in 2001 and 2002 when I had no idea how long it might last or how much more complex it would eventually become.

There are also ways in which the method of storytelling could be changed to allow for complex, ongoing stories. The Ninjago TV show frequently makes reference to previous stories, but unlike BIONICLE, it was designed with the TV show as its core story medium. The books and graphic novels tell side-stories that enrich your understanding of the world and characters but are not essential to following the story being told in the TV show. BIONICLE was always meant to be a little bit of a challenge to get into — you weren't supposed to get the entire story from any one source. This increased fan engagement as far as telling the current story was concerned, but became problematic in later years when new fans had to play catch-up and some important story media (particularly comics, online games, and online flash episodes) were no longer easily accessible. If a theme like BIONICLE could maintain one single core story platform, it might be able to last at least five years, just as Hero Factory has done and Ninjago is now expected to do.

 

There were many times throughout Bionicle's later years when I thought, "Man, this serial would make a great 2/3-parter of a TV show!"

 

It's unfortunate that, back then, Lego just couldn't spare the money and resources it would take to fund full blown CGI show. An occasional movie (and some shorter movies in the later years) was all they could really do Now, CGI is EVERYWHERE. EVERYONE is doing it, and it's proved to be profitable. I think it's great that a theme like Ninjago can thrive as it has and that its show (which I regard as the standard that all lego shows should strive to meet) can just keep going like it is.

 

I think something with the mysticism and feel of something like Bionicle in its early years could EASILY work as well as Ninjago was if backed up by a strong core medium like, say, Ninjago's TV show.... but that just wasn't feasible in Bionicle's era. The Legend Reborn seems to be, if anything, a testing ground of sorts for the Hero Factory "show" that... eh.

 

Anyway, point being, I think Lego should try to capture lightning in a bottle again and keep it there with the strong medium they didn't have back then, but do now.


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#119 Offline Great Being Velika

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Posted Feb 19 2014 - 10:04 PM

 

 

It's got to be the story that holds me back. I've always liked technic sets more than system sets, so Ninjago and Chima to a lesser extent are out of the question. I'm not much of a fan of HF's new(er) building system, but I'm finding that it's pretty fun. The one thing that kept me into Bionicle for all these years was/is the extensive and deep storyline. Even though HF has a storyline, it is episodical and can't "pull you in" like the Bionicle story. Bionicle had this certain air of mystery to it that HF doesn't have. You actually had to dig deep to find the charaters' true intentions (Makuta's plan took 8 years before it became fully known). Until Lego strikes that perfect balance of set quality and captivating storyline (in a constraction theme, of course), I personally don't think we'll be seeing a new Bionicle-like theme.

 

Very true, but it was also the very complex story that at least partly led to Bionicle's end. A new line would have to strike some kind of balance between complexity and simplicity.

 

 

Like Ninjago!

Yes. Ninjago is a perfect example of a good story, but I was talking about constraction-only lines.


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#120 Online Azani

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Posted Feb 22 2014 - 04:33 PM

P.S.: A Google search for BIONICLE Fanfiction with no quotes brings up about 88,600 results. A Google search for "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic" fanfiction, with quotes around the franchise name, brings up about 11,400,000 results — over 128 times as many. BIONICLE began over thirteen years ago. "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" began about three years ago. Might be a sobering thought.

Though I agree with you on the rest of your post, MLP is newer. Most people prefer something newer, which tends to spread quicker, based on my own experiences.


I think that we can all agree that Bionicle's peak of popularity passed many years ago. MLP: Friendship is Magic is newer, but it also benefits from being a more accessible franchise to most potential fans who don't yet know anything about it. Unfortunately, Bionicle wasn't very good at drawing in new fans during it's last years as a set line, and it definitely isn't good at that now.

The whole Bionicle story seems to me to be too good of a story to just die as it eventually will the way that things are going. If it could be made more accessible for new fans and engaging for "the masses", then it might have a chance at succeeding again.

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Check out the script for Mysterious Island, an adaption/reboot of the 2001 Bionicle story which I am writing. It's also a musical.

 
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