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The Art of Bionicle


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#1 Offline Hapori Tohu

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 06:57 AM

One of the most-anticipated prizes from the ReBrick Makuta contest was a limited edition book containing a ton of concept art from the second generation of Bionicle. When I had a chance to flip through a draft of the book earlier, I was blown away by the breadth of what it contained. While there are only 100 copies of that book in existence, we're very excited to offer The Art of BIONICLE in PDF format. It has all the same content as the print edition, but takes up much less space. The version we're hosting on BZPower is optimized to reduce the filesize, but if you want the original you can grab it via MediaFire (assuming it doesn't run into any issues). The Bionicle team at LEGO knows how much you guys wanted to see this, and we thank them for allowing us to make it available to you. Let us know your favorites in the Talkback!

View the full article

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#2 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 08:26 AM

Epic! There's so much to love in this book. Some highlights for me were seeing the Toa's signature moves illustrated on page 90 (they were previously named on the 2015 teaser site, but other than obvious ones like "Frost Sphere" it wasn't always clear what powers they corresponded to), seeing the work that went into developing the cartoon style of the webisodes, and seeing all the different elemental creature concepts that were explored before settling on the ones that became sets. The Skull Creature illustrations on pages 59 to 63 are also gorgeous.

Okoto was a rich and detailed world even in the glimpses we saw of it before this — the stunning environments of the webisodes and The Journey to One, the concept art on the LEGO Bionicle Facebook page, and of course the diverse and colorful backdrops of the actual sets' packaging. Seeing all the concept work here is a reminder of how much effort went into creating that. It also shows how much thought went into some of the other brilliant new concepts that set G2 apart from G1, like the Toa's animal companions and fearsome new enemies.

If I have one disappointment with this art book, it's with the things it doesn't include. One that stands out to me at the moment is that there's not really any pics of the concept work that went into developing the Protectors and people of Okoto, other than pics of how their designs were translated to the style of the webisodes and The Journey to One.

Overall, though, this book definitely makes me thankful for these past two years of Bionicle. It also makes me want to try my hand at some more Bionicle G2 fan art (which I dabbled in last year but haven't really done this year). I'm definitely going to miss this series.

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#3 Offline Tuuli

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 10:35 AM

"Soul Grinder" among other cut enemies... Wishing they had been real.
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#4 Offline Phantom Terror

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 01:35 PM

I went ahead and threw the artbook into my personal dropbox so people can still access it while BZP's getting their new link set up.


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Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

I have an Instagram page where you can see these pictures and more like them! Just click HERE!


#5 Offline MetroidwaveX50

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 02:27 PM

Doomurak=Cthulu apparently...

 

The concepts in this are some of the coolest I've ever seen. Especially the villains.


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#6 Offline Archius

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 02:40 PM

It's amazing how what we actually got doesn't even remotely look like this. What wasted potential.
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#7 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 03:05 PM

It's amazing how what we actually got doesn't even remotely look like this. What wasted potential.


I'm not sure what you mean. Many of these concepts led directly to the sets and animations we got. But of course, these are just concepts, so a certain amount of changes are inevitable just to make them viable as building toys. Every part has to be sturdy enough for play, thin enough to cool properly after being molded, and versatile enough that it can be used for more than one set (aside from some character-specific masks). The figures as a whole have to meet specific price points and building levels to maximize their audience — a $40 Lewa set aimed at ages 10–14 could definitely look cool, but chances are a lot fewer people would buy it than a $15 version aimed at ages 7–14.

Of course, people said this same sort of thing any time we saw prototypes of G1 sets, even ones that were clearly unrefined and not viable as finished toys. Like this concept art, they were designed to convey a certain look, not to be practical as playable building toys. Making them practical is how final set designs with fewer extraneous flourishes come about. It's not "wasted potential". It's the only way any of their potential can be effectively realized.

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#8 Offline ChocolateFrogs

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 03:14 PM

Well a big thanks goes to LEGO for letting us all have the book even though it's not commercially available. I'm sure this will look great on my tablet.

 

I especially like all these high-res pictures that will make great computer/phone/tablet wallpapers!

 

-CF


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#9 Online Pereki

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 04:14 PM

Thanks to the Bionicle team for putting this together and thanks BZP for hosting it! Really nice tribute to the line and its creators' dedication.


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#10 Offline Pohaturon

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 05:45 PM

The awesomeness of this art makes me sad. Not because of "it could have been so much better" or other nonsense like that - G2 was fantastic if you ask me - but because of what might have been if it isn't canceled. All of these wonderful designs! I particularly loved the idea of the Creature of Stone being a serpent with a buzz-saw on its tail, and attaching to Pohatu's arm instead of back - I'm so mocing that. 

 

My favorite section of this was the one that showed off art from the world of Okoto. Never before have concept images made me wish that a massive open-world game be made based on them as much as now. Seriously, with these awesome, otherworldly and unique designs, we have lost so much not to see G2 continue. I really really want to be able to explore the entirety of Okoto in a fully rendered 3D environment.

 

Such as shame it's over...

 

:kakama:


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#11 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 06:23 PM

The awesomeness of this art makes me sad. Not because of "it could have been so much better" or other nonsense like that - G2 was fantastic if you ask me - but because of what might have been if it isn't canceled. All of these wonderful designs! I particularly loved the idea of the Creature of Stone being a serpent with a buzz-saw on its tail, and attaching to Pohatu's arm instead of back - I'm so mocing that. 

 

My favorite section of this was the one that showed off art from the world of Okoto. Never before have concept images made me wish that a massive open-world game be made based on them as much as now. Seriously, with these awesome, otherworldly and unique designs, we have lost so much not to see G2 continue. I really really want to be able to explore the entirety of Okoto in a fully rendered 3D environment.

 

Such as shame it's over...

 

:kakama:

See, the art of Okoto had me going in a different direction... namely, reigniting my desire for G2-based scenery (both smaller scenes scaled to the figures and larger scenes represented as minifig-scale "playsets"). I had a lot of similar feelings about G1—while constraction as a medium certainly allows for creative and diverse figures, the drawback is that so much of this amazing worldbuilding goes unrepresented by the toys.


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#12 Offline Pohaturon

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Posted Dec 28 2016 - 06:39 PM

 

The awesomeness of this art makes me sad. Not because of "it could have been so much better" or other nonsense like that - G2 was fantastic if you ask me - but because of what might have been if it isn't canceled. All of these wonderful designs! I particularly loved the idea of the Creature of Stone being a serpent with a buzz-saw on its tail, and attaching to Pohatu's arm instead of back - I'm so mocing that. 

 

My favorite section of this was the one that showed off art from the world of Okoto. Never before have concept images made me wish that a massive open-world game be made based on them as much as now. Seriously, with these awesome, otherworldly and unique designs, we have lost so much not to see G2 continue. I really really want to be able to explore the entirety of Okoto in a fully rendered 3D environment.

 

Such as shame it's over...

 

:kakama:

See, the art of Okoto had me going in a different direction... namely, reigniting my desire for G2-based scenery (both smaller scenes scaled to the figures and larger scenes represented as minifig-scale "playsets"). I had a lot of similar feelings about G1—while constraction as a medium certainly allows for creative and diverse figures, the drawback is that so much of this amazing worldbuilding goes unrepresented by the toys.

 

Also a good point. I'm one of the few people who actually liked G1's brick-based playsets, but even those didn't capture the great environments the storyline had, as they represented either the least interesting locales (wrecked Metru-Nui) or didn't even represent said locales, but just vehicles and structures. 
I would have loved to see brick-based Bionicle sets focusing on the '01-'02-'03 arc, as well as 2004. Mata Nui and non-destroyed Metru Nui were extremely interesting locations in my opinion, and it's a shame that they weren't ever explored to a fuller extent visually. The movies simply made me hungry for more, and none of the lackluster Bionicle video games scratched the itch either.

 

The idea of constraction-scale locations is pretty interesting, though I imagine anything remotely detailed would cost immense amounts of money. Imagine an actual Toa scale Kini-Nui for example, let alone an entire Koro. These sets would probably eclipse the current record-holder for most pieces by massive margins. 

 

The reason why I thought of a game instead of enviroment-based playsets was because I could realistically afford the former, but not the latter  :D

 

:kakama:


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Stone does not bend. Stone does not break. Stone endures. :kakama: 

 

"The fish was wet and slimy, and decidedly dead." - George Stobbart, Broken Sword

 

I write stories, which you can read at A Beach, Somewhere

 

The Legend Continues Entries: Writing: Of Druids and Shadow  Building:

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#13 Offline Torran

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 12:07 AM

So much yes - off to start my adventure through this book.


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#14 Offline Nescent

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 03:05 AM

Absolutely beautiful, thank you so much for taking the time to put this together.


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#15 Offline Endless Sea (Alaki Nuva)

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 03:52 AM

I actually feel like I have a good idea of what Okoto looks like now beyond vague flash cartoon landscapes.  I like it.  A pity we never got any Ghost CGI promo material- Journey to One is close, but it just isn't the same.


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I'd actually have something of substance to say here, but I'm too lazy to think of anything.  >_< Er, have some BZPRPG profiles, I guess?

 

I used to help Dominus Temporis with writing MLWTB back in the day, even if I was really terrible at it.  If anyone's in contact with him, could ya help me get in touch?   :)


#16 Offline Dubulyue

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 05:46 AM

If I'd seen this kind of art before I would have been a lot more interested in gen 2.


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#17 Offline CHTrilogy

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 09:49 AM

Hey, that's pretty neat stuff! Opens a few possibilities too!


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~ CHTrilogy


#18 Offline Wazdakka

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 01:33 PM

Two thoughts:

 

One, just for any worried folks, this is not at all illegal. Distributing PDFs of a copyrighted product is not illegal if the copyright holder (LEGO) explicitly allows it.

 

Two. 

 

Why?

 

Why didn't LEGO show more of this stuff off before they cancelled Bionicle? It's clear that there were a lot more images, content, concepts, ideas, and general worldbuilding created for Bionicle G2 that LEGO simply left out until now. Bionicle fans were chomping at the bit to get any more morsels about the underdeveloped world of Okoto... and it's not like such morsels didn't exist, LEGO just either left them unfinished or hid them 'til now. I'm sort of at a loss. This is exactly the sort of thing that should have been released before G2's premature end, not after. Or am I merely delusional?


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#19 Offline Infamousevil

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 01:42 PM

That Cthulhu looking guy in the concept art is awesome.


Edited by Infamousevil, Dec 29 2016 - 06:48 PM.

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The surprise was vampires!


#20 Offline evil_jaga_genius

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 03:09 PM

Why?

 

Why didn't LEGO show more of this stuff off before they cancelled Bionicle? It's clear that there were a lot more images, content, concepts, ideas, and general worldbuilding created for Bionicle G2 that LEGO simply left out until now. Bionicle fans were chomping at the bit to get any more morsels about the underdeveloped world of Okoto... and it's not like such morsels didn't exist, LEGO just either left them unfinished or hid them 'til now. I'm sort of at a loss. This is exactly the sort of thing that should have been released before G2's premature end, not after. Or am I merely delusional?

I second this to a great extent.  Why didn't they show... any of this?  Why no pictures at all of the villages except the snippets of box art?  Why no sketches for Rahi?  Why no alternate mask designs for the Protectors or villagers?  They obviously had the material, why did they handicap themselves so badly by not bringing it out?  This is the kind of stuff that would've gotten me much more interested in Gen2!  And all we saw of it were some wallpapers, some 90-second cartoons, and a few Netflix episodes.

 

*siiiiiiigh*


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#21 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 04:35 PM

Why?
 
Why didn't LEGO show more of this stuff off before they cancelled Bionicle? It's clear that there were a lot more images, content, concepts, ideas, and general worldbuilding created for Bionicle G2 that LEGO simply left out until now. Bionicle fans were chomping at the bit to get any more morsels about the underdeveloped world of Okoto... and it's not like such morsels didn't exist, LEGO just either left them unfinished or hid them 'til now. I'm sort of at a loss. This is exactly the sort of thing that should have been released before G2's premature end, not after. Or am I merely delusional?

I second this to a great extent.  Why didn't they show... any of this?  Why no pictures at all of the villages except the snippets of box art?  Why no sketches for Rahi?  Why no alternate mask designs for the Protectors or villagers?  They obviously had the material, why did they handicap themselves so badly by not bringing it out?  This is the kind of stuff that would've gotten me much more interested in Gen2!  And all we saw of it were some wallpapers, some 90-second cartoons, and a few Netflix episodes.
 
*siiiiiiigh*


We got to see the fire village quite clearly in the video "The Legend", being besieged by skull spiders. And the illustrations that were used for the box art of the villages were also used prominently on last year's version of the website. So it's not as though the boxes were the only place we saw the villages. For comparison's sake, the Mata Nui Online Game was literally the only thing in 2001 that prominently showed the villages of Mata Nui, and it happened to be one of the only aspects of 2001 Bionicle that G2 lacked any direct analogue to. With that in mind we're lucky to have even seen as much of the villages as we did — pretty much all the most important events of the story were set outside of them.

I don't know what you mean about Rahi, because most of the creatures shown concepts for Okoto's Elemental Creatures, which played a big and prominent role in both the sets and the story, or for villains like the Skull Creatures and Elemental Beasts. When LEGO was developing these concepts there's little doubt they knew that only one creature from each element and a handful of villains would actually end up becoming sets. The purpose of creating more than that was having more to choose from.

And presumably, they didn't show different Protector mask designs because the sets didn't have the budget for more mask designs. Consequently, alternate mask designs in the story would've felt inauthentic to the sets. Concepts don't have to worry about that kind of restriction, but final products and media do. Have you even seen all of Christian Faber's unused concepts for G1 Bionicle? Unused locations, unused plants and animals, unused villages (and more), unused temples, and LOTS of unused villagers. Ultimately, these had to be rejected in favor of options that made more sense for the directions the media and products ended up taking.

It's totally normal for just about any entertainment franchise to have way more concepts than ever make it into the final product. Part of the purpose of concept art like this is to create different options to choose between when deciding what direction to take, so there can be far more options tested than the story actually needs or has room for. That's not a handicap — rather, it's the whole reason concept art is created. It's creating a vast pool of ideas and choosing to use whichever ones make the most sense for what is needed at that time. What is unusual in this situation is LEGO being willing to share all those concepts, used and unused alike, with fans after the fact — and for that I think we should be very grateful.

Edited by Aanchir, Dec 29 2016 - 04:37 PM.

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#22 Offline Wazdakka

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 05:24 PM

Assuming evil_jaga_genius and I maintain the same point, we are arguing that one of the main issues with Bionicle G2 was a simple lack of content compared to G1 Bionicle, in terms of games, books, comics, and other forms of media that really fleshed out the Bionicle world (Mata Nui, in this case) in a way that made Bionicle appealing as more than just a simple toyline. 

 

We are perplexed because an easy answer to that dearth of content comes from this artbook. Imagine if the artbook was released at the end of 2015, or if the Bionicle website posted a new image every week, with a tidbit of explanation and lore alongside it. 

 

You state that it is common for entertainment franchises to create far more concepts than they actually use; yes, you are completely right. However, what is not common is for a franchise to use only a handful of concepts that result in a relatively small amount of content (which is a common criticism of G2), while not using the rest of the pile that they could have used. That's our (my) issue.  


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I got rid of my picture, are you happy?

 

 

 


#23 Offline Zidonaro

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 05:47 PM

Why didn't LEGO show more of this stuff off before they cancelled Bionicle? It's clear that there were a lot more images, content, concepts, ideas, and general worldbuilding created for Bionicle G2 that LEGO simply left out until now. Bionicle fans were chomping at the bit to get any more morsels about the underdeveloped world of Okoto... and it's not like such morsels didn't exist, LEGO just either left them unfinished or hid them 'til now. I'm sort of at a loss. This is exactly the sort of thing that should have been released before G2's premature end, not after. Or am I merely delusional?

 

Nope gotta move all the budget to make those monstrous looking CCBS Star Wars figures that no one asked for!


Edited by Zidonaro, Dec 29 2016 - 05:48 PM.

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#24 Offline Lenny7092

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 07:22 PM

Wow! We finally are looking at THE Art of Bionicle!:D
Anyway, the concept art of the Toa, villains, and Elemental Creatures are awesome! Some of these pieces of art look better than the sets that we get in my opinion.
Umarak would look great if he had a Shadow Trap for a pet rather than just a minion. Funny that a piece of art shows a villain holding weapon that looks like a mix of a dream catcher and tennis racket.:P Some of the used villains, like the one who has a snake tail instead of legs and one who looks like a Cthulu and whose head can detach into an octopus, would be very interesting builds if they had came out as sets. Wish they were released as sets. The prototype designs of the Mask of Ultimate Power look very cool, and either one of those that has colorful facial fins is something that the Mask should look like if it were to have all six elements.
Anyway, I don't know why these unused content weren't used to be released as sets? They look like that they have a potential to be and look awesome. They could have been all of the remaining Toa's own foes.
I like the designs on the Elemental Creatures.:) It seems to be that there are three Creatures of each of the Toa's element, so they look like that they could either combine to form a completed set of armor for the Toa, or that someone is choosing one of the creatures to be released as the set. It's sort of like Transformers, as some of these Creatures look like that they can form weapons for the Toa.

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I like Lego, Bionicle, and Hero Factory!:)

#25 Offline Bfahome

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Posted Dec 29 2016 - 07:56 PM

"What's this, the BIONICLE team is giving out a detailed art book to the fans as a gesture of thanks?  Better complain about the work they did some more, surely that's the best way to ensure they take our opinions to heart in the future."


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#26 Offline Pomegranate

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Posted Dec 30 2016 - 12:42 AM

I was so upset on learning the official Art Book was incredibly limited and not available to us -- so relieved and overjoyed that we get access to it this way! Absolutely gorgeous, such a beautiful collection of work that I'll certainly treasure as a memento of our little reboot :D


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#27 Online Black Six

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Posted Dec 30 2016 - 06:57 AM

I just want to add here that this book is very much a labor of love on the part of the Bionicle team. This was not something done to drive business or sell more sets or any of the things a multinational corporation usually does to affect their bottom line. This was the work of the people behind Bionicle who share our passion for the theme and wanted to give something back to the community that has shown support and excitement for the brand.

As Aanchir and Lyichir have said, pretty much any toy, movie, videogame, TV show, or whatever franchise generates a large amount of concept art that inevitably never gets used. In 99% of the cases you just never see it. Not every idea can make it into the final product - that's just a part of the creative process. There are certainly some exceptions, like Star Wars, where the fanbase is large enough and willing to fork over the cash to justify the time and effort it takes to make a book of the ideas that didn't make it. Bionicle is not one of those exceptions, and I for one am grateful that we are getting to see so much of this, put together so cohesively, for free.

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#28 Offline Wrinkledlion X

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Posted Dec 30 2016 - 07:55 PM

I think it's fair for people to be disappointed that so much great work went into a line that ultimately didn't utilize it very thoroughly. No one's complaining about the artists' work, after all—everyone here is extremely into it! I'm an artist in the entertainment industry myself, so I know how frustrating it is to do lots of development work and never see it in the final product. If I heard some fans were upset that my ideas didn't make it in, I'd feel proud that they liked my work enough to wish they'd gotten more.

 

It is exhausting to hear people complain, but part of having a devoted fanbase is having fans who are invested enough to get sad when they see how great something could have been. The day fans stop complaining about Bionicle is the day they stop caring, so I hope everyone on BZP keeps complaining for a long time yet.

 

(That said, let's remember that this is all just a toyline and we should be appreciative that any thought is being put into it at all)


Edited by Wrinkledlion X, Dec 30 2016 - 08:04 PM.

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#29 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Dec 30 2016 - 08:48 PM

"What's this, the BIONICLE team is giving out a detailed art book to the fans as a gesture of thanks?  Better complain about the work they did some more, surely that's the best way to ensure they take our opinions to heart in the future."

Well, complaining about this is unlikely to have a huge impact on the way they consider fan input for future themes, since this sort of post-mortem disappointment doesn't have any direct effect on actual sales. However, keep in mind that this sort of mass release of concept art is highly unprecedented—and if the main sentiment that Lego sees from the release of this is pent-up anger and frustration, it could well influence whether they consider releasing artbooks or other collections of concept art in the future. After all, this was presumably intended to help ease the pain of the theme's cancellation—if it does the exact opposite, then the obvious takeaway is that Lego should not have allowed this sort of thing to be released in the first place, and should avoid repeating that mistake in the future.


Edited by Lyichir, Dec 30 2016 - 08:53 PM.

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#30 Offline Zarkan: Master of Storms

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Posted Dec 31 2016 - 11:37 AM

The artbook is now the single greatest thing to have come out of G2 - and it's definitely in the running for one of the top pieces of Bionicle media ever. A shame that, as far as I can tell, they were probably mandated to not include much of anything from the planned third year.
 

Nope gotta move all the budget to make those monstrous looking CCBS Star Wars figures that no one asked for!


Maybe no one asked for them, but a lot of people seem perfectly happy with them, judging by the fact that they're selling well enough that Lego keeps making more. And for the record, if we get nothing but Lego Star Wars CCBS for the next few years, I'll be very happy myself.

Edited by Zarkan: Master of Storms, Dec 31 2016 - 11:38 AM.

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#31 Offline Wazdakka

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Posted Jan 01 2017 - 09:47 PM

Change never happens on its own. Let alone positive change. 


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