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Did Star Wars CCBS Kill BIONICLE?

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Let's talk about it. Do you think LEGO prioritizing their Star Wars CCBS lead to them neglecting their original CCBS property? Did BIONICLE having to compete w/ Star Wars CCBS end up ending the line?

 

Or would BIONICLE G2 still have come to an early end whether or not Star Wars CCBS was a thing?

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I think it contributed. Clearly Bionicle sales were poor, and although I still saw a lot of CCBS Star Wars sets on shelves at discount for a long time, some of them did sell out quite well, so I'm guessing they've done alright. It wouldn't surprise me if Lego dropped their original content to make some more cash of the Star Wars figures. (Not to say I'm a fan of this decision. Star Wars figres are generally a lot more drab than Bionicle. It was great to get some new tans and browns, but since that's now generally all we've been getting for the last few waves, I feel like it's gotten old. They need to release some of their more colorful Star Wars characters next.)

 

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The thing that perplexes me is that I've seen much more Star Wars CCBS sets clog up stores long after discontinuation at huge discounts than I ever saw Bionicle sets. Of course, this could be due to Bionicle sets having been cheaper and Hungary being a generally low income country, so if a family could afford Lego they would still go for the cheaper option, however that doesn't explain why I still see Captain Phasmas and Finns going for cheaper than a cup of coffee taking up all the shelf space. I don't really think that the Star Wars buildable figures are selling better than Bionicle did, or selling well at all, but there is a small caveat in this situation: Disney. Lego isn't the sole entity calling the shots. With Bionicle, it was their own IP, and while the hopeful in me still thinks they quickly pulled the plug after 2 years only to go back to the drawing board and fix what was wrong before coming back, it was an easier thing to cancel once they saw poor sales. 

 

Star Wars buildables have been pretty bland, which I think matters to kids even if the brand name of one of the biggest pop-culture phenomena is slapped on the box. SW CCBS sets have pretty high piece counts, and Lego has to deal with licensing fees, so they cut costs with severely limiting the color palette. 

 

Anyway, I think the sets definitely had an impact on Bionicle's premature demise, but not the way you think. It wasn't a case of "Star Wars buildables sell way more than Bionicle, so let's make more", since the waves have grown rather small lately. Instead, it was likely a case of "Star Wars buildables are eating up ridiculous amounts of money, but we can't cancel it, so let's cancel something else instead."

 

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partly but mostly I think it was because the starwars ccbs line has the starwars label attached to it and starwars has the bigger fanbase so sales dropped for bionicle as people were buying the new starwars sets over the bionicle one

 

G1 did not have this problem as it was the only purley constraction line

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I don't know, but I would think that the Star Wars constraction sets, Nexo Knights, and Brick Heads are correlated with Bionicle G2's cancellation, as well as Mixels'. 

 

Lego today is focusing on DC Comics, Marvel, The Lego Movies, Lego Dimensions, Star Wars, Brick Heads, Ninjago, and Nexo Knights primarily. 

 

Now, let me tell you some things about how successful is Star Wars: Star Wars is a crazy-famous thing. The play sets are fine. The constraction sets, however, are decreasing gradually every year for some reason. I think the entire constraction category isn't doing well in the 2010s, not like the 2000s. It seems to be facing a Dark Age/Great Depression on itself. Probably because Lego is focusing the many things that I mentioned above so much this decade (this would explain why Hero Factory and Bionicle G1 got cancelled. It's not just them, but also Legends of Chima in 2013-2015, Mixels, and probably Lego Dimensions and Nexo Knights, even though that they are play set themes). 

 

So, it seems that Lego is preferring to sell Star Wars constraction sets, and perhaps other said successful themes, more than Bionicle G2 sets. I would always blame Star Wars constraction, and perhaps Nexo Knights and Brick Heads (Bionicle's "replacement" because it came out this year), for Bionicle G2's and Mixels' cancellation. However, I don't think that Star Wars constraction is the replacement for Bionicle G2. Lego just didn't give Bionicle G2 its replacement this year, not like how Hero Factory happened right after Bionicle g1's cancellation.

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G2 was cancelled because it wasn't selling like G1, and that's because Lego advertised it poorly, and there simply weren't the same things for kids to latch onto. Were the story better and more easily-consumed for kids, then it wouldn't have had to end.

 

Also, just to clear something up: in a rare instance of sharing sales data, Lego tweeted at one point that G2 was actually doing OK when it ended. Apparently, they pulled it not because it was doing bad, but because it was only doing average--just like G1.

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G2 was cancelled because it wasn't selling like G1, and that's because Lego advertised it poorly, and there simply weren't the same things for kids to latch onto. Were the story better and more easily-consumed for kids, then it wouldn't have had to end.

 

Also, just to clear something up: in a rare instance of sharing sales data, Lego tweeted at one point that G2 was actually doing OK when it ended. Apparently, they pulled it not because it was doing bad, but because it was only doing average--just like G1.

 

The fact that it was only doing "average" was not a surprise—Lego has not gotten to where they are by letting themes decline to the point of abject failure, and as such most theme cancellations are best understood to be preemptive in nature. That said, I don't see where you get the idea that the factors you suggest as to why it failed would have turned it into a success. Pouring more advertising money into the theme wouldn't make enough of a difference if the problem was that kids just weren't as interested in the concept in the first place. As for the story... well, I think we all wish the story could have been more developed, but for all its faults, easy access wasn't really one of them.

 

Part of me wonders whether the lack of story media might have something to do with the willingness of external partners to back Bionicle. Lego has had a good relationship with media companies like Cartoon Network, but it's possible that these partners that have helped themes like Ninjago and Nexo Knights find success weren't really willing to give the same chance to a Lego series that didn't look like what people thought of as Lego. I'm also reminded of statements by Lego representatives about trying to pitch a Bionicle movie early on, and how many prospective studios only wanted it if they could turn it into something vastly different by adding human characters or things like that. We may never know what Bionicle G2 could have been, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that the theme's low media profile was Lego's first choice.

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Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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G2 was cancelled because it wasn't selling like G1, and that's because Lego advertised it poorly, and there simply weren't the same things for kids to latch onto. Were the story better and more easily-consumed for kids, then it wouldn't have had to end.

 

Also, just to clear something up: in a rare instance of sharing sales data, Lego tweeted at one point that G2 was actually doing OK when it ended. Apparently, they pulled it not because it was doing bad, but because it was only doing average--just like G1.

 

The fact that it was only doing "average" was not a surprise—Lego has not gotten to where they are by letting themes decline to the point of abject failure, and as such most theme cancellations are best understood to be preemptive in nature. That said, I don't see where you get the idea that the factors you suggest as to why it failed would have turned it into a success. Pouring more advertising money into the theme wouldn't make enough of a difference if the problem was that kids just weren't as interested in the concept in the first place. As for the story... well, I think we all wish the story could have been more developed, but for all its faults, easy access wasn't really one of them.

 

Part of me wonders whether the lack of story media might have something to do with the willingness of external partners to back Bionicle. Lego has had a good relationship with media companies like Cartoon Network, but it's possible that these partners that have helped themes like Ninjago and Nexo Knights find success weren't really willing to give the same chance to a Lego series that didn't look like what people thought of as Lego. I'm also reminded of statements by Lego representatives about trying to pitch a Bionicle movie early on, and how many prospective studios only wanted it if they could turn it into something vastly different by adding human characters or things like that. We may never know what Bionicle G2 could have been, but I wouldn't necessarily assume that the theme's low media profile was Lego's first choice.

 

G1 had a lot of stuff for kids to get into. There was a lot of media surrounding it, giving fans something they could latch onto and, thus, stay invested for. Had it only been given minimal story focus, it wouldn't have been nearly as successful. Compared to Ninjago, which has been a gigantic success, G2 didn't really have that much going for it. Ninjago launched with a TV special and quickly got a fully-fledged TV show that regularly aired on TV. G2 got some online shorts and a 4-part miniseries on Netflix, the latter of which only came out a year after the line launched. Kids latched onto Ninjago because there's an entire cartoon surrounding it. Kids latched onto G1 because it was promoted with comics and several easily-read books. Bear in mind, G1 also launched in an earlier point in time, when the internet wasn't so deeply ingrained into contemporary media consumption. Mind you, I'm not toting the "Netflix is paid" argument because you also have to pay for cable TV; I'm just saying it's something you need to go more out of your way to watch as opposed to just turning on the TV to whatever happens to be on.

 

I'm willing to buy that CN's lack of support for Bionicle hurt the line for the reason I just gave. It doesn't make a lot of sense, though--the G1 was a hit, and it was even less like conventional Lego than CCBS. The same goes for Bionicle's lack of human characters; G1 did just fine with its own android wizards, so why wouldn't G2 work? If that's really what killed G2, then I'm absolutely mad.


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Star Wars didn't kill Bionicle, Lego did.

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In the time before time, the Great Spirit descended from the heavens, carrying with him the ones called the Matoran, to this island paradise. We were separate and without purpose, so the great spirit blessed us with the Three Virtues: Unity, Duty and Destiny. We embraced these gifts and in gratitude named our home Mata Nui, after the great spirit himself.

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I highly doubt that the Star Wars CCBS had anything to do with G2's failure. Rather, it was the fault of poor marketing and lazy design (although, I did like Umarak the Destroyer).

Funny, since the set designs were generally superior than most of what we got in G1... <_<

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Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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I highly doubt that the Star Wars CCBS had anything to do with G2's failure. Rather, it was the fault of poor marketing and lazy design (although, I did like Umarak the Destroyer).

Funny, since the set designs were generally superior than most of what we got in G1... <_<

CCBS alone does not a superior design make.

 

I'll agree that the Toa's Gen2 designs were better than their Gen1 counterparts (execution left a little to be desired IMHO) - Pohatu with his boomerangs, Onua's hammer, Kopaka as an ice knight.  The villains, though... well.  With the exception of LoSS and Skull Scorpio, they're all stubbornly humanoid.  Nothing like, say, the Rahi, or spherical Bohrok, or transforming Vahki.

 

(sorry for getting off topic... just felt like I should say something.)


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The first wave of G2 had incredible sets, I honestly don't know what to say for the others since I never had the money for them. Wave 1 was awesome from a design stand point and managed to give character and unique builds for every toa (except Pohatu imo). The issue is that I don't think that's enough. For comparison, I LOVE Legend of Korra, all of it, but it did poorly and I just don't know why. The first step should always be to make quality, but a lot of things go into success. That's where my opinion kind of stops meaning much because I can't lie and say I really "get" a lot of those other factors. Reminds me of the Jean Luc Picard line about life and failure--how one can do everything right and still fail.

 

G2 had a lot of other problems going on though: Sets end up getting the reputation of being a mixed bag even if some were stellar; the story was horribly dull and generic; there wasn't good marketing/media for it; etc. I don't think Star Wars had a strong role in its cancellation. I can't see any particular theme cannibalizing the success of another severely enough to cause it to fail as badly as G2 did.
 

I can get the idea of LEGO deliberately putting more focus on Star Wars and licenced themes but that comes off to me as a continuing trend that's been going on since before G2. I'm uncertain as to state of constraction and CCBS in general. For what my opinion matters there seems to have been a steady decline in interest, but that could well just be superstition.

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I highly doubt that the Star Wars CCBS had anything to do with G2's failure. Rather, it was the fault of poor marketing and lazy design (although, I did like Umarak the Destroyer).

Funny, since the set designs were generally superior than most of what we got in G1... <_<

CCBS alone does not a superior design make.

 

I'll agree that the Toa's Gen2 designs were better than their Gen1 counterparts (execution left a little to be desired IMHO) - Pohatu with his boomerangs, Onua's hammer, Kopaka as an ice knight.  The villains, though... well.  With the exception of LoSS and Skull Scorpio, they're all stubbornly humanoid.  Nothing like, say, the Rahi, or spherical Bohrok, or transforming Vahki.

 

(sorry for getting off topic... just felt like I should say something.)

 

CCBS alone doesn't, I agree. I would argue that full articulation combined with exciting action features and well-armored, complex, and diverse builds does. G1 sets often relied on "clone sets", offered full articulation or action features but not both, and apart from the small number of larger "titans" and vehicles (a category that I'll grant that G2 mostly lacked), were decidedly less complex, interesting, or effective than anything G2 offered. In any case, "lazy design" is a pretty lazy insult considering the amount of thought and effort that clearly went into every individual G2 set design. But hey, maybe if we'd gotten two full six-figure waves of identical sphere monsters G2 would still be with us today.


Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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I can get the idea of LEGO deliberately putting more focus on Star Wars and licenced themes but that comes off to me as a continuing trend that's been going on since before G2. I'm uncertain as to state of constraction and CCBS in general. For what my opinion matters there seems to have been a steady decline in interest, but that could well just be superstition.

 

See, I'm hesitant to blame licensed themes getting too much focus. Like, Star Wars has never had more than 12 buildable figures a year. Bionicle got 17 or 18 sets a year, with a much better marketing presence. Let's be honest, what marketing have we seen for the Star Wars buildable figures besides the catalogs, magazine pages, and one or two TV commercials a year that we typically see in any theme? It can be argued that Star Wars sells itself, but that's not a sign of LEGO giving it a disproportionate amount of attention.

 

Furthermore, outside the scope of the buildable figures, Star Wars is usually the ONLY licensed theme that has a similar massive presence to non-licensed themes like City, Friends, Ninjago, and Nexo Knights. The LEGO Batman Movie made a big splash this year, but it's something of a special case.

 

Finally, it's not as though Star Wars has never encroached on Bionicle's territory before. After all, Star Wars had its own Technic figures in the early 2000s. It's debatable whether these were as popular as the buildable figures today, but it's not like LEGO wasn't putting much emphasis on the Star Wars theme in those days, and they certainly didn't kill Bionicle G1.

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I highly doubt that the Star Wars CCBS had anything to do with G2's failure. Rather, it was the fault of poor marketing and lazy design (although, I did like Umarak the Destroyer).

Funny, since the set designs were generally superior than most of what we got in G1... <_<

 

The aesthetic value of the sets improved; the creativity of the build did not. Other than gimmicks and some positive design tweaks, little was done to revitalize the standard 06' build. That, in my opinion, was lazy. 

Edited by You just lost the game
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I highly doubt that the Star Wars CCBS had anything to do with G2's failure. Rather, it was the fault of poor marketing and lazy design (although, I did like Umarak the Destroyer).

Funny, since the set designs were generally superior than most of what we got in G1... <_<

 

The aesthetic value of the sets improved; the creativity of the build did not. Other than gimmicks and some positive design tweaks, little was done to revitalize the standard 06' build. That, in my opinion, was lazy. 

 

I'm trying to figure out what sort of "revitalization" could be done to the builds that wasn't already that wouldn't just be bad. The sets already had much, much better proportions than the lanky builds of late G1, and used the sturdier, more modular CCBS system. What else is there to do? Custom torsos and limbs? 2016 attempted that with a large number of its sets, to a very mixed reception.

 

What frustrates me about this is that we were essentially given gold and nonetheless I constantly see complaints that it wasn't platinum. Designwise, Bionicle G2 was leaps and bounds ahead of Bionicle G1, or for that matter, Hero Factory, yet armchair critics don't hesitate to call the designers (many of whom I know personally) "lazy" from the comfort of their computers.

 

Frankly, it sometimes make me wonder whether the reason G2 failed is that it bothered trying to recapture the "glory" of an overrated theme with an overwrought story, instead of coming up with something that could achieve actual greatness without that baggage. That's probably not fair to Bionicle—I loved it as much as anyone. But it's hard not to get those kinds of thoughts when you're regularly being reminded of how toxic this fandom can be.

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Formerly Lyichir: Rachira of Influence

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G2 was killed by the multitude of half-measures Lego took with the theme. The marketing wasn't sure whether it wanted to target a new audience or target the nostalgia of G1 fans to get the world out, and ended up failing at both. The Toa sets were probably some of the best CCBS sets ever released, yet the villains were among the most underwhelming (with both Umaraks being the exception, really). They commissioned a series of flash animations which turned out quite nicely, yet only bothered to hire ONE voice actor. The list goes on and on.

 

The sad thing is, I think Lego just wasn't confident with putting its back into promoting Bionicle as much as they did with, say, Ninjago. They played it far to safely, which is a contrast to how G1 was boldly introduced in the middle of Lego's depression, and the sad reality is that at the end, they still didn't have the confidence in the line to continue it past two measly years. Star Wars CCBS probably had as much to do with G2's cancellation as regular system did - not that much at all. The bulk of the blame lies on Lego's mistakes, which they hopefully correct one day.

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In the time before time, the Great Spirit descended from the heavens, carrying with him the ones called the Matoran, to this island paradise. We were separate and without purpose, so the great spirit blessed us with the Three Virtues: Unity, Duty and Destiny. We embraced these gifts and in gratitude named our home Mata Nui, after the great spirit himself.

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I can get the idea of LEGO deliberately putting more focus on Star Wars and licenced themes but that comes off to me as a continuing trend that's been going on since before G2. I'm uncertain as to state of constraction and CCBS in general. For what my opinion matters there seems to have been a steady decline in interest, but that could well just be superstition.

 

See, I'm hesitant to blame licensed themes getting too much focus. Like, Star Wars has never had more than 12 buildable figures a year. Bionicle got 17 or 18 sets a year, with a much better marketing presence. Let's be honest, what marketing have we seen for the Star Wars buildable figures besides the catalogs, magazine pages, and one or two TV commercials a year that we typically see in any theme? It can be argued that Star Wars sells itself, but that's not a sign of LEGO giving it a disproportionate amount of attention.

 

Furthermore, outside the scope of the buildable figures, Star Wars is usually the ONLY licensed theme that has a similar massive presence to non-licensed themes like City, Friends, Ninjago, and Nexo Knights. The LEGO Batman Movie made a big splash this year, but it's something of a special case.

 

Finally, it's not as though Star Wars has never encroached on Bionicle's territory before. After all, Star Wars had its own Technic figures in the early 2000s. It's debatable whether these were as popular as the buildable figures today, but it's not like LEGO wasn't putting much emphasis on the Star Wars theme in those days, and they certainly didn't kill Bionicle G1.

 

 

Star Wars even getting constraction figures could be interpreted as a sign that it's getting more attention from LEGO, though I don't think that's the case. I don't think Star Wars directly contributed to any themes failing, just that it's gotten more attention since it's such a successful theme (not even really moreso in recent years). All your points make sense. I think I'm a bit biased and may make the assumption that because I'M not getting the themes I want that LEGO is focusing its attention to more successful themes. It makes sense in my head just because Star Wars is so much bigger than G2 and LEGO likes to flirt with licences a lot (stuff like Super Heroes) I guess licensed themes are a bit of a scape goat, I just don't know where else to point though. I imagine a theme like Star Wars is much safer to invest more time and money into than something new/new-ish, and I guess that's where my assumptions are coming from.

 

I dunno, honestly my thoughts are messy here. After G2 got canceled I've been finding it difficult to stay invested in LEGO since I don't have the money for sets and nothing looks particularly attuned to my interests or really well done story-wise. I used to try and predict and hold passionate opinions on this stuff but I've found I've lost that steam, mostly because I can't really claim to be educated on many of the possible intersecting elements.

 

The only theme I'd say Star Wars outright affected would be Space. I have nothing to back it up but I think Star Wars fills the interest of the space setting for kids and LEGO has no reason to dip their toe into other Space themes more than every few years, much to my dismay. :(

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The only theme I'd say Star Wars outright affected would be Space. I have nothing to back it up but I think Star Wars fills the interest of the space setting for kids and LEGO has no reason to dip their toe into other Space themes more than every few years, much to my dismay. :(

Yeah, Star Wars definitely seems to be something of a limiting factor on Space themes. It's probably no coincidence that of all the space themes since the launch of LEGO Star Wars, only one (Life on Mars) was around the same time as the release of new Star Wars live-action movies. The rest all came out during the hiatus between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, when interest in Star Wars wasn't quite hitting those same peaks. Of course, LEGO could always still surprise us with a new Space theme after Nexo Knights ends.

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I wouldnt think Star Wars has caused problems by getting a slice of the ccbs pie. It's just a big brand people of all ages recognize and easy to market.
In my opinion G2 just got caught in a case of really bad luck and timing with limited marketing budget.  :notsure:

Edited by necross hordika
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