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LEGO BIONICLE coming to an end… again…

by admin on August 4, 2016

in LEGO Bionicle

Looks like the re-launch of LEGO BIONICLE didn’t go as well as the LEGO company and original BIONICLE fans had hoped for. A few days ago it was announced on the LEGO BIONICLE website and the official LEGO BIONICLE Facebook page that the theme will be discontinued by the end of this year. Below is the full announcement, so we can discuss…

LEGO BIONICLE Ends

The Conclusion of “The Journey to One” marks the end for LEGO BIONICLE Generation 2

Fans, today we have to share the news with you that we have made the tough decision to discontinue LEGO BIONICLE at the end of 2016. NETFLIX has just started streaming the final two episodes of “The Journey to One” the ending of which, will put an end to any speculation about the future of LEGO BIONICLE.

With the 2015 re-launch of LEGO BIONICLE, we set out to revive a childhood favorite of fans worldwide, and bring it to a new group of children who were too young to have known and played with LEGO BIONICLE Generation 1. From your wonderful feedback over the last year, we feel very proud to have performed that task. Currently, the last wave of LEGO BIONICLE products is launching in Europe and North America. These products will, however, not reach the shelves in Asia and the Pacific markets.

Next up is the #BIONICLEbuildmakuta ReBrick Contest, starting August 1st, that will give you a chance to compete for some unique prizes. All you have to do is to give us your best shot at the Evil Overlord himself. Through the rest of the year, we will keep sharing artwork and other things that may be of interest to you on LEGO.com/bionicle and facebook.com/LEGOBionicle.

On behalf of the LEGO BIONICLE team we would like to say that it has been absolutely thrilling to work on a theme that evokes so much interest, dedication and emotion. We would like to thank you for taking in LEGO BIONICLE Generation 2 and sharing all your builds, stories, artwork, joy, criticism and praise. By doing so you have not only expanded the universe but also made the amazing BIONICLE community even stronger and more amazing. We are confident that you will ensure that BIONICLE lives on.

The BIONICLE Team

LEGO BIONICLE Candeled

Based on the feedback I have read on Facebook, the announcement was quite a shock for LEGO BIONICLE fans. But in many ways the writing was on the wall. LEGO BIONICLE was one of the most successful product lines by LEGO between 2001 and 2010. After much begging and prodding by original fans, LEGO BIONICLE was rebooted in 2015. While Generation 2 had some good updates and upgrades, it never really satisfied the nostalgia of old fans, nor did it grab the imagination of younger kids the way Generation 1 did in its era.

LEGO BIONICLE 2015 Episodes

I believe that the lack of sufficient marketing also played a role in BIONICLE Generation 2 not catching on. At least in my area only one store carries BIONICLE sets with any kind of consistency. And kids are mostly preoccupied by toys based on licensed franchises like Star Wars, Super Heroes and digital games. LEGO also has been releasing an unusually large number of sets and themes (both franchised and their own lines), resulting in LEGO fans having to plan and budget more carefully. Thus it seems like BIONICLE sort of fell through the cracks.

2016 LEGO Bionicle

I also wonder how this will bode for other LEGO sets and themes that fans have been asking for LEGO to bring back, like LEGO Classic Space, LEGO Classic Castle, and Monorail. I remember reading that LEGO tends to shy away from re-releases because they usually don’t do well. No matter how loud and demanding fans are, the failure of LEGO BIONICLE (which was undoubtedly the strongest candidate for a re-launch), only reinforces LEGO’s belief that bringing back retired sets and themes is a bad idea.

LEGO BIONICLE Ends 2016

LEGO BIONICLE however won’t go out without a bang. As you can read in the announcement above, LEGO is running on awesome contest on ReBrick, to build the evil overlord himself. The Makuta Challenge runs until September 1st, and the prizes include the entire 2015-2016 LEGO BIONICLE collection, and a limited edition LEGO BIONICLE Art Book signed by the LEGO BIONICLE team. In the video below you can watch the introduction to the contest, and you can also read the full description, rules and other details on LEGO ReBrick.

LEGO BIONICLE Makuta Challenge

While the LEGO BIONICLE saga is ending abruptly, it did introduce some very interesting pieces into the LEGO Constaction Figure line that I hope LEGO designers will continue to use. Even if you are not into LEGO BIONICLE, the pieces are great for giving some interesting details to your LEGO models. Most of the LEGO BIONICLE sets are on sale (and will probably continue to be on sale until they are all gone), so if you would like to get some, you can find them under the LEGO BIONICLE section of the Online LEGO Shop.

Shop Bionicle

What do you think? Do you believe that LEGO could have done something differently to make the LEGO BIONICLE more successful? Why do you think the reboot failed? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

brickmaster August 4, 2016 at 2:18 PM

Sad. Really sad. But it is best to cut their losses short now. They were not able to reconnect with old fans, and were unable to gather new ones. It is hard to continue such an epic story as Bionicle. Star Wars is really the only series that has been able to continue through generations. But they are putting in tremendous amount of money, talent, and resources into their productions. Bionicle just doesn’t have that. The contest results should be interesting.

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admin August 4, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Yeah, it just seems like that while they got good designers for the new sets, they haven’t really thought through their strategy as far as how they would resurrect the story and characters. I guess they expected LEGO fans to do that? But it’s a risky business relying just on your fans.

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Håkan August 4, 2016 at 4:12 PM

Well, most of Lego’s themes have had pretty vague storylines, and I’ve mostly thought of Bionicle’s extremely convoluted storylines as a disadvantage rather than an advantage… And picking up from where it started would have been a sure shot way to alienate any possible new fans of the franchise…

But I’m not a huge fan of either series…

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admin August 4, 2016 at 4:37 PM

That’s true. The first story was too complex and the second too dumped down. It’s hard to find that sweet spot in the middle. 🙂

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Håkan August 5, 2016 at 5:37 AM

Picking up from where it finished, I meant… =/

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Ray August 4, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Bionicle was a unique thing for Lego when they introduced it, original characters with an epic storyline. (The Throwbots that preceded it lacked the story and a clear hero/villain dynamic.) Personally I got burned out on it from year after year of figures that assembled in an identical fashion (a problem that also befell Hero Factory, the Bionicle replacement) but conceptually that’s not a problem for the characters (see also TMNT, Power Rangers, Sailor Moon, and any number of other color-coded hero teams).

One of the other big problems with Bionicle was that its story got more fragmented and confusing the further along it got. Note the large hits Lego got later with Ninjago, Legends of Chima, and Nexo Knights, which notably had long and well crafted plot arcs airing on Cartoon Network. Whereas lines like Galaxy Squad with no TV show (it easily could have had one if they’d wanted to) are abandoned and forgotten within a year. (Note also that Hero Factory had a few animated mini-series, but never a full series.)

As you said, there was a failure in marketing, or really, Lego just never committed to Bionicle G2 nearly as much as they have to their current original properties, or even as much as they did to the early days of the first Bionicle.

I think the fragmented nature of what Bionicle G1 became keeps it from having the staying power of Transformers or GI Joe, which have had numerous toy and TV series reboots since the 80s, or even He-Man and Thundercats, which had relatively short lived revivals recently (but still with a cartoon series). Lego learned important lessons from Bionicle and applied them to Ninjago, Legends of Chima, and Nexo Knights. Especially Ninjago, for which they created a second three-year plan after the first one had concluded.

Probably the primary lesson is one the other toy companies discovered in the 80s: have a cartoon series.

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admin August 4, 2016 at 3:28 PM

Good analysis, Ray. I agree with pretty much everything you said. It just seems like LEGO didn’t really have a fully worked out plan and strategy as far as how they were going to re-introduce BIONICLE. Also there is just way too much competition even with other LEGO themes. Ninjago is still huge and it preoccupies a lot of young LEGO fans. Nexo Knights is similar to Ninjago and it also has a very involved story. Then there is of course also Star Wars and Super Heroes. There is only so much LEGO fans (young and old) can focus at a time.

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Håkan August 4, 2016 at 4:15 PM

The CCBS system also seems rather limited, in my opinion… There’s this basic skeleton that’s covered up in various ways, and it’s difficult to work your way around it to implement it more creatively…

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admin August 4, 2016 at 4:35 PM

I actually really like Bionicle pieces. They are perfect for greebling. It definitely takes a while to learn how to work with them, but once you figure it out, they are awesome for either MOC-ing within the CCBS system, or to mix them with regular LEGO. 🙂

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TheBrickLot August 4, 2016 at 4:55 PM

I really don’t like these new prizes they have been doing were they are just large boxes basically. I would much rather have one of their huge models…speaking of huge, my friend is selling a ton of his Technic and Mindstorms for a really good deal (basically $1000 off)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/131898311234?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

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admin August 4, 2016 at 5:01 PM

That’s a nice lot of Mindstorms! Hope it will go to a good home. 🙂

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TheBrickLot August 4, 2016 at 5:23 PM

I have to restrain from me just bidding on it…. 🙄

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Håkan August 4, 2016 at 9:17 PM

Highly monochrome assortment for some reason… Did he keep all colored beams for himself?…

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TheBrickLot August 4, 2016 at 10:59 PM

Nope, ust most of the beams(which there are a ton of) came from Mindstorms.

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OhioBricker August 4, 2016 at 4:56 PM

I put down my LEGOs when I was about 12 and although I paid attention to what my little brothers collected for a few more years, I basically did not follow LEGO between about 1986 and 2014. When I rediscovered my love for LEGO (we were always a LEGO Town/City family–with a sprinkle of Space and Castle), I found Ninjago, Chima, and especially Bionicle to be about as foreign to me as LEGO could possibly be.
While I never really got into them, I began to appreciate Ninjago and Chima for some of the interesting and funny pieces they provided.
I don’t think the death of Bionicle has the slightest bit to do with the preferences of someone like me, but I just found that Bionicle didn’t really have very many pieces/elements that could be put to use in my city. It was always just way too “out there” for me.
I feel bad for big fans of Bionicle, though. If LEGO took away City or the Modular buildings, I’d be crushed. Hopefully they replace it with something people like even more (and hopefully that theme includes pieces I feel like I could put to use in my town.)

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admin August 4, 2016 at 5:00 PM

Yes, for City builders BIONICLE is as foreign as it could be. Although you could add a giant BIONICLE badguy to attack the citizens. At least all the police and fire forces would have something to do! 😉

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Håkan August 4, 2016 at 9:19 PM

I built a dinosaur out of Bionicle pieces and similar… I figured it could wreak some havoc on the poor unsuspecting City dwellers…

Maybe the cops could throw sausages or pies or something on it…

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admin August 5, 2016 at 8:03 AM

LOL! That’s what I’m talking about! 😈

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