In 2001, Lego first released their legendary Bionicle line of highly articulated, mask-wearing robot creatures, complete with transparent colored eye stalks, piston-packed elements, and lots and lots of ball joints.
And in one fell swoop, Lego not only had a huge hit product on their hands — spawning a fervor not seen since the debut of the Star Wars license in 1999 — but it also introduced a whole new subcategory of Lego brick that opened up new frontiers for AFOLs and their MOCS everywhere.
Smash cut to 2014, and the Bionicle line hasn’t been seen in years, and although there have been offshoots and inspirations in the likes of Hero Factory and Chima, for Bionicle fans, it hasn’t been the same.
Lego appeared in full force at New York Comic Con for what they called a “reboot” of Bionicle. The poseability and unique elements — many updated using the same “language” — are all there, complete with new color schemes, back stories and with reasonable price points for some cool-looking Toa.
(One Lego executive did reveal that Bionicle models would come in standard Lego boxes in line with the company’s environmentally conscious kick and also ensure more elements per set.)
Bionicle purists will appreciate the form factors of the new Toa, certainly: the reaction in the room during the announcement ranged from oohs and aahs to “That’s AWESOME.” Designers were also conscious of winning over new fans, promising a simplified story line explaining each new character with histories that are “not cluttered” and “not complicated.”
Lego also cast seven Bionicle masks in pure, 14-carat gold. Alas, they are not being randomly inserted into Collectible Minifigure packs. 🙂 But each Bionicle set will include a special pearl gold Mask of Power.
Following the days NYCC festivities, LEGO hosted a VIP build event at their Flatiron store, where we got to try our hands at assembling Bionicle elements. NYCLUG was well-represented by seven members, each of whom received a special edition trans-clear Toa mask and other Bionicle goodies. Also on hand were fellow AFOLs from FBTB.net and BZPower.com.
In short, it looks like Bionicle will become another big success for Lego and for its fans. The line is set for an early 2015 release, which can’t come soon enough for the line’s hardcore fans. And if there’s one thing Lego demonstrated through its fan access event at NYCC, it’s their commitment to sticking with what made Bionicle such a success in the first place — while upping the ante for a new generation of fans.