Downtime: Something G1 Needed More Of

I’ve been thinking about the entire story of G1, and how much I enjoy it! I am currently reading the books for the first time, and I am at Mahri Nui. I absolutely love what I’ve read, but I can’t help but notice that the entire Bionicle story would benefit from a few more moments of downtime. By downtime, I mean moments where we get to see the characters and their world during a time of peace.

The only moments in the story I can think of where we get this are a few moments in MNOG 1, most of MNOG 2, the Kohlii match in Mask of Light, and one scene I can recall from Makuta’s Revenge where Lewa is at a Le-Koro celebration when His Nuva Symbol gets stolen. (Please let me know if I missed any! This post can double as a place to talk about those scenes, if you want to). There are implications of downtime, such as during “Challenge of the Rahi,” but these moments still feel so far apart from each other.

I understand that a lot of the later stories are meant to have a sense of dread and survival, but I think it would have been cool to see how the characters in these bleak conditions somehow found moments of peace and fun. Almost no such moments exist in the Metru Nui Saga, the Ignition Trilogy, or the Bara Magna arc (as far as I am aware). Most of all, I would love to see the characters in circumstances where they aren’t fighting for their lives, and can have fun. What are the Toa Inika/Mahri like now when there isn’t any immediate fighting to do?

What do you guys think? Should there be more moments of “downtime” in Bionicle G1? If so, where could they realistically go, and what could they be like?


BIONICLE was a toy line geared toward young boys, so I think the emphasis on action was entirely justified from that sense.


I’m aware. It makes sense. I just think that in retrospect the story would be a little more enjoyable if it broke up the action once or twice.


The story definitely needed more downtime or, at least, more time between important events. Like, the Toa Mata have barely defeated Makuta in '01 and then the Bohrok Invasion begins almost immediately after that. And when they seal the Bahrag away and become Toa Nuva, barely any time has passed before the Bohrok-Kal Strike. And it’s not just 01-03 where we have this problem - the characters almost never get to rest. I’d be fine if the story brought this up sometime, made it an important plot point, but as it is, I get a feeling of fatigue from the non-stop action.


I agree that the story needs some breaks. Unfortunately, I think that was somewhat impossible when the story was written as it was made to advertise each year’s cool new characters, so having scenes of peace and harmony would conflict with sets featuring images of characters firing launchers and carrying swords. Overall, though, it would be nice in retrospect if there could have been some breaks, as the later serials and books feel a bit like those multi-part comics where every issue ends on a cliffhanger, and you never really get to the end. Had there been some pauses in the action, the separate books would make more sense, as without it they feel like one story with brief parts cut out to make it multiple continuations.


Totally agree! The fireworks celebration at the end of MNOG 1 loses a lot of its enjoyability knowing that in like 20 minutes the Bohrok swarms are going to strike Ta-Koro. Thinking about how long that war lasted, I’d assume around a week, that’s how long the Toa got to have their golden masks for. Even a simple 1 month break in-universe would do a lot for the Toa Mata as characters, and for the narrative as a whole.

Funnily enough, this is actually why the Bohrok-Kal Strike is one of my favorite parts of the whole story. Tales of the Masks shows us a few slower-paced stories of the Toa, like when Onua and Whenua are exploring some caves. There’s a little danger, but it is mostly just letting the environment breathe.


Excellent points! It makes sense that the lack of downtime is pretty ingrained into the format of the story, and the setting as well. MNOG 2 was able to be as relaxed as it was because the Matoran were not as directly involved in the fight against the Bohrok-Kal and Rahkshi. But pretty much every other set of Matoran are pretty heavily involved in the conflict.

As I was writing this, I realized that another part of the story that could really benefit from downtime is right before the Ignition Trilogy. The Island of Mata Nui felt alive because we could discern what an “average” day was like there (MNOG 2 let us live one, pretty much), and so the big story moments there felt special and different. Metru Nui didn’t really get that. And Voya, Mahri, and Bara Magna’s average days are intentionally miserable. But after Makuta is “defeated” and the Matoran are returning to a Visorak-free, corruption-free Metru Nui, we should get a little bit more celebration. Sure, there is a lot of rebuilding to do, but they have a whole city of peace to establish! Pretty much all potential dangers are over with at last! This way, we can feel more of a connection to the rebuilt Metru Nui, something to help us see and feel more of why the Inika want to fight for it.


Well for early years it would be cool to see it but as for the ignition trilogy with Mata Nui dying there wasn’t much time for that.

( sorry if this was already stated, I haven’t read every post in this topic )


I was actually recently thinking of something along the same lines: I fully agree that the story could/should have been a touch slower paced, but I also think that that slower pace could have still been dedicated towards action and plot scenes.

For example, take the Destiny War serial; in Chapter 4, the Barraki are offered a deal to fight for the Orde Of Mata Nui. Then, in the very next chapter, we skip to a scene of Pridak discovering the rubble of a Makuta fortress after building his army and fighting a battle that we didn’t even get to see.

Another go-to example for me is this paragraph from Legends 9: Shadows In The Sky:

Lewa Nuva stood at the edge of the lightvine barrier, gazing up at the sky. It had been a day and a half since he and the others had joined the defense of the Av-Matoran village. In that time, they had fought off a score of attacks by dark Matoran, shadow leeches, and some particularly nasty Makuta. Half a dozen Matoran of Light had been lost in the battles, and Pohatu Nuva’s shoulder had required emergency repair. But the village still stood.

This paragraph alone just skims over an entire novel’s worth of content.

There’s so much going on, particularly in the later years, that the story at times feels like a summary of plot points, and I think it could really benefit from going into more detail. I say this mostly with action scenes in mind, but it could just as easily apply to the more peaceful (or at least less action-packed) moments that you had in mind with this topic.


That’s a great point! There’s a lot of off-screen worldbuilding in 08. They definitely succeeded in creating a story with the scope of something like Lord of the Rings. But that comes at the cost of only being able to delve so far into each moment.


On one hand, I absolutely agree with the downtime making it memorable, that’s why MNOG and the other Templar games/ media has stuck with us all these years, and to a lesser extent, the first 2 movies and VNOG. In fact, the Bata Magna arc was severely missing that (though maybe it’s because I didn’t read the books, or it wasn’t even widely available).

On the other, we would not have appreciated the down time as kids.

That said, I think if there’s ever a continuation of G1, even as a soft reboot (and I don’t mean G2 declaring it’s a soft reboot but having no way to elaborate on that), I think it’s time to reintroduce downtime, for 3 reasons.

  1. To introduce us, and get us acquainted to the new setting (or if it’s the same setting but with a time jump, to see how the world of Bionicle has progress or preludes to what we know).
  2. To appeal to girls. Yes, the aesthetic has always appealed to boys (though the fan MOCs clearly shows they’re not mutually exclusive), but elaborating on the lifestyle, the architecture, the rahi and the world building can definitely appeal to girls without alienating boys.
  3. Because we the adult fans will finally appreciate it. As a personal anadoct, as a kid, I loved Castle, Knights Kingdom, Mars Mission, Space Police 3, Dino Attack/ Dino 2010, Exo-Force, and of course, Bionicle (and they still go hard til today), but as an adult, with the exception of Bionicle, I prefer Lego City and Lego Friends to the above, because the city building appeals to me.

I agree! You know, this topic has got me thinking that we sometimes take “filler” for granted. For example, there wasn’t much of a reason for us to get MNOG 2. It was a side story about Hahli becoming the chronicler (which wasn’t a title she ended up keeping for long). But boy are we glad that it exists!

The story really benefited from making the natural wildlife the “antagonists” in 01. Being provided with a large part of the island’s animal kingdom helped solidify the world, imo.

As for a continuation of G1, I agree. The whole story has been building towards Mata Nui creating a paradise (and now the conflict is about keeping it that way). Let’s see the cast have a bit of fun!


Thing is, worldbuilding is expensive and difficult, especially visually.

That said, I think a Bionicle open-world game would sell like hotcakes. Especially if it focuses on non-combat as much as combat.

Personally, I prefer hub worlds and 3D-vanias, and am against open-worlds, but the free market demands open world games, and Bionicle needs to open world treatment, especially on Spherus Magna.

And yes, I know Masks of Power is happening.

As for me, I can envision my own fan game with 3 playable species, focus on all 16 elements (which behave as unique elements), and game balance with elemental power being the strongest but most scarce, blasters being the weakest, and melee being in between (and the main way for combat). I’ve already done the head for a glatorian based on specterL’s concept art (with permission, of course). SpecterL's Glatorian Head by iylv - Thingiverse


I think that for the island of Mata Nui, I would prefer an open-world game. But I actually think that a 3D Mario style game with a hub world would work better for a Spherus Magna game, since we’re dealing with a whole planet. It helps to sell the distance between each of the areas. Either way, I would love a game like that!


Various hubworlds, one for each element? Yes please! I could totally imagine the water region being inspired by Japanese Metabolism (especially Tange’s Tokyo Bay master plan), because it’s in the spirit of technology as biology, just like the matoran universe is technology as biology.

Me personally, my favourite video game worlds are Mankind Divided, VTMB & Prey (2017). MNOG is also pretty ■■■■ good too, even accounting for it’s technical restrictions.

As much as I’ld love to work on my dream Bionicle game… I’m pretty much a solo developer making my first game right now (and for a university course). I could privately message you the art style of my current game, though I mean I definitely have some self-criticisms.


That sounds interesting! I hope you do well. We need more developers like yourself who have large, original ideas.


I recently went to a talk about making games (in the context of student projects) and slide 1 was to cut your scope in half… then cut it again.

Yeah… ouch.

I mean I am learning it the hard way, cause I’m busy doing crunch for a university assignment, and I might have to slash my scope in half again. And I’m already planning for it to be presented as a vertical slice demo, showing a bit of everything but nothing in depth (also because it’s an excuse to lay the groundwork for my finish semester’s project, if they allow me to recycle code).


They should allow that, especially if your goal is to improve upon your previous work. It reflects well on a developer when they can revisit a project and make it better.


I hope so. I wrote code (in Unreal Blueprint, so doesn’t really count as code) for a stealth mechanic.

Haven’t had time to find a use for it.

Meanwhile, me doing a painterly art style is a total time sink. It’s fun though, except somehow when I increase the roughness all the way up and remove the metalness, it somehow looks better.


Maybe when you have free time (like after college ends for the semester) you could try that style for a game as well!