Hapka’s books weren’t released until '03, as a sort of patch-up job for the video game that was supposed to tell the Toa’s story, but got canned (and you can see how the story of that would of looked - the Toa had a big dance after every victory…)
But while '01 was actually being written, the original plan was to have the Toa be all mystical and samey. The whole vibe of them getting there and forgetting their identities wasn’t really the gist of it - it was more “Yes, I am the mighty Tahu, and I bring the Fire, and I will save the island.” Greg was the one who persuaded Bob Thompson to change that into the six, distinct personalities we ended up getting - even if those personalities did eventually get fleshed out in Hapka’s book.
Again, Greg actually wasn’t hired - it was done in his spare time. There’s no guarantee that Lego was willing to pay an external writer if they didn’t have their own guy doing it practically for free - once '01 had it’s story “filled in”, they may well have ditched the novels entirely.
In fact, the novels were an explicit response to the community’s confusion surrounding what exactly happened in the plot during G1 - so without Greg’s community involvement on BZPower, the “story team” may well have never decided to write the novels. They were centered around sets that had already gone out of retail, after all.
That’s an interesting possibility to consider - perhaps without Greg’s involvement in answering questions, the books never would have even come about at all. Not necessarily the case, but quite a feasible outcome.
Yes, including the draft version that got translated from another language.
Personally, I prefer Greg’s style, but the point I was trying to make is that regardless of who did it better (which is a subjective debate) Greg was the one who had the idea to give the Toa distinct personalities.