[TTV G3][Poll] What is the core of Bionicle?

A better clarification would be what part of BIONICLE do you value the most, that makes up the core of the franchise? What makes it worth it to you, what is the real core, the thing that everything else can change around?

For me and the majority of TTV, it's going to be the worldbuilding and atmosphere. But we're interested in what you guys think. Results will be discussed on the podcast.

  • Sets
  • Story/Plot
  • Characters
  • Worldbuilding/Atmosphere

0voters

Votes are public.

22 Likes

Atmosphere for life. It's the main thing that BIONICLE has which is completely unique to the franchise, and has given it its own identity over the years.

-Mesonak

13 Likes

I've gone over this point many times before, but setting and worldbuilding were what made G1 great. The world feeling as alive as it did made you care about the story more. A great story means nothing without memorable locations and a world you can feel immersed in. People don't just want a good story, they want to imagine themselves being a part of it. Immersion is huge, and without things like Tales of the Tohunga and MNOG, G1 would likely not have had such a strong following right off the bat. I cannot stress the importance of immersion enough, because half the reason people don't like Bara Magna or Okoto is because there was very little to no worldbuilding done with those settings, and as such, they don't feel alive, and nothing the characters do carries any consequence. Saving Le-Koro from the Nui-Rama is only impactful because you've been to Le-Koro, and you've met its denizens. You care about these people and this place on a subconscious level, because it's not just a plot point, it's a real place, with real people in it. Convincing someone that the world you've created is real gives everything consequence and meaning. It's difficult to care about an evil villain threatening to destroy the world if that world is one you aren't a part of.

6 Likes

Man what a hard choice, I would say I love the world of bionicle and all, but without the sets I would have never known that bionicle existed

I feel as though it's a combination of these elements that makes up the core of Bionicle, not just a single aspect.

8 Likes

The atmosphere, it's a unique mixture of sci-fi and fantasy that you don't see very often and it set Bionicle apart from everything else. However it needs good characters and plots to succeed. It's a combination of those things with a core of the atmosphere.

2 Likes

Atmosphere primarily, but that is largely created by the story and nature of the characters.

I would say the core of BIONICLE is (bio)mechanical beings on a tropical island (or similar), with some sort of elemental affiliation and overarching goal.

(Before somebody uses this poll to claim the majority of people would be happy to see G3 be just system Mata Nui builds without the characters resembling BIONICLE at all...)

1 Like

I kind of put all four of these on equal ground. I think each of these aspects work in tandem of each other, and therefore I can't really choose which one I think is the "most valuable" or the "core" of Bionicle. The sets are interesting because they are the image of the characters. This is their physical form that can be modified, played with, or made into new characters. The plot is interesting because it tells us what these characters go through and form our understanding of what kind of characters they portray. The characters themselves tell their own story and elicits some sort of emotion towards them. The worldbuilding provides context and is very immersive.
To me, however, the core of Bionicle is how malleable it is overall. The sets, the story, the characters, the lore, all of it can be molded and changed by us as fans of the franchise. We are able to make our own Bionicle, that is, if we choose whether or not to follow canon, and even then, we are able to tweak it. I think Bionicle's core is that, at least the way I've known it, it's a chronicle told, a story passed down that could have many interpretations. As a kid, I didn't pay much attention to much of these. I saw Bionicle as toys. However, I got to read about the story and experience the world-building. I loved the characters and still played with the sets.
However, I played however I wanted despite all that. I remember when I had three Ko-Matoran. They were different versions of Solek with different-shaped limbs and masks, but I played with them as Ko-Matoran despite them technically being Av-Matoran. Although they aren't at all as impressive now, back then, I had a blast making up their adventures and pretending they were in a village or patrolling or even playing a sport. Nowadays, I would probably worry about how they would affect canon, but back then, I enjoyed the freedom of making my own sets, my own story, my own characters and lore.
Long story short, I believe Bionicle's core is how fun it is to make it your own. Sure, these four things help and are extremely important, however they don't have to be Bionicle's sets, characters, story, and lore, they can be yours. You can tell your own Bionicle.

5 Likes

Story and characters should definitely be a focus, but worldbuilding is what really made BIONICLE good, so a successor should make that a priority.

1 Like

Well, for me it's simple. If it looks good, I buy it. That's how I got in BIONICLE in the first place. I just instantly fell in love with Onua Mata.

I never knew there was a story behind them. The only story I got was a little comic blurb of Bohrok saga the store handed out then. It wasn't until the MoL movie came out that I knew there was extensive lore behind those sets I'd bought.

The stories and lore are nice and all, but I think the "looks" of BIONICLE is what kept me hooked. Don't get me wrong. The character, story, and world building do enhance the experience. But no matter how cool or cunning the character of Teridax was, I wouldn't have even cared to look at him if his set had turned out to be the Good Guy.

3 Likes

S E T S !
What I value the most about Bionicle is what, to me, has the most value, that being the sets. Sure, I like the story, atmosphere, etc, but I don't get the same amount of awe from them as I do with sets (this includes not only normal retail sets, but also rare items).
Most of the story (for me at least) resides online or in a digital format, and if technology ever ceases to function, I will still have the collection I've built up to appreciate forever.

whoops, misclicked. I put characters when I meant to put story...

wellll Bionicle is a toy line before anything else but the worldbuilding and atmosphere is a pretty big part of it

I'd have to agree with a lot of others on saying that Bionicle in actuality is a combination of all those aspects.

Now, for me personally I wouldn't say that the worldbuilding and the atmosphere has been the main focus for the entire time I've enjoyed Bionicle. I wasn't around for the days of MNOG and all that, and even if I was I think younger me would have been very bored playing it.

That being said, I voted for it here because I have the greatest appreciation for it, and I know that it's where the heart of the theme lies the most. Being older now, I can get into a rich and detailed world better than I could when I was younger, but my experiences growing up haven't allowed me to be extremely into the worlds that Bionicle created, and it's a shame the amazing environment Okoto had to offer wasn't used to its fullest.

Also, side note, really glad this poll got made and my comment got mentioned on the Podcast. I know that sounds vain, but I do think it was something important to talk about.

3 Likes

... that was a difficult one to answer...

I'd say Bionicle G1 sure had a lot of memorable characters, but I personally never cared much about if those characters appeared again in the story - although I have to admit that it was kinda awesome to see the Toa Nuva again after 5 years. It also probably wouldn't affect Bionicle at all if only new characters will appear in the future, so characters can't really be the core of Bionicle as a whole.

The sets - G2 failed because it had a bad story, bad characters and no sufficient worldbuilding - it had good sets, though. Sure, if you like the sets simply as sets that look cool and are nice to play with, this could be your core of Bionicle, but I doubt that treating it that way would ever create a lasting affection to the line since at some point you either stop playing with the sets or get too good at MOCing to take much interest in the actual sets themselves anymore.
Some years ago my cousin visited us with his parents and when he saw my Bionicle collection he asked me if I had the "Yellow Destroyer". It took me a few minutes before I figured out he meant Hewkii Mahri. He knew nothing else about Bionicle, so I wonder - could it still be called Bionicle that way? And I think not, which is why I can't see the sets as the core of Bionicle.

Story and worldbuilding are strongly intertwined in my opinion. Some sort of backstory just is essential for good worldbuilding - especially when all we have is action figures. As I already said before, sets simply need some kind of backstory to work as a big thing. Why I still don't think the story is the core of Bionicle is this: However much the story influences the world, even more does the world influence the story. The story tells us why certain things are, as they are, but the worldbuilding tells us how they are. What can happen. Also it's the world that enables you to make up your own stories in a believable way.

I think I was pulled fully into Bionicle by a simple strip of paper included in a box of cereal or something - all it did was showing all the '01 masks and telling me what their powers were. And this simply added a meaning to everything. From there on Bionicle figures weren't just weird guys who could move their arms up and down anymore, but actual characters, simply because I suddenly knew something about them beyond their name. Then came the island of Mata Nui - some exotic place where the characters could have adventures, and only then did I actually learn about the story. This together made me buy the sets and once I had them I began to care about the individual characters beyond their individual looks.

In the end I'd say that everything together makes up a good theme, but worldbuilding really is the core of everything.

5 Likes

Here I am, voting for plot when other folk are all doing world building.

The way I see it word building is great for setting up the groundwork but you need a plot to make it successful in the long run.

5 Likes

I agree with this but if I was going to vote for what I thought would be good, I'd have voted characters. I feel like this is asking what was good about BIONICLE, and when I think about that, worldbuilding immediately comes to mind.

It's a close tossup between story and world building, but I'd have to go with the story. I feel like certain parts of the world aren't developed enough to warrant voting for that over story (for example the Skakdi and Vortixx cultures and Matoran cultures outside of Mata Nui/Metru Nui). Sure, the early parts of the main Bionicle story (specifically the first 4 years) have really well developed world building and an incredibly unique atmosphere which I love to death (the best example being MNOG and the other Templar animations), but I can't help but feel the rest of the Matoran Universe outside of places like Metru Nui, Karda Nui and Karzahni didn't get the same amount of atmospheric treatment. For me, my favorite parts of Bionicle were always the books and online serials, so I'd probably favour the plot, if only marginally. I don't think I've ever seen such an intricate plot come from what essentially started out as a kid's toy line. Sure, it has flaws, but I feel it's the main attraction of Bionicle for me.

Despite all that, if I had to objectively place one thing as the biggest factor for Bionicle's success, I'd definitely have to say the world building. I just personally got more out of the plot.

To be fair though, I think the story and world building compliment eachother to the point where one would certainly not succeed without the other. They're so intertwined that I'd almost consider putting them into the same option. However, I do understand why they are seperate, and they do ultimately represent different strengths in every franchise. There are some franchises, for instance, where I believe the world building is stronger than the plot, like Mass Effect for instance.

2 Likes

(I wish I could vote for more things than one!)

I would honestly say it's a combination of world building/atmosphere and story/plot.
Mostly for the fact that you could have a great world with wonderful people as characters, but if they don't do anything, then who cares!?

It's just the same thing (sets, in this case) over and over again if something doesn't actually happen.

Many plots are the same - some evil guy comes into being and wants to rule the world - but without any plot at all, nothing would sell, and nobody would care about the world, or even think about investing money into it.

The atmosphere of BIONICLE will always be the best and most important part. I love the tribal, elemental feel that both Generations had and I would want the same for G3.

1 Like