What really made Bionicle great?

So, for a long time the general consensus has been that the best thing about Bionicle was the complex story. I disagree with this for one reason. People claim that 2001-2003 are the golden years, and those same people are the most vocal in saying that Hero Factory doesn't have a good story, when, in all honesty, 2001's story wasn't actually that complex. Heroes arrive. Heroes collect masks. Heroes defeat bad guy. sound familiar? it should. with the exception of collecting masks, that is the formula Hero Factory has used. Bionicle's story didn't actually get complex until 2004's Metru Nui Saga. So, if it's not the story, what made Bionicle so special, that 15 years after it began, we're still talking about it? The characters. Unlike the flawless heroes of HF, the Bionicle characters were relatable. We all knew the guy who was always cheerfful (Pohatu). We all new the loner (Kopaka). We all knew the arrogant guy with a heart of gold (Tahu). We all knew the guy who put his duty before anything else (Jaller). We all knew the sports hero (Hewkii). We all knew the curious kid who was more than he seemed. (Takua) And that's why these characters are still with us today. Because we could imagine the Toa and Matoran were us and our friends going on adventures.

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In addition to what you said about great characters, I thought Mata Nui was an interesting one.
He ignored most of what happened inside of him, for all he cared about was restoring Spherus Magna and exploring the cosmos.
When Teridax took over his body and he was banished, He learned about trusting and gaining friends. He also learned to pay more attention to his surroundings, by almost stepping on a Scarabax beetle.
He started seeing Matoran and Toa less as workers and more as friends, too.

The Piraka were also interesting characters too.
None of them trusted each-other, some of them such as Thok tried to take advantage of that.
I also liked that Zaktan was a very evil and intimidating villain, yet he was not fearless like you would expect a villain to be. He even knew about the great plan Teridax had, yet he hid that knowledge to himself and vowed to one day use it to his advantage.
BIONICLE was very good with their characters, and that's what makes you want to buy the sets of those characters.

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exactly. Every single character was unique. That's why I think that even if the story is a lot simpler, as long as the characters are still the same characters we love (I.E. Tahu acts like Tahu and not Preston Stormer), it will be awesome.

I honestly have to completely disagree.

The characters are not what made Bionicle great. They may have helped carry it along during the later years, but the draw to Bionicle wasn't the characters nor was it the complex story.

It was the atmosphere.

Bionicle created a very very interesting and captivating atmosphere during it's early years, from 2001 to 2003. It nicely blended many genres together. They had a sci-fi plot, with steampunk designed characters living in a tribal setting. It was a very nice ground between ancient spiritual mystery and scientific wonder. In short, it was an atmosphere that had rarely been seen before and really has not been seen since.

Templar Studios, I feel, have a lot of credit to be given with this, because by the greatest of luck, they were the only story that was told in Bionicle's early years (outside of the four issues of the comic series).There were supposed to be a movie and a video game coming out, so they were given freedom, and as such focused their games solely on worldbuilding. You saw Matoran life, you went to all of the visually distinct Koros, you really got to experience Mata Nui. This was made even more better in MNOG II, which introduced multitudes of new characters, all with their own jobs, their own lives, and their own friends. They solidified the atmosphere, and as such, gave the franchise it's own unique voice.

Now, the characters themselves weren't bad by any means, but 2001-2003 are often cited as the best years because they had the best atmosphere. It was something that you could only get from Bionicle, and I felt like every year since has tried to get that back, but without the same success because there's not enough emphasis on worldbuilding anymore.

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that's a good point. I never really thought of that, and now that I do, I think you might be right.

To me ,what made Bionicle special was just having fun with my friends. Back in 2009 , 6 of us were hardcore Bionicle collectors and we would spend hours on youtube and bionicle.com ...just hanging out with my bio-friends is what made bionicle special for me. Now at days ,only 1 of them is still into the story,but its fine.

The secrecy was what made Bionicle so special to me. There had really never been anything like it before, I mean combining technology with nature just seemed like such a cool concept, so jumping into the line was a no-brainer for me. But then leaning more and more about the lore really got me invested, there were just so many things that we didn't understand at the time, so many mysteries we had to uncover, and the best part was the main characters had lost their memories too so we were learning along side them.

Obviously there are far more reason why I fell in love with the line, but I made an Autopsy for that so writing it all here would be redundant stuck_out_tongue

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I agree with Var alot on this. While BIONICLE's story was engaging and interesting, it was the lingering mysteries that always kept me guessing and wanting for more. From the Red Star in the Mata Nui online game, to Metru-Nui being underneath Mata-Nui, all the secrets that the turaga held early on in the story, and of course the true nature of Mata Nui...The mysteries truly made the story great. I feel that Bionicle really started to lose its luster when all these mysteries were unveiled, and in some cases (I'm looking at you Deus-ex-Red Star >_>) the reveals didn't really live up to expectations.

-Star

You didn't like the Red Star reveal? I loved it.

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I never really liked it to be honest :/. I felt that it really cheapened every death in the series bar Matoro. Particularly resurecting Lhikan, whose death was critical in Vakama's growth as a character. I feel that it made the characters more like replaceable automatons that can't "die", as opposed to characters whose lives/sacrifices meant something. It made sense in lieu of information since revealed, such as that Velika made the MU races become sentient, and prior to that, were pretty much robots, but I felt it was an unecessary addition and a lack-luster reveal to one of the longest standing mysteries of the story.

-Star

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everything.... done

Let's just say everything mentioned made it special...

-TERMINXX

I actually think BIONICLE sucks and only pretend to like it to be friends with the fans.

/s
BBBB55

While not playing too big of a role, the uniqueness of many character/creature designs added to my original fascination of the franchise. Especially smaller villains like the bohrok, rahkshi, visorak, ect, were interesting and often had creative designs. Can't say I've ever seen anything looking like a Piraka before 2006.