Why didn't Bionicle tap into the Transformers niche?

To summarise, Hasbro is way bigger fish if it comes to robots with complicated lore that exists just to sell them than Lego.


I can prove this entire paragraph wrong with one word:


Making a moc of a robot that turns into a nice rollable ball is not any different from making a robot that turns into a car. It might be difficult for a moccist with existing pieces, but Bionicle in 2001-2006 introduced a ton of new pieces every year.


I mean there are some differences…

…But generally speaking, LEGO very easily could have accomplished such a feat. Even now I don’t think it would be impossible seeing what transformers are given a pass on bad design simply because of the character design. Seriously, transformers nowadays are downright lazy.



All I’ll say on the matter


Oh shoot, I totally forgot about that Atlantis set! The transformation on that one is actually pretty brilliant, I really wish we got more sets like that… Imagine how much they could have improved on the concept if given more time…

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In fairness, Hasbro was very unsuccessful when they tried tapping into the lego niche.


Built to rule


Even the fully transforming construct bots

All dead in three to four years.


Well I mean with Kreo at least with the bigger sets they never tried to pretend they were transformers; you could just rebuild the car or jet into a robot. Unless you go complex it’s kinda hard to build brick transformers esspecialy as a mass retail toy line with all Said regulations and rules.


Well, if the kreo route is good enough, the lego has tapped into the transformers niche with their creator robots.

But is it really a “transformer” if you have to take it apart and rebuild it for it to have a new “mode?”


To be fair, that’s not really an issue with the transformation. The “land vehicle mode” definitely has room for longer rotors, Lego just didn’t use them for whatever reason (maybe longer pieces didn’t exist at the time? I’m not an expert in what parts were available in that era of Lego).

But it is, for a couple of reasons.

First, the Bohrok are made almost entirely out of specialized pieces specifically designed for the transformation.

Second, a ball is a much more stable shape than a car.


Apparently they will be. I heard rumours a few weeks ago that Lego will be producing an Optimus Prime set that actually transforms. I’m not 100% sure if these rumours are true, but they come from the same source that revealed the name and piece count of the 90th Anniversary set, and they seem to have a pretty good reputation with the rest of the Lego community.

EDIT: Oh darn, this is some perfect timing here. Apparently Lego revealed this set just hours ago. They’re not rumours anymore:


It begs the question, why doesn’t Hasbro tap into the BIONICLE niche? Also, as someone who wasn’t an 80s kid, I think this G1 Optimus Prime set is kinda ugly, dated and primitive looking and certainly not worth $170.

… That’s what I just said.

well, just said six months ago

Okay, I’ll grant you that “not any different” was hyperbole.

Still, if Lego wanted to make a Toa that could turn into an Ussal Cart, I think the Bohrok provide good evidence that they could have done so. It would have required a lot of specialized new parts, but G1 had the budget for that.

Wait, that reminds me: wasn’t there a rule or something about the Matoran Universe not having wheels?


Gears are technically wheels so there are tons of them in the Matoran Universe. The 2003 Pewku set has tires and the kohli puck is a non functional wheel. The 2008 battle vehicles use technic wheels as turbines. Throwing disks are wheels. Rhotuka spinners are wheels. Umbra has wheels. There are a lot of wheels in bionicle, but they are rarely used in the traditional sense. Until bara magna, where most of the vehicles use them.

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In the early years, yeah.

There are plenty of round things in the Matoran Universe, but, as you said, they are virtually never used as actual wheels. The only fully-canon usages of wheels in the Matoran Universe are on the Destral Cycle and on Umbra’s feet.

This is referenced when the Toa Inika first encounter Umbra:

Jaller’s eyes were drawn to the figure’s feet, which featured rounded devices that looked something like gears. The Toa of Fire could not recall seeing anyone actually standing on their gears before, though.

Not only has Jaller never seen someone with roller skates before, he doesn’t even know what a wheel is to differentiate it from a gear.

It makes sense if you think about it; if the Great Beings gave the Matoran the technology for virtually limitless hoverflight capability, they wouldn’t have much need to develop wheels. One of the two uses of wheels was even developed directly by the Great Beings themselves (Umbra).

EDIT: Apparently the use of “true” wheels in the 2006 playsets in also canon, and the “no wheels” rule only applies to Mata Nui and Metru Nui:


The Toa of Fire could not recall seeing anyone actually standing on their gears before, though.

Jaller never saw Onua Nuva using the quake-breakers.