Five of the seven sets in the program’s first round of crowdfunding reached the required 3,000 backers to enter production before 910007 BIONICLE Legends, which means designer Sokoda’s journey ends here. Their 20th-anniversary model originally racked up 10,000 votes on LEGO Ideas in just over a month, but was rejected in the third 2019 review.
The BrickLink Designer Program gave BIONICLE Legends a second chance at becoming an officially-realised set amid vocal support from the wider community – but when push came to shove, that same contingent of fans failed to give the project enough support to reach its funding goal in time.
Sokoda has since taken to Twitter to offer their perspective on why the community failed to rally around the model – and why it shouldn’t be taken as a reflection of the wider support for BIONICLE as a theme.
“Before the actual crowdfunding started, I saw quite some people that were very sure this would hit the goal fast,” Sokoda tweeted. “I personally was always a bit more doubtful or careful with those assumptions. Clicking support is always easier than paying money for something and I don’t judge anyone for not spending their money on a LEGO model.
“I also see a lot of community discussion about what this means about BIONICLE and the community. And while I most likely won’t get super involved in all that discussion, here is one thing I want to say: this was a quite unique set of circumstances. This model had a special set of limitations, had to be close to the original Ideas project and was in a special crowdfunding program.
“I would personally try to be careful about using this to make generalised statements about BIONICLE and its community.”
The designer also acknowledged that the model had to go through ‘quite some changes’ due to the limitations of the BrickLink Designer Program, which could also explain why it failed to hit 3,000 pre-orders – despite being backed by 10,000 users on LEGO Ideas.
Fellow BIONICLE fan RealFaeMain also pointed out that as a System diorama, Sokoda’s project wasn’t representative of the constraction figures that the theme is best known for – and may not have been hugely accessible to anyone outside the hardcore BIONICLE fanbase.
“As someone who only got deep into the lore relatively recently, more casual fans wouldn’t necessarily even recognise all of the scenarios in the model,” they tweeted, noting that even if the model had been successful, it likely wouldn’t have ‘proven the viability of BIONICLE to [the LEGO Group]’.
For now, the greatest hope for a resurgence of the dormant theme lies in the LEGO Group’s 90th anniversary celebrations. BIONICLE is currently in contention with Castle, Pirates and Classic Space for a one-off set to commemorate the occasion in 2022, but we won’t find out which of those themes has come out on top in the fan vote until next year.