LEGO Monkie Kid took a huge amount of research from the design team working on the project. They delved deep into Chinese lore and culture to find something that would connect with consumers, then thoroughly tested their ideas with Chinese families to learn how to refine them.
“We felt that we hit something really big when we had this concept of the Monkey King,” LEGO Senior Design Manager Dennis Fong told Geek Culture. “Seeing all the energy from the kids, the parents, how they could instantly recognise it because we had a lot of key iconic elements in there. And, you know, we didn’t need to tell a new story. We had the old story as a foundation for us to build upon.
“You never get a perfect concept from the beginning. You just need to put the best of what you can together and then seek the validation from the parents from the kids. And along the way, you slowly tick off the boxes and with inputs coming from them, like ‘This is not working right’, ‘That is okay’, then it’s like back to the drawing board [to figure out] how do we make it even better, more understandable, and even more exciting.”
It was thanks to both the team’s research and discussions, as well as the input of children, that the Demon Bull became the main villain. His cyborg aspects in particular captured the imagination of the target audience, Senior Design Director Simon Lucas reveals:
“[The Demon Bull] is such an iconic demon and kept coming up in our conversation. So we wanted to include him as the main demon in this season.
“Then we wanted to reinvent him in a brand new way, because LEGO is the perfect way to do that. So now we heard from the kids, ‘That’s definitely the Bull Demon, but I’ve never seen him like that before.”]’ He’s now half cyborg and half bull, and that’s really cool.”