Would somebody please explain the prevailing desire to see themes come back that have proven to not be profitable for LEGO?
I mean just going over the comments in the Rumour post on the main site a lot of people want to see a return of Classic Space or Castle now that they believe Nexo Knights is all but confirmed finished, despite it being a rumour, but then you've got people clamoring for things like Western, Adventurers, Pirates or similar old themes being brought back and yet...
The Lone Ranger brought Western based sets back for modern consumers. The LEGO Sets were all around pretty good and had they not been tied to such a divisive film due to the casting choice of a certain someone they might have done well, but I don't recall that theme performing very well at all and I certainly don't think kids are into Cowboys and Indians any more.
Pirates was brought back a few years ago in very limited numbers and I seem to recall that it did not meet LEGO's expectations. Granted I could be wrong on that front, but if Pirates failed to garner enough interest that LEGO didn't even decide to do anything for PotC 5 aside from the DTC Silent Mary I'm firmly of the belief that Pirates are pretty much dead as a viable money-making opportunity. At least where LEGO is concerned.
The last theme we had similar to Adventurers was Pharaohs Quest. That didn't do so well either, I remember seeing that massive scorpion temple around for years afterwards and nobody wanted it. Or at least I think I did.
It's all well and good to desire similar Themes to what we had growing up, but stagnation doesn't help the creative aspect of LEGO. If kids don't buy then LEGO won't revisit a Theme. Plain and simple. So why is it we still desire to see them return even though they've proven time and time again that they just languish on the shelf too long and take up space and refuse to make the company profit?
Nexo Knights has evolved the Theme somewhat, perhaps it isn't entirely what we wanted, but it must have done something right, even if the rumour does prove true.
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True, Nostalgia is a big aspect of things. I get that, but it still confuses me a little bit.
But I'm still stuck wondering why LEGO hasn't given us any sets with the old-school monkey fig in a while though, really wish I'd nabbed one of those LEGO games with it so I could have one. So yeah, it's a nostalgic kind of thing.
I think this is more of the truth of it. I fall into the category of fan that would like to see a return of a classic medieval theme, or other good historical themes. Whether or not they would sell well, who knows? I'd love them, and I'd certainly buy them for my children much quicker than I'd buy a crappy theme like Nexo Knights.
And when something like Nexo Knights comes out, not only does it not scratch that itch, but it makes me angry because in my opinion, it's a terrible theme based on a terrible premise and show.
I think Classic Space could work as a theme. The trick is to market to both us old guys and kids. So what it needs is a Netflix show based on Benny and his red and white space cohorts.
between But Benny's Spaceship, Ultra Agents, and Nexo Knights, a lot of the older out of press parts are being reintroduced. Now the cost of making a classic space theme is that much lower because the parts are available. But maybe we wont see this int after Lego Movie 2.
I think this is easier than some people realize. I've taken notice of the types of Lego sets and figures my children enjoy over these past 2 years. When I built town square, my son, who was just over 4 years old at the time became obsessed with the knight mini figure that displayed in the Lego Store window. It's still one of his favorites. Kids recognize knights and spacemen from the TV shows they watch. He was mildly into some of the Nexo Knight promo stuff we got from the Lego store, but not the same way. This might be some of my bias creeping into my analysis, but I think it confused my kids. "Is this a knight? I'm not sure..."
Anyway, I think it's faulty logic to think classic themes won't also appeal to kids. I know my child is a very small sample size, but I think other kids would enjoy classic knights as well.
Point being, what was popular to a lot of us as kids appeals just as much to this generation of children. Tastes in toys haven't changed that drastically! And back then, there were wildly futuristic toys, just like we have now. But guess what 7 year old me wanted? The Lego Pirate ship!!! I never got it, but it was atop every Christmas and birthday list I made, and a big part of my Lego obsession today.
I'm not thinking it was kids that were the reason you couldn't find those. My kids and their friends have zero interest in Voltron.
Have they seen the show yet? Lots of parents I've talked to are watching it with their kids and parents and kids alike are loving it.
I guess it doesn't really matter, the point remains the toys are wildly popular and selling out wherever they are offered. Maybe it's all adults buying them to relive the glory days. I bought it for my kid and he loves it. I admit, it wasn't just for him though...
Yeah, Voltron is cluttering toy aisles in Canada, even we older collectors aren't as interested in it as we might otherwise appear. I wasn't really much into that as a kid either, but if LEGO made one... yeah I'd probably buy it just because it would look sweet next to GB HQ and Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine.
Just wait, because we had Space Knights LEGO will now make Space Cowboys ala BraveStar as a sequel theme and AFOLs will continue to have something to complain about. Although I'm not going to lie, I'd buy a sequel theme to Nexo Knights if it was like BraveStar and then if they made Cadilacs and Dinosaurs as the third part of the trilogy I'd be all over that in a heartbeat. ;)
That's the kind of innovation I'd like to see, only make it once a year only Themes with smaller set counts and it might improve the overall sales and stuff surrounding LEGO's bottom line.
They also have way more insights into how past sets have sold than any of us do. Take the comment above about the Imperial Flagship being a good example of what a Pirates theme could be. To an AFOL who only cares about what looks cool, that sounds great! But I guarantee you that LEGO sold way more Brick Bounties and Brickbeard's Bounties than Imperial Flagships. Those ships may have been smaller, but as a result they had a much more kid-appropriate price point and level of complexity.
A lot of LEGO designers are themselves AFOLs, so it's not as though they don't know what our communities want or don't want those same things themselves. And when an opportunity comes along to create those kinds of "dream sets", like Benny's Spaceship or the Exo-Suit, they seize it. But there are many other times when something that seems like a no-brainer to us just doesn't have a good business case in practice… or at least, not as good a business case as whatever alternatives LEGO is exploring.
THAT SAID… I think we AFOLs also have a bad habit of assuming we know LEGO's motives when we really don't. Some of the people with the bleakest outlooks on the future of themes like Castle or Pirates or Space are, in fact, fans of those themes. Even before Nexo Knights came out there were fears that it would be a long-runner like Ninjago and that it proved LEGO had given up on traditional Castle for good… even though comments from actual LEGO designers described it as no more than "a chance to rest the traditional classic castle theme for a year or two, give it a chance to breath." Just because a theme ends or goes on hiatus doesn't mean LEGO sees it as a failure. Sometimes they just want to free up resources to try something more experimental that they haven't tried before. Other times, a theme is planned for a short run from the get-go, to generate or capitalize on a surge in interest before gracefully bowing out.
So I'm reluctant to assume Pirates and Castle aren't relevant to today's kids just because the latest incarnations of them were short-lived. Sometimes the real measure of a theme's relevance isn't whether it keeps going uninterrupted, but whether it keeps coming back.
1. Mars Mission(2007-08)=Life on Mars (2001)
2. Space police 3 (2009-2010)=/= Not really similar to Space Police 2 but shares the name so it is the inheritor of the Space Police sub theme
3. Alien Conquest (2011)=UFO (1997)
4.Galaxy Squad(2013)=Insectoids (1998-99)
I understand why Lego Castle is the way it is because LOTR licensed sets. I don't know why they can't bring back a forestman/dark forest sub theme though. In my opinion it would be fun to see Lego bring the legendary title back just to satisfy AFOL's nostalgia. Maybe one or two beloved sets could be brought back and I think that would quiet people clamoring to bring back modernizations of old sub themes.
If LEGO would do these lines correctly they would do well I think.
Castle, Pirates, Classic Space, or Blacktron I.. All of which could probably do well IF LEGO puts its all into it like they do with Star Wars (then again I think SW, lately, has started to go in the same direction)
One thing that I think has been seriously missed is the fact that a theme coming to an end (I'll only consider it cancelled if they do an Ultra Agents and don't do a full release on sets already shown) doesn't mean that LEGO have lost money on it.
They might not be making as much on them as they'd hoped and have chosen a logical point to move onto something else that's already been in the works for a few years - there are a lot more obvious explanations than "they're cancelling this total failure!"
Certainly NK sets seem to be moving regularly at the LEGO stockists I visit regularly, as did China & Ultra Agents. When people talk about stock languishing on shelves and needing regular clearance sales they are actually noting issues with he retailers stock control more than the overall faring of a product - I always feel the need to point out that generally I can find clearance prices on creator and City more than most other themes, but there is never a question of their performance.
Personally I'm not a fan of NK - I'd prefer something in a more traditional fantasy setting to takes its place but ultimately I love some of the parts that it seemed to introduce.
Gosh. If only there was some way that people could make their own models out of Lego...
The thing is that as time's gone on, TLG's themes and ideas have constantly evolved with the interests of children and what appeals to them. Occasionally they've got it a tad wrong (Galidor innit), but mostly they've got it spot-on and that's because they're designing the sets/themes for kids of that time.
That's why you can't really just try and sell a classic space theme to a kid like you did in the 80s - it just won't work 'cos the original was a product of it's time and children's interests have changed. New themes have all these apps and TV shows and such because that's what children nowadays find appealing and it's what makes a theme sell. Of course the core idea is important, but if you don't have all those bits and bobs added on you're just left with something a few core fans will enjoy.
Now, that's not to say the big bang formula as of now is completely perfect. The writing on TLG's telly shows is pretty poor overall with only one or two exceptions (and even then, the writing there never really exceeds "pretty alright I guess") and sometimes the "gimmick sets" can be a little on the meh side (not the battle suits though, they're ACE innit), but that's really the point of evolution: so that through trial and error, TLG can gradually improve and finally reach their magnum opus of new big bang themes. That's the point of brand evolution.
So yeah, I do like the odd nod back to days gone by but I mainly wanna see all-new themes and such over retreads innit.
Yeah those new-fangled Octan sets in '93 with so many GREEN parts really corrupted the youth. Mondrian color palate or nothing I say!
It's funny in retrospect to see people talking about things like M:Tron and Ice Planet as if they were horrible new things, and LEGO should get back to classic space ASAP.
2018 is a long away off yet...
My opinion - Monster Fighters was the only decent in-house theme to come along since Ninjago. Chima, Galaxy Squad, Ultra Agents, Last Castle rehash, Last Pirates rehash, and Nexo Knights have all been just underwhelming. Mainstays like Creator and CMF have continued to get better and better however.
It seems also they have had so little in the way of small in house themes lately. Everything is licensed or tries to be the next Ninjago.
My son's favorite lines outside of Ninjago have been Atlantis, Power Miners, Alien Conquest and Monster Fighters. He really struggles these days to find any theme he likes, and goes for individual sets. On the other hand, Elves and Friends have had far more in the way of creativity and innovation than many of the 'boy themes'.
Problem with that mentality is that you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice. Ninjago came at the right time to impress LEGO buyers and kids alike.
Personally I like Chima more than Ninjago, I felt that first wave was pretty impressive and the second wasn't too terrible either, but it started to suffer.
Nexo Knights are... not as good, but quite impressive. I bought a handful so far and really dig the first look. The second year wasn't too bad and I'll share the dissatisfaction with the colour palette of the new villains for this third year.
Whatever they try next will hopefully be more favorable, but I strongly believe they won't ever catch on as much as Ninjago did.
They went to the effort to make a line, then why bother if the attitude is 'well make your own'? Well, if that is the case then LEGO should get rid of all themes and just sell buckets of parts then. That way they can save on designers and really any semblance of packaging for the different themes.
That said, I interact with plenty of kids that still use their imaginations and only want bricks and wheels.
I see this kind of comment a lot, but there's no reason to think LEGO ever expected Chima OR Nexo Knights to do as well as Ninjago has at this point. Chima was expected to be the next Ninjago only in the sense that Ninjago, at that point, was just a high-performing two-and-a-half year theme with a two-season TV show. Even LEGO wasn't fully aware of Ninjago's momentum at that stage. As for Nexo Knights, again, its own design team was only forecasting it for a few years.
Again, this idea that the definition of success is a long-running theme is largely an AFOL thing. LEGO doesn't mind a two or three year flash-in-the-pan, particularly since it lets them keep their offerings fresh.
Neither of those themes were really meant to be more than what they were, though, and if LEGO wanted them to then their development might've gone in a very different direction — not just the same themes they ended up being but with a TV show and books and so on. There are some very deliberate things that set Nexo and Chima and Ninjago apart from those themes, like their more youthful protagonists, gimmick-based sets, anachronistic styling, etc. I'm not sure people who prefer Monster Fighters and Pharaoh's Quest over Chima or Nexo would still feel that way if they'd been developed in this fashion.
However if more in house themes had at least Ultra Agents' budget (which was much, much bigger than both the themes you mentioned), then perhaps a revival of older themes might be feasible. They will have to ignore earlier stories, but I can see something like Adventurers and Exo Force doing really well in this day and age (especially if they do the former justice despite it's dated references for design choices).
It is one thing I have seen with Lego play. Some kids have intense imaginational play using the sets they have built. The set and features are a jumping point for imaginational stories and play. Other kids imagination is shown in how they build, meaning they use the brick as a catapult to build an item from their imagination.
Both are imaginational ways of using Lego and which a child uses has more to do with interest and personality.
I have seen my kids do both, big one that stands out...
My kid when he was 3 built a number of Atlantis sets... I have never seen a toy get so much usage and imaginational play. Those sets were out daily for most of that year, with wonderful stories and daily adventures.
I'd have to agree with that sentiment. I preferred a more literal minded interpretation even when I was young, enjoying the models and acting out adventures with all of the old sets I used to own, you know when I wasn't losing instructions and parts.
I recall loads of fun times, building the old Town Police station and having the knights attack it with their dragon. Loading up the pirate ship I had and taking a chance to plunder the aquanauts. Ok, so maybe I started getting a little too old for playing with sets by the time the late nineties hit, but it was sure fun. The basic brick bucket I had didn't get much use I'm afraid, I'm just not good at construction without following the instructions, I mean I can attempt a few minor things, sadly I'm just not Master Builder material.
Perhaps that's why my reviews are always so positive even with mediocre sets. I can look past things at times to get back to that childhood memory and then I see things with clouded nostalgic covered sight. Even when I should be more critical from an AFOL perspective.
Ah well... LEGO is meant to be enjoyed by everybody and lots of fun can be had. I wouldn't mind seeing re-releases of iconic sets similar to the Legends stuff, but I also wouldn't mind a complete re-imagining of some of those classics taken in a new and interesting direction. We AFOLS still have the memories and perhaps even some of the sets of our youth to enjoy, just because Nexo Knights isn't our cup of tea doesn't mean it's a terrible Theme.
Indeed not much has changed. But it's not nothing, since LEGO gave us these:
http://brickset.com/sets/5974-1/Galactic-Enforcer, 2009 (classic space statue)
But you're right concerning the wish to re-release old sets, nothing seems to have changed.
Oh, yeah, I was mostly just joking-- there's actually a lot that's changed.
Oddly enough, re-releasing sets was one of the very first things that LEGO did after starting to listen to adult hobbyists!
LEGO was sort of vaguely aware of the adult hobbyists in 1993-1997, but not much more than an acknowledgement of existence. In 1998-1999, LEGO started laying the groundwork for a relationship with adult fans. People within LEGO Direct were aware of possible untapped potential in the adult fanbase, but they were a slim minority within the company.
In 1999, they formally announced themselves to fans, and started new lineups targeted at the adults-- Star Wars UCS sets (2000), Scupture sets (2000), "bulk" brick packs (2000), and Legends (2001)!
The thing that hasn't changed, however, is adult fans assuming that the sets they grew up with were far superior, and kids today would buy more if the current lineups were more like "those old awesome ones from when I was a kid". Not everyone thinks that, but a lot of hobbyists do. Even though LEGO's tried direct re-releases as well as "inspired" re-releases, and we've seen that these haven't really been crazily successful, a lot of hobbyists still believe that they would be ("if they did it right", of course).
I wish LEGO could produce stuff that I like, too-- and when they do, I'll buy it. But I've learned a lot about LEGO and how much effort they put into doing their research. So I'll trust that they're generally doing a pretty good job. Sure, they might miss some opportunities, but I'm done assuming that I know better than they do when it comes to designing sets for kids.
Also, since they're not a building toy and their parts are generally more specialized, they have to keep sets and themes out longer to get their money's worth out of the molds. In LEGO's case, around 75% of the parts in a set are already being used in other sets regardless of theme, so their themes can be more flexible.
All that said, I think the idea that LEGO doesn't believe in historic themes is just us AFOLs reading too deeply into their actions. LEGO doesn't have any sort of quota for "historic themes" — that's a category we use for themes that, to LEGO, might have no special relationship. And it's a category with little concrete meaning. Take away the two human characters who only appear in two sets a year and LEGO Elves is every bit as historic as, say, Knights' Kingdom II or Fright Knights.
What LEGO does tend to have more consistently than "historic themes", broadly speaking, are Castle themes. And currently, Nexo Knights occupies that niche. That doesn't mean LEGO has given up on historic Castle sets forever, just that they wanted to experiment with a Castle theme that wasn't historic, just like how in 1998 they experimented with a Castle theme that wasn't European. Neither of those breaks from tradition was intended or expected to last forever, just to mix things up for a little bit.
i suppose it does deserve a thumbs up for equality as it shows that women can be violent criminals too!
These guys don't come armed with guns or knives though... Mr bank teller is sure going to be making a different face when they start getting creative with that blowtorch!
Ain't those little bunnies and piggies so cute and tiny? Lucky Mr Hunter has binoculars and a nice high vantage point so he can blow them away with his shotgun!
I guess what I'm saying here is that Playmobil is creepy...creepy as F&$K!
If TLG tried to produce any of their more questionable sets (particularly as Duplo) the Internet would melt!
Mind you - I do kind of like their Hazmat team (complete with ruptured drum of poisonous substance).