I’ve always loved Bionicle, and frankly, without it, I probably wouldn’t be here today. My obsession with the mysterious LEGO brand jump-started my interest in, well, the internet. Because of Bionicle, I eventually started going online to do more than look for pictures and maybe use MySpace. Basically Bionicle was my entire teenage upbringing.
And Bionicle had its fingers in a multitude of places. While the movies were mostly straight to video or DVD, we had not just LEGO toys, but so much more. Graphic novels, comics, collectible CDs, McDonalds toys, all done very well.
The game side of Bionicle however is a different story.
Now, we’ve had some amazing Bionicle games. The best one is probably the Flash-based Mata Nui Online Game (MNOG). You work your way through Mata Nui and explore the whole island as a Matoran. MNOG and its sequel were amazing point-and-click adventure games and are worth finding and giving a try today. But other Bionicle games have always been… I don’t want to say bad, but they’re not all amazing. And we’ve had a LOT of Bionicle games, both as promotional material and genuine games.
For example, Bionicle Heroes, a FPS where you play as the Toa Inika, is a good game. It’s a somewhat shallow game though, and the best bits about it aren’t the playable characters, but the Piraka. Unlocking the Piraka Playground is probably the best part of Bionicle Heroes. It tries to go for a LEGO Star Wars-like game vibe but doesn’t quite manage it, mostly because the Toa are… kinda blank.
We never really got a proper game though where you play as the original Toa Mata, existing in an open RPG world where you can explore with ease, finding masks and saving the island of Mata Nui.
Luckily, in the future, we might be getting such a game.
On April 20th 2020, a video popped up on Youtube, showcasing a fan-made game called Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui. And frankly it blew my mind.
There have been Bionicle fan projects in the past, but none as… well, cool as this one. But more importantly, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something as far ahead as Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui seems to look.
Why? Because not only did we get a release trailer, we actually got some gameplay to go with it. We actually got a 12 minute gameplay video, showing basic combat, exploration, mask switching and a quest. And if you watch the gameplay video and then come back to the trailer, you can see how much has been done. At least in terms of Ta-Wahi. A day later, a video showcasing the game’s controls was also released, also showing how far along the game is.
There will also be multiplayer!
in my opinion, this is probably the biggest thing yet. Multiplayer hasn’t always really been a Bionicle game thing, despite how friendly the Bionicle fan base has always been. While being able to explore the island of Mata Nui on your own is absolutely amazing, being able to do the same with a full team of 6 Toa is icing on the cake.
Even with just two people, you can at least recreate the best buddies forever in the form of playing as Pohatu and literally any other Toa. Preferably Kopaka or Onua though. Sure, the multiplayer system might be more along the lines of you doing quests and others tagging along, but multiplayer is an uncommon twist I didn’t expect at all.
That being said, there is no release date yet.
The creator and director of this massive project, a guy by the name of Crainy, has stated quite plainly that there is no release date yet. According to the FAQ on his Discord server, he is “…less interested in releasing work in progress versions where only a fraction of the features are working and present as intended.” (source – requires Discord)
That’s totally understandable. It’s a game they’ve been working on for a long time, for a LEGO franchise that began in 2001 and ended in 2011, then started and ended again in 2015-2016. Frankly, Bionicle fans can be patient for a bit longer.
However, normally I’m quite hesitant when it comes to any major project. After all, I have been burned before. But I have high hopes for Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui. Mainly because this is purely a fan project with no profit behind it, but also because of the tone of the developers. We’ll get the game when it’s finished and that’s it. No messing around.
Still, it’ll be a long, long wait most likely.
After all, the game has been in development for 6 years. That’s a really long time. Feels especially long since Crainy and his team seem to have kept everything mostly under wraps this entire time.
Still, I have a lot more faith in Bionicle: Quest for Mata Nui than I do for most other promises. The Bionicle fan base has always been capable of doing crazy things, and I think these guys just might be able to pull it off.
And you know what? After all these years, with the unfinished loose ends of generation 1 Bionicle and the bumpiness of generation 2 Bionicle, it’s nice to have some nostalgia-fueled hype for once. I wish all the luck to Crainy and his team. They’re gonna need it.