David Thomsen

Future Pirates Speculation

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1 hour ago, x105Black said:

That's a fear we share. But a little fantasy twist would be cool, and fresh for the Pirates theme. I'd welcome that.

To be honest I can't really see Lego doing a futuristic flying pirate ship approach any time soon, because  I believe they've already done something similar to this a couple of years ago.

I don't really follow ninjago so don't know much about their sets or characters but I believe there was recently a "sky pirates" faction with sets like this one.

https://brickset.com/sets/70603-1/Raid-Zeppelin

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31 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

I don't really follow ninjago so don't know much about their sets or characters but I believe there was recently a "sky pirates" faction with sets like this one.

That was one of the few Ninjago storylines I liked as a whole, since that was as Steampunk as a Lego set line ever got. Lego's 2012 Monster Fighters theme probably comes in at a close second; but, come to think of it, that theme sort of was more akin to Dieselpunk than it was to Steampunk.

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10 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

That was one of the few Ninjago storylines I liked as a whole, since that was as Steampunk as a Lego set line ever got.

I never paid much attention to those Ninjago Pirate sets when they were first released but actually they do look pretty good, and the Pirate minifigs look very cool.

I wonder if this is partly the reason why the 2015 Pirate wave only stayed around for 1 year. Perhaps they ended it early to make way for this Ninjago Pirate faction. 

Edited by Bricked1980

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4 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

I wonder if this is partly the reason why the 2015 Pirate wave only stayed around for 1 year. Perhaps they ended it early to make way for this Ninjago Pirate faction. 

Maybe, but I don't know if the last incarnation of Pirates was supposed to last more than a single year anyway.

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43 minutes ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Maybe, but I don't know if the last incarnation of Pirates was supposed to last more than a single year anyway.

Yes I think you are right. I reckon the 2015 pirate range was only ever intended for one wave of sets.

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On 5.2.2018 at 12:16 PM, Bricked1980 said:

Creating named characters and a storyline within Pirates wouldn't be anything new. I might be wrong on this but as far as I'm aware the original theme of Pirates from 1989 was the first time Lego had included actual named minifigs, Captain Roger Redbeard, Governor Broadside Bo'Sun Will etc... They even released a storybook along with the first wave of sets to accompany the series. I have still got a copy of this somewhere in storage in my parents attic.

6255-1.jpg

Lego Pirates was certainly ground breaking when it was first launched. I can still remember how exited I felt seeing the new minifigs for the first time with their detailed face prints, wooden legs and hook hands. Also who remembers the old style packaging with the hinged flaps on the front which could be lifted to reveal all the unique pieces included in the set?

Anyway... I'm reminiscing too much, but they certainly were the good old days.

But since then there was not signicicant story to Pirates and while the figures probably are named they don't have any characters. Ok, there are short comics within the instructions but those are so swallow they are basically worthless.

Besides that I have the feeling, that serious stories for children within the pirate setting will not be made anymore.

Just compare the two versions of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicky_the_Viking

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1 hour ago, mon-o-mat said:

But since then there was not signicicant story to Pirates and while the figures probably are named they don't have any characters. Ok, there are short comics within the instructions but those are so swallow they are basically worthless.

Besides that I have the feeling, that serious stories for children within the pirate setting will not be made anymore.

Yes the story line in Pirates and the characters were pretty shallow, but compared to the other themes that were around in 1989 it was pretty ground breaking for Lego.

I agree with what you say though. A new Pirate theme with a strong story arc running through it is not likely to happen any time soon. I think any potential re-launch of a traditional style Pirate theme would end up being a one off wave of typical Pirate sets like we last saw in 2015. This is unless they decided to give Pirates a Nexo Knights style make over with a futuristic sci fi spin. Really hope this doesn't happen.

Anyway I think Lego places too much emphasis on story lines an characters in their themes nowadays. I appreciate they need to do this so that it gives options for other merchandising, TV shows etc. Most kids are perfectly capable pf playing with toys and creating their own stories and scenarios though. I think quite often people forget what a powerful thing a child's imagination can be.

In many ways forcing children to go along with pre-fabricated stories and scenarios kind of goes against the very essence of what Lego is in my opinion. The big advantage that Lego has over other toys is that kids can use it create anything they want. They are limited only by their imaginations but forced stories can sometimes spoil that simplicity.

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2 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

Yes the story line in Pirates and the characters were pretty shallow, but compared to the other themes that were around in 1989 it was pretty ground breaking for Lego.

I agree with what you say though. A new Pirate theme with a strong story arc running through it is not likely to happen any time soon. I think any potential re-launch of a traditional style Pirate theme would end up being a one off wave of typical Pirate sets like we last saw in 2015. This is unless they decided to give Pirates a Nexo Knights style make over with a futuristic sci fi spin. Really hope this doesn't happen.

Anyway I think Lego places too much emphasis on story lines an characters in their themes nowadays. I appreciate they need to do this so that it gives options for other merchandising, TV shows etc. Most kids are perfectly capable pf playing with toys and creating their own stories and scenarios though. I think quite often people forget what a powerful thing a child's imagination can be.

In many ways forcing children to go along with pre-fabricated stories and scenarios kind of goes against the very essence of what Lego is in my opinion. The big advantage that Lego has over other toys is that kids can use it create anything they want. They are limited only by their imaginations but forced stories can sometimes spoil that simplicity.

Well, I never knew that there were those comics and I only got those old Pirate sets second hand from my older brothers, And I still had much fun.

But I have the feeling, that todays children don't have the imagination anymore, or at least toy producers don't think they have it. You also have to give children a basis for their imagination, meaning books, films or comics.

Here I see another Problem with the last waves, they don't offer fertile ground for that. Children like to roleplay. They like to fight that intrinsic conflict between order(soldiers) and freedom(Pirates).

But this wasn't really possible. All there was was Pirates defending or stealing treasures from comically useless soldiers.

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10 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

Yes the story line in Pirates and the characters were pretty shallow, but compared to the other themes that were around in 1989 it was pretty ground breaking for Lego.

I agree with what you say though. A new Pirate theme with a strong story arc running through it is not likely to happen any time soon. I think any potential re-launch of a traditional style Pirate theme would end up being a one off wave of typical Pirate sets like we last saw in 2015. This is unless they decided to give Pirates a Nexo Knights style make over with a futuristic sci fi spin. Really hope this doesn't happen.

Anyway I think Lego places too much emphasis on story lines an characters in their themes nowadays. I appreciate they need to do this so that it gives options for other merchandising, TV shows etc. Most kids are perfectly capable pf playing with toys and creating their own stories and scenarios though. I think quite often people forget what a powerful thing a child's imagination can be.

In many ways forcing children to go along with pre-fabricated stories and scenarios kind of goes against the very essence of what Lego is in my opinion. The big advantage that Lego has over other toys is that kids can use it create anything they want. They are limited only by their imaginations but forced stories can sometimes spoil that simplicity.

I disagree about the idea that having a fictional story/world "forces" children to just recreate the stories that other people have told in that world. After all, a fictional world is hardly spelled out in more detail than the real world that a generic Pirate theme is ostensibly inspired by. Furthermore, telling kids stories supplies them with the tools and techniques to tell better stories of their own, the same way giving kids building instructions supplies them with the tools and techniques that they can use to make better creations of their own. This idea that kids' creativity is best encouraged by depriving them of outside influences doesn't in any way reflect how the creative process actually works. New ideas aren't generated from a vacuum, they are created by putting together the various ideas you've picked up from different sources.

Furthermore, over the years I've seen WAY more fan art and fan fiction of themes like LEGO Bionicle and LEGO Ninjago than I've ever seen of more open-ended themes like City, Pirates, and Castle. Rather than stifling creativity, themes with more engaging stories have demonstrated great capacity for inspiring creative works — even outside MOCs, the category that traditional LEGO fans community seem to rather narrowly focus their creative energy toward. As far as MOCs go, I haven't seen kids limit themselves by what they'd seen either, at least not any more than LEGO fans have always recreated things they recognize from other people's stories and media.

Last year there was a LEGO exhibition at a museum near my college, mostly featuring kids' creations (I submitted a creation, but I was the only adult to enter on his own and the exhibition was broken down by age so nobody's entries were competing against much older or younger builders). One thing I observed on opening night was that the kids building things for this contest usually weren't just recreating scenes from stories they liked. Many kids mixed Minecraft parts with Nexo Knights parts with Star Wars parts to create their own original stories, universes, and characters. Some kids, however, DID build creations meant to fit in an existing universe like the Ninjago or Friends or Star Wars universes, and even those kids were creating new subjects, stories, and scenarios, not just ones they had seen before.

I was quite impressed with a kid who created new vehicles for the Ninjago ninja and typed out out an entire backstory for them about how when Cole was a ghost he used his ghost powers to transform ordinary vehicles into these new ninja vehicles. The Ninjago story had obviously inspired these creations — we'd seen Cole become a ghost, and seen other ghosts demonstrate the power to transform things into enhanced ghostly versions, and of COURSE seen the ninja get new vehicles each season through one plot device or another — but those ideas had never been put together in that exact way, and for this kid the synthesis of those ideas served as inspiration for his own wholly original creations! Even after watching the same Ninjago episodes he did, I'd never had the idea to take those ideas and put them together in quite that way. Even if I had, it never would have resulted in those same creations, because we'd also each be bringing in our other influences and experiences as individuals.

8 hours ago, mon-o-mat said:

Here I see another Problem with the last waves, they don't offer fertile ground for that. Children like to roleplay. They like to fight that intrinsic conflict between order(soldiers) and freedom(Pirates).

But this wasn't really possible. All there was was Pirates defending or stealing treasures from comically useless soldiers.

I'm not sure I entirely see how the 2009 and 2015 waves were considerably different from past waves in this regard. The figures had more detailed facial expressions but not in a way that made either the pirates or the soldiers seem more or less competent than in 80s and 90s sets.

I also think it's… quite interesting to read this perspective, since it differs greatly from what I'm used to hearing from fans of the older classic themes like Castle and Space. This kind of directed conflict is itself often presented by fans of those themes as a corruption of a more open-ended play pattern. LEGO shouldn't be setting up specific factions as adversaries, they should be creating those factions without any specific relationship or motivations to each other and let kids have the freedom to choose whether their stories are conflict-based or non-conflict-based.

I think this illustrates how even the sets LEGO fans consider "classics" span a wide range of years and design philosophies. Consider that the launch of LEGO Pirates was actually just as close to the launch of the "proto-Bionicle" theme Slizers/Throwbots ten years later as to the launch of Castle and Space ten years earlier. To a Pirates fan, firing projectiles and sets spelling out an adversarial relationship between factions are not viewed cynically as a way of pandering to kids with violent imaginations and low attention spans, they are a familiar part of the theme that adds to the play value of individual sets and the theme as a whole. A Pirates theme without these conflict elements would probably seem sub-par. But Castle and Space fans might feel differently since those themes did NOT always have those attributes.

EDIT: this is unrelated to the preceding post, but the thought occurs to me… do you think LEGO would ever try a fantasy seafaring theme taking inspiration from (though not necessarily directly based on) the voyages of Sinbad? How well it’d gel with a classic Pirates collection would depend on when exactly you set it, but besides the novelty a fantasy seafaring theme would bring, it’d be neat to see one inspired by non-Western cultures.

Edited by Aanchir

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@Aanchir I think you are right and perhaps I was being a bit over top by suggesting that children don't need any kind of storyline within a Lego theme.

The main point I was trying to make though was that whenever Lego launch a new theme it seems like it has to revolve around a rich story arc with characters, locations etc. I think they do this so that it has the potential to generate further content like spin off cartoons, video games, comic etc... When Lego create these themes they usually tend to veer towards a fantasy style probably because that lends itself so well to all this extra merchandising, so inevitably we end up with fantasy themes like Ninjago, Chima and Nexo Knights. Not that there is anything wrong with these but it just means the more traditional style of themes like Pirates or Castle get pushed aside.

I think a Lego theme can still work perfectly well without having to rely too heavily on a story line. Themes like City and Creator are proof of that, and I think as long as the sets are interesting and good enough then they will sell themselves without needing a cartoon network show, video game etc to support them.

However I realise the era I grew up in during the 1980's is completely different to the world we live in today and I'm sure children have very different tastes nowadays. Lego know perfectly well what they are doing without needing an old fart like myself trying to make suggestions. :laugh:

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21 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

Yes the story line in Pirates and the characters were pretty shallow, but compared to the other themes that were around in 1989 it was pretty ground breaking for Lego.

I agree with what you say though. A new Pirate theme with a strong story arc running through it is not likely to happen any time soon. I think any potential re-launch of a traditional style Pirate theme would end up being a one off wave of typical Pirate sets like we last saw in 2015. This is unless they decided to give Pirates a Nexo Knights style make over with a futuristic sci fi spin. Really hope this doesn't happen.

Anyway I think Lego places too much emphasis on story lines an characters in their themes nowadays. I appreciate they need to do this so that it gives options for other merchandising, TV shows etc. Most kids are perfectly capable pf playing with toys and creating their own stories and scenarios though. I think quite often people forget what a powerful thing a child's imagination can be.

In many ways forcing children to go along with pre-fabricated stories and scenarios kind of goes against the very essence of what Lego is in my opinion. The big advantage that Lego has over other toys is that kids can use it create anything they want. They are limited only by their imaginations but forced stories can sometimes spoil that simplicity.

I have to agree with most of what you said here.  All the adventures I had as a child with Lego pirate sets had nothing to do with the story Lego presented.  Now watching my children play with the old Lego pirate sets I still have they don't need any story presented to them, they make it up as they go.

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3 hours ago, Bricked1980 said:

@Aanchir I think you are right and perhaps I was being a bit over top by suggesting that children don't need any kind of storyline within a Lego theme.

The main point I was trying to make though was that whenever Lego launch a new theme it seems like it has to revolve around a rich story arc with characters, locations etc. I think they do this so that it has the potential to generate further content like spin off cartoons, video games, comic etc... When Lego create these themes they usually tend to veer towards a fantasy style probably because that lends itself so well to all this extra merchandising, so inevitably we end up with fantasy themes like Ninjago, Chima and Nexo Knights. Not that there is anything wrong with these but it just means the more traditional style of themes like Pirates or Castle get pushed aside.

I think a Lego theme can still work perfectly well without having to rely too heavily on a story line. Themes like City and Creator are proof of that, and I think as long as the sets are interesting and good enough then they will sell themselves without needing a cartoon network show, video game etc to support them.

However I realise the era I grew up in during the 1980's is completely different to the world we live in today and I'm sure children have very different tastes nowadays. Lego know perfectly well what they are doing without needing an old fart like myself trying to make suggestions. :laugh:

Sometimes I wonder if the 1980s were really all that different from today outside the sphere of LEGO. After all, LEGO was not nearly the toy industry leader back in the 80s that they are today. Looking at kids' interests through a wider lens, the 80s were when a lot of the big merchandise-driven media brands got their start, and to this day a lot of those same brands like Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Wars, etc. remain major players within that space.

In fact, it's pretty easy to draw connections between the LEGO themes that feel weird and new and different in recent years (Ninjago, Legends of Chima, Nexo Knights, etc) and non-LEGO toys and cartoons of the 80s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, Visionaries, etc). Arguably the LEGO Group remains pretty conservative among toymakers in this regard… much like Castle, Pirates, and Space in the 80s, a lot of today's themes draw on trends and sources of inspiration that easily go back two or three decades.

This makes it especially bewildering when the argument is made that today's newfangled themes will never be as successful as the classics as long as parents hold the purse strings… Ninjago or Nexo Knights might not be familiar names to a lot of today's parents, but they're ultimately no weirder than the stuff many of them grew up enjoying. A 40-year-old father of an eight-year-old kid would've been born around 1978 and might have grown up watching 80s cartoons like Voltron, Transformers, He-Man, and BraveStarr. Frankly, the fact that some of the cartoons and toy lines of that era took off like they did demonstrates that even THAT generation's parents were willing to permit their children to enjoy things that seemed weird or unfamiliar.

Edited by Aanchir

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2 minutes ago, Aanchir said:

In fact, it's pretty easy to draw connections between the LEGO themes that feel weird and new and different in recent years (Ninjago, Legends of Chima, Nexo Knights, etc) and non-LEGO toys and cartoons of the 80s (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, Visionaries, etc). Arguably the LEGO Group remains pretty conservative among toymakers in this regard… much like Castle, Pirates, and Space in the 80s, a lot of today's themes draw on trends and sources of inspiration that easily go back two or three decades

Oh yes, that is inescapably obvious. The thing is, perhaps that trend is reflective of the age of those designers at TLG who develop these themes. If so, we just might be able to project what sort of in-house themes we might see when the next generation of Lego designers come around.

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Has any one else seen footage of Sea Of Thieves?  I really reminds me of Lego Pirates in it's cartoonish over the top look and picture of pirates. :pir-classic:

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37 minutes ago, mon-o-mat said:

Has any one else seen footage of Sea Of Thieves?  I really reminds me of Lego Pirates in it's cartoonish over the top look and picture of pirates. :pir-classic:

Haha, yes! I watched Polygon's two streams of it and greatly enjoyed it, and it did get me in a Lego Pirates sort of mood. An open-world Lego Pirates game like that could be pretty cool (probably not an MMO, though, since Lego's had poor luck with those).

On another note, what would everyone here think of the possibility of a spinoff theme focused on Metalbeard, like the upcoming Unikitty sets based on the cartoons? A theme like that would probably feature Metalbeard's more steampunk-inspired motifs rather than traditional pirates... and could be even zanier than that. Maybe even including a wide range of different sorts of pirate captain from space pirates to sky pirates to digital music pirates. :pir-tongue: But it could still be pretty cool, and potentially give the Pirates theme a new lease on life!

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3 hours ago, Lyichir said:

On another note, what would everyone here think of the possibility of a spinoff theme focused on Metalbeard, like the upcoming Unikitty sets based on the cartoons? A theme like that would probably feature Metalbeard's more steampunk-inspired motifs rather than traditional pirates... and could be even zanier than that. Maybe even including a wide range of different sorts of pirate captain from space pirates to sky pirates to digital music pirates. :pir-tongue: But it could still be pretty cool, and potentially give the Pirates theme a new lease on life!

Sure, I'd definitely like to see something like that, as it certainly would be a good Trojan Horse for Steampunk inspired parts and minifigures! I'd imagine that it would be a tie-in theme for either a TV show or, even further out there, a cinematic spinoff movie. I think that latter though would only be possible if Metalbeard turned out to be a second chance breakout star of The Lego Movie's 2019 sequel, much like Batman had done for first film.

I'd also hope the same could happen for Benny. :smug:

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Although we know that there will be a Pirate themed roller coaster set released this summer, @LegoModularFan has just pointed out over in the Creator 2018 forum that 31078 Treehouse, also looks as if it will be Pirate themed.

He is right, I've just been looking at the leaked images of this set and all three builds look as if they have a Pirate theme. One of the secondary builds looks like it has a large brick built skull in a similar way to 70411 from 2015.

The main build looks like a kids tree house based on a pirate ship. It has what looks like the front section of a ship with flag hanging from it and a crows nest on top of the building. There is also a treasure chest and it looks to me as if one of the minifigs is wearing a jolly roger hat. It's hard to tell for definite as the images are very pixelated.

So there are 2 Creator sets coming out this summer with a Pirate theme. Can we take this as any sort of sign that Pirates might be back for the 30th anniversary next year?

Edited by Bricked1980

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6 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

So there are 2 Creator sets coming out this summer with a Pirate theme. Can we take this as any sort of sign that Pirates might be back for the 30th anniversary next year?

I think we can take it as a sign that there will be 2 pirate themed Creator sets this summer. :tongue:

 

Unless there is any pattern in previous sets where one or more Creator sets came before a similar "regular" series, this is no sign at all.

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3 minutes ago, Drunknok said:

I think we can take it as a sign that there will be 2 pirate themed Creator sets this summer. :tongue:

Unless there is any pattern in previous sets where one or more Creator sets came before a similar "regular" series, this is no sign at all.

You are probably right, wishful thinking on my behalf. I'll keep wishing though... :laugh:

Edited by Bricked1980

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10 minutes ago, Bricked1980 said:

You are probably right, wishful thinking on my behalf. I'll keep wishing though... :laugh:

Me too...

 

But I am curious: is there any relation between Creator and other lines? I know it is kind of "City heavy" these days, but that adds up to nothing.

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Just now, Drunknok said:

is there any relation between Creator and other lines? I know it is kind of "City heavy" these days, but that adds up to nothing.

Apart from the buildings and vehicles being compatible with City they don't usually have much of a connection with other themes. That's why it seems like a pretty random idea to me to have 2 Pirate themed sets. They could have easily done a roller coaster and tree house without the Pirate elements. That's why I wondered if it might be intended as a subtle nod to Pirate fans.

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