Itaria No Shintaku

"Castle lines never die" or "what made me change my mind and believe in new exciting castle lines".

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I have purchased only a few sets above $100 in the last couple of years, and they were Star Wars sets that had minifigures I wanted and enough useful pieces, or pieces in useful colors, to catch my interest.  Most sets have been $50 or lower.

The reason for this is that there haven't been more sets above $100 that really caught my interest or were useful enough to me.  A couple of the modulars have appealed to me, but I don't build City style and there are usually too many City style pieces that wouldn't get used to make it worth the money.  The new Ideas Old Fishing Store does look very useful, though, and I may get that.  Also, the large Ninjago City modular set might be useful enough to be worth the money, but it is $300.  It has a great price per piece ratio, but there may be too many pieces I can't use, and too high a price overall for me to really justify the purchase.  I'm considering the Disney Castle, even though it is expensive, because it fits in very well with the style of build I like and will have the least number of pieces I can't use.

Now, if there were a great modular set in the Castle theme, I would absolutely love it, and if the price was $200 or below I would definitely look into buying it.  If it is good enough, and fits what I want to see from Castle, I might even buy 2.  But mostly, I want the minifigures, bricks, and useful new pieces.  That's why I made a hefty purchase from Bricks & Pieces recently.  And that may be the primary method for future purchases for me.

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On 6/19/2017 at 7:11 AM, Nabii said:

Concepts and new themes at LEGO are not created by marketing, they are created by Designers. We draw and build and test extensively, and you are right, hybrid concepts often fail, (for example so far steampunk performs terribly). But NEXO Knights outperformed all other concepts including tradition Space and Castle ideas. Marketing people are involved from very early on only to help figure out ways to communicate the themes, and sometimes to figure out ways to explain new play types, like the shield scanning in Nexo Knights.

Hey @Nabii! There was something I was wondering about today I thought you might be able to reveal, but if it is too confidential to disclose, that's alright. 

Are there any other genres or hybrid themes that may have been tested (cyberpunk, mecha, dieselpunk, post apocalypse, etc.) that also did not test well with kids? It would nice to know as a piece of mind for some so that we may know what not to expect for original Lego themes in the near future. :classic:

 

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4 hours ago, Digger of Bricks said:

Are there any other genres or hybrid themes that may have been tested (cyberpunk, mecha, dieselpunk, post apocalypse, etc.) that also did not test well with kids? It would nice to know as a piece of mind for some so that we may know what not to expect for original Lego themes in the near future. :classic:

Which would be all themes that would have been preferable. :laugh:

Seriously, it really depends if the sets hit the tone right. I know it's supposed to be for kids, of course. But it's the parents who are giving kids the money to buy Lego sets. (I know from personal experience that most parents don't really care what their Kids do anyways, but some may not.)

Which raises the question, how much "grounded" can a theme be, to still be appealing to todays kids* without being right out silly? No need to say that you can ruin every theme by making it too over the top or too crazy, of course.

*DO they actually want over the top, totally "crazy" stuff or is this "just" a concept some executives came up with to raise sales volumes even more?

 

 

On a personal note, i would love to know something much more basic. When designing a theme or even a set, do Lego set designers see themselves more like artists or is it 100% about maximizing appealing to Kids? In other words, is there a line of silliness they wouldn't step over, even if it would raise sales 1000%, for example? Or is there some kind of educational demand (hidden) in some themes (no matter how little)?

Please don't get me wrong this is not supposed to be a rant or expression of my displeasure in any way, shape or form. I'm simply curious to understand the reasoning behind some decisions i can't seem to comprehend.

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Posted (edited)

They have touched on ideas of steampunk in the past, without needing to call it steampunk. Monster Fighters contained quite a bit that was easily modified into Victorian Era items, and hence into steampunk - Rodney Rathbone, the Haunted House, then there was the plane for the Ghost Train, the truck and car in the Zombies and the Monster Set. Then there is the Sea Cow from TLM. Even Aira's Airship in the recent Elves range is a nod towards steampunk-style designs.

Perhaps the closest is the MBA level 4 set: some of the models and especially the box art got very close.

 

Lego+Steampunk+1.png

 

 

 

Edited by MAB

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

They have touched on ideas of steampunk in the past, without needing to call it steampunk. Monster Fighters contained quite a bit that was easily modified into Victorian Era items, and hence into steampunk - Rodney Rathbone, the Haunted House, then there was the plane for the Ghost Train, the truck and car in the Zombies and the Monster Set. Then there is the Sea Cow from TLM. Even Aira's Airship in the recent Elves range is a nod towards steampunk-style designs.

Perhaps the closest is the MBA level 4 set: some of the models and especially the box art got very close.

Also, 2016's Ninjago Skybound wave was a sort of steampunk/sky-fi hybrid, which was even well received by non-fans of Ninjago.

Yeah, I mentioned that Level 4 MBA set in a comment I made on @Ondra's Creator/Creator Expert Wishlist thread proposing a similar sort of set for Creator.

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Yes, that was the airship I was after for ninjago. I couldn't remember its name.

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, MAB said:

They have touched on ideas of steampunk in the past, without needing to call it steampunk.

What @Nabii was trying to point out is that Steampunk as a concept for a theme doesn't work because young children don't have enough knowledge of history to see the humour and juxtapositions that are steampunk. Faux victoriana isn't enough to grab their imagination.

Steampunk as a design aesthetic will work (although it can fall into the trap of stick some gears on it). The theme is monster hunters or sky-pirates but the characters within are using vehicles that utilise the steampunk aethetic; the play experience is still hunting monsters or chasing pirates through the sky.

Edited by The_Cook

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Well, Nexo Knights will continue into 2018, so it doesn't look like we will get Castle sets until 2019 at earliest.

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4 hours ago, x105Black said:

Well, Nexo Knights will continue into 2018, so it doesn't look like we will get Castle sets until 2019 at earliest.

Castle probably wasn't coming back until 2019 regardless. Had Nexo Knights not sold well, next year would have been an off year. This is most likely Nexo's final year anyways, so just see it as another opportunity to get some new parts and wait for Castle's return the year after.

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Nexo Knights was pretty doomed this year and the sales from the first half of the year saved it

That means it performed exceptionally good. If the trend goes on, then it might get a 4th year

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Look it on the bright side guys! you have one year to save money for when the most awesome theme on the LEGO universe makes it return. :thumbup::wink::thumbup:










Of course I mean about Galidor. :laugh:

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4 hours ago, BrickJagger said:

Castle probably wasn't coming back until 2019 regardless. Had Nexo Knights not sold well, next year would have been an off year. This is most likely Nexo's final year anyways, so just see it as another opportunity to get some new parts and wait for Castle's return the year after.

Good points.

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4 hours ago, Robert8 said:

Nexo Knights was pretty doomed this year and the sales from the first half of the year saved it

 

What is the "doomed" based on? From what I understand from kids, it is popular both in set form and the game. My son especially loves the scanning of the shields in the game. Sales volumes seem to be reasonable (anecdotally only of course).

Remember Ninjago wasn't that well received in the first year, but took off well in later years. I don't think Nexo Knights is another Ninjago, I think it will run for the planned period and end. I hope it doesn't come back, not because I don't like it but as I'd prefer them to keep doing new 3 year themes, like Chima, NK, etc. It is a good way of getting very different parts and minifigs.

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Posted (edited)
On 28/06/2017 at 5:12 AM, Digger of Bricks said:

Hey @Nabii! There was something I was wondering about today I thought you might be able to reveal, but if it is too confidential to disclose, that's alright. 

Are there any other genres or hybrid themes that may have been tested (cyberpunk, mecha, dieselpunk, post apocalypse, etc.) that also did not test well with kids? It would nice to know as a piece of mind for some so that we may know what not to expect for original Lego themes in the near future. :classic:

 

As others have pointed out (thanks guys) just because we haven't found a way for the theme to work it doesn't mean we haven't used the aesthetic of Steampunk in various places, so it seemed safe for me to use as an example. As for what tests well and what has failed, of course I can't go into details, and even if I did the landscape of what works for kids imaginations changes over time as popular culture; TV shows, movies, games all introduce new ideas to each new generation. For example an 8 year old today was only three when The Avengers came out and was born the year Iron Man debuted so the Marvel universe is not fresh to them, but new heroes can make it exciting. That said as the last 'castle' line was in 2013, it's already been four years and a new castle theme might seem exciting and new to a kid soon - if we ever do one again that is. :P

I'm still looking for the early concept art of NEXO Knights BTW, when I find it I'll put a link in the thread.

Edited by Nabii

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1 hour ago, Nabii said:

a new castle theme might seem exciting and new to a kid soon - if we ever do one again that is. :P

I have felt a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of LEGO Castle fans cried out and were suddenly silenced. :oh3:

1 hour ago, Nabii said:

I'm still looking for the early concept art of NEXO Knights BTW, when I find it I'll put a link in the thread.

Wasn't it in your Blocks Magazine interview? Or do you mean even older concept art?

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Robert8 said:

Nexo Knights was pretty doomed this year and the sales from the first half of the year saved it

That means it performed exceptionally good. If the trend goes on, then it might get a 4th year

On the German blog zusammengebaut, there is an interview with Bali Padda where he states that NK was "... first a success but then we could have done things better ...". The digital part with the shields seems to have failed. The interview is from within the last couple of days.

Edited by blackie

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Sad to hear Nexo Knights will continue, My sons like the sets well enough but for an AFOL into more historical looking sets they don't offer much. I guess some of the monsters are quite nice.

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1 hour ago, blackie said:

The digital part with the shields seems to have failed. The interview is from within the last couple of days.

 

That's the part my son and his friends like the best. They think it is cool to scan their lego and the items to appear in the game.

The only downside I can see is that I can just find images of the shields online and they can get all of them without buying the sets.

 

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6 hours ago, Nabii said:

...it's already been four years and a new castle theme might seem exciting and new to a kid soon - if we ever do one again that is. :P

That's just mean.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SirBlake said:

That's just mean.

I think he's actually hinting at a new, regular Castle theme in the near future. 

Edited by BrickJagger

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52 minutes ago, BrickJagger said:

I think he's actually hinting at a new, regular Castle theme in the near future. 

Based on previous comments, I doubt that. Rather, I think he's just giving us some good natured ribbing, which I appreciate. My comment was meant to be playful, not come off as genuinely hurt.

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Got to say a massive thanks to @Nabii for the contributions to the thread, it's always good to hear the insider view, even when it's restricted by company policy.

I think the lesson of Nexo Knights for AFOLs is to look beyond the full set. I'm not a fan of Nexo Knights in general but I love fantasy based castle stuff, so for me the villain based sets scratch that itch, along with the dragons from Ninjago and the Elves theme in general.

i know not everyone is comfortable MOCing but with regards to classic castle type sets I think that it's better to create your own solutions. The CMFs even make adding relevant minifigures incredibly easy.

While I'll always look at the NK goodies sets as Sci-Fi first and foremost, there is at least enough content being released by LEGO in general to allow the castle theme fans to keep themselves going if they are prepared to do just a little leg work.

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^ I know what you're saying, but to me it feels like buying an entire new car because it has nice pistons, when everything else about it is superfluous for you. There is not much "bright side" other than picking a few bits up on the secondary market. Emphasis on the word "few".

Actually, the "bright side" is that I have more money for new guitar pedals and cymbals...:innocent:

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