BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui (found build of cancelled Lego action-adventure game; 2001-2002)
The game's box art (tentative).
Date found: 10 Feb 2018 / 12 May 2018
Found by: JuniorMasterBuilder / Liam Robertson
BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui is a video game developed by the game company Saffire based on the 2001 storyline of the BIONICLE franchise. It was originally planned to be released in fall 2001, though was later delayed to a 2002 release on Windows, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. The game was allegedly delayed due to budget issues and glitchy gameplay.
Plotline, Content, and Gameplay
In the game, the player would control the six Toa (later named the Toa Mata): Tahu, Pohatu, Onua, Gali, Lewa, and Kopaka across the six main levels. The Toa traveled across the island of Mata Nui looking for the Great Kanohi Masks of Power, hoping to use them to defeat the evil Makuta (later named Teridax) and awaken the Great Spirit Mata Nui after which the island was named. The storyline was meant to pick up where the Game Boy Advance game BIONICLE: Tales of the Tohunga/Quest for the Toa left off, be a sister game to the Mata Nui Online Game, and be a prequel to the 2002 BIONICLE storyline. Toa could use their Elemental Powers, explore eight-game environments, and collect five masks each. A physical plastic mask compatible with the toys, the Vahi, Mask of Time, was meant to be packaged with the game. The game would also include building instructions for several models that could be printed out.
However, the developers ran into a problem in Onua's stage: there was a section where Onua had to jump down several platforms, and one of them was too low, causing Onua to automatically die upon landing. Since Onua's stage is the first level in the game, it's impossible to progress any further. The developers have since stated that this was a very simple bug and could have been fixed within a week, but since the funding wasn't there, the game was instead cancelled. The Vahi ended up being distributed as part of other promotions, and it is speculated the printable instructions were worked into the Master Builder Set, released as a LEGO Shop at Home exclusive in 2002.
Release and Delay History
In 2001, there was to be a beta test of the game that people could sign up for, but it is doubted by many that the test ever actually took place. There is also rumored to be 10 beta discs of the game floating around in the hands of collectors and former Saffire employees, but this is a disputed rumor. There is only one confirmed development disc in existence owned by a user named DeepBrick. DeepBrick was at one time in contact with Mask of Destiny user RedQuark, who was trying to locate the game. DeepBrick gave several of the game files to RedQuark, who leaked some of them to the public. Several pieces of music, all the cutscenes, and a complete gameplay video of what is playable have been uploaded to YouTube, as well as some 3D models being released, as a result of this leak.
On February 10th, 2018, YouTube user Vahkiti (host of channel The Beaverhouse, and co-admin of the BioMedia Project content archival fansite) streamed a copy of an Alpha build of the game. It was emailed to a fellow admin of BioMedia Project "JuniorMasterBuilder" by an anonymous source, with Vahkiti's co-host of his YouTube Channel speculating on-stream that the source may have been an ex-Lego or Saffire employee. Due to the found version being in its alpha stages, there are a few differences from the clips leaked previously. The main differences being some textures and the main menu in DeepBrick's video not being present, a debug screen in its place. Thanks to this, the other levels of the game are now playable.
An ARG was conducted by Vahkiti and his staff from late April to early May teasing that the team had acquired the final Beta beta created by Saffire and would be releasing it on May 12th. A Twitter account managed by Vahkiti called "ThiccBricc" (a parody of DeepBrick) would send cryptic messages about the Beta, up until the inevitable release on May 12th in conjunction with the first episode of Liam Robertson's newest video series "Game History Secrets," featuring the game and revealing to the public that Liam Robertson was the one who managed to find the Beta for The BioMedia Project.
- Download of the game on BioMedia Project. Retrieved 11 Feb '18
- Twitch playthrough stream mentioning how the game was recovered. Retrieved 11 Feb '18
- BIONICLE Wikia article on the game. Retrieved 17 Mar '17