comic 3 and the legend of mata nui
Adapted from a April 2020 post.
I know at some point GregF explained that the ending of the initial Bionicle comic miniseries, with issue 3, was intended to leave things open so the Legend of Mata Nui PC game could wrap up the story. Its hard to know how direct that lead-in was supposed to be - especially without the quote for reference. Was he broadly addressing how the comic doesn’t cover the end of the 2001 story like the game would have, or was there a more specific tie-in going on? I think there’s some evidence pointing to the latter possibility.
Three shall become Wairuha, and walk the path of wisdom. Three shall become myself, Akamai, and walk the path of the warrior.
So speaks Akamai in Gali’s prophetic vision at the opening of issue 3. We know that the Toa Kaita are associated with Wisdom and Valor, and describing them as “walking the paths” of these virtues comes across as just flowery language. Or at least, that’s how I always interpreted it, until the release of the Legend of Mata Nui in 2017 shed some new light on things.
In the final produced build of the game, this well-known cinematic is the only time we see the Kaita. However, this isn’t the case at all in the earlier version .006, which has roughed out portions of the Makuta level where you play as the Kaita! Each one gets a room to traverse.
(Screencap from this upload by Reese Bagshaw because this room keeps crashing in my copy of .006)
Akamai’s room is a platforming challenge, with shifting instakill cylinders to dodge and floating platforms to make it across.
Wairuha gets a memory puzzle. You have to strike an increasing number of those cylinders in a specific order to open the doorway. In other words… Wairuha walks a path on which he must demonstrate Wisdom, while Akamai walks a path requiring Valor. Wadda ya know. This even gets alluded to in MNOG!
So, Wairuha, you are joined. Let us now choose a path and go into the darkness to face our destiny… be it good or ill.
Our way lies not together, Akamai. We must face whatever evils are before us alone. I choose this road. You take the other. With luck we will come together again, at the gates of Mangaia!
So we can pretty safely say from all this that Greg was aware of at least some of the story elements the comic was supposed to be leading into - down to facets of the actual gameplay!
And I think this makes sense! The story for LOMN was developed with significant involvement from Jeff James, who would later collaborate with Greg on the Rahi Beasts book. Greg also dedicates the Maze of Shadows novel to a Jeff:
For Jeff, a noble soul and a true friend
Perhaps it was Jeff who thought to make the PC game’s Pohatu meets Kopaka cutscene an adaption of Greg’s script for comic 1. It wouldn’t be surprising, then, for Jeff to provide info to Greg about the plot developments Jeff contributed to the game.
Now, here’s where I get into speculation more than anything else. Unfortunately, the final build of LOMN was gutted of story content, and build .006 had not implemented much in the way of cutscenes for the latter half of the game. As such, we have a pretty big blind spot with regards to the full plans for the game’s plot. That being said, here are some thoughts.
Onua has called a meeting – the others are waiting for us near his landing site.
Comic 3 establishes that Tahu has learned from Onua that the Toa will be gathering together. If we look at the flow of LOMN, we see it is structured by each Toa you’ve completed a level for chancing on the Toa that you will play in the next level. Tahu’s is the final Toa level, and Onua’s is the first. It is possible a cutscene was scripted in which things ‘wrap around’ so to speak, with Tahu coming across Onua, who then informs him it is time for all the Toa to come together. The mention of Onua’s landing site here feels significant to me too - this setting has little relevance to the comic but would have been ready-made for the LOMN devs to animate the intro to another level in, since the game starts there.
If we assume that Comic 3 is the interquel between this hypothetical 'Tahu meets Onua' cutscene and the intro cutscene to the next level, what might we expect that intro cutscene to have looked like? Perhaps something with the Toa resolving to work together, as they do at the very end of the comic. This could even be done at the Kini Nui (as it is in MNOG), leading in to the Makuta level very directly.
However, this requires us to disregard the note that the meeting was to take place at Onua’s landing site. Take a peek at this ad:
Explore the island of Mata Nui through eight massive game environments!
Eight, huh? Six Toa levels + the final Makuta level only makes seven! Perhaps there were plans for a “road to the Kini Nui” level, involving setpieces for all six elements, with puzzles for all six Toa to solve for the party to progress. This would be akin to what we see for the Chronicler’s Company in MNOG. The eighth level could have been anything really, but that’s my pet theory. It would explain how we get from Onua’s landing site to the temple.
And that’s about all I have to say on this subject! Fingers still crossed for the day LOMN’s script comes to light, but until then it’s interesting to try and figure out how it may have influenced other media.