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Speculation about the future of Pirates

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Speculation about the future of Pirates

Postby Handar » Fri Jun 27, 2008 3:49 pm

Let me begin by saying that I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this post or not. I offer my apologies if it's the wrong one.

So I was checking out the latest news on The Brothers Brick which sent me to a story about Everything You Wanted to Know About Lego. I'm sure a number of you have seen this already. What struck me, however, was this question and it's response.

"What theme is the best seller, excluding Basic sets and town?

Every country has a different best-seller and as we rotate themes in and out different themes rise to the top. Over the last 50 years we have seen that Town, Space, Castle and Pirates are the evergreen themes that seem to always have a place in the hearts of Lego fans. Right now, Lego CITY is the number-one theme around the world, and other global best-sellers include Lego Star Wars, BIONICLE and Lego Indiana Jones." [italics mine]

So, one might ask, what is an 'evergreen theme'? Well, that, I think, is answered in the answer to another question about the pace at which themes come and go.

"The life of a typical Lego play theme line can range anywhere from one to three years. However, there are certain themes—like Space and Castle—that we consider evergreen themes, and those are rotated in and out over the course of a few years. When a theme is a classic, we often maintain the theme, but rotate the new models on a shorter term to maintain novelty and interest in the market."

Does this mean that TLG considers Pirates to be a recurring theme that is regularly reinvented like Town, Space and Castle?
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Re: Speculation about the future of Pirates

Postby Aliencat » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:05 pm

Handar wrote:Does this mean that TLG considers Pirates to be a recurring theme that is regularly reinvented like Town, Space and Castle?

I think so. Like the article says, these themes are rotated in and out over the course of a few years. So maybe now there is no Pirates theme, a new one may well come out some time soon.
After all, there is a big enough fanbase out there for Lego Pirates, just take a look at Classic Pirates, and the theme certainly applies to kids as well! I remember as a kid I loved to play with the pirate ships and islands. I was 6 when the first pirate line came out, so I remember seeing the commercials on tv and the sets in the catalogues and wanting each and every one of them!
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Postby Athos » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:14 pm

I wouldn't be surprised about a new pirate line. There have been a couple surveys posted by ambassadors over there, to gauge interest in pirates. Pirates vs. Romans and Pirates vs. Wild West, I think. They were very hot topics.

So Lego is definately considering it.

Also interesting that the Germans buy more Lego per person than the US.

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Postby Munchy » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:20 pm

Pure conjecture on my part but I believe the reason they have shied away from Pirates the last few years was to keep the perception of violating a competitors IP related to a popular trilogy of movies set with a pirate theme.

As many of us are aware, those movies came out around the same time LEGO was dealing with pressing financial issues. Litigation would not have been helpful to that effort even though LEGO would most certainly have won.

I have some old pirate pieces and would probably buy any new pirate sets that come out but I would have to keep it small so as not to completely engulf my LEGO/game/computer/train/"junk my wife throws in there" room. :lol:
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Postby Sibley » Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:55 pm

Pirates are so popular among the general public that I'm surprised both that there aren't more Lego Pirate fans and that Lego hasn't revisited the Pirate theme (in System scale) within the last ten years.
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Postby Graynar » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:31 pm

I sure hope this is true, but I wonder if Pirates will return to replace Castle? That would not be so great... :?

I find it interesting that an official LEGO artist added a Pirate cameo in this recent LEGO magazine:

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/renov ... esting.jpg

A hint perhaps to the future of Pirates? There's also a nifty Shadow Knight like knight in the background...next year's Castle bad guys?
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Postby Bruce N H » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:57 pm

I've always wondered about this. We've heard before from LEGO about how popular the Pirate line was, but if you look back at the releases we basically got Pirate sets from 1989 to 1997. Then in 2001 they re-released the Red Beard Runner, Armada Flagship, and Enchanted Island sets. In 2002 there was the Legend re-release of the Black Seas Barracuda. Since then there were the 4+ sets (aka Jack Stone Pirates) in 2004 and the Duplo sets in 2006. I kind of thought when they did those re-releases they were testing the waters for a new theme, but then we didn't see anything fig-scale after that. Could this truly be as popular as they say if they haven't put out any new (fig-scale) sets in the last decade?

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Postby Sibley » Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:43 am

Graynar wrote:I sure hope this is true, but I wonder if Pirates will return to replace Castle? That would not be so great... :?

I find it interesting that an official LEGO artist added a Pirate cameo in this recent LEGO magazine:

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/renov ... esting.jpg

A hint perhaps to the future of Pirates? There's also a nifty Shadow Knight like knight in the background...next year's Castle bad guys?

Also looks like Steve Zissou in there...or maybe just an Aquaraiders guy.
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Postby Sir Nelson » Sat Jun 28, 2008 1:56 am

Athos wrote:There have been a couple surveys posted by ambassadors over there, to gauge interest in pirates. Pirates vs. Romans and Pirates vs. Wild West, I think. They were very hot topics.

If you're referring to EB (and specifically the Embassy threads which I started), those were specific to discussions within the EB community. If TLG was interested in gauging interest, you would have seen those questions asked on other forums, too.

For the record, LEGO Ambassadors (and even general LEGO product designers) are NOT involved in choosing which themes LEGO will produce. I'd like to see Pirates make a return someday, but I'm not holding my breath. Besides, LEGO Castle is way better, anyway. :P
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Re: Speculation about the future of Pirates

Postby Robin Hood » Sat Jun 28, 2008 3:10 am

Handar wrote:Does this mean that TLG considers Pirates to be a recurring theme that is regularly reinvented like Town, Space and Castle?


You would think. You would think that they would make it so, considering the popularity of the theme back in the day. I know that I love pirate sets, both for the pieces (great for castle) as well as for their own theme. I actually built some ships a couple weeks ago and man does it bring back the days. The days when Pirates (or Ship as we called it) were as popular and we had as much of it as castle. One can only hope pirates will return someday.

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Postby Athos » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:13 pm

Sir Nelson wrote:If you're referring to EB (and specifically the Embassy threads which I started), those were specific to discussions within the EB community. If TLG was interested in gauging interest, you would have seen those questions asked on other forums, too.

For the record, LEGO Ambassadors (and even general LEGO product designers) are NOT involved in choosing which themes LEGO will produce. I'd like to see Pirates make a return someday, but I'm not holding my breath. Besides, LEGO Castle is way better, anyway. :P


Well so much for that theory... Personally, I'd rather see a new line, like Greeks/Romans or something with animals, like a farm safari or zoo. But pirates might be fun too, though I don't know how many themes I could afford...

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Postby Traveler » Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:32 am

I was thinking about this the other day, and it struck me that it's probably about time for Pirates to resurface. The (I think) success of the latest Castle line, and it's similarity to the Castle lines of yesteryear seem to indicate that LEGO may bring this one around again soon. But that's all speculation, of course.

As for where Pirates have been all this time, I would suggest that Adventurers and more recently Indiana Jones have taken over those areas of the LEGO catalog. These themes may seem unrelated to Pirates on first glance, but if viewed as a broad spectrum going especially through the Islanders, I think it makes some degree of sense to say that Adventurers and Indy could be the (admittedly distantly related) descendants of Pirates. I would perhaps liken this relationship to the KKI and KKII years of Castle, which, although dissimilar to traditional castle sets in many ways, were definitely their successors.

If I am right in these speculations, it would perhaps seem that soon we may see a more traditional Pirate line return. On the flipside, however, is the number of atavistic, historical, adventure-oriented lines LEGO already has out. Harry Potter, Castle, Indiana Jones, and even Star Wars would all overlap with the target market for a Pirate Line, which might make LEGO hesitant to introduce a new line in the same vein until one of those lines runs its course, which will probably take years.

So in conclusion, who knows? :wink:
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Postby timber_wolf899 » Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:25 am

I'm wondering how much skeleotn ship attack 7029 and troll warship 7048 are testing the 'waters' for pirate?

Has anyone noticed if these sets had the all important yellow tags at TRU?
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Postby Count Blacktron » Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:19 am

Pirates was a great theme, but they've got to have the right balance of set design, heroes & villans and period accessories in order to strike it back up again. I'd be all for it as it was Pirates that brought me from my Dark Age of no LEGO into my current horde. LEGO be Pirate gold, don't ye know?

When I did the LEGOland Masterbuilder interview at the park a couple of us had the pre-showdown hours to try our hands at some free building while being interviewed, and what did we do? We built a few pirate ships and had a little broadside battle. Pirates are intoxicating to the imagination and adventuring spirit. You just can't help but love 'em.
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Postby Aharown » Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:56 pm

Graynar wrote:I sure hope this is true, but I wonder if Pirates will return to replace Castle? That would not be so great... :?

I find it interesting that an official LEGO artist added a Pirate cameo in this recent LEGO magazine:

http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/renov ... esting.jpg

A hint perhaps to the future of Pirates? There's also a nifty Shadow Knight like knight in the background...next year's Castle bad guys?


I noticed that when I got mine, and was wondering about that, too. I was also wondering about the recent (Viking, Skeleton, Troll) ships being a little something for the pirate/historical ship fans out there (like me!)

Pirates was and still is my favourite Lego theme. They haven't had any (minifig-scale wise) in far too long, although at least the great Castle sets lately have been drawing me into that "historical" aspect of things, LEGOwise.

I would love for pirates to return, but not this year (too many other awesome sets to get first!)

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