After having looked through the officially released materials, we are definitely missing a couple of sets from the LEGO Atlantis theme. I’m not talking about the sets where we’ve seen box art already and just need a name and release date, I’m talking about sets we haven’t heard of. Keep in mind that the three sets we reviewed, the 8056, 8058, and 8060, made it into a fairly wide-scale release here in the US through Toys R Us in a short amount of time around a month and a half earlier than expected with few, if any leaks and no official notice. Jason heard from a Toys R Us employee that it was official and was some kind of exclusive/promo release. Even without having an employee tell us that, it was clearly not an accidental stocking of shelves across the US. LEGO can keep things secret – those are just recent examples.
First, let me say that I’m ignoring rumors and wishful thinking and only focusing on published, official Atlantis-related materials and how the other in-house/non-licensed sets are being handled. In an earlier post, I mentioned a LEGO-related ARG (Alternate Reality Game). As ILikePi pointed out, it’s probably related to LEGO Universe, the upcoming MMORPG or MMO or whatever you want to call it. That was a bad lead on my part and I apologize. It should have been obvious that it wasn’t Atlantis related. That’s an example of what I want to stay away from.
I mainly want to figure out where they’ll fit in and how many large/premium sets we’ll have. For the sake of discussion, I’m calling anything that’s around $60 (or 500+ pieces) and on up “premium”. Before anybody says “you can’t expect a large/premium set of out Atlantis just yet, give it a year” or “you can’t put Atlantis on the level of Pirates or Castle just yet”, let me point out at that the very name of the theme is a location – Atlantis. There is a theme running through out the manuals that there are locations to visit and explore. The teaser website is all about exploring areas – the Doctor’s journal is about finding Atlantis. All we’ve got so far that we know of as far as actual locations is one set: 8061 – Gateway of the Squid, and it’s really not a premium set in my view. It’s also called “Gateway”. That alone sets off warning bells that it will be a gateway to something bigger.
A lot of this may have been collected elsewhere and even better explained, and if so, by all means leave a comment with a link. I’m putting this down for myself to see what the clues are when everything “official” is laid out.
A few days ago, I posted some higher resolution scans from the map at the back of the 8060 Typhoon Turbo Sub manual that showed what a lot of us think resembles some kind of shark temple. That is what really got me looking into the Atlantis theme as a whole and that maybe something big was missing. The larger in-house/non-licensed themes have always had significant location-based sets and/or “premium” sets as a very important part of their themes/lines.
First off, let’s step back and look at what we know about the other non-licensed themes in 2009 and then 2010. We know there is a 620 Blue Building Plate 32×32 coming out , it’s already showing up at Amazon.com. That looks an awful lot like water to me. It could be for the Imperial Flagship, but that’s only one set, and the most expensive of sets as it is – it’s not going to move a lot of 32×32 plates on its own. We know Castle is probably temporarily suspended and/or scaled back. We know Power Miners is seeing an expansion in the theme, and Space Police is adding a few sets. We know City and Racers are the only two themes that are seeing more releases than Atlantis, and only by one apiece.
Pirates is taking a breather once the 10210 Imperial Flagship is released within a month or two (and it maybe out in a few places in Europe – check Eurobricks’ forums). Atlantis probably takes its place. The Pirates theme is huge obviously – due to all of the previous releases, plus there were 9 sets released in 2009. Atlantis’ 10 or so sets will fill the Pirates void admirably. The Pirates theme saw several location-based sets released in 2009 – 6241 Loot Island, 6242 Soldier’s Fort, and 6253 Shipwreck Hideout. So far we only know of one for Atlantis. I know the natural inclination is to compare Atlantis to Aquazone or Divers/Aqua Raiders, but Atlantis is most likely filling in for Pirates. Either way, all three of those previous aqua-related themes plus the Pirates theme had locations and premium sets.
Here’s a quick peak at recent or announced “premium” sets:
Agents: 8971 Aerial Defense Unit
Castle: 10193 Medieval Market Village, 7097 Troll’s Mountain Fortress
City: 7208 Fire Station
Creator: 5891 Apple Tree House
Pirates: 6243 Brickbeard’s Bounty, 10210 Imperial Flagship
Power Miners: 8191 Lavatraz, 8709 Underground Mining Station, 8964 Titanium Command Rig
Space Police: 5974 Galactic Enforce
No Atlantis. Now let’s look at specific information we have about LEGO’s Atlantis theme: We know it’s water related obviously. We have Brickset’s list of Atlantis sets which gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect. The “temple” of sharks/shark men is obviously not in that list.
What is in that list is the following:
8056 – Monster Crab Clash – 68 pieces, creature + diver minifig, orange key
8057 – Wreck Raider – 64 pieces, diver minifig + Shark man minifig and small vehicle. blue key
8058 – Guardian of the Deep – 144 pieces, red key
8059 – Seabed Scavenger – 119 pieces, Diver and Manta Ray minifigs, medium vehicle, green key
8060 – Typhoon Turbo Sub – 197 pieces, diver and Shark man minifig, medium vehicle, yellow key
8061 – Gateway of the Squid – 350 pieces, Squid warrior + 2 Diver minifigs, plus a little skid. Blue Key,
8072 – Sea Jet – water scooter with diver minifig, less than 30 pieces
8073 – ? – Manta Ray minifig, less than 20 pieces
8075 – Neptune Carrier – 475 pieces, 3 divers, 1 Manta ray minifig, large vehicle, one creature, green key
8079 – Limited edition, at least one Minifig diver, small vehicle, large creature, yellow key, probably over 300 pieces
So far we’ve got these minifigs:
* Human divers
* Manta Rays
* Sharks (or Shark Man, half-shark, half-human)
* Squid Warriors
We have all of these little “keys” (crystals) that represent Dr. Rhodes’ map (I believe) . We have the previously mentioned map with some kind of temple where you see the keys in use around some kind of portal at the top of a long set of red stairs above a shark’s mouth, with plenty of sharks, shark men, and shark imagery around. That is the end of the route marked out on the map:
We know LEGO is putting a lot of effort into the history and back story of the Atlantis theme, more than we’ve seen with other new themes in recent years. I’m not saying we’ll see an Atlantis videogame or books or anything, but there is obviously a lot going into trying to build up a unique history.
LEGO has setup a website to give us a peek behind the curtain of Atlantis’ background: Atlantis.LEGO.com
That’s an important site for here you find the Secret Journal of Dr. Artimus Rhodes, a scientist who in 1919 was looking underwater for Atlantis. It also has a map as well as several downloads. This gives you an explanation of the setting and an idea of what Rhodes found (which was a lot).
He metions that it all starts with a discovery in 1914 of a tiny pyramid on a small island south of Mexico that has hieroglyphs that Dr. Rhodes believes is a map to Atlantis:
On his deep sea journey in Atlantis Finder, his submarine, he comes across a lot of stuff that we recognize from the announced sets. Whether we’ll see Dr. Rhodes’ submersible as a set is up in the air. He runs into a giant crab represented by the Monster Crab Clash. He then runs into the Squid People after finding some caves, who attack him when he asks about Atlantis. Dr. Rhodes also mentions “I am observing the Squid People asleep in their… Squid Temple, I guess you might call it that” “The temple is fantastic, beautiful… and squiddish.” Sounds like Gateway of the Squid.
He then encounters The Giant Shark (probably Guardian of the Deep): “My suit propels me far from the shark, towards yet another underwater temple, this one carved with statues of sharks and inscriptions of sharks and shark symbols I suspect I now what type of sea-people I shall encounter next.” This could be the barred area of the image above as he ends up imprisoned here.
The journal also mentions Samantha, his great-granddaughter:
Among the sets mentioned above is a female diver minifig. Whether that’s meant to represent Samantha or not is hard to say. I would go with yes and say she’s represented by one of the minifigs since that journal entry is modern day and in theory the setting of the Atlantis theme is some kind of modern day setting.
In the downloads portion of the teaser site, in addition to the wallpapers (you can see more here), we have these to tantalize us (I copied/pasted the remaining entries since it scrolls past):
At this point in the story, we are a part of the crew that most likely includes Samantha Artesia Rhodes.
No premium sets have been announced, and almost everything else mentioned in the journal were a part of the already announced sets except for the Shark Castle.
We may not get an “Atlantis” set as in the city of Atlantis, at least not this year, but I think we will get a Shark Castle, possibly the Squid Temple (conveniently connecting to the Gateway of the Squid), and maybe even a volcano of some sorts or some shipwrecks (or his submersible). I think we’ll see some location that is Manta related as well. Next year would be a good time to release a really large Atlantis site with a lot ruins.
No matter what, I think this is going to be an incredibly fun theme.
The journal entries, Shark Castle, Squid Temple, and Wallpapers are all from Atlantis.LEGO.com.