The LEGO Group has finally lifted the lid on its augmented reality enhanced LEGO play theme with LEGO Hidden Side.
The new concept aims to deliver an experience in which users find AR tech combined with physical construction to reveal a hidden world of interactive play.
Developed for children aged seven years and upwards, LEGO Hidden Side challenges kids to turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. The range will be showcased at the North American Toy Fair in New York next week.
LEGO Hidden Side includes a series of eight “haunted” building sets full of secret surprises that, on their own, provide the build and roleplay fun of any LEGO play theme. Activating the bespoke AR app developed together with the theme brings the models to life, revealing a hidden world of interactive mysteries.
“Our years of experience pioneering the convergence of technology and physical play have taught us that kids expect exciting play experiences that move seamlessly between physical and digital worlds – something we call fluid play,” said Tom Donaldson, senior vice president, Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group.
“At our core we focus on tactile building, but AR presents opportunities to enhance physical LEGO play with new action and mastery elements. We’re breaking the mould of gaming-first AR play experiences to create a new type of play where the physical world actually influences the AR layer, instead of the other way around.”
Each model in the range can be built as it appears by day – a school, house, bus, or graveyard, for example – and has transforming functionality to become the haunted version of itself.
The app then lets kids assume a first-person perspective and play together with the two characters – Jack and Parker – as they explore their hometown of Newbury, using their mobile phones to see and solve paranormal mysteries beneath the surface of their environment.
Game play prompts kids to hold their phone up to the physical LEGO models and interact with various elements, or “points of possession,” which release virtual ghosts that kids must then capture in the AR game to stop the haunting.
Donaldson added, “As we have designed LEGO Hidden Side, physical manipulation of the LEGO models alters the AR experience, and the AR experience prompts new things to discover in the physical models, creating a deeply engaging reciprocal play experience in two worlds that has never been seen before.”
The app also consists of a digital game that kids can play independent of the building set. The app experience will continue to expand with the addition of new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomisation of gameplay.
“We’re leveraging some of the best elements of mobile games to keep the experience fresh, encouraging kids to return to their LEGO sets time and again to see what is different," continued Donaldson
"With the thoughtful integration of LEGO building and AR technology, we can deliver a truly innovative play experience that taps into the ever-changing landscape of fluid play, where children constantly find new moments and forms of play.”
LEGO Hidden Side will be available globally in late summer 2019.