The LEGO Group announced the launch its a brand new augmented reality (AR) building experience with LEGO Hidden Side, which will debut to the buyers, media and influencers for the first time at Toy Fair New York.
In LEGO Hidden Side, kids build eight “haunted” construction sets (school, house, bus, graveyard, etc.) and then go on an AR-enhanced adventure to turn their haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. Developed for kids ages 7 and up, LEGO Hidden Side sets provide the classic build and post-build play of any traditional LEGO sets. Then kids can activate the bespoke AR app, developed together with the theme, to bring the models to life, revealing a hidden world of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve.
“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 mold 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.”
The app 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. Gameplay 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. Numerous scenarios create dynamic gameplay that requires kids to keep one hand in each world to progress the play.
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 free app, available from the App Store and Google Play, also consists of a digital game that kids can play independent of the building set. After launch, the app experience will continue to expand with the addition of new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomization of gameplay so the experience is different every time kids play.
LEGO Hidden Side launches globally later this summer.