LEGO may well be one of the most recognised and popular toy brands in the world but that doesn’t stop it embracing the latest technology. The toy manufacturer has announced its latest themed series, LEGO Hidden Side, which combines spooky playsets with augmented reality (AR).
LEGO Hidden Side is a collection of eight different sets which kids 7 and up can build, each with a haunted ghost theme. Once the physical construction has taken place kids can then use an AR app to bring the buildings to life – or more accurately the ‘afterlife’ – 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,” explains Tom Donaldson, senior vice president, Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group in a statement. “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.”
With playsets that include a school, house, bus, or graveyard, the addition of AR into the mix isn’t just for a quirky add-on that takes you into a separate videogame. The integration is fairly deep, with kids able to follow a storyline which involves the town of Newbury and two of its inhabitants, Jack and Parker. Via a mobile device kids assume a first-person perspective, having the chance to digitally interact with the LEGO models, unlocking what the company calls ‘points of possession’, releasing virtual ghosts which the kids need to capture.
“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,” Donaldson adds.
LEGO Hidden Side is slated to be available globally in late summer 2019, with the AR app downloadable from either the App Store or Google Play for free. After launch, the app will see further updates adding new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomized gameplay. For further updates as LEGO continues to embrace AR, keep reading VRFocus.