The LEGO Group has announced a brand new theme for 2019, that will be connected with an Augmented Reality (AR) app, titled Hidden Side.
Eight new sets will make up the spooky new theme, LEGO Hidden Side. Due to launch on August 1, the new range will offer sets that make up a town full of haunted goings-on, with a special free-to-download app that bring the models to life.
The sets are the usual high-quality LEGO build experience that can work without the app. They can be built as the locations and vehicles appear by day, but can transform into the haunted versions that reveal their hidden side.
The game works around the idea of turning a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. According to the LEGO press release, “It is the only play experience available today that fully and seamlessly integrates augmented reality (AR) with physical construction to reveal a hidden world of interactive play.”
The game will offer a variety of experiences, with different mysteries to solve. When a device running the app is held over the sets, the screen will show additional activity going on, recognising the model and enhancing its features.
“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, LEGO Creative Play Lab. “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.”
Within the app, the player takes on a first-person perspective, following the story of Jack and Parker. Their hometown of Newbury has something going on, with paranormal forces taking hold – the duo use their mobile phones to attempt to figure out what is happening, just as the user will. The physical LEGO sets represent “points of possession,” which release virtual ghosts that players must then capture in the AR game.
“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 explained.
“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. With the thoughtful integration of LEGO building and AR technology, we can deliver a truly innovative play experience that taps into the everchanging landscape of fluid play, where children constantly find new moments and forms of play.”
Following the launch, more gameplay elements will be added to the app, that will also have some functionality without owning the LEGO Hidden Side sets.