Lego unveils its new AR play experience – Lego Hidden Side

Published on: 14th February 2019

Combining building with augmented reality, Lego Hidden Side offers fans a completely new way to play. 

The Lego Group has unveiled Lego Hidden Side, an augmented reality-enhanced Lego play theme in which kids must turn a haunted world back to normal, one ghost at a time. Lego states that Hidden Side 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.

Developed for children 7+, Lego Hidden Side will be showcased to buyers, media and influencers for the first time at the American International Toy Fair, in Booth 1335, Hall 3B of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre, between the 16th – 19th of February.

Lego Hidden Side includes a series of eight ‘haunted’ building sets full of functionality and surprises that, on their own, provide the building and role-play fun of any Lego theme. Activating the bespoke AR app together with the theme brings the models to life, revealing a hidden world of interactive mysteries and challenges to solve. When combined, the two worlds make each other even more compelling and fun.

“Our years of experience in 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 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.”

Lego Hidden Side building sets deliver everything kids love and expect from a Lego building experience; the challenge of the build, a detailed model with functionality, and minifigure characters set in a story-driven universe. Each model can be built as it appears by day – a school house, bus or graveyard, for example – and offers transforming functionality so the build can become the haunted version of itself.

The app lets kids assume a first-person perspective of one of two characters, Jack or 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. Numerous scenarios create dynamic gameplay that requires kids to keep one hand in each world to progress the experience.

Tom added: “Physical manipulation of the Lego Hidden Side 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 several short digital games that kids can play independent of the building sets.

Lego Hidden Side marks the first time the toy company has introduced one of its play themes as a service. After launch, the app experience will continue to expand with the addition of new ghosts, new game challenges, and randomisation of gameplay so that the experience is different every time kids play.

“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,” Tom noted. “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.”

Lego Hidden Side will be available globally in late summer 2019. Physical sets will range in price from £17.99 to £109.99, while the Lego Hidden Side app will be free to download from the App Store and Google Play.


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