Lego is launching its first augmented reality-enhanced building set and app

The Lego Group has announced the launch of its first augmented reality-enhanced game, Lego Hidden Side, which allows kids to defeat ghosts in the fictional haunted town of Newbury. The game, which was developed for kids age seven and up, combines eight haunted Lego building sets and an AR app to provide an interactive experience for players. Lego plans on showcasing its new AR game at the 2019 American International Toy Fair in New York City.

“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 of creative play lab at Lego. “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.”

All eight models of Lego’s haunted building sets – including a school, a house, and a graveyard – can be built as is, then transformed into a spooky version with additional pieces. Players can hold up their phones to reveal paranormal figures at points of possession and must capture the ghosts to move forward in the adventure. In order to encourage interaction, some parts of the game also require that players keep one hand each world.

Donaldson said: “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.”

For users who may not have a Lego model, the app also features a digital game that kids can play without a building set. Lego plans to keep expanding its game with new challenges and ghosts, while also adding randomization so kids have a unique adventure each time they play Hidden Side.

“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,” said Donaldson.