LEGO Systems has launched LEGO FUSION, an augmented reality experience that while targeted at children “7 and up” may also fascinate adults. The company is also building a community around FUSION that could potentially extend its reach into the social world.
Available later this year, the first four LEGO FUSION titles, which LEGO also refers to as ‘experiences’, consists of physical LEGO bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app and the FUSION capture plate, a small surface for brick-building with a printed design that enables an augmented reality experience. The plate basically triggers the app to identify the size and colours of the LEGO bricks built onto it when used with a smartphone or tablet camera.
LEGO envisions that LEGO users will respond to game prompts by building creations on the FUSION capture plate, enabling the app to ‘see,’ import and transform the creation into 3-D in the digital world. A series of challenges and interactions then requires that players return to the real world to use their LEGO bricks to build new solutions in order to move game play forward. Each game encourages this back-and-forth between physical and virtual.
“Recently, smartphones and tablets have become a popular platform for empowering game mechanisms that kids love. LEGO FUSION brings these two favourite play patterns together in an experience where real-life LEGO builds come to life in a virtual game, inspiring creativity, strategy, and the pride of creation,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen, Senior Design Manager, LEGO Future Lab.
“In our research, we heard repeatedly from parents that they are constantly battling ‘zombie gaze,’ the experience when their children are immersed in their device screens for large blocks of time. We developed LEGO FUSION with this challenge in mind.”
The LEGO FUSION collection will include four titles to be launched this year, LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, LEGO FUSION Create & Race and LEGO FUSION Resort Designer. LEGO FUSION Town Master comes with a simulation game where players create and rule their own LEGO town, first by building it with LEGO bricks, then by capturing it and importing it to the game.
Players can build everything from houses to a pizzeria, fire station and bike shop while completing errands and missions like catching robbers, fighting fires and skateboarding. To keep the minifigure citizens happy, players solve problems through physical building and earn points to gain access to more structures, and even run additional towns.
LEGO FUSION Battle Towers Players build a tower and defend it against attack so they can rule the kingdom. First, players design the Battle Towers with real LEGO pieces, then capture them and import them to the game. Next, players choose tower defenders like wizards and archers and battle against evil warriors, skeleton armies, and more.
If a tower is damaged in battle, players can repair the damage with a timed build with the game’s real LEGO bricks.
In LEGO FUSION Create & Race, players get behind the wheel and virtually drive the cars that they create with real LEGO bricks. Once a custom vehicle is digitally designed, physically built, and imported to the game, it can be optimized for success in racing, demolition or stunts. Every brick shape and colour on the vehicle matters for performance. Three themed courses offer endless challenges unlocked by physical LEGO builds, and children can even ghost race against friends to top the leaderboard.
LEGO FUSION Resort Designer Players help the LEGO Friends design new vacation houses, shops and activities for Ambersands Beach. After building 2-D facades, capturing them and importing them to the game, players can design the interiors of 3-D digital structures, such as an aquarium, surf shop and beach houses. Children can unlock new levels and build more resorts by completing missions like rescuing dolphins, riding horses, surfing and other resort activities.
Beginning in September, LEGO FUSION will incorporate the ability for players to access their digital LEGO creations and game play anywhere. Using their LEGO ID, players can sign in on any compatible device and access their gallery and game play from within the LEGO FUSION app.
Developed by TT Games, makers of the LEGO video game franchise, the LEGO FUSION Town Master, Battle Towers, Create & Race, and Resort Designer app games are free for download from the Apple, Google or Samsung App Store for Apple iOS and Android.
LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, and LEGO FUSION Create & Race will launch in August 2014; LEGO FUSION Resort Designer will launch in September 2014.