Recently I was invited to a special sneak-peek event of a new LEGO product combining LEGO bricks and technology that will be released by LEGO Future Lab – an organization within the company dedicated to exploring the future of play by identifying and developing new play experiences. The event took place a couple of days ago in New York, and since that was too far for me to go, I sent a good friend and fellow LEGO fan to the event on my behalf. So first of all I wanted to thank Don Banzai for taking time off of his busy schedule to go to the presentation and for reporting back to us with all the exciting information about this new product. And now let’s take a look at what’s coming! 🙂
The presentation was done by Leah Barash from FlashPoint Public Relations and Ditte Bruun Pedersen from LEGO Future Lab. The new product line is going to be called LEGO FUSION and it includes a video game for smart-phones and tablets, as well as LEGO sets that work with them. My first impression is that this is kind of like an upgrade from the previously released LEGO Life of George. Don compared it to the movie TRON where characters move between the real and the physical world. Below you will find the official press-release, along with pictures, and a video-preview to introduce you to the concept of this new way of playing and building.
LEGO Systems Blends Physical and Digital Play with New LEGO FUSION
New Play Experience Moves Children Seamlessly Back and Forth Between Physical and Virtual LEGO Worlds Via Hands-On Brick Building and App Gaming to Delight LEGO Builders and Casual Gamers Alike
LEGO Systems, Inc., makers of the world’s leading construction toys, today introduced LEGO FUSION, a play experience that combines traditional LEGO brick play with familiar app-based game themes. LEGO FUSION leverages new technologies—and children’s fascination with them—to create an entirely new way to engage in LEGO brick building and app game play for children ages 7 and up. Available later this summer, the LEGO FUSION collection will include four distinct titles: LEGO FUSION Town Master, LEGO FUSION Battle Towers, LEGO FUSION Create & Race and LEGO FUSION Resort Designer.
Each LEGO FUSION experience consists of a distinct set of LEGO bricks, a corresponding free downloadable app and the new FUSION capture plate, a small brick building plate with a printed design that enables a smart-phone or tablet’s camera to identify the size and colors of the LEGO bricks built onto it. In response to game prompts, children build vertically in 2-D on the FUSION capture plate, enabling the app to ‘see,’ import and transform the creation into 3-D in the digital world.
“Children have always imagined their LEGO creations as immersive worlds which come to life for hours of role-play and adventure,” said Ditte Bruun Pedersen, senior design manager, LEGO Future Lab. “Recently, smart phones and tablets have become a popular platform for empowering game mechanisms that kids love. LEGO FUSION brings these two favorite 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.”
To Win, Step Away from the Screen – Once a child’s creation has been imported into the game, a series of challenges and interactions requires that players turn away from the device and 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, keeping children engaged in both worlds.
“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,” said Pedersen. “We developed LEGO FUSION with this challenge in mind, creating a play experience that keeps children entertained with the kind of app gameplay they love while giving real reasons to return to the brick pile to creatively build.” Each LEGO FUSION product offers a distinct play experience. The four products launching this year are:
LEGO FUSION Town Master – In this simulation game, 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. Children 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.
LEGO FUSION Create & Race – In this racing game, 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. Players learn that every brick shape and color 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 best-selling 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. Each will be available for $34.99 in LEGO Stores and Toys’R’Us stores in the U.S., as well as online at shop.LEGO.com and at toysrus.com.
Interesting, isn’t it? After Don had a chance to see how the whole thing works, he said he thinks it is amazing, but he is really looking forward to the 3rd generation of this technology because although it is cool now, you are limited to what comes in the LEGO FUSION kits. And this brings us to an important aspect of the game; the app only works with the LEGO bricks inside each set. In other words it would not work with regular LEGO bricks. However hopefully with future development it will become possible to scan in any LEGO element.
What do you think? How do you like LEGO FUSION based on what you have seen so far? Is this something you are interested to try out? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! Would love to hear what you think about this! 😉
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