The new Astro Bot game was never considered for PSVR 2, says studio head

The new Astro Bot game was never considered for PSVR 2, says studio head

The head of Team Asobi explains why the new Astro Bot game is only coming to PS5 and not Playstation VR 2. Is his reasoning convincing?


In May, Sony and Team Asobi announced a full-fledged Astro Bot game for PS5. To the disappointment of many PSVR 2 fans, the game will not feature any VR support. They had hoped that a follow-up to the ingenious Astro Bot Rescue Mission, which was released exclusively for the first Playstation VR in 2018 and is considered one of the best VR games of all time, would at least have a VR mode.

In an interview with Pushsquare, studio head Nicolas Doucet says that the studio wanted to develop a bigger version of Astro's Playroom (the 2020 tech demo for the PS5's DualSense controller) and that Playstation VR 2 was not considered.

"When we talk about VR versus non-VR, for a game like Astro, if you were to make a VR version, it has to be fully designed for that medium. And if it's not a VR version, it has to be fully designed for that medium. Certain games can afford to be hybrid, like first-person games, because there's a closer similarity. But in our case, the design philosophy for both are very, very different. So, you know, it was a decision to expand on the world of Astro's Playroom and bring Astro to the big stage. So from the beginning, that was really our focus."

Speaking to Digital Trends, Doucet also denied the possibility of a VR port at a later date. The studio's decision was to make a game that would reach as many players as possible.


“Rescue Mission was great fun to make. Every medium has its strong points. In the case of a third-person game, whether you work on TV or VR is radically different. This idea that we could add a VR mode is not applicable to this kind of game."


As much as it hurts, I agree with Doucet.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission was brilliant precisely because it was developed from the ground up for Playstation VR 1. A hybrid Astro Bot game would be a half-assed effort, and therefore not something a world-class studio like Team Asobi is interested in.


Hybrid games and VR ports may please die-hard VR users, but I'm not convinced they will contribute to significant growth in the VR industry. Gran Turismo 7 and the two Resident Evil VR modes failed to give Playstation VR 2 the boost it needed and Sony must know that by looking at the numbers.


It is understandable that the new Astro Bot is not VR-exclusive again: as a profit-oriented company, Sony wants Astro Bot to sell millions of copies, not just a few hundred thousand like Astro Bot Rescue Mission.

However, the fact that Team Asobi focused on the PS5 from the beginning raises questions. Assuming that the new Astro Bot has been in development since 2021, this could mean that Sony had doubts about the success of the VR system even before the launch of Playstation VR 2, or at least didn't want to go all in.

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Sources: Pushsquare, Digital Trends