Astro Bot Rescue Mission, the newest virtual reality (VR) title from Sony’s Japan Studio, was revealed recently and features the cute robots from The Playroom and The Playroom VR titles. Following the announcement, more details on the title have now been revealed during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 show via an interview on the PlayStation stage with creative director and producer Nicolas Doucet, Japan Studio.
“So with Astro Bot Rescue Mission we are making a VR platform game,” Doucet explains: “So we are taking our robots into a classic genre, reinvented for VR so its a very big adventure with those guys. You know they come from originally inside the controller, that’s where they live, but we take them out into this super magical world in VR. And so you go on a rescue mission looking for your lost crew. You control this little guy called Astro in this kind of VR environment and the big thing about VR gameplay is you can look all around you. So you get all this jumping action but you can use your body to look around and have 360 gameplay.
Doucet revealed that the idea for Astro Bot Rescue Mission had been around since the time the team was working on The Playroom and The Playroom VR. “So we had a little game inside The Playroom VR called Robot Rescue and that was a sample for us. We wanted to try what it was like to have a platform game within VR and it turned out to be really, really popular with gamers when the PlayStation VR came out.” Doucet explains.
“So with Astro Bot Rescue Mission we are taking this to a really big game and one of the things we are adding are big VR moments like this one (gestures to onscreen footage) where we are running up a giant arm. And the bosses are one of the big things, you know in VR everything feels huge and so bosses in VR is something we wanted to do and we have been able to do that.”
Within the title the players will be controlling the a character and leading them through the world but they are present within the VR world as well, allowing for some interesting and creative gameplay moments. “So another thing we have is the Dualshock 4 controller which becomes viable in your hands within VR. It can become a shrunken and by flicking on the touch pad you can destroy the environment to make a path for your character.
“Every now and again you have a job as a character – you exist in that world to and its very much teamwork in fact.” Doucet continoues: “At key moments we punctuate the game with moments of interaction by using the controller such as using your shrunken to make platforms or the hock shot to make rope for that character to climb.”
Players who might be wondering how big the experience will be, and how long it will last, will be pleasured to know that there is a lot. In fact, Doucet explained that there are around 26 levels across 5 worlds, with another 26 or so stages able to be unlocked, offering more complex challenges for players to try and overcome. There are also around 30 different enemies players will need to deal with and of course the huge bosses, which there are around six in the title. Doucet mentions that the complete experience should last around 8 to 10 hours.
Though Astro Bot Rescue Mission features a main path to offer and a mission to complete, Doucet explained there is actally a few other things you can do within the title off the beaten path. “So you don’t have to rescue all the little guys but you know in VR you have this 3D audio, so you can hear where sound is coming from and you can actually hear if a character calling for help is down below or far away from you and that’s one of the really cool things about VR. So as you play through the levels to rescue them all – because getting your whole crew is the ultimate goal of the game – there is a main path but you can replay over and over again to find all the little guys.”
Finally, Doucet revealed that the coins players are picking up can be spent to unlock a number of extra items within the game: “All the coins you pick up in the game can be redeemed inside a collection room where you can play with your collection inside the room, so there is always something else to do on the side if you want a break from the adventure.”
Astro Bot Rescue Mission is due out later this year for PlayStation VR and VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest on the title in the future. For more on Japan Studio, Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and E3 2018, keep reading VRFocus.