Gamers who were lucky enough to cop a Playstation 5 not long after the next-gen system’s release also had the good fortune to become enamored with Team Asobi, the developers behind Astro’s Playroom; the PS5 bundle-in game, a charming, whimsical 3D platformer also thoroughly showcased the haptic feedback capabilities of the PS5’s DualSense controller (and included the infinitely catchy GPU Jungle song, “I’m Your GPU,” as well).
So what’s on the horizon for the Astro’s Playroom developer’s next game? According to studio and creative director Nicolas Doucet, Team Asobi’s next game will be their most extensive endeavor to date. And of course, as with Astro’s Playroom and their previous effort, the immersive Playstation VR game Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, the new game will push the envelope when it comes to gameplay innovation and technological synergism.
“We have a current production, and that’s going fine,” Doucet said in an interview with GI.biz. “But we want to have another group for R&D, and we want enough in this group to explore as many areas that are interesting. And to potentially start other projects.”
According to Doucet, “Team Asobi’s next project will follow in the footsteps of the games it has done before, but will be a full-blown commercial title, and the team’s ‘biggest to date.'”
Doucet also elaborated on the composition of Team Asobi’s research and development team, which requires a lot of “trial and error” as well as constant rotation to ensure that ideas are kept fresh and unique.
“We always have this extra team on the side,” Doucet explained. “Probably like 90% of the studio is on production, but there is this small pocket of people in the background that are already touching the technologies of tomorrow, or trying things with the technologies we have today, but taking them into a new direction.
“In order to keep this freshness, this R&D team needs to be rotated quite often. People go into production, and then after that maybe go into R&D for some time.”
Doucet added that experimentation with new technology and gameplay ideas is a big component of Team Asobi’s creative process but there has to be a healthy balance to ensure that the experimentation process doesn’t hinder the overall progress on the game’s development.
“When you’re trying to do innovation, you need to find out very quickly if you’re on the right track. If you spend six months and then you realize that it was the wrong approach,” Doucet explained, “it can be very costly. So this quick iteration approach, it works really well for anything that requires heavy prototyping. Because of the field we are in, we tend to make games that have lots of small innovations. We need to test those rapidly.”
“Any new technology, we like to take it for a spin,” Doucet added. “There’s the obvious way to use it, which is the first thing we are going to try, and then we are going to try to use it in ways you’re not supposed to. That leads us to interesting places.”
Are you looking forward to the Astro’s Playroom developer’s next game, which will be their “biggest to date”? Let us know in the comments.