Astro Bot's Stellar Journey: From Tech Demo to PlayStation's Shining Star

There is a new star in the gaming firmament. It is called Astro Bot. No longer an unknown, Astro Bot has now come into its own as a brilliant new star of ingenuity, charm and innovative gameplay. PlayStation’s latest gamer sensation will shine brightly and delight players in its PlayStation 5 release on 5 September 2024.


But there is nothing accidental about Astro Bot’s rise to fame. Beneath its mesmerising gameplay and fantastical worlds, the critical and commercial success of the Astro Bot series stands as a testament to invention, craftsmanship and a ruthless quest for perfection. In the clip below, Nicholas Doucet, the artistic director of Team ASOBI and the man behind Astro Bot, explains the process of creation that turned the tech demo into a full-fledged gaming series.

Prototyping Perfection: The Making of a Masterpiece

The work started soon after Astro’s Playroom was completed, casting Team ASOBI into a frenzy of prototyping over the following year. ‘We had so many concepts at the tech demo days, all these new gameplay concepts, so we wanted to keep looking for gameplay,’ says Doucet. ‘From the magnetic powers to the trigger haptics – with the left and right triggers – we managed to create just really wow moments.’ It is this inventiveness that creates so much of the joy that emanates from Astro Bot, letting players experience a video game in a new and invigorating way.

Broadening Horizons: Astro Bot for Everyone

Universal appeal is another hallmark of the game. ‘We need it to be engaging to the hardcore, but also to make a family smile,’ Doucet said. ‘From the super-realistic liquid physics to its happy interactions between the fish, all the details are full of things to explore and make you say “aww!”’

A HOMAGE TO PLAYSTATION: Celebrating a Legacy

Astro Bot is an homage to the PlayStation franchise, with cameos and Easter eggs sprinkled throughout its colourful worlds. Doucet and his team took care to include as many of these nods to the past as possible to better resonate with their audience. ‘Astro Bot was developed to speak to PlayStation fans and celebrate the characters and moments that have defined generations of gaming,’ Doucet tells me.


Team ASOBI’s ability to experiment with bleeding-edge tech has seen it earn the title of ‘gaming alchemists’. That’s because its ability to know not only how to combine ludicrous new hardware features with great game design, but also to do so in a way that keeps the player completely in control, makes Astro Bot feel as much like an experience as it does a game. ‘We love physics and interactivity. When you can enhance physics and add interactivity, you can have moments where you surprise both yourself and the player. It brings the world to life,’ Doucet says.

A UNIVERSE OF EXPLORATION: Designing Dynamic Worlds

Astro Bot takes players on a grand tour, across a diverse array of ecosystems from tropical jungles to arctic tundras. In terms of level design, this approach to the game is all about the diversity of experience. ‘In Astro Bot, all the levels are built with that in mind, to bring something different to play every time you enter new levels. Each one is unique in that way,’ he says.

PIONEERING GAMEPLAY: Innovating with Every Step

And that sense of play, that is precisely what Astro Bot conveys. The game is essentially one long puzzle – introducing new power-ups and challenges at each stage, but crucially never staying there. It’s the constant sensation of discovery or surprise. ‘We want to surprise players and give them a moment of delight at every turn,’ says Doucet. That’s what keeps us playing, and that’s what Astro Bot delivers. Astro Bot feels like a new kind of platforming, something truly fresh.

ASTRO BOT ASCENDANT: Embracing the Spotlight

It’s a big moment for Astro Bot, and the industry is watching: ‘[Seeing] a tech demo become the main product for PlayStation is just amazing. And it is an amazing achievement for the team. We are really proud of that.’

The Essence of "Sense" in Astro Bot's Adventure

It illustrates how connected the experience of adventure, of interactivity and of immersion was to the new possibilities of touch, movement and feedback. Each hop, point and blast in Astro Bot is a chance to experience the world – and the controller – in a new way. Astro Bot takes players on a sensory journey through its enchanting worlds.

With Astro Bot – due to arrive on PlayStation 5 next month – Res, his team and their friends are not just making a top-notch technical showpiece, but a love letter to the art-form of game design as a whole, and it’s a journey that started a long time ago, for some of us. ‘Playing platformers at that time was a gender-neutral thing,’ Res tells me. ‘At least for me and my friends, we were not really aware of gender at that time. This was in an all-boys school.’ I dare to probe further and ask whether Res or his friends ever exclaimed: ‘That girl plays games?’ He looks surprised and shakes his head. ‘Oh no,’ he says. ‘It was just me and my friends playing games. It never crossed our minds that she was a girl if she played games. I think the first time I actually noticed that women might not play video games was when I went to university. I became more aware of the gender separation societies had in place, like: “Girls here; boys there.”

Jun 14, 2024
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