Cutting Room Floor

But that’s not to say that the team managed to cram everything into the game that they’d hoped for. Doucet explained that a local multiplayer feature—a carryover from ‘Robot Rescue’—had to be sacrificed in order to preserve the vision that the studio had for Astro Bot.

“Some levels [in Astro Bot] initially allowed three extra players to join on the TV. It was fun to play together but we soon realized that in order to make the [non-VR] TV gameplay work, we were limiting the amplitude of the levels too much, thus hurting the ‘VR-ness’ we were after. Removing the multiplayer and focusing on a solo game allowed the game designers to be much more daring and efficient with the use of VR in their levels and the final game would have not been possible had we kept this multiplayer mode.”

Aside from some controller gadgets and enemies which also had to be cut due to not meeting the gameplay bar, some extra interactivity involving the game’s delightful soundtrack unfortunately didn’t make it in either.

“We prototyped having Astro hum the level’s tune along every time he was idling. While I still think it is a fun idea, the mix of music [the soundtrack] coming from a general source and a more [spatial] humming from Astro did not work out to be a pleasant enough mix. […] All in all, it felt like more hassle than it was worth with time ticking against us.”

Reception & Inspiration

But ultimately those chopping block decisions helped guide Astro Bot to become the critically acclaimed game that it is today, one which many have compared to genre-defining titles like Super Mario 64 (1996). I asked Doucet what he thought about such comparisons, and where the team drew inspiration for Astro Bot.

“It is of course a great honour to be compared to any landmark title. Platformers are solidly anchored in the video game history to a point that they are items of pop culture,” he says. “We drew inspiration from various past and present titles indeed, but one requirement reinforced upon the team was that we should never simply copy and paste. Instead, we should analyse what made a particular game fun, deconstruct its gameplay and reconstruct it with our own style. Only then could our work be judged as truly innovative, one of our key pillars.”

Continued on Page 4: Bonus Art »


More from this series:

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  • Moogle_kupo

    Astro Bot is a master class in VR platform design. It’s pure fun and a joy to play. Even after obtaining the platinum trophy, I still revisit my favorite levels. If you are a fan of platformers, this is a must play must own game!

    • jj

      platinum and returning says a lot!

  • Elvick

    Such a fantastic game. I really hope we get to see more. I’ve been in love with these bots since PlayRoom. The ninja bots DLC <3

    The potential for 3D Platformers is so great in VR, and I hope we see more of it. I think Ape Escape and Crash Bandicoot would fit beautifully in VR. And at least with Ape Escape, that's a Sony (and Japan Studio) game. Make it happen. I can only imagine the fiendish spots that those Apes would be hiding in all around you in a VR title with proper gameplay and how well moving a lot of the gadgets to the controller would work as well.

    I need it. D:<

  • flannel sykes

    My favourite game of the year and close to being my favourite game of this current generation

  • Darshan

    Though it seems impossible but it will be great gift to whole world VR players if Sony Eventually release this games on all VR platforms in world… Just a thought. Sony anyway earn out of its sale.

  • Awesome article, with lots of awesome artworks