ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission (2018) is one of most popular PSVR exclusives to date, however Sony-owned developers Team Asobi are releasing its widely hyped PS5 follow-up Astro Bot without the addition of VR support. Don’t hold out hope for a VR port either, as the studio has now confirmed it’s simply not in the cards.

Talking to Digital Trends, Team Asobi studio head Nicolas Doucet confirmed the upcoming Astro Bot can’t (and won’t) ever be a VR game due to its unique development for TVs.

“We’re focusing 100% on PS5,” Doucet told Digital Trends. “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. It’s applicable to some first-person games like racing, but not for this kind of game. So our choice was to go 100% for TV to really have as many people as possible playing this game.”

Speaking to Push SquareDoucet fleshes the decision on why it wasn’t developed with a hybrid TV/VR mindset:

“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.”

Granted, Astro Bot’s origins were first rooted in flatscreen from the beginning, with the character’s development stretching back to 2013 when PlayStation’s now defunct SIE JAPAN Studio released the bundled mini-game demo THE PLAYROOM for PS4, which was created to show off the console’s then-newly released PlayStation Camera.

Later showing up in 2016 on the original PSVR, Japan Studio released The Playroom VRanother bundled set of mini-games, this time tasked with showing off the headset’s capabilities.

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This would eventually spur Japan Studio, where Doucet was Creative Director and Producer of Astro Bot, to release the full-fledged Astro Bot Rescue Mission in 2018. It’s been widely celebrated as one of, if not the best VR games to come to PSVR. In fact, we liked Astro Bot Rescue Mission so much, we scored the VR native platformer our first [10/10] in our full review.

Then, in 2020, just prior to Japan Studio’s closure, the studio released Astro’s Playroom, which served as a tech demo to PS5’s DualSense controller. Team Asobi would live on, headed by Doucet, while Japan Studio would be shuttered by PlayStation in 2021.

Notably, Astro Bot Rescue Mission has never received a PSVR 2 port, highlighting yet further the headset’s lack of backwards compatibility with original PSVR games.

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Maybe this “one for flatscreens, one for VR” pattern will continue on, but we’re not holding our breaths for now, as the studio is no doubt full steam ahead on hyping the upcoming PS5 exclusive, which we now know for sure will never come to VR headsets.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    Valve doesn't care about vr, I'm not sure who thought sony would be any different?

    • kool

      The balls in your court Meta had better show some blockbuster games or vr will look like it's dying bro

      • ViRGiN

        Meta always had a long term vision. Batman and aliens are blockbusters, but not too COD/Battlefield/GTA levels. Quest 3 could flop completly, based on previous experience, they are nowhere near abandoning it.

        • kool

          Meta might not be abandoning it but if games trickle out the community won’t grow and it’ll just be us and you on there. Don’t get me wrong batman and alien is a step in the right direction but we need at least 20 or so games on that level a year to people interested and lobbies to thrive. Sony hurt vr a lot with psvr2 after creating an atmosphere for mid level vr to grow. I think they hurt the whole industry by giving fodder against devs trying to fund vr games. Meta has got to pick up the pace if the want to keep Their base strong

          • ViRGiN

            I know all of that and I agree. Maybe it’s the studios that actually do not want to work on VR games, cause their talents can be used elsewhere. Zuckerberg pockets aren’t infinite. I think at least Boz understands games importance, but really the problem might be that the games we really want to see on the platform, are of no interest of the IP holders.

            But even then, the only gaming related giant that could afford throwing cash at the problem – valve – is not doing anything at all. After giant success of pavlov, we already should have official CSGO VR. A multiplayer game from a big franchise would surely help to make people come back to the headsets.

      • shadow9d9

        Assassin's creed, asgard's 2, and upcoming Batman. They are quite active.

        • kool

          That’s cool for now I just hope they’re buying time until they can drop at least 8 first party games or at least a mix with bigger devs. This is the only show in town they gotta look alive if they want to build the base!

  • What a very stupid decision to make.

    1. It's not that hard to implement even the simplest of VR solutions to games and it revitalizes and changes the game play significantly for those who can play it in VR. This is proven with things like the UEVR mod that allows tons of games never intended to have VR be fully VR playable.

    2. It's basically saying "We don't want your money" from people who would be willing to buy it for just VR as well.

    What a very very very stupid decision by the developers/publishers. Ports aren't that hard. It's more an investment of money and talented people to make it happen. Publishers are way too risk adverse at this point and the industry has been hiring the wrong people for the last 8 years.

  • gothicvillas

    In case Sony reads this message: FU

  • Rudl Za Vedno
  • Peter vasseur

    Well I for one say this def is an idiot. The game looks just like astrobot rescue mission. And third person games are perfectly fine in vr. What an idiot.

    • Indeed. Like "this kind of game cannot be done in VR". Right after they DID it in VR, and it is, to this day, one of the most cherished VR games of all time.

      The idiocy just blows my mind.

      They also refuse to make any other game like Playroom VR – i.e. a hybrid game where one is wearing the headset and the other one needs to watch the TV and help out each other. It's so extremely good, yet no other such game has been released ever since. I really don't get it, such a missed opportunity.

    • Cooe

      It's not the dev's decision. This would have been a directive straight from Sony to cut costs & save money and the studio's creative director is stuck trying to put lipstick on a pig as defense for his bosses. Team Asobi almost guaranteed didn't make this decision themselves.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Nonsense. That's some true BS right there. Rescue Mission wasn't an FPS type game. It was over the shoulder, third person platformer. Something that actually works in VR. Which is the same looking camera angle in the new PS5 game.

    The reality is that Japan Studio was shuttered. The new studio that was formed out of it was probably pushed to take the popular character to flat screen where they could maximize sales with as many gamers as possible and get more profits. Which is what it seems Sony's looking for more now than making anything that might not sell in large numbers. Niche games and niche communities are being abandoned. Sure they have supported small indie titles of late. They just aren't making those games anymore themselves. They're letting others do it. Almost every title released by them this generation is now big budget, popular names like GT or Spider-Man or TLofU. Supporting things like Concrete Genie are done. Making this a VR game for a small community they are responsible for by not advertising PS VR 2 or making big budget game for it is their fault.

    But it's pathetic that you can't even throw a bone to the gamers that helped create the characters popularity by buying PS Eye and PS Move and playing Playroom and Rescue Mission.

    The only thing they've done is save me some money by not buying any current Gen hardware. I used to buy hardware day one or immediately after. I'll just wait for bargain bin or just not buy it at all. They're just not giving me reasons to. As much as I don't like Facebook, Quest 3 is filling in the space that Sony was supposed to be in. It's doing a whole lot of things Sony should have been doing. Even the mixed reality stuff is cool. Battery blows but it's a full featured headset. Can't be denied. I'll look into opening my wallet if Ghost of Tsushima 2 shows up. Until, then, this long time PlayStation fan isn't buying. Just like I'm not buying their reasoning of not porting their PSVR game or making the new one VR compatible.

    • ApocalypseShadow

      Oops. PlayStation Camera and VR demo disc is what I was talking about earlier. Just woke up. Lol

    • JB1968

      I can undetstand your symphaties with Quest hardware but I don't think there is currently any big difference between Sony and Metas support of VR games. Sony focuses on flat blockbusters while Meta is focusing on social apps and mixed reality. None of them are willing to pour money into AAA VR games anymore.

      • shadow9d9

        No difference? Fb has 8 studios making big budgwt games plus funding third parties like assassin's creed. Sony, meanwhile, didn't even bother making their flagship vr title inro a vr sequel and hasn't announced anything during its entire first year of psvr 2.

    • NotMikeD

      I loved this post right up to the “until they make a ‘Ghost of Tsushima 2’ (read: exactly the sort of big-budget flat title you were just decrying) I won’t be buying.” Unfortunately the whole post felt a bit like satire after that comment.

  • Dragon Marble

    If I were the reporter I would press Doucet: Give me an example of design details in this game that explains your "philosophy". You are after profit. Just say it. We are not stupid.

  • polysix

    Glad it's not coming to PSVR2. Leave all the gimmicky cr*p to Quest standalone. We've had years of ill fitting games shoe-horned into VR, that aren't VR, and give VR a bad name.

    Give me GT7 and the Resident Evils 100x over this out-dated Super Mario 3D rip-off (didn't even like the first one on PSVR1 and they're even more mundane on flatscreen).

    Aliens game on PSVR2 with HDR, OLED and HAPTICS (Head + Adapative triggers) is where real VR will be (Sure you can play it on your LCD quests but good luck with those horrible grey blacks, no atmospheric 'reality like' HDR and the completely unimpressive lack of proper haptics) – also don't forget to keep charging your quest…

    PSVR2 is hands down the best complete VR I've ever used and I've had 8 or so HMDs from Dk2, Vive, Rift, Quest/Quest Pro etc. PSVR2 is fine even if it never got another game, it's THAT good.. oh and now it can do PCVR too? (soon) well, there you go.. cos standalone games count for nothing, they're not VR, they're cartoon world gimmicks that can't immerse even a 6 year old, between the lack of constrast, the grey blacks and the 10 year old looking games – you're welcome to it – I'll be on PSVR2 playing GT7, RE4 VR remake and Aliens + everything on PCVR with it.

    • Mateusz Jakubczyk

      Hahaha, Sony fanboys are always so funny… :D

    • philingreat

      Yes, PCVR is coming for PSVR2, but a lot of important things are missing like:
      – HDR
      – Sense-Controller haptic feedback (only standard rumble vibration works)
      – VR headset haptic feedback
      – Eye tracking
      – 3D audio

      • JB1968

        Yes, but the truth is 99.9% of PCVR games are not supporting any single one of these missing features.
        The iVRy developer claims that even HDR support on PCVR (Steam VR) is a big mess…

  • Brettyboy01

    Pfft, its would be a marketing strategy. Suddenly, 2-3 months in, VR support Patch.

  • RIP PSVR 2

    • ViRGiN

      How platform can be dead by not releasing this game in VR?
      Valve doesn't do anything with PCVR, and yet it's so hard for nearly everyone to accept this fact and the fact that PCVR is dead.

      • Peter vasseur

        Pcvr is not dead, I bet over 50% of quest users are hooked to a pc. Do you think before you speak. You really need to get zucks chuck out of your mouth.

        • Mateusz Jakubczyk

          You're betting wrong :P And this can be seen in the sales of games – devs say that standalone games sell up to 10 times better than on PCVR.

          • ViRGiN

            Up to 10? That's definietly underestimated.

            But Peter is just a PCVR freak.

          • Peter vasseur

            That may be, it doesn’t make pcvr dead. If it’s sucks for them then why make the game comparable?

        • ViRGiN

          actually it’s 130% of quest users connected to PCVR, some are connected to two machines at once. So think before you yap.

          • Peter vasseur

            Pcvr is dead, but 130% of quest users are on pcvr. Dude you’re so lost.

          • ViRGiN

            Not 130% but 310%.
            Read the news.

          • Peter vasseur

            Ok pcvr is dead, but quest isn’t not? Yet 310% of quest users are hooked to a pc using it for the power the stand alone lacks. Read the news and think before I yap. Projecting much. Your very statements prove my point.

            Meta fanboys seem to be the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to understanding vr. Doesn’t surprise me because they’re the cheapest users out there. Always wanting everything now and for free. The meta gravy train is going to run out and when it does all the cheap meta fanboys will be crying.

          • ViRGiN

            ok

  • Peter vasseur

    Yet they keep releasing games for it along with the psvr2 and the quest line. Soqiest and psvr2 are all dead then by those metrics.

    I don’t think you people who scream dead have any clue what that means.

  • Peter vasseur

    Just for all the meta fanboys out there and the ignorant gamers when it comes to vr. Claiming pcvr is dead, when you all take your quest hmds and hook them to pcs to play VR, demonstrates your complete lack of understanding. You become a pcvr user as soon as you hook it to one. The hmd you’re using doesn’t matter. It’s not very hard people, I understand that your government education hasn’t fought you critical thinking skills, so it’s not 100% your fault.

    In 2024 it takes work to remain ignorant. A large majority of meta fanboys seem to working very hard at that.

  • Peter vasseur

    Ok meta fanboy, you go ahead and play you lowest end version of the game. Every major game aside from
    Exclusives is coming to pcvr. Games like Aries age don’t even have a quest version. So you clearly have no clue what you’re talking about. Just because you have a computer doesn’t Make you correct.