As many of you already know, the Sony Playstation 5 comes bundled with a free game known as Astro’s Playroom. I’ll cut right to the chase and say that its PS4 VR predecessor, Astro Bot Rescue Mission. It is not only one of the best VR experiences I’ve ever had but one of the best overall gaming experiences I have had in 20 years. The pint-sized Eve look-alike and the vibrant worlds he jetted through absolutely screamed mascot material for me. It was in a way that none of the try-hard characters that popped up in the early ’00s could (Ty The Tasmanian Tiger came close, though). If it weren’t for Covid, I probably would have gotten some padding and hopped in a line to get Sony’s latest system just for more of the little guy.
I’m happy that the PS5 has done something no console has done in decades and launched with a 3D mascot platformer. Some comments from Studio Japan (fun fact- they also made Gravity Rush, and I would highly advise checking it out) lead Nicolas Doucet about Astro’s future are a little concerning.
As reported by PushSquare, Doucet had this to say when asked whether or not Astro’s Playroom would see any form of continuation or a sequel.
“At this moment in time, there’s no plan for an extension of Astro’s Playroom, but I think it’s going to come down to the popularity of the game.” said Doucet.
“…a lot of it is going to come down to the consumer experience.”
While a full-fledged follow-up isn’t entirely off the table, I can’t help but feel there’s a definite air of uncertainty. Doucet says that Team Asobi’s focus is on developing new ideas based around technology- his team’s ambitions may lead them into a brand new direction.
“In Team Asobi we’re always trying to come up with ideas from technology, and so there are lots of things we want to try and do around the controller. And as we make these prototypes, if one of them turns out to be a game idea in its own right, it could end up being a new direction that we take and we’ll run with it. So it could be one or the other, but at this moment in time I don’t really know.”
While I can always respect a company that wants to keep pushing the bar (that includes Insomniac’s unfortunate decision to abandon Spyro to work on titles such Ratchet and Clank), I genuinely think it’s one hell of a wasted opportunity if somebody doesn’t do more with the Astro Bot property. I don’t think I need to tell you that the demand for games with their aesthetic and gameplay is at an all-time high. Crash finally got a brand new game after several remakes. Also, Dreamcast cult classic Kao the Kangaroo is dusting off his gloves for a new adventure next year. If there was ever a time for one of the big three to groom a brand new character into being their next cereal-box mascot, it’s now.