First full-fledged “Astro Bot” game blasts into the PlayStation multiverse (exclusive)

Team Asobi head Nicolas Doucet tells EW what players can expect come fall: "It's the biggest game we've ever made."

Astro Bot has come a long way. Created by the Tokyo-based developers at Team Asobi, the character first arrived in 2013's The Playroom, a collection of augmented-reality games that featured this adorably pint-sized bot living inside the DualShock 4 game controller. From there, Astro Bot became the star of 2020's Astro's Playroom, a free demo that came with every PS5 console to help get players acquainted with the new tech in a fun, interactive way.

Now the lil' mechanical tyke is getting their first full-fledged platform game. Team Asobi announced the new title during Thursday's PlayStation "State of Play" presentation, and studio head Nicolas Doucet gives Entertainment Weekly exclusive intel on what we can expect when the game launches this Sep. 6 on the PS5.

"We wanted to make a big game," Doucet tells EW of the platformer with more than 80 different levels. "This is really about going up one notch — really several notches — and having Astro's big story. We call it Astro Bot because we treat this as a new beginning. That's a really, really big game. I think for us, that's the biggest game we've ever made."

<p>Team Asobi/Sony Interactive Entertainment</p> Astro Bot Kratos is just one of the many PlayStation Easter eggs in the new 'Astro Bot' game

Team Asobi/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Astro Bot Kratos is just one of the many PlayStation Easter eggs in the new 'Astro Bot' game

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The premise centers around an incident that breaks apart Astro's DualSense Spaceship (in the form of PlayStation gaming equipment) and scattering its bits across the universe. The bot now has to embark on a mission to find all the pieces.

According to Doucet, there are 80 planets spread out across six galaxies. One world, he explains, features an island in the form of a giant crab. Others, as seen in the announcement trailer released on Thursday, feature other environments like jungle, volcanic, and desert. "We really wanted to make sure that the player had a renewed experience every 10 minutes or so," he says.

And similar to Astro's Playroom, there will be various bot versions of classic PlayStation characters encountered along the way, including Kratos from God of War, Nathan Drake from Uncharted, Aloy from the Horizon games, and the titular duo from Ratchet and Clank.

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Behind the scenes, Doucet calls the game a "PlayStation fiesta," given that it's stacked with so many callouts to the entire history of PlayStation. There's even a bot version of PaRappa the Rapper, the hip-hop canine star first introduced back in the 1990s. It's not a coincidence, either, that Astro Bot is arriving during the yearlong 30th anniversary of PlayStation celebration.

"It's a kind of eye candy," Doucet says of all the cameos. "There's going to be more. We're going to be talking over time about what they mean to the game, but, yes, there's going to be a big reunion. There's a lot of characters from the PlayStation universe crossing over with Astro's path. It's an Astro Bot story, of course, with Astro being the main character, but there's a lot of PlayStation characters that play a part."

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It's more than just characters from PlayStation's vast lexicon, though. Scenes from the trailer feature the Whispy Woods tree from the world of Kirby, as well as an Aladdin-style dark genie that serves as a boss.

<p>Team Asobi/Sony Interactive Entertainment</p> 'Astro Bot'

Team Asobi/Sony Interactive Entertainment

'Astro Bot'

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"I would say it's pop culture in general in a very broad sense," Doucet remarks of those reveals. "That's something we've always done as part of our games — look at iconic real-world inspirations, a lot of them from Hollywood movies or famous animation — and looking at themes that really cross generations."

It's surreal that Team Asobi can now count Astro Bot as a character on par with the likes of Kratos and all of PlayStation's other first-party heavy hitters that the new game features in some way. Doucet recalls how Astro's Playroom "was really about focusing on the PS5 and sharing what we could do with the controller." He notes, "The charm of Astro and how he resonated with people went beyond what we expected. At that point, we decided to make a big game."

Don't let the Easter eggs and Kratos cameo fool you. "The core effort has gone into making Astro's own game so that he can stand on his own feet as a new PlayStation character with a good reputation and confidence," Doucet adds. "But also on top of that, there is this whole coating of nostalgia."

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.