As part of an ‘about us’ section of the site, the Tokyo-based Team Asobi has confirmed it is “currently hard at work on [its] most ambitious game yet” – and a slew of recent job openings at the developer potentially shed some light on what that game might entail.
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For instance, a game designer vacancy posted to the site’s ‘jobs’ page suggests Team Asobi is on the hunt for an individual who can "make a variety of levels for a 3D action game, each providing great tempo and creative situations."
Our new website has launched today. Come and check it out!本日、ウェブサイトを解禁！ぜひチェックしてみてください。https://t.co/xaquH4q7u3 pic.twitter.com/MBMrmDT2v6August 2, 2021
Other listings detail a search for an environmental artist capable of putting "an emphasis on realistic texturing techniques applied to a playful art style,” alongside an opening for an animator who can "animate a wide range of cartoony and mechanical characters, props and vehicles used in game.”
It seems a safe bet, then, to assume the developer is once again working on a cutesy platformer, likely fronted by its now-iconic Astro Bot character.
As for what hardware the game is being designed for, its almost certainly on its way to PS5. But there's also a chance it could be another VR-based platformer – in the vein of Astro Bot: Rescue Mission – arriving in time for the launch of the PSVR 2 headset.
The latter has been confirmed by Sony as being in development for the PS5, and with an expected release date of 2022, it could therefore coincide with Team Asobi’s next game.
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Of course, it’s possible that Team Asobi’s in-development title won’t utilize VR at all, instead becoming another mega-popular PS5-exclusive platformer that focuses on the functionality of the DualSense controller.
But given Astro Bot: Rescue Mission’s impact on Sony’s first VR effort, it makes sense for the developer to helm an equally-groundbreaking title for the PSVR 2.
Essentially, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission took a generic mascot character and had players running, jumping and collecting coins over the course of increasingly challenging and complex levels.
That doesn’t sound like anything revelatory, but the game’s implementation of still-new VR hardware – which had us scanning, leaning and peering around its virtual environment – proved why there was, and still is, so much excitement around the burgeoning technology.
What’s more, there’s a sense that Team Asobi missed a trick with Astro’s Playroom on PS5 by omitting compatibility with PSVR. As excellent as it is, this platforming game world seemed the perfect opportunity to once again flex the muscles of Sony’s VR hardware.
Whether or not the PSVR 2 arrives in tandem with the developer’s next game remains to be seen – but it would be a shame to see Team Asobi pass on VR for a second time.