Astro Bot Rescue Mission was one of the PSVR’s killer apps in 2018. Seriously, if you have a PSVR and haven’t played this one, you’re missing out. Part of what makes that game so incredible is the way it handles space, which you are very much a part of. What goes on within that space is a cute and endearing platfromer, made even more engaging because of its animations and visual style. The PlayStation Blog got a chance to speak with Astro Bot Rescue Mission Art Director Sebastian Brueckner and Animation Lead Jamie Alexander about how the game’s visual style came to be.
The designers created basic levels using plain blocks, simply to establish what the gameplay would be like. Afterwards, the artists would create the colorful art assets from scratch, using the foundation made by the designers. This ensured that the levels were designed with gameplay in mind first, which the team considered important.
As for the visual style itself, the artists wanted everything infused with a sense of digital DNA. That’s why if you look at everything closely, you can see tiny circuit boards or even LED lights. Even more natural elements like plants or rocks still have a digital presence to them, which is a neat aesthetic choice.
One final note had to do with the animations. These proved to be a tad challenging for VR, since the familiar exaggerated animations wouldn’t work as well on the platform. The animation team had to play with the timing, making more subtle movements instead of ones you’d see in a traditional cartoon. With that, they also wanted to give every character an interesting dichotomy of emotions.
You’ll notice that the Bots all have a playful sense to them, while also coming across as mischievous. Likewise, the bosses all have a scary presence at first, but start to cower in fear as the battle progresses. It’s a really cool inclusion that players may find adds more depth to a platformer that might come across as simple.
Have you played Astro Bot Rescue Mission? What did you think of the animation and art direction? Let us know!
[Source: PlayStation Blog]