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Team Asobi (also known as ASOBI Team) is a Japanese game development studio that operates as part of Sony Interactive Entertainment's PlayStation Studios umbrella. Founded in 2012, the studio is headed by French game director Nicolas Doucet and was originally part of Japan Studio before getting spun-off into its own entity in April 2021. The studio is best known for the Astro Bot series, and as of 2022 has over 60 employees.

Team Asobi was founded in 2012 and was responsible for the built-in 2013 The Playroom for the PlayStation 4, as well as its 2016 virtual reality extension for the PlayStation VR. The team received significant critical acclaim and recognition following their work on 2018's Astro Bot Rescue Mission for the title's usage of the VR headset, and became best known for the creation of Astro Bot and the surrounding franchise around him. In 2020, Team Asobi was responsible for Astro's Playroom, a built-in platform game for the PlayStation 5, which launched in November 2020. In April 2021, with the reconstructure and closure of Japan Studio, Sony spun-off Team Asobi into a direct subsidiary of PlayStation Studios.

Team Asobi's titles received critical acclaim and numerous awards, with critics praising their production values, appeal and creative usage of the PlayStation's hardware for their gameplay. Astro Bot and its main character Captain Astro have since become flagship characters for the PlayStation.

History[]

2012 - 2016: Inception and The Playroom[]

Asobi robot

Promotional illustration of A5081, a robot character from The Playroom that became the namesake and future reference of Team Asobi

Team Asobi was founded circa 2012 by Nicolas Doucet, within Sony Computer Entertainment's Japan Studio. Doucet, who previously worked with Sony's London Studio, joined Japan Studio by early 2011. The team's first project was The Playroom, an augmented reality title pre-installed on every PlayStation 4 which released with the console in November 2013. During the title's six months of development[1], Team Asobi was aided by Firesprite during development, who focused on the visuals and art of the game, while a downloadable content produced for The Playroom was done by Double Fine Productions.

The team's name is derived from the Japanese word "Asobu" (Japanese: 遊ぶ), which means "to play". The Playroom introduced an orb-like robotic character called A5081, which visually resembled the word "ASOBI"; the robotic characters of The Playroom would become the source and reference Team Asobi used for the character of Astro Bot in their future games.

In 2016, Team Asobi released a virtual reality successor titled The Playroom VR, serving as a pack-in title for Sony's PlayStation VR headset. As with the original release, Team Asobi was once again supported by Firesprite in developing the visuals and art of the game.

2017 - 2020: Release of Astro Bot, critical acclaim[]

2021 - current: Japan Studio's closure, separate studio[]

Design philosophy and studio culture[]

Team Asobi's founder Nicolas Doucet has described Team Asobi's origins as a small team "looking for really unique ideas in our video games" through technology such as virtual reality or the DualSense controller's features as well as titles "that can be played by anyone". According to gameplay programmer Akira Ishii, the studio pivots to maintain a good work-life balance to avoid normalizing overtime work like other Japanese developers.[2]

Doucet and his team noticed much inspiration from Japanese game design and how it revolves around the way video games feel to play. Doucet cited PlatinumGames as one such inspiration, stating the controls in their titles are "second-to-none on that perfectionism".[3]

Games developed[]

Game title Release Platform Additional notes
The Playroom 2013 PlayStation 4 Pre-installed on PlayStation 4
The Playroom VR 2016 PlayStation 4 (PlayStation VR) n / a
Astro Bot Rescue Mission 2018 PlayStation 4 (PlayStation VR) n / a
Astro's Playroom 2020 PlayStation 5 Pre-installed on PlayStation 5
Astro Bot 2024 PlayStation 5 n / a

References[]

External links[]

Team Asobi
Sony Interactive Entertainment - PlayStation Studios

Related
Japan Studio

The Playroom
The Playroom - The Playroom VR


Astro Bot
Astro Bot Rescue Mission - Astro's Playroom - Astro Bot

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