Grounded Is A Brand New Survival Co-Op Game From Obsidian
Announced yesterday during X019, Grounded is a survival game from Obsidian Entertainment that shrinks you down to the size of an ant, puts you in a garden, and makes you fight for your tiny life. You can watch the announcement trailer for Grounded below. It shows off plenty of exciting features, including the shrunk-down player and their equally miniature friends banding together to fight off some now giant bugs.
The developer behind the recently launched The Outer Worlds and iconic role-playing games the likes of Fallout New Vegas and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, pitching Grounded as creative take on the survival genre where you’ve been shrunken down to the size of an ant and must gather, craft, and build bases in a suburban backyard environment.
This makes it doubly surprising at just how Grounded has strayed from the usual RPGs pumped out by Obsidian. Grounded is a single and multiplayer survival game with a tiny twist you’re small. Really small. It’s Honey I Shrunk The Kids, survival edition. Stroll through grass forests, encounter gigantic insects, and do whatever it takes to survive. That sound you hear is the developers of Smalland bashing their heads against the wall.
The comparisons with the beloved 1989 children’s movie are going to be difficult to avoid, that’s for sure. You play as shrunken kids out their back garden, trying to find food to eat, water to drink, and other survival staples such as building a shelter. Of course, nothing’s ever that simple. Insects are terrifying enough for some six foot people, let alone if we were shrunk down to 6mm. Ants become giants, wasps become deadly aerial threats, and spiders, spiders can get outta here.
To survive, you’ll need to harvest the materials and resources at your disposal: working an acorn into makeshift body armor and slurping up hydrating drops of watery dew are two of the examples given how you’ll be able to survive in the backyard frontier as you work through story-based missions and open exploration.
There’s a nice sense of heft and physicality to these things in Grounded, conveyed through small details like how your character holds a chunk of grass “wood” after chopping it down, and how picking up more pieces makes them visually stack instead of just increasing a number in your inventory. You can throw anything you’re holding, like your axe, which makes for an effective ranged attack and also makes these objects feel more real.
There’s currently no kind of “faction” system that dictates, say, how much an ant colony likes you. You can’t currently win insects over to be your friend, but that’s something Obsidian wants to explore, and one of several systems we touched on in the demo that may be expanded later in development. Obsidian is actually planning to launch Grounded in Early Access next year, on Steam and Xbox Game Pass, to help shape those features.
“One reason why we’re going into Early Access is to continue to develop the game with the community,” Brennecke said. “I’d love to have insect riding at some point, taming insects and riding them. I think that’s a really cool feature that a lot of players will love.” Another example: Weather, which the game doesn’t have right now (though it does have a day/night cycle).
As it stands now, Grounded gets harder as you progress, as insects “see you as a bigger and bigger threat to your environment, and they’ll start growing more and more hostile.” Building a base, as in other survival games, will be important, as insects will attack you with different goals. Brennecke and team are aware of the references Grounded will elicit (A Bug’s Life, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Antz, The Bee Movie) and openly admit to watching those films during production. “I’m a child of the ’80s, so I grew up with [those movies],” he points out. “Trying to fit that into a video-game and see what types of things we could explore as game designers is really cool.”
Grounded is coming to PC and Xbox One in Spring 2020 through Microsoft’s early access style Xbox Game Preview program. Like all of Microsoft’s first-party titles, Grounded is also going to included in Xbox Game Pass as well.