GroundedSource: Obsidian Entertainment

4/8/2020: This article was updated with information about the Early Access release date from Inside Xbox.

Though Obsidian Entertainment is best known for their top-notch role-playing titles such as Fallout: New Vegas and The Outer Worlds, their latest venture is something out of left field: Grounded, a survival adventure game where players are the size of ants and patches of grass are the size of buildings. Here's everything you need to know about the game, including what the gameplay will be like when the game is releasing, where it will be available, and more.

A microscopic struggle for survival

Grounded

It's a big world out there

Grounded is Obsidian Entertainment's latest title, offering a unique survival experience where the player is the size of an ant, and everything in the backyard wants to make you its next meal.

Development and reveal

During Xbox's X019 event on November 14, 2019, Obsidian Entertainment announced Grounded alongside a trailer (which you can watch above). This was accompanied by a blog post made by the developers on Obsidian's website that explained the general themes of the game and the type of experience that the developers want to create.

In terms of development, not much information is known. However, we do know that the game is going to be developed alongside an Early Access program on both Xbox One and PC. This is being done so that the developers can get player feedback on things such as bug fixes and new builds before the game's official release. Grounded is being made by a very small team of just 13 people and is very much a "passion project" for Obsidian.

Story and setting

Grounded Source: Obsidian Entertainment

Grounded is set in your average suburban backyard, with one major catch — players are tiny, and that means that things such as child toys, flowers, and plant roots are massive obstacles instead of insignificant objects. Creatures that regularly-sized humans wouldn't think much about, such as ants, cockroaches, and bees, are now an enormous threat to your livelihood, and thus, you'll have to figure out a way to survive their attacks.

Next to nothing is known about the actual narrative of Grounded, but Obsidian has confirmed that there is a story. On Grounded's Steam page, it's stated that the initial Early Access release will contain "Roughly 20% of the full storyline." During a PAX East panel, Obsidian shared that the game is set in the 1990s, which influenced the overall design.

Gameplay content and design

Based on what we were able to discern from the trailer, as well as what the developers said the game would be like in their blog post and PAX East 2020 panel, Grounded is going to feature traditional survival mechanics such as crafting weapons and armor, foraging for food and water, and constructing protective bases to survive in. To get the resources they need to survive and thrive, players will need to traverse obstacles such as thick patches of tall grass and the towering stalks of flowering plants, as well as venture deep into crevices and caves created by hostile insects. Players can play solo but Grounded also supports co-operative play for up to four people.

The game's Steam page specifies what will be in the game for the initial Early Access release:

  • Roughly 20% of the full storyline
  • Three major biomes – the grasslands, the hedge, and the haze
  • Crafting
  • Base building
  • Single-player and online co-op play
  • First two tiers of weapons and armor
  • At least ten insects
  • Arachnophobia mode, which will alter the appearance and sounds of spiders to make them less intense.

You can play in first-person or third-person mode, which can be swapped instantly. The game has a full ecosystem that continues to run even while you aren't around. For example, if you kill a particular kind of insect in one area, that insect's predators will go elsewhere to look for food. Ants are non-aggressive, merely taking food they find. If however you continue to kill their scouts, the colony sends soldier ants after you. Wolf spiders hunt at night, burrowing during the day. Some confirmed species of insects and arachnids include:

  • Aphids
  • Ants
  • Soldier Ants
  • Gnats
  • Weevils
  • Wolf Spiders

There are also multiple different types of each bug, such as the "Evil Weevil" that appears to have been infected with fungus. As Early Access development progresses, more crafting recipes, enemies, environments, and other systems will be added to the game until Grounded eventually releases in full. Dynamic weather is not currently included but is a feature Obsidian wants to see included.

Release date and pricing

GroundedSource: Obsidian Entertainment

According to Inside Xbox, Grounded has been slated to release on Xbox One and PC via Early Access on July 28, with the official full release planned for "sometime in 2021," according to the game's Steam page.

There's currently nothing known about the price of the game, but it is known that you'll be able to play it — both in Early Access as well as the full release — if you're a member of Xbox Insider (which is free), as well as Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's monthly subscription service that allows you to play countless games as much as you want for the consumer-friendly price of $10 a month. PC players on Steam will need to pay the price of the game when it releases in Early Access. Xbox players will have this option as well if they decide that Game Pass isn't ideal.

We'll likely know more about both when Grounded will begin Early Access, as well as how much the game will cost, in the near future.

Your thoughts

What do you think of Grounded? Are you excited to get your hands on it and try it out? Let me know. I think it looks really fun. Plus, the concept of playing as a bug-sized human and trying to overcome bug-sized survival challenges is a cool and unique one, so I'm looking forward to it.

We'll be sure to update this article with more information when it's revealed. If you want to ensure you will have access to the game the second it's available, make sure to sign up for Xbox Insider and subscribe to Xbox Game Pass.

A microscopic struggle for survival

Grounded

It's a big world out there

Grounded is Obsidian Entertainment's latest title, offering a unique survival experience where the player is the size of an ant, and everything in the backyard wants to make you its next meal.

All the games you could ever want

Xbox Game Pass

Get playing

Xbox Game Pass gives players access to countless titles, including Grounded when it releases, for just $10 a month.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.