Obsidian's Grounded has a seriously impressive Arachnophobia Mode, so anyone can play

Don't worry... There's no spiders here
Don't worry... There's no spiders here (Image credit: Microsoft / Obsidian Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • Grounded is the latest game from Obsidian Entertainment, a cool survival game that shrinks the players down.
  • However, this also makes the spiders in the game comparatively massive, which presents a problem for many people.
  • To help with this, Obsidian Entertainment developed an awesome Arachnophobia Mode to allow players with arachnophobia to play.
  • The mode has lots of settings, letting players slowly remove features from spiders until they're comfortable enough.

Grounded is shaping up to be a very impressive addition to the Xbox Game Studios lineup, and is debuting in the Xbox Game Preview and Steam Early Access programs on July 28, 2020. However, a big problem is likely prevent many potential players from trying out the game for themselves, and that's the existence of spiders. Spiders are the largest and most aggressive mobs in Grounded, which understandably is going to make people with arachnophobia or discomfort related to spiders wary of the game.

Obsidian Entertainment is aware of this, and they've implemented an extremely detailed Arachnophobia Mode into the game, which frankly needs to be copied by every single game featuring spiders, that allows players to slowly "turn off" spiders using a slider. You can have full spiders or just two floating hit boxes with no textures or stand out features, or anywhere in between.

Grounded Arachnophobia Mode Image

Source: Gamespot / Obsidian Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Gamespot / Obsidian Entertainment)

Obsidian Entertainment wants to make their game accessible to as many people as possible, and this is a great way to help include one of the most common phobias people can have: the fear of spiders. Grounded has even gone so far as to ensure that the preview image doesn't show in settings until the player chooses to view the image, so players won't have to come in contact with a spider before they've suitably stripped it of its more terrifying assets.

If you're interested, you can check out this awesome interview with technical game designer Jerrick Flores from Obsidian Entertainment here at Gamespot for more details on the game's Arachnophobia Mode, or join us as we jump into the Early Access and Game Preview for Grounded starting tomorrow.



Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.

  • Weird, I would've thought that giant spiders were SUPPOSED to be scary. I don't like spiders, or pretty much any arthropod, but this is a game! Xenomorphs are scary as hell, they should be removed from the next Alien game!
  • This doesn't "remove" spiders from the game. Functionally, they're still there and behave in the same way. Visually, they can be altered to include those with a crippling fear of spiders, or arachnophobia, which you clearly do not have, or you'd understand how beneficial these kind of options are to players who are interested in these games. Also, xenomorphs are not real things that cause what's quite possibly the most common phobia.
  • Have you actually seen a facehugger? They don't trigger arachnophobia? Arguing about what's real in a videogame seems a touch disingenuous, especially given my point is these spiders, and I would argue (albeit from an armchair) that if your fear of spiders is so acute that you can't play a game with them in, you would have to remove so many details that it isn't a spider anymore. Or you can remind yourself that the spiders in the game, as you say, aren't real. Or maybe you just shouldn't release a game with giant spiders (relative to the player character) if you're really that concerned about people with arachnophobia. Riddle me this, should the new subnautica have a way to turn off water for people with crippling aquaphobia or submechanophobia? Or are those people too much of a minority to matter? A final note, what qualifies you to judge or minimise my feelings on arachnids, exactly? It doesn't actually bother me... I'm just curious if you actually have a psychology degree and have been observing me, or if it's just a holler-than-thou misunderstanding of my apparently unique ability to separate reality from (admittedly well rendered) fiction?
  • You're arguing against an accessibility feature that doesn't apply to you, solely based on the fact that it doesn't apply to you. Inclusion is important in video games, and this is a fantastic way to include a phobia that is much more common than the phobias you mentioned, and is often far more affected by images and visages of spiders rather than physical entities, and doesn't affect the game design or the functionality of the spiders in any way, shape or form. Grounded isn't a different video game with this accessibility feature turned on. I'm not blind, or have adverse hearing issues, or have motor control issues. Does this mean these important accessibility features should be removed from games, simply because they don't apply to me? Who decides which disabilities are catered to? Aren't people who are blind and play video games such a small minority, that we shouldn't bother with accessibility options for them? Here's my final note to you: We should be advocating for any accessibility options, because even if one person needs that option to play the game, they're still included and can then enjoy that wonderful creation that many people poured hundreds of hours into to create. We can't expect every developer or studio to implement every accessibility option, of course, but when a studio goes out of their way to go above and beyond? Yes, they deserve praise, and other studios who have the budget should absolutely take that into consideration.
  • If they want to do this, that's fine and cool. Saying EVERY game with spiders needs to do this is rather much. Like, people are afraid of a lot of things. What counts as things that shouod/shouldn't be taken out? Do you take meat out of games for vegans? Should games with drowning mechanics turn them off for people afraid of drowning? Does Dying Light get rid of rooftop parkour for people with a fear of heights?
  • Arachnophobia is a very serious and common phobia. There is absolutely nothing stopping developers, especially large ones like Obsidian, from supporting further accessibility options. Including this doesn't negatively affect the game in any way, but can be the difference between someone playing and someone not playing. Inclusion is important. So, yes, every game with spiders should include an accessibility option like this.
  • That is cool. I remember it was quite a problem for some people in SkyrimVR. Imagine this game in VR for those with Arachnophobia.
  • It's definitely awesome that Obsidian took the time to do this! Now that they've done the research, hopefully other games will follow suit.
  • The only issue I have with this is that most clinical psychologists think it's problematic to avoid your phobias. I get what they're going for, but this kind of thing seems like it's counter productive. These are cartoony spiders and I'm not sure the option of removing anything anyone finds scary from anything is really the direction we wanna go.
  • For those who are against such a feature, don't use it. For those that need it, it's there, by all means; use it. Come on people, don't argue about something that you are not even gonna use.