Preview: Grounded - Honey I shrunk the co-op

Published: 21:23, 20 December 2019
Obsidian Entertainment
Three players exploring the world of Grounded.
If you're gona be shrunk down and fight spiders, best do it with friends.

Grounded is an intriguing and completely unexpected co-op title from a second team within the freshly purchased Obsidian Entertainment, in development exclusively for Xbox One. There's survival elements, base building, and miniature baseballs.

Fresh off the resounding success of The Outer Worlds, Obsidian is already reaping the benefits of Microsoft's acquisition. Grounded represents an opportunity for the traditionally single team studio to spin off a small, dedicated crew to prototype smaller scale titles that will fit beautifully into Xbox Game Pass and its "give it a go" mentality. 

The fact that MS are allowing their teams to operate with multiple active projects is a testament to their genuine desire to let content be king. 

Grounded is a first person survival game at its core, with a selection of melee and ranged weapons designed to ward off all manner of creatures and creepy crawlies. Swarms of ants, ladybirds, and even a giant spider featured heavily in its reveal, but that's not the kicker. You're fighting on a micro scale, with sporting equipment and litter covering each map. 

It's a neat change of pace for multiplayer survival, and that extends to other aspects as well. You can break down and harvest many parts of the environment in order to scrounge together tools and materials for base construction. Fortifying your defences is absolutely a critical element at play here, and will factor heavily into your ability to succeed.

Obsidian Entertainment Base building in Grounded. Suck it Fortnite. This is a proper base.

The construction itself looks fairly in depth, with objects able to be rotated and stacked depending upon your desired configuration. Key moments will likely require you to hold fast and defend your chosen location, although specifics regarding how enemy waves are triggered, and the objectives you need to complete, haven't been shown. 

Character customisation offers outfits, masks and emotes, but we aren't aware of any details surrounding potential DLC monetisation. It's a budget priced title that will launch straight into Xbox Game Pass on Day 1 (as with every other first party studio title). The nature of Grounded would seem quite well suited to a storefront of sorts, so long as prices remain reasonable. Not every game has to have a battle pass!

Suffice it to say, Grounded was not the game we expected to see break out from Obsidian's endlessly creative walls. It evokes the same light hearted tone of The Outer Worlds, but without the trappings and scope of a big budget narrative RPG. If this is the kind of game that Xbox Game Pass's business model allows to exist, then the future for quirky experimental titles looks very bright indeed. 

Obsidian Entertainment Co-operative action in Grounded. We found a baseball we can't carry! Yeah!

Grounded launches in Spring 2020 for Xbox One, and PC.

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