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Obsidian Entertainment and Xbox Game Studios announced Grounded at X019 in London today, revealing a brand new, first-person, co-op survival game IP that will be arriving in Spring 2020 for Xbox One and Steam. Obsidian Entertainment has always had a solid reputation as a game studio, but is coming off one of its most popular hits yet in The Outer Worlds, the sci-fi RPG that took everyone by surprise and staked a serious claim as the best Fallout game of the past several years – despite, of course, being an entirely different IP.
Obsidian is best known for the many different RPG games it has had success with. Beyond The Outer Worlds, which also featured some of the strongest writing in video games this year, the developer is famous for Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity. While the latter didn’t sell as well as Obsidian might have hoped, it wasn’t due to lack of quality, and that’s been the defining characteristic that has followed Obsidian throughout each of its endeavors: even if its titles aren’t for everyone, those who are interested will inevitably find a high-quality offering. When news that Rare and Obsidian were both planning to reveal new games at X019 today leaked, many fans assumed it would be yet another RPG for the storied developer.
Instead, Grounded is tagged to be something completely different for the studio. In Grounded, players are shrunken down to the size of an ant and will be forced to survive in what equates to a much more deadly suburban backyard. Players will work together to craft and build bases with the everyday objects we take for granted as normal-sized humans, while also living with the pacified insects that populate the area and fighting off the hostile inhabitants looking to make a meal of them. The game is described as one that will provide both environmental and narrative story telling, which means that one of Obsidian’s major strengths – it’s incredibly compelling tales – won’t get overlooked just because it’s working in a new genre.
Grounded will also allow players to play solo if they choose, or with up to four players at the same time. There will be missions during the gameplay, and Obsidian is banking on the fact that some of the game’s charm will be found in the fact that normal, everyday tasks that humans tend to take for granted will suddenly seem like daunting challenges over the course of Grounded. It’s a new perspective for players and for a studio that has staked its reputation on being one of the best western RPG developers in the world, and the new challenge makes Grounded an exciting title to watch. Grounded will also be the first Xbox Game Preview title with Xbox Game Pass.
There’s a lot about Grounded that – pardon the pun – remains up in the air. Obsidian has a track record for a specific genre, and Grounded is pretty far away from that. It’s tough to figure out exactly what to expect as a result, but it’s an exciting announcement and the studio certainly isn’t lacking for talent. Grounded is exactly the type of game that could end up a sleeper hit for players and, more importantly, an exciting and fun streaming experience, the latter of which should partner it quite well with Microsoft’s Mixer.