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Obsidian’s Grounded Takes Survival Gameplay to a New Place: Your Backyard

Interview with Game Director Adam Brennecke

by Kyle Hanson


One of the many surprises out of Xbox’s X019 event was the reveal of Obsidian’s first release following their acquisition by Microsoft. Grounded, a survival game set in your own backyard is surely one of the more unique takes on the ever expanding genre. And while the announcement trailer explained a bit about this upcoming release from the makers of Fallout: New Vegas and The Outer Worlds, fans still had a lot of questions. They had a chance to ask them at PAX East 2020 where the team hosted a panel showcasing some new details. And then I got a chance to chat with Game Director Adam Brennecke just to get all the info we could.

Survival Gameplay in a Small World

In case you haven’t checked out the original announcement trailer, Grounded takes survival to the small world by shrinking you down and placing you in the wilds of your own backyard. This seemingly simple concept gives way to really fascinating gameplay opportunities, while also placing familiar mechanics in an unfamiliar settings. What do you use to build a base when you’re a few centimeters tall?

The panel, which you can check out here, was pretty enlightening in this regard, showing off crafting, combat, and the deep mechanics that Obsidian has developed to handle all the bugs featured in this game. No, not those kinds of bugs, the crawling, flying, and generally disgusting kind. Most of your combat will be against ants, spiders, and other creepy crawlers that want to steal your hard fought resources and structures. Grounded is a survival game after all, with all the many systems that entails.

Gounded Interview with Game Director Adam Brennecke

Base building and a rich co-op experience are both on offer with up to four players joining together in one world. Although you’ll host them yourself and can always play solo if you prefer. You’ll be working together to do the usual survival things like collect resources, manage your inventory, fight off enemies, and the rest. The difference is you’ll be doing it surrounded by tree sized blades of grass and giant ants, relatively speaking.

The team had a big challenge in creating this small world, having to look at the things around them from a new angle. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Grounded Game Director Adam Brennecke. “We definitely look at the ground a lot nowadays. Whenever I go on walks outside I just stare at the ground and I’m like ‘hey that would be a cool environment to explore’. We also look at a lot of manmade objects too, like we show off the baseball. But the baseball is a huge, giant object in the world. We have a lot of fun trying to find what would be appropriate to find in the backyard and how can we make that a fun experience when you first find it.”

For more on Grounded check out my interview above where you’ll hear all about how Xbox Game Pass changes the game, and what you might face in this tiny world. Grounded arrives on Xbox One and PC for early access later this year.

- This article was updated on:March 6th, 2020

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