The game you didn't expect was founded. Not because of that kind of affiliation, because the Survival Game is full of the world, nor is it so teen-friendly from an aesthetic point of view. His fatherhood is astonishing as anything else: Obsidian. The team that brought it into the world took a significant risk, but with the typical precaution of those who know the video game industry as pockets. On the other hand, Obsidian's is one of the names that makes the skin of RPG enthusiasts creep, and Grounded is far from the type of work the studio didn't get used to: that's what hit his new project, the first under the Xbox Game Studios label and under the auspices of Microsoft; the first to choose the narrow path of early steam access and gaming previews on the Xbox One. The one started by Obaidian is therefore a path of uncertainty and community feedback that can make a rough diamond even brighter or leave it in limbo.
We're still talking about a historical team, but a little accustomed to picnics outside of their comfort zone: Thinking of these terms, "Established" is not a trip out of town, it's a trans-Siberian trip. But this should not be seen as an all-in or rash move: first and foremost, this is from the fall of 2017, just before the acquisition by Redmond, which is being discussed internally; another crucial detail is that the allocated workforce is less than 10% of the total (30 developers, compared to approximately 200 total employees), almost almost entirely in one of the many offices at Irvine's headquarters, an hour from Los Angeles, which We had the pleasure of visiting her at the end of October on the occasion of the presentation of a closed, highly confidential and exclusive Italian door. A small studio made up of veterans such as Game Director Adam Brenecke (in Obisidan since 2004), and Senior Developer Robbie Atadero: a group that bases its strength on precisely its small size and modularity, as each member deals with many aspects of development, alternating as needed.
Great little game
"Piccolo" is the key word to describe the seized. This adjective is not true of its ambitions which, while the production effort is clearly reduced compared to the "Outer Worlds", appear as impressive as the huge oak at the center of the game world. That certainly remains a term applied to his team of protagonists: they are actually four teenagers, it's Max, the funny guy on duty; Willow, very irreplaceable, but with a golden heart; Pete, the scout guy and the band's official scout and, finally, Hop, the coolest guy in the group.
Hard, at the moment, access to the quality of writing, but Obsidian focuses so much on the unique personality of each that they elevate him to a unique characteristic, at least for a moment: none of the boys actually have a specific role or class, nor do they have powerful endings, demonstrating the distance from the typical canons of the type where the California team wrote unforgettable pages.
With the exception of the tech tree – to which, however, Obsidian has not yet spread too much detail – it has very few roles in Grounded: on the other hand, the magic touch is perceived that only the authors of Neverwinter Nights 2 and Pillars of Eternity know how to infuse. in their creations. Here, then, is that very common garden, from those present at the back of typical American terraced houses, becomes a huge playground full of dangers to face alone, or better yet, in company: Grass paddles form impenetrable and endless shrubs, puddles look like lakes, a box of cereals, abandoned in absence, appearing as a monolith, a vest of civilization that has disappeared for millennia.
It will also be less exotic Lilliput than Swift said, but equally powerful and suggestive, thanks to the new perspective (both in the first person and in the third, based on preferences) from which we derive a remnant of secularism has turned into pure fantasy. The protagonists are in fact guinea pigs from an unusual experiment that has seen them drastically shrink, and this will make them have to engineer themselves to survive in a much sharper context than advocating saturated colors of art style, building bases and blockages, but also rudimentary weapons and armor, exploiting and interacting with every element on the screen, from trunks to leaflets, passing through rocks, hairs and parts of insects.
Although extreme realism typical of survival leaves room for such an ambience cross between Wealth, boys shrink and "Bug Life", in the demo shown, there is a cold robotic voice communicating, via a device called Sca.B, the need to test the body's reaction to ingestion of nutrients (such as mushrooms, in the first draft proposal) and the fluids that can be obtained – between the different ways – by lowering the bathing blade from the blades of grass.
Food, if cooked in the appropriate fires, will be more tasty and nutritious (especially if it is close to decay), while the water will have to be clean to avoid unpleasant malus, such as the tradition of the genus. Also, the need for sleep is unavoidable, but at least at the "standard" level of difficulty, none of this will have a really positive or negative impact on the toy.
The focus is on the ability to share adventures within the ecosystem in a continuous mutation, with unpredictable and unique situations that vary in each game and according to the players involved. In this respect, the game is partly reminiscent of Sea of Thieves: as in Rare's title, Obsidian's will is to allow users to write chapters in a story in their own way. In the case of justified the narrative component is well defined and established (there are no multiple choices, to be clear), but access to the experience can be changed based on the group of companions we face in the garden: in addition to surviving loneliness, we can also live with Groundend with ease. Multiplayer Component and »party like", A term repeated several times by the authors.
So much so that you will get no experience points, no extreme and grueling grinding race, and you can enter and leave the game to others at any time, without barriers or requirements. The price to pay for a player accustomed to more classic and magnetic multiplayer experiences is a bit of a rose water attraction to the development of his own avatar, here he is completely absent: there will be no items to carry in his game, and the only reward the multiplayer will be the event crystallized in that example of the game we experienced in the company.
We hope that any collaborative collaboration will be unique and fun. In this sense, the diversity of biomes and creatures that can be found on the trail let's hope so: every insect has very precise behavior, as well as a routine to follow on a daily basis, as well as a specific field of activity, an area of the garden / world from which, unless necessary, tends not to go out. Spiders sleep during the day and hunt at night, so there's a good chance they'll attack your base as the sun goes down: knowing this pattern, if a particular mission requires you to get into one of their larvae, you already know what a favorable moment it will be.
Bees perform their key pollination function, guaranteeing the rebirth and growth of plants, fungi and in general the resources needed for survival. Aphids, for their part, are good if cooked properly, but harmlessly, and following them in secret, without disturbing their path, could lead to their trusted fast food. If you feel a certain hunger to reward them, you can force them and cook them to perfection: nothing forbids them.
Every creature fights for its survival as it can, and will not succeed epic battles worthy of a Monster Hunter that we can help passionate viewers, or share with fear with one or the other, then share the spoils. During the event, we witnessed a duel between two giant small animals, tarantula and ladybird, whose outcome was not uncertain from time to time.
Promoting conspiracy and executing a series of missions and tasks designed to gradually introduce new mechanics (such as craftsmanship and foundation building), will expand the research area, with areas available with the discovery of a new tool, including an example of the anti-gas mask necessary for entry into the Chase, a garden spot flooded with intolerable pesticides. New creatures and obstacles will emerge, such as the diabetic spider webs that end up trapped, with the risk of becoming a tasty hunter's meal with lots of legs and too many eyes.
The defense is the best attack
But how can you protect yourself from such threats? Skin We can sell our skin dearly thanks to the basic building system from which we have only been able to see some rudiments, with barriers, walls and doors made of plant trunks and what was found around: the minimum required to raise a hut and, with a little "more labor (maybe in the company of other players), a real insect-fortress. Hard, even in this case, estimate the depth of the system little has been shown so far, but it will be curious to experience the impact our structures will have on the ecosystem: will there be a few leaves left to stop the unstoppable march of dozens of hungry ants? Will we be able to create systems of offense as well as defense?
Certainly by advancing on a technology tree that guarantees more refined and powerful instruments, we will have the chance to counterfeit traps and weapons to keep our bay enemies alive: we saw only ax and spears in action, but both, in addition to offering different types of bonuses (the latter, for example, has a wider range and can be used in the water), they also have secondary attacks that touch the depth of the combat system, in and of themselves quite classic and basic, and can also be dropped from distance.
Craftsmen will also give us the opportunity to prepare useful bandages to heal wounds, a task that, in multiplayer sessions, in the absence of the "Doctor" class, should be entrusted to one of the team members. What is certain is that stepping in places with the highest weighting rate, since there is no leveling form, will be the equipment that makes the difference. The armor, in addition to providing a personal touch to the avatar, will also provide the bonuses to the statistics needed to face more scary insects and more difficult and unforgiving areas.
Like a chameleon
For established, obsidian chose a an alternative route to the usual modus operandi, or that of early access (or game preview, on the Xbox One). Ninth degree expansion with what was done with the Pillars of Eternity, where community feedback was received and implemented thanks to the beta reserved for supporters. In the spring of 2020, the game – included in Game Pass – can be bought and tested prior to its official release, during which time developers will work side-by-side with players to enhance the overall experience and introduce new features (and in the process of example, consists of adding a meteorological system).
A choice that seems reasonable, given the team's small size and the economic tranquility guaranteed by Microsoft's acquisition, which thanks to Game Pass is intended to guarantee that justification catchment area useful for breeding, to improve and prosper in order to become a bigger and more ambitious project.
It is very difficult now to predict whether good intentions will remain the same or whether the title will prove to be a pleasant surprise. However, now we are warning read a dose of confusion and uncertainty from the study of some mechanics, obviously superficial and unattractive, whose role in a playful economy must be well focused even by the same team.
A similar argument also for the purely technical and artistic sector that appeared curious, colorful and suggestive in a demo, but devoured by the still-blurred driving blur. Obsidian is still a guarantee, as is Microsoft's strong backs: yet, the founding is so different from typical software home products that it makes the bet both awesome and electrified.