Transforming the ordinary into the fantastical. It’s a tenet of Magical Realist fiction, Brechtian theatre, staring too long at your hands while on edibles, and now Grounded, a new survival RPG from Obsidian. It features four plucky teens, a shrink-ray experiment and a mundane back garden transformed into a vast, dangerous, colorful wilderness. Gnats are now the size of your face. You can build trampolines from spider webs, or armour from acorns. Part Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and part Ark: Survival Evolved, Grounded is a game brave enough to ask, “What if those tiny cartons of fruit juice with the sippy straws that America calls ‘juice boxes’ were like, absolutely massive?”
I recently watched a short presentation at Obsidian HQ and got a chance to chat with Grounded’s director, Adam Brennecke. Typical to the storied studio, there’s very few aspects of Grounded that haven’t been approached with a world-builder’s eye for detail and place. Even with Obsidian keeping some big story and setting reveals close to their chest, there’s a lot to get through.