Grounded Interview: Inspiration Behind the Bugs and Robots of Grounded

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Super Co-Op Bros interviews Grounded’s Director Adam Brennecke about the inspiration behind the bugs and the robots of Grounded

It was less that two weeks ago that Grounded, the backyard survival game from Obsidian Entertainment, held the top spot in the Steam Store, and had racked up over a million players trying the pre-release title out in only the first TWO DAYS.

Well, since seeing its early success, Grounded has continued to be a hit among the gaming community at large, attracting droves of gamers who have been downloading and playing the game across all available platforms, including the Steam store, as well as via the Microsoft Xbox store. Having the game as an included title on Game Pass for Xbox and Game Pass for PC has, no doubt, helped to buoy the popularity as a download as well.

Even now, 2 weeks after its initial release on July 28, when it reached #1 on the Steam Charts, the title maintains the 8th spot on the Steam Store Top Sellers list, abd the #3 spot in the Microsoft Store’s “Top Paid Games” list. Pretty impressive, considering that the title is still a pre-release and is absent a lot of the content that will be included in the final game.

None the less, all over the web and social media, players are singing the praises of Grounded. In the Steam Store alone, there are 5,272 reviews, and the game is overall rated “very positive” by players, with a impressive 84% of reviews left being in the “positive” territory.

Including my own early Grounded pre-release first look preview/review two weeks ago, all of us here at SCB have played the game, and all have found it to be amusing and entertaining, while also challenging-(DAMN THOSE SPIDERS!!!)

So all of this talk about Grounded got us to to thinking. I like it. We Like it. Many of you like it. So, what is it about Grounded that has so quickly enamored gamers, the world over, to so quickly become attached to the backyard survival title? We had questions for the Grounded team, so I reached out to Obsidian to ask about several different thoughts I had from the time spent alone and in multi-player with the “Bros” playing Grounded.

Below is my interview with Adam Brennecke, Game Director and Producer of Grounded, conducted by email, for your enjoyment!

KM (SCB): Grounded has become an overnight sensation. What do you feel is/are the biggest reasons for the wide appeals of the game, that so many (Over 1 million in just the first 48 hours) have logged in to play a game that is, for all intents and purposes, a demo?

AB: We are very overwhelmed and happy with the response that Grounded has received and we want to thank all the players who have checked out the backyard so far. Our journey is just beginning, and the team is hard at work on our first update coming at the end of August.

Our take on the survival game is to have fun in a cool and unique environment – which has shown resonates with a lot of players. The world is alive and is fun to explore with your friends. It is very remarkable to find things we are all familiar with in a new and exciting way.

KM (SCB): We’ve heard a lot of people analogize Grounded with the 90s blockbuster hit, Honey I Shrunk the Kids. What was the inspiration for Grounded, and is Honey I Shrunk the Kids in any was analogous to it?

AB: We felt a survival game set in a backyard would be an awesome twist on the genre. The fantasy of being small is a universal idea that the team is having a blast exploring and developing. We take inspiration from many different sources, including books, movies, and other games, as wells as a lot of nostalgia of the early 90s.

Grounded’s Ladybugs : Tank-like, friendly, and deadly.

KM (SCB): Lady Bugs: The first time I heard a lady bug, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. However it seems that the ladybug is about as docile as a (carnivorous) cow. Why did you guys make the Lady Bug so scary sounding, and was there a particular source of inspiration for its loud, gruff, aggressive sounds?

AB: I like the idea that the ladybug is a big tank-like insect. We find it fun imagining what each insect would sound like, since we really have no context of what insects may sound like at that scale.

KM (SCB): He’s amusing. He’s robotic. He’s BURG.L. We get a little bit of background story from him in our encounter with BURG.L in the subterranean oak tree lab of Dr. Tully. Was there any particular inspiration for the stuttering, repurposed burger producing robot, and how extensively can we expect him to feature in the final game?

AB: We love BURG.L and he will be your guide and buddy throughout the adventure in the yard. We want to include more BURG.L quests in addition to the story quests he is involved with. As for inspiration, we love the robots of the 80s, and took inspiration from the look and feel of robots from that time, which would be the time that BURG.L was made.

Grounded’s Friendly and Helpful Robot, BURG.L

KM(SCB): We have seen some of the multi-player functionality in the game, but in the pre-release thus far, the multiplayer seems to be limited to playing at the same time, versus participating in a coordinated strategy or quests. Are there plans for missions/quests that are more geared toward the multiplayer aspect of the game, requiring greater coordination among team members?

AB: We are always looking for ways to make the multiplayer experience better and are listening to feedback from players. The team wants to continue making multiplayer more feature complete and add in additional features and quests that are even better when you have multiple people playing.

KM(SCB): Will multi-player support the grouping of individual players into random groups, or will it only support formation of groups from a players’ friendlist?

AB: We are working on more multiplayer features and will be rolling out more in the coming months. Stay tuned for more in our dev vlogs and updates on our website for more info.

Thanks so much to Adam for taking the time out of what is, no doubt, a very busy schedule these days to answer our questions.

So far, impressions of players all over have been overwhelmingly in the positive Though the game continues to go through updates and changes, with patch 0.1.1 released last week, fixing a number of major issues involving problems with creating/finding/hosting multiplayer games, crashes involving Windows 7 and 8 users, and correcting an issue with game saving that was causing players to lose items, to name a few.

Ultimately, Grounded has mass appeal. It pairs a level of complexity that appeals to both hard-core gamers, while also providing a certain level of simplicity that appeals to both adult gamers, as well as a more youthful crowd, especially given its animated, less-than gory nature. We are excited to see what is in store in the full version.

No official release has quite been set yet, but we continue to watch for new news from the team at Grounded, and, like many, are excited to see what is in store for the backyard.

Have you played Grounded, and what do you think of so far? What questions do you have for the Dev’s at Obsidian? Ask your questions in the comments below and we might just have an answer!

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I’m honestly loving these type of survival games like Grounded. Survival and Battleroyale style games are absolutely my favorite type games right now.

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