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Obsidian’s backyard survival game Grounded is getting its biggest update yet

Grounded’s Hot and Hazy update arrives on Oct. 20

An expanse of sand with a red fence in the background. Image: Obsidian Entertainment/Microsoft Game Studios
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Grounded, the backyard survival game from Obsidian Entertainment, is getting a big update on Oct. 20. The free download will add several new areas for players to explore, including a sandbox and a pile of trash. It will debut simultaneously for both the PC and Xbox versions of the game.

Launched in July 2020, Grounded is a departure for Obsidian, which is best known for role-playing games like Outer Worlds, Pillars of Eternity, and Fallout: New Vegas. In it, players take on the role of shrunken children and are tasked with exploring their own backyard. Enemies include rodents, pests, and other stereotypical suburban nightmares. There’s also a hefty crafting element to the game, making the whole experience a cross between Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Ark: Survival Evolved.

The big centerpiece of the Hot and Hazy update, as it’s being called, is the massive Crab Sandbox area. It’s an actual children’s toy sandbox, one that’s littered with buried treasure. The sandy expanse represents a dangerous wasteland for players, who must be prepared before making the journey inside its plastic walls. A new heat mechanic rewards players for staying in the shade, and punishes them by taking life when they stay too long in direct sunlight.

Sun filters through an area of The Haze, showing an infected bug. Image: Obsidian Entertainment/Microsoft Game Studios

The Haze, a patch of lawn clouded by weed killer, is also getting an upgrade. In addition to infected weevils and mites, players will find mysterious new enemies and strange fungi. The Trash heap is a wholly new addition, however, and should attract lots of players eager to scale its heights in search of treasure — and old hotdogs.

A new anthill filled with black ants has also been added, and players will be able to delve through it like a dungeon. It will be a good way to test the changes being made to armor, which is now divided into light, medium, and heavy versions.

Developers promise lots more changes and additions once the update goes live, but players will need to find many of them on their own. Grounded is included for members of the Xbox Game Pass program. It’s compatible with Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Alternately you can purchase the game for $29.99. It’s also available on Steam.

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