In Obsidian's upcoming survival game Grounded, you'll play as a kid in a backyard. If you've got arachnophobia in real life, the sight of a normal-sized spider is scary enough—but in Grounded, your kid character's actually shrunk down to the size of a thumbtack, so any eight-legged creature crawling around the yard will be huge. If that's too terrifying for you, fear not: Obsidian's coming up with a comfort option for you.
In response to a fan tweet about the recently released Grounded trailer (and yeah, there's a creepy spider in it), Obsidian confirmed that the team "is implementing an arachnophobia mode to help with those who aren't fans of spiders and still want to enjoy the game[.]"
Right now, it's not clear how that mode will take shape—Obsidian says it is still doing research on how it should work and will demonstrate it when it's ready.
Arachnophobia can be a pretty big barrier to entry for folks to any game with spiders or spider-like creatures in it. Whether it's turkey-sized Headcrabs in Half-Life: Alyx or even the blocky, unrealistic spiders of Minecraft (there's a mod that removes them from the game altogether), folks with arachnophobia often have to power through or simply not play. For some, tarantula island in Animal Crossing would be a blessing of Bells—for others, it's just an instant nope-out.
When Grounded reveals its arachnophobia mode, it would be nice if it turns out to be a novel solution that could be applied across numerous games. There'll always be a time and place for including spiders in games to create tension and horror, but there should also be respect given to phobias as legitimate accessibility concerns.
Not only is Grounded a departure from Obsidian's RPGs, but it also leans into the idea of simulating an actual backyard ecosystem, adding a neat layer to its familiar survival and crafting mechanics. It's set to launch in early access for Xbox One and PC on July 28, 2020.