Saturday, September 26, 2020

Obsidian’s “Grounded” Has an Arachnophobia Mode

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Jessica Lamb
Jessica Lamb was born and raised in Fennville, Michigan. She attended Aquinas College where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Creative Writing. Since then, she has dedicated herself to spreading the word about all things nerd culture.

Afraid of creepy crawlies with eight legs? You’re definitely not alone. Arachnophobia affects 3.5 to 6.1 percent of the global population. That’s a massive amount of people who want nothing to do with our arachnid friends. It only makes sense that game developers use this fear to their advantage.

After all, if you are gripping your controller in fright and screaming your head off you are certainly immersed in their game world. Spiders always have an audience in the realm of games and horror.

WARNING an image of one of the spiders follows…

Screenshot Credit: Obsidian/ Microsoft Game Studios

That’s what makes Obsidian’s latest project, backyard survival title “Grounded,” so interesting. Players take on the role of one of four teenagers shrunken down to the size of ants “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” style. These teenagers must journey through a suburban backyard to not only survive, but discover how they found themselves in such tiny stature. Along the way, they will encounter all of the standard fair you could expect in the average backyard. Sticks are suddenly massive logs, a drop of water becomes a massive pool and insects are suddenly apex predators. Of course, of all of the creatures you can encounter, spiders are probably the most terrifying.

Never fear though, as Obsidian has added a special accessibility option called “arachnophobia mode.” This special mode allows you to adjust a slider bar to determine just how terrifying your spiders will be. Want your spiders to be your nightmare fuel for the next few years? Simply set the bar to its maximum setting. Do you want them to look like seemingly harmless white blobs that barely resemble spiders? Crank that bar down to as low as it goes.

In a study done by Xbox Research, they found that fear and disgust in all respondent groups increased as spider textures and audio affects were added. They used this data to not only determine the best form for the spiders to take in the game, but also to determine how to alter their appearances for people with varying levels of arachnophobia. So, if you’ve been hesitant to pick up the title because of the terrifying spider imagery don’t be. Obsidian is making sure that you can play their game without completely breaking down at the sight of their eight-legged antagonists.

“Grounded” is available now for Xbox One and PC.

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