How the push to make ‘Grounded’ a multiplatform game made it better


With 'Grounded' being multiplatform, players on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 can play with each other but they'll need a Microsoft Account. — Photos: Microsoft/TNS

Microsoft made a splash when the company announced it would be taking more of its games to other platforms. That means players will see once-exclusive titles such as Sea of Thieves on the PlayStation 5.

One of those titles heading to other systems is Grounded, Obsidian Entertainment’s Honey I Shrunk the Kids-inspired survival game. Players take on the role of one of four kids, who end up the size of insects and are trapped in a backyard. They’ll have to set up a base and survive in this liliputian wilderness.

On the Xbox Series X, it was a beautiful game showing off the power of the system with gorgeous lighting shining through grass blades and reflections on the water. The PlayStation 5 version shows comparable visuals, but the more impressive version was the one running on the Nintendo Switch.

Despite not being as powerful as the newer consoles, Grounded ran well on Nintendo’s system. It doesn’t have the visual fidelity of Sony or Microsoft’s systems, but the game still ran with a smooth frame rate and graphics were still good enough to shine on the 7-year-old console.

Shyla Schofield, seniors communications for Obsidian, credited Double Eleven for working on the port and squeezing all the power from system and optimising the game for it. What’s even more notable is that during the process of optimiing the game for other systems, the developers figured how to improve the Grounded performance on PC and Xbox. Schofield said that’s something fans noticed, but the developers couldn’t comment on the reason behind the improvement until now.

The world of 'Grounded' is beautiful, and on the Xbox Series X and PC, it really shines.The world of 'Grounded' is beautiful, and on the Xbox Series X and PC, it really shines.

How to player with others

When it comes cross platform play, Nintendo and PlayStation players have native audio communication, but they’ll have to sign up for a Microsoft Account. For those who don’t want to do that, they can still get around the voice communication barrier through third-party services such as Discord. The Microsoft Account is required for other Grounded features though and that includes Playgrounds, which lets players create their own Grounded levels. It’s comparable to Mario Maker, Schofield said. Players will also need an account for cross-save to work. That lets players progress be saved from one console to another.

If players want to enjoy Grounded on non-Microsoft platforms, they’ll have to buy another copy of the game, but that raises the question: Why would you want do to that? Schofield said having crossplay lets parents play with their children, who may have a Switch. It allows them to be in the same room and coordinate.

Another way a second copy of the game could be valuable is that players can work on creations in Playground on the Switch and then copy that level to a PC. Not everyone wants to do level design in front of desk.

Grounded is scheduled to go multiplatform April 16, and it will also come with a New Game Plus for fans who want a bigger challenge. – The Mercury News/Tribune News Service

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