Hi there gamers! With the recently released Grounded Make It and Break It Update, you may create an entirely new game. The world is big, stunning, and hazardous—especially when you’re reduced to the size of an ant. Together, explore, construct, and survive in this first-person cooperative survival adventure. Can you withstand the dangers of the garden alongside the swarms of enormous insects?
We’ve all killed our fair share of spooky creatures in Grounded by now, from swarms of angry soldier ants to the terrifying wolf spider, which nobody wants to encounter more than once. We know a lot about these animals and the environments they live in, so it makes us wonder: what if we could make our own critter habitat, invent new strategies for warding them off, or perhaps develop whole new gaming experiences?
You can accomplish exactly this with the Grounded Make It And Break It Update. With a variety of design tools at your disposal, you may create your own levels from scratch in the all-new Playgrounds mode. You can create structures, set up barriers, arrange furniture, and even create creature spawners that will drop opponents anytime you’d like them to by starting with either an empty sandbox or the backyard that already exists.
Make whatever you can think of, including battle arenas, minigames, and puzzles. We were lucky enough to have a sneak glimpse at the tools and spoke with the Grounded team about how this gorgeous creative suite came to be. It’s a fantastic new feature that will breathe new life into the backyard.
Playgrounds were a long time coming, according to Grounded Game Director Adam Brennecke. The team was inspired by the modding community and wanted to provide gamers with the means to create their own personalized Grounded experience, as well as the opportunity to share and enjoy other people’s creations.
According to Brennecke, “This feature has been on the backlog for a very long time,” “Giving people the opportunity to extend the lifetime of the games they enjoy is always really cool, which was very important to us. We’ve always wanted to see what the community can make with these tools.”
As Brennecke points out, the Grounded development team is rather tiny and has less resources available for producing new content. They have been focusing on improving the basic Grounded experience for the past year. In light of this, a creative suite made up mainly of pre-existing assets seemed like the ideal approach to offer players something (well, a lot of potential things) new.
Brennecke says this one “We focused on creating a cool narrative experience for 1.0, and continued to add quality of life updates, more variety, and cool features,” “We got to a point where the [backyard] felt really fleshed out, we were happy with all of the content in-game, and this felt like the next thing to do.”
Now for the real heart of the Make It and Break It update: the construction tools. Nearly every element of the yard is present here, including the various plants, equipment from the lab, and tiny and large animals. Everything is movable, even the individual grass blades. The “Gadgets and Gizmos” suite, which is another addition to the update, has the instruments you need to construct the mechanisms of your personalized areas.
The Grounded QA crew has already used the resources to produce some amazing levels. A hand-built Colosseum with waves upon waves of monsters to battle and a sound-based puzzle game where players must identify creatures by their sounds were presented to us during the preview. It’s really incredible stuff, and Brennecke and his crew are personally inviting gamers to create mayhem with an abundance of things to fiddle with and no restrictions on how many you can place.
“The name of the update is fitting because part of the fun is being able to try things out, break it, and see what works,” Brennecke declares. “Our development mentality with Grounded is to not put any fences around the player. We want people to showcase their creativity.”
Brennecke is fascinated by the process of making things function and has experience in programming. He talks about his early days of creating Quake mods, which he cherishes. He believes that using this set of construction tools, users would be able to create a wide range of bizarre objects. Based on what we’ve observed thus far, the community is probably going to deliver.
“That’s the power of mods, you never know what’s going to happen,” Brennecke declares. “We’re going to provide the tools, and someone’s going to make something magical, that others might get attached to, and we have no idea what that might be. It could even be better than our own Grounded experience!”
Some further improvements to Grounded’s current features are also included in this release. With regard to the Burgle quests, the team had to start over and they now include more difficulties. Additionally, key early game mechanisms that novice players may easily overlook will be highlighted by these adjustments.
Combat changes, new set pieces for base builders, and a solution to a specific player annoyance—your dandelion glider no longer occupies a trinket slot—are also included.
Gamers of Grounded will be quite surprised by Make It And Break It; while there has been conjecture among the community, Obsidian has kept its teasers sufficiently vague. All that’s left to do is dive in with the fresh tools and unleash your creative side.
“I don’t think this update is something that players would expect,” Brennecke declares. “I think people just want more Grounded, and we’re definitely providing that… in a different way, and we’re excited to see where it goes.”
The Largest Upgrade to Grounded Yet is ‘More Powerful than Anything our Development Team at Obsidian can do’
Grounded is amazing. It’s been a year already since I reviewed Grounded, and I didn’t hide that fact at all! Since its release, the highly regarded survival crafting game from Obsidian Entertainment and Xbox Game Studios has benefited from several upgrades that have added new content, enhanced current features, and addressed user feedback. It just celebrated its first anniversary.
However, after the game’s most recent update in May of this year, the Grounded team has remained quiet. Gamers have been wondering what Obsidian has been up to in the background or whether their beloved bug-sized survival game is nearing its conclusion. Fortunately, we now have a conclusive response. The biggest content update for Grounded since its release, version 1.3, is scheduled for later this month.
Since the last update was released, the dedicated Grounded team has been working on the Make It or Break It Update, which introduces a completely new way to play the game. It gives players complete control, enabling the most imaginative among us to plan and construct our own experiences. I interviewed Adam Brennecke, the game director of Grounded, and received a preview of what’s to come in the update. This is all the information you need to understand why Grounded’s 1.3 Make It or Break It Update is the most thrilling one the game has received so far.
What is the Grounded Make It Or Break It update?
What you need to know:
- The upcoming significant content update for Xbox’s bug-sized survival game Grounded is called Make It or Break It.
- The update offers hundreds of system enhancements and tweaks, overhauls BURG.L missions, and adds a ton of new vanity items.
- However, Playgrounds—a brand-new sandbox that lets users create and share anything in the Backyard using an enormous variety of tools—is the main attraction.
- On November 13, 2023, the 1.3 Make It or Break It Update will be available to all Grounded gamers.
The eagerly anticipated Grounded content update 1.3 may resemble other content releases from some perspectives. Lots of Grounded players are delighted about the “traditional” tweaks and new features alone. One reason is that the game will soon include a ton of new vanity goods and decorations that players can use to personalize their bases. With over 100 new tasks, BURG.L’s quest system is getting a major makeover that should greatly increase the variety and replay value of Grounded’s quest-based gameplay.
Along with examining their own playthroughs and responding to player input, Obsidian Entertainment has been hard at work implementing hundreds of small system tweaks, quality-of-life enhancements, and balance upgrades. All of that adds up to a respectable content update for any video game, but there’s a reason the Grounded team hasn’t released any news in the past six months. Playgrounds is the main feature of the Make It or Break It Update. It is a new creative sandbox that is intended to let players express their creativity.
To put it simply, Forge is to Halo Infinite, and Playgrounds is to Grounded what EventLab is to Forza Horizon 5. Starting on a blank grass field or a new version of the backyard, players can construct anything they desire. You can access everything in Grounded through Playgrounds, including all of the goods, materials, furniture, decorations, building props, and even environmental elements and assets. In fact, in Grounded, you can generate an infinite quantity of each monster. It does, however, go well beyond that.
In addition, Playgrounds offers a wide range of new tools, gadgets, and gizmos for players to utilize. Basically anything, actually. In addition to spawners and timers, switches and buttons, audio files and visual effects, and much more. Even fully functional logic gates are present. Everything needed to develop Grounded, including the foundations of programming, is included. It has been simplified into a manageable, adaptable structure that is ideal for players’ hands. You can arrange your own Grounded journey by making an infinite number of links between items. The Grounded team gave me very few examples, but the ones they did demonstrate were very amazing.
Unimaginably deep, this allows players to construct a wide range of objects that aren’t possible in standard Grounded. Additionally, on November 13, 2023, a free upgrade will be available for the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, Xbox and PC Game Pass, and Xbox Cloud Gaming concurrently. With multiplayer functionality, you may build and create in Grounded with up to three others. It is fully accessible with a mouse, keyboard, and controller.
Continue reading for additional details, including an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Grounded with Adam Brennecke’s history, present, and future.
Playgrounds was the plan from the beginning
Early in our conversation, Adam Brennecke told me that the concept for Playgrounds predated its creation and was motivated by modding as well as his wish to allow players greater freedom to customize Grounds. Due to their small size and limited resources, the Obsidian Entertainment Grounded team had to prioritize and concentrate in order to realize their goal.
The team has dedicated all of its attention to creating the best possible basic game experience since Grounded’s release. This required adding more detail to the Backyard, the story campaign, the gameplay, and the survival experience. However, just over a year after Grounded’s debut, Obsidian felt extremely secure about its position. Although the game was already fantastic in version 1.0, later updates added even more features, content, and enhancements. Brennecke and his colleagues realized it was time not too long after the Grounded Super Duper Update was released.
“We didn’t start working on this until after [the Super Duper Update] was done,” as he told me. “We had some ideas of ‘Hey, it would be awesome to try this,’ but we didn’t really go into tackling the problem until about May this year.” Playgrounds has long been at the top of the Grounded team’s list of ideas and concepts—they have a veritable vault full of them. Nevertheless, they were clueless as to what the feature would ultimately become.
“We didn’t really have an idea of where this would end up when we started the process — We just started getting a few things in here and there and it turned out to be pretty awesome,” Brennecke noted. Naturally, the gifted Grounded developers faced unprecedented difficulties in solving this issue since they had never tried anything like it before.
Turning Playgrounds into a reality was a massive impact.
Despite being a massive studio under Xbox Game Studios, Obsidian Entertainment’s staff is primarily focused on The Outer Worlds 2 or Avowed. Pentiment and Grounded were assembled by smaller teams using significantly fewer resources. Brennecke explained to me that the Playgrounds feature was difficult to develop because there aren’t many engineers on the Grounded team and it takes a ridiculous amount of work to add modding support or comparable features to any game.
“Just being able to switch between Play Mode and Design Mode and have everything reset properly was a pretty big challenge,” Brennecke discussed some of the most significant challenges the group encountered. With just a single button click, you can go between Design Mode and Play Mode in Grounded’s Playgrounds feature, testing your creations instantly without any loading screens or menus. It is astounding, and Obsidian faced a great difficulty in making sure the process is not just seamless but also ensures that everything you do in Play Mode properly resets the environment.
However, Brennecke also aimed to maximize Playgrounds’ accessibility. “Another challenge for us was just making things user friendly,” Brennecke explained to me how the features function with a mouse, keyboard, or gamepad and have user-friendly controls and menus that make it simple for any player to learn how to use Playgrounds’ assortment of tools. “And all this works in multiplayer, so you can design and create with friends,” Brennecke concluded.
The difficulty of making Playgrounds function in multiplayer much like the regular game—a feature absent from other games with comparable capabilities, such as Forza Horizon’s EventLab—is beyond words. The fact that the Make It or Break It Update offers complete feature parity across all platforms, including Xbox One, is one aspect that greatly struck me. “We definitely pride ourselves in making sure the game runs well and the framerate is good,” Brennecke told me. “[Playgrounds] runs well on older hardware, not only Xbox One but also older PCs.”
Playgrounds will unleash players’ creativity
“It’s a very powerful thing to have mods in your game,” When talking about the impact that game modding has had on Playgrounds, Bennecke told me. “Allowing players to do whatever they want, create their own stories, create their own content…” Bennecke walked away without saying what we both knew. The potential of video game communities to consistently exceed any and all developer expectations has been demonstrated time and time again. We’ve seen it in every game that allows mods, including Halo Forge and Minecraft.
“Players are so creative,” Bennecke resumed, “and we were always interested in seeing if we could provide those tools to the community.” As previously noted, it’s not easy to explore this field of video game production for the first time, but the Obsidian team had a wealth of tools, examples, and expertise at their disposal.
“[Forza Horizon 5’s EventLab and Halo Infinite’s Forge] were big inspirations for us. Even going back to Minecraft, I think being able to have players create in the same ecosystem as they’re playing the game is powerful,” Bennecke noted. However, Bennecke and other members of the Grounded development team had experience with game modification before those amazing features were included.
“Back when I was in high school, that was when Quake came out… I was really into making Quake mods. I think that got me into game development,” he told me. “[Playgrounds] makes [modding] so much more accessible, and players can be so much more creative in that space,” he continued. “It opens it up for every type of player.”
We talked briefly about how many present-day or future developers were probably influenced by Minecraft, which offers a user-friendly approach to learn programming and has helped players achieve amazing things in the game. “It’s going to be really cool to see a lot of young players get into that experience for the first time and get exposed to some of those ideas, like logic gates, which teach the fundamentals of programming,” with obvious excitement for the possibilities, Bennecke stated.
Throughout our talk, a recurring theme emerged: Playgrounds’ core goal is to empower users to create the experiences they want, and Obsidian’s dedicated staff has been working tirelessly for the past six months to make that experience as robust and user-friendly as possible. Playgrounds will have an almost limitless life if the Grounded community accepts it, in addition to giving it new life. It will motivate upcoming video game developers.
In the future, more updates are coming to Grounded.
The crew headed for Obsidian won’t be resting on its laurels when the Make It or Break It Update becomes available to all Grounded users on November 13. The development team has ambitious ambitions to not just enhance Grounded but also add new features and material to the entire game, thus the game is far from finished. But first, the group will be paying close attention to what gamers have to say about how to make Playgrounds better.
“Once [Playgrounds] gets out there and people get time with it and provide feedback, we’re going to have to filter through all that to see what the next steps are,” I heard Brennecke explain. “But we are definitely going to be adding more to [Playgrounds] and seeing where we can take it.”
Although Grounded has a list of goals and plans, I did learn about a few things that will be included in later releases. “[We want to add] a way to browse through other creations. We have a shareable code, but we would like to expand on that,” Brennecke noted. In the future, Obsidian plans to give Grounded a feature that lets users browse among shared projects, much to EventLab in Forza Horizon 5. That’s primarily my own wishlist, but we might also see featured creations, categories and filters for more effective searches, and more.
“We have other crazy ideas that people probably won’t even ask for because they have no idea if it’s possible or not,” Brennecke resumed. He wouldn’t go into detail about what this signifies, but the possibilities fascinate me. I did ask Brennecke what feature he would personally like to see included in Playgrounds going forward. “We don’t have a very good way of ending and resetting the game,” he told me. “So, providing a way to have win/lose conditions with a way to reset the game would be great… That might be coming sooner rather than later.”
Furthermore, as far as I’m aware, the Grounded team is investigating creature AI control. All spawned organisms will continue to behave in the same ways as before. Obsidian is investigating methods to manage pathing, creature animosity, and other aspects. Playgrounds truly will offer all the scripting tools players need for completely customized adventures if such feature materializes. “There are a lot of challenges involved with doing a lot of this stuff,” Brennecke cautioned, “but we’re ready to take on some of these challenges now that we’ve gotten a lot of the fundamentals working.”
It’s understandable if Playgrounds seems like the next big thing after Grounded. Brennecke promptly informed me, though, that the team had a ton of other suggestions for how to make the game better. “We’re not done yet,” he stated, hinting that players may anticipate much more in addition to the Make It or Break It Update. “There are some teases in this update of what’s to come. I’ll leave it at that.”
There is still a very bright future of support for Grounded. But Brennecke and I also spent some time talking about something that seemed inevitable: the end of Grounded.
However, Grounded must come to an end eventually.
Brennecke made it very evident to me that the team is always coming up with new ideas to improve Grounded, and that list is always expanding because of the community. But even with its enormous popularity—over 15 million players as of the most recent update we received—Grounded was never meant to exist forever, unlike other games like Minecraft.
“We never wanted to monetize Grounded outside of buying the game once and playing it and enjoying it,” Brennecke noted. “There will be a stopping point to updates sometime. Then we’ll think about what’s next for Grounded as a whole.” Other than player purchases, Grounded does not rely on microtransactions, paid DLC, or any other means of funding the game. Nevertheless, that was always the plan, and Obsidian is ready for it.
“We’re always discussing when’s the right time to [move off of Grounded],” Brennecke acknowledged before going on, “We still have quite a few more ideas left for Grounded.” We debated for some time about how impossible it would be to choose when on that list of concepts to declare “enough” and cease updating Grounded, but Brennecke made it clear that the deadline for Grounded is still some time off. Grounded isn’t done even when that day finally arrives.
Brennecke told me that the animated TV series Grounded is still in development, and I could feel the excitement in his voice. Since Grounded has turned into a franchise, it appears that further projects are in the works for the Grounded brand as well. This isn’t an exclusive title for Xbox or Obsidian Entertainment. Even when the last update for the original survival game is released, Grounded will continue to exist.
Enhancing players’ power beyond that of Obsidian
The Make It or Break It Update is about to be released. The game team has been working on it for months, and if I had to sum up how I felt throughout our talk, it would be “ecstatic.” Brennecke seized every chance to emphasize how ecstatic he was about it. We concluded our talk by stating with total conviction that players would use the resources Playgrounds provides them with and surpass the capabilities the Grounded team could have ever imagined. When the update was released, I asked Brennecke what he was hoping to see.
“I want to see all kinds of things [from Playgrounds], like combat arenas or escape rooms — I think those will be really fun,” he said to me. “There are a lot of stories that could be told [in Grounded]; I’m curious to see if anyone wants to tackle a story-based campaign with these tools.” Part of what excites Brennecke about Playgrounds is not knowing what the players will do with them.
“You can make anything in your dreams and wildest imaginations. We’re providing you with the tools to go out there and make your own Grounded experience that you can share to millions of players around the world,” stated Brennecke. Brennecke had one more thing to say before we bid him farewell and finished the call, but we were running out of time. He had to get on to the next item on his hectic schedule.
“That’s more powerful than anything that our development team at Obsidian can do,” he summarized. Observing the achievements made by people in Skyrim, Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Minecraft, among numerous other games… I have no justification for arguing at all.
On November 13, 2023, Grounded’s 1.3 Make It or Break It Update will release Playgrounds for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, along with new quests, vanity updates, and several quality-of-life enhancements. It’s the largest update to date for Grounded, marking the start of a brand-new chapter in this amazing survival game. It’s time to construct our backyards.