The screen went dark for a moment at the end of Grounded’s reveal trailer. A rumbling growl could be heard before a gigantic spider popped on screen. It was a jump scare that was more effective than Obsidian intended it to be.
“We watched through a bunch of reactions there was huge number of people that was not ‘oh gosh, that’s scary,’ it was ‘oh gosh, I can’t play this,'” Obsidian technical game designer Jerrick Flores tells GameSpot. “That was a big red flag.”
It was at that point that Flores and others on the Grounded team decided to build and arachnophobia mode so that players who were sensitive to spiders could still play. It wouldn’t be like the arachnophobia modes other games (Satisfactory by Swedish studio Coffee Stain replaces spiders with a picture of a cats face) or the Insect Begone mod created by the Skyrim community that removes spiders from the game altogether. Obsidian wanted the accessibility option to be client side since Grounded is a cooperative game—it needed to only affect players who chose the option.