Following a period of pre-release scrutiny via its Public Test Server, Obsidian's inch-high survival adventure Grounded has finally released its koi pond update - which introduces a host of new underwater-themed creatures and mechanics - to all on Xbox and PC.
Grounded's koi pond update, unsurprisingly, opens up the tantalising expanse of water that's sat visibly - if inaccessibly - at the bottom of the garden since early access release, bringing a range of underwater pursuits and a thriving sub-surface ecosystem to the game in the process.
There's swimming and underwater combat, and one very mean koi to grapple with - although that's not the only new wildlife to be found in the update. Obsidian has also crafted tadpoles, non-hostile water boatman, diving bell spiders, and an overhauled version of the previously released water flea to breathe life into its new underwater world.
Grounded's crafting tree has also been expanded to accommodate the necessities of underwater gameplay, introducing the likes of flippers, a diving mask and rebreather, even an underwater lantern. Fans of base building can also enjoy new possibilities, including the option to build floating dwellings on the water.
"This is just the start of development of this area," says Obsidian of the koi pond update, "and our team is already hard at work adding more into the pond, including a large revamp of the lab in the depths which will add more content and variety of gameplay."
The developer says that once it's happy with the state of the koi pond, it will be turning its attention to the garden's Haze and Sandbox, and it also has plans to beef up existing areas with enhanced creature behaviour, new points of interest, new materials, and new explorable content including underwater caves. Lab tweaks and quest finessing will then follow as Obsidian prepares its first major story update.
Notably, Obsidian says it will be shifting its early access development schedule somewhat to focus on "larger content releases that are more spread out". Monthly updates are still on the cards, but it sounds like players shouldn't expect major additions each time, with the developer keen to spend some time focussing on "areas of stability, polish, and bug fixes."
A more detailed run-down of Obsidian's future plans, alongside additional information on the new koi pond update, can be found on the Grounded website.