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Xbox uncovers three nature games at X019: 'Everwild,' 'Grounded,' 'Drake Hollow'

Trailers for exploratory "Everwild," garden sandbox survival "Grounded" and plant alliance "Drake Hollow" emerged from Xbox showcase X019.

- Everwild -

[Reveal Trailer:]

Curious hybrid strains populate the world of "Everwild": boars with beaver-like teeth and elephant tusks, storks with the crests of a grebe, deer with llama's long necks and antlers that unfurl like flowers in the sun.

Its human characters tread carefully from field into forest, encountering both a large, sabre-toothed feline in its lair and then a cluster of deer in the open in this preview.

The trailer's closing scene invites players to expect communication with these animals via touch and empathetic link.

Game developer Rare, whose track record includes Xbox hits "Banjo Kazooie," "Viva Piñata," the "Rare Replay" collection and "Sea of Thieves" provided plenty of space for speculation.

It anticipated "new ways to play in a natural and magical world" and "memorable, engaging and meaningful experiences for players everywhere to share."

Described as being early in development, absence from a list of confirmed Xbox Game Pass releases for 2020 implies a PC and Xbox console launch in 2021 or beyond.

- Grounded -

[Reveal Trailer:]

Microsoft's Xbox Game Studios acquired Rare in 2002 but Obsidian Entertainment only joined the fold in 2018.

Having just released sci-fi adventure "The Outer Worlds" in September, Obsidian's next game "Grounded" was already present at X019.

It looks to be a survival game with rapid base building in the style of "Rust" or "Fortnite."

The twist here is not only the relatively young age of the player characters, but also their miniaturized size, not much bigger than ants.

Players will be carving out a new life in a backyard garden, exploring, building, and fending off unwanted attention from similarly sized animals. Probably not a good game for anyone with intense insect phobias -- or, alternatively, a source of exposure therapy.

Announced for Xbox and PC, "Grounded" will be available in Spring 2020 (between March and May) through Xbox Game Preview via Xbox Game Pass, the Microsoft Store and Steam.

- Drake Hollow -

[Announce Trailer:]

In contrast to "Grounded," "Drake Hollow" has players working in sync with plant and animal life.

Players construct fortified villages for and with sentient vegetables, nourishing them with fast-growing fungi, and fighting a thorny blight that is threatening the world.

Independent studio The Molasses Flood isn't part of Xbox Game Studios, and while "Drake Hollow" has been announced for Xbox One, Windows PC, and Xbox Games Pass in 2020, it's not labeled as exclusive.

So this new game could follow the same pattern as its predecessor, "The Flame in the Flood," which debuted on Xbox One, Mac, and PC, later arriving on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch over the next year and a half.