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Ark 2 Delayed To 2024, But A New Unreal Engine 5 Version Of Original Game Is Coming Soon

Major changes for the Ark universe have been announced.


Major changes are afoot for the dinosaur game franchise Ark. Developer Studio Wildcard has announced that the sequel, Ark 2, has been delayed to 2024 and the original game's official servers are shutting down soon. The third major announcement was a new version of the original Ark, called Ark Survival Ascend, which will take the place of the original Ark and looks to deliver a number of meaningful-sounding improvements.

Starting with the delay, Ark 2--which features the actor Vin Diesel--is now scheduled to launch at the end of 2024 on PC, Xbox, and Game Pass. It was previously set to be released sometime in 2023. Explaining the delay, Studio Wildcard said the pushback was in the best interest of the game and the development team.

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Now Playing: Ark 2 Reveal Trailer | Game Awards 2020

"This news will be disappointing to many--we feel it too--but we're confident this heavy decision is the right one," the studio explained.

Ark 2 runs on the Unreal Engine 5, and the developers needed more time with the toolset to understand how to best leverage the engine to make Ark 2 as good as it can be, the studio said.

"We sincerely apologize for this delay and genuinely appreciate your understanding. Your support and passion are vital to us, and we will continue to work intensively to deliver the ultimate next-gen dinosaur survival experience," Studio Wildcard said.

The developer went on to say that it will not showcase any gameplay, screenshots, or video footage for Ark 2 in 2023--the first gameplay reveal trailer is coming in 2024.

Studio Wildcard went on to say that Ark 2 contains so many updates and improvements over the first game that it was not feasible to make any parts of it backwards compatible with the original. Not only is the sequel a different experience technically, but it is also tonally different, which is why Studio Wildcard wanted to offer two distinct Ark experiences.

"Ark 2 has some pretty significant design changes from the original game, which may not make it as appealing to everyone (looking at you, Souls-like combat, primitive-only weaponry, and strict third-person mechanics--and an overall 'very serious' tone), which is why we feel it is essential to provide players with a fully next-gen version of the original experience to ensure that fans can continue to enjoy the Ark they know for years to come," the developer said.

To that end, although the original Ark: Survival Evolved is shutting down its official servers soon, a new Unreal Engine 5-powered game called Ark: Survival Ascended will be released in August this year across PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.

On Xbox, players can buy the Ark Respawned Bundle ($50), which includes Ark: Survival Ascended and Ark 2 when it's released. It will be sold for up to one year, after which Ark: Survival Ascended and Ark 2 will be sold separately for prices that were not announced. The Respawned Bundle also includes one-month early access to an upcoming Ark 2 beta in 2024.

On PlayStation, Studio Wildcard is offering Ark: Survival Ascended only as a standalone game, priced at $40. Additionally, expansion packs will be available individually on all platforms:

  • $19.99 for Explorer's Pass, which includes Scorched Earth, Aberration (Q4 2023), and Extinction (Q1 2024).
  • $19.99 for Genesis Pass, which includes Genesis Part 1 (Q1 2024) and Genesis Part 2 (Q2 2024).

Studio Wildcard did not make any mention of any perks, discounts, or any other benefits for people who already own Ark: Survival Evolved and want to upgrade.

When Survival Ascended releases in August, players will be able to explore The Island, Scorched Earth, and a new mode called Survival of the Fittest. There is no cross-play between Ark: Survival Evolved and Ark: Survival Ascended. Here is a rundown of the new features and functionality included with Survival Ascended, as written by Studio Wildcard.

  • Unreal Engine 5 Overhaul with Nanite, Lumen and RTXDI
  • Dynamic Water
  • Interactive Foliage
  • Unreal Engine 5 performance gains: instanced-rendering (large-bases etc.), threaded server networking, and native physics engine
  • Cross-platform Multiplayer
    • This includes cross-platform accounts and cross-progression, cross-voice chat & friends, etc. No matter what platform you start playing on, you can access your account, character, dinos, and items on a different platform for the ultimate cross-platform experience.
  • Cross-platform Modding
    • We recognize the power of giving players the tools and capability to define their survival experience, so we want to take cross-platform one step further by working with Overwolf to introduce an industry-first cross-platform modding experience where mods created on PC are delivered directly to end-users’ consoles from a custom modding backend.
    • The modding capability will include FULL blueprinting support ;), stacked mods, and maps. Everything that is currently possible on the Steam version of ARK: Survival Evolved and more will be possible on the new system and be available for end-users to play on consoles in all modes.
    • Premium Mods: Reviewed by Overwolf and Wildcard for quality control and value, Mod authors will optionally be able to specify price points for their Mods (with 50% of the price point going to the Mod author). This is necessary to pay for the custom infrastructure required for Overwolf to support, administrate, and deliver Mods to the console.
    • We plan on streamlining the process of upgrading legacy ARK: Survival Evolved mods to the next-generation platform. We plan to reach out to current/former sponsored modders in preparation for the launch of ASA with the tools they need to get their mods ready before the launch.
  • Cross-platform Anti-Cheat
  • Survival of the Fittest
    • SOTF will be integrated into the main product as a new fully-supported game mode. It will have a dedicated team that will continue to work on more gameplay changes, mechanical improvements, quality of life, maps, and balance adjustments. The initial mode will be revamped with an exclusive ARK: Survival Ascended update, including:
      • Upgraded to Unreal Engine 5 with complete cross-platform and cross-modding support (the SOTF UE5 source content will be released for modders to utilize as they wish within ASA)
      • Scorched Earth SOTF Map
      • Matchmaking queue
      • Character and Creature customization with cosmetics
      • Local Lobby where you can group up with your friends, configure the look of your survivor and dinos, and queue up for lobbies together
      • Lots of bug-fixes and balance and functionality improvements
  • Art Assets are being upgraded throughout the entire game
  • Newly-designed holiday events take advantage of the next-gen pipeline, released as mods, so they’re always available to play!
  • New content, QOL improvements, balance, and gameplay changes, including but not limited to:
    • Updated mini-map (pan, zoom, pings, etc – similar to the SOTF mini-map)
    • New structures (display cases, smaller TEK Teleporters) & building QOL improvements (snap fixes, increased foundation support, foundation height adjustments, and more)
    • Queueing System
    • New third-person camera (with the option to opt out)
    • Directional Sprinting and Walking
    • Ping system
    • Gamepad cursor
    • Chibi Slot and Skins Tab
    • Balance passes (e.g. Cave Entrances, MEKs, Aberration Creatures, more breedable creatures, etc)
    • …and more! (seriously, a lot more, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’ll get super long if we list everything, and there’s more we’ll decide to do between now and launch too)

As for the original Ark: Survival Evolved, the final content update is coming up in June to celebrate the game's eighth anniversary. Official servers will shut down alongside the launch of Survival Ascended, though, save data will be uploaded so players can continue playing on their own servers. Single-player, meanwhile, will continue to be supported and available. However, Studio Wildcard warned that any further official updates to Ark: Survival Evolved will only be done for "crashes and critical bug fixes."

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