Ark: Survival Evolved has grown exponentially since its official release in 2017 and continues to be one of the most popular game downloads across platforms, even 5 years later. On November 5th the game’s creators, Studio Wildcard, paid their good fortune forward with their 8th annual ‘Extra Life’ charity stream event. The event featured lots of in-game incentives and prizes for their generous fans. Over $130K was raised for Children’s Miracle Network’s, Extra Life program during the 24 hour live stream.
If Ark hasn’t been on your game radar, you are part of the limited few. The action survival game was in Beta for 2 years on Steam before its release and became wildly popular before it was available across platforms. Ark is the name of the island on which your avatar wakes up all alone and empty handed. Like most survival games you must learn to manage your hunger, thirst, and stamina within the environment to survive, build tools, and evolve. Unlike other survival games there are many other attributes that can be levelled up by earning XP, whichultimately makes it easier to survive.
The environment is lush with vegetation and animal life but its most interesting inhabitants are without a doubt the dinosaurs! The original release included 29 different dinosaurs that could be killed, ridden, and even tamed. Periodically new dinosaurs are added to the environment. The most recent addition, Carcharodontosaurus, was previewed at the Extra Life event. The dinosaurs of Ark have become so popular that they have spawned their own game mode, Ark: Dinosaur Discovery, which was released on November 9th for Nintendo Switch. Dinosaur Discovery is a kid friendly version of the game that allows users to roam the island without worries of violence and learn all about the prehistoric creatures on which the games dino counterparts are based. Dinosaur Discovery is available only on switch and will automatically be available to anyone that owns the new, comprehensive Ark: Ultimate Survivor Edition.
Ark has continued to evolve over the last 5 years. In June 2022 a the new Fjordur Map was released and Studio Wildcard recently announced the return of the popular PvP mode, Survival of the Fittest. Survival of the Fittest will be available on Xbox, Playstation, and PC in December 2022 and on Switch in 2023. Also in June new character animations from Ark: The Animated Series were shared with the public. The series has fourteen 30-minute episodes currently in post-production. It features amazing voice talent including David Tennant (Dr. Who/Good Omens), Alan Tudyk (Firefly), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Vin Diesel as series hero Santiago.
The biggest Ark news of 2022 remains the long-awaited release of Ark 2. The Ark sequel was announced in 2020 and expected to release this year. However, at the Xbox and Bethesda Games showcase in June, Studio Wildcard announced that Ark 2 would be released simultaneously on Steam Early Access and as an exclusive console launch for Xbox series X/S with Xbox and PC Gamepass on Game Preview sometime in 2023. The sequel will feature Vin Diesel’s Santiago as the hero and he is joined by Auli’I Cravalho (Moana) as Santiago’s daughter Meeko. Ark 2 will depart from its predecessor’s first-person gameplay in favor of third person skills-based action. Worlds will be available cross platform and player developed mods can be loaded for PC and now also for console. Players will be able to use new component based crafting to customize their gear and make it completely unique. They will also be able to level-up by battling new PvE enemies, the Aratai, who are fighting to drive humans off their world.
With no official release date for Ark 2, fans will be anxiously awaiting the next announcement from Studio Wildcard. In the meantime, they will keep working to help others and give something back to the community each fall during their very successful Extra Life events.