Major changes are happening for the popular dinosaur game franchise Ark, with developer Studio Wildcard announcing several big news. Firstly, the sequel, Ark 2, featuring actor Vin Diesel, has been delayed to 2024. The reason given is that the developers need more time with the Unreal Engine 5 toolset to create the ultimate next-gen dinosaur survival experience. Secondly, the original game’s official servers will soon be shutting down, replaced by a new version called Ark Survival Ascend, which promises significant improvements. Lastly, Studio Wildcard says 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.
Ark 2 was previously set to be released sometime in 2023 but is now scheduled to launch at the end of 2024 on PC, Xbox, and Game Pass. Studio Wildcard explained that the pushback was in the best interest of the game and the development team. The studio apologized for the delay and said the first gameplay reveal trailer is coming in 2024.
Although the original Ark: Survival Evolved is shutting down its official servers soon, there’s a new Unreal Engine 5-powered game called Ark: Survival Ascended, which will be released in August this year across PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. The Respawned Bundle is available for purchase on Xbox, 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. The Respawned Bundle 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. Expansion packs will be available individually on all platforms.
Survival Ascend Features
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, cross-platform modding, premium mods, cross-platform anti-cheat, survival of the fittest, scorched earth SOTF map, matchmaking queue, character, and creature customization with cosmetics, local lobby, chibi slot, skins tab, balance passes, and more.
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, 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, any further official updates to Ark: Survival Evolved will only be done for “crashes and crucial platform updates.”
In summary, Studio Wildcard’s announcement predicts significant changes for players of the Ark games. With the delay to Ark 2’s release date, and the impending shutdown of servers for the original Ark: Survival Evolved, players can now look forward to the new Unreal Engine 5 powered game, Ark Survival Ascend, which promises a host of meaningful-sounding improvements. Cross-platform multiplayer functionality and mods will also be included in Survival Ascend, taking the cross-platform experience of the Ark universe to another level. Although these changes may be disappointing, as Studio Wildcard suggests, 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.