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Early Access survival game Ark: Survival Evolved shocked fans today when they announced their first paid expansion, aptly titled Scorched Earth. This $20 expansion was released on both PC and Xbox One and was accompanied by a patch. On PC, this patch was pretty minimal with just a single door, Nvidia Ansel support, added to the game, in addition, to support for Scorched Earth. On Xbox One, it was a significant update for users – with new dinosaurs, HD Resolution upgrade with 720p gameplay and 1080p UI, and the official mod ‘Primitive+. These things have already been on the PC version for a while.

Scorched Earth introduces a desert setting to the game which has different survival tensions on it as the availability of resources like water, which was ubiquitous on the island, is significantly changed around. The DLC introduces new creatures (including tamable dragons), 50+ new items, new biomes, new gameplay mechanics, new flora, harsh weather conditions and more. Players who survive in the area will be able to travel back to the Ark: Survival Evolved main island, although the precise mechanics for this are not explained yet. 

This DLC content will cost players $20 and requires that you own the base Early Access title as well. None of the new creatures, items or other new features have been added to the base Ark: Survival Evolved title for those who are on the island, or who haven’t bought the dlc. Studio Wildcard also brags that this is a polished and finished expansion, and unlike the base game, it does not appear to be in early access of any sort. However, it does require that you own Ark: Survival Evolved, and presumably it didn’t magically fix many of the optimization issues in the core game. 

In the press release, Studio Wildcard lead Designer and co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz (who was the subject of a lawsuit with Trendy due to his work on Ark), released the following statement on it:

“While we’ve had Scorched Earth and future ARKs in the planning stages since the project’s inception, establishing its inter­ARK travel technology was the essential reason for making this content available to players right now.”

We have asked Studio Wildcard for further information on the Scorched Earth release, and will update when we learn more.

While there had been a negative response to Ark: Survival of the Fittest when it was announced over a year ago, it was more muted than what we’ve seen today. The user rating for recent reviews has fallen at least 10% since the DLC was released and there are numerous user complaints there. While there are far too many to post them all, here were a few choice ones that stood out:

Started off as shining example of how to do early access. Ended up a complete disaster after the developer went off on adventures of making SOTF, console versions and paid expansion while still in early access! No wonder the game is so behind schedule. – Fastidious


I really like ARK. It’s got a lot going for it. Unfortunately, as of today, I can’t say that any of that matters. I can’t recommend ARK.
Today, Wildcard announced there is now a $20 paid expansion. For their early access game that still is missing huge amounts of core features. Additionally, the expansion represents what can only be described as “pay to win,” as you can tame mother-effing FIRE-BREATHING DRAGONS now, then bring them back into other servers. Anybody that doesn’t have the expansion will NEVER match that.
Wildcard just paid out a huge ($40 mil, reportedly) legal settlement that they probably deserved to owe the plaintiff, and so I can understand feeling pressured to release some ♥♥♥♥ for money to make something back. But holy cow, dudes. This is NOT the way you keep customers happy and playing.
As of now, don’t buy ARK. Until they stop being ♥♥♥♥♥♥ developers and failing to do things they need to do in favor of things that make money, I can’t recommend it.
I really, REALLY hope this changes in future. – Reverberant Duck


Wow way to release paid DLC before getting the game out of Early Access. Seriously what is going through your heads? How’s DirectX 12 and the TrueSky fix coming that have been sitting on your to do list since the game came out on Early Access? – Synthetic


After a year of development Early Access with bad optimization and server side and they release a DLC that cost the astounding amount of 20 bucks. The sad story is that people are gonna buy it and the industry is going to get worse. Good Job Wildcard you have not the excuse that you are in Early Access anymore. – -=ÆsirHunter=-

Scorched Earth indeed.

More About This Game

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.

  • Wisdomcube2000

    DLC in an early access game is beyond what should be allowed. Finish the god damn game that people paid for first.

  • coboney

    I can see cosmetics potentially in ones that have that part of the game generally nailed down but for content it’s just insane imo

  • jaygerbomb

    WTF? How about you RELEASE THE DAMN GAME and fix the performance issues first, THEN start thinking about expansion packs.

  • SomeCollegeStudent

    They done f***** up now haven’t they?

  • I don’t have a problem with DLC. I don’t have a problem with Pre-Orders or Pre-order bonuses. I don’t have a problem with collector merchandice/bonuses. I don’t have a problem with Early Access. I don’t really even have a problem with cash shops. Etc. But this? I had thought others were pulling a joke when they mentioned this, so I guess I’ll just never buy Ark:SE much as I’d have liked to.

  • Voqar

    I don’t see the big deal. ARK is a AAA quality game for half the cost and it has tons of content and gameplay better than just about any survival game out there. Compare it to garbage like NMS which cost 60 and it’s not even close. Most of the people crying have 1000+ hours played in a game that’s still in EA and no reason to complain.

    It’s additional and optional and dev on the base game never slowed – nobody even knew it was in development even.

    They crying over this is a sad joke. People are such greedy and entitled brats these days it’s ridiculous. If you’ve got hundreds of hours out of a $30 game regardless of whether it’s EA or “done” then you have nothing at all to complain about and should welcome more goodness, not cry about it.

    ARK has been a game you could sink 100’s of hours into from the moment it hit EA. it’s a game that’s got better and better, had unexpected additional content added to it like the center, already has vibrant mod support.

    It’s not like it was some tech demo released in EA that’s limped along – far, far from it.

    And of course, the entitlement generation brats just complain about everything, even good things, because complaining is the only thing they know how to do.

  • Caio Pontes

    “ARK is a AAA quality game”
    Shit animations, shit physics, shit performance, shit textures and shit terrain is now “AAA” quality.
    “Entitled this, entitled that”
    Fuck you.

  • duder

    how many times must it be said….Don’t fucking join the early acces craze and buy games after they’ve released and when they’re at least playable stable.

  • jaygerbomb

    I mean, ARK *is* playable and stable at this point, and there’s a variety of things to do/see. It’s just in dire need of optimization, bug fixes ,and polishing.

  • jaygerbomb

    The game is *not finished* yet. This isn’t announcing an expansion pack/DLC before the main game is finished (which is also kind of douchey, TBH). You can go buy this new expansion pack today. They’ve been working on this rather than optimizing the game so that someone who’s already bought into it can actually play at decent resolution/detail level with stable FPS.

    And I *haven’t* spent 100+ plus hours on it, because I’ve been waiting patiently for them to fix the performance issues, despite the fact that I’ve owned it almost a year now.

  • Enrique Belli

    I have 900+ hours sinked on ark and I’m not saying the dlc in it self is bad I’m just asking the game to be finished before they sink money assets time you mention it on content that is not part of the core game.

    If you think that is being an entitled brat then how about I start making your house but half way through finishing I decide to build a shed with out telling you and put a big lock on it so you can’t enter it unless you give me more money. So not only I have not finished your home I have done something in secret delaying the core thing that I should have been doing and then show it to you and ask you money to access it.

  • Veevslav

    I have almost 500 hours in the game. I have not been satisfied though because I cannot finish my experience with it because the game is not finished. I am entitled to a finished product, at least in my mind when I spent my money on it.

  • JoeD

    No one’s forcing anyone to buy this. Stop whining like a bunch of entitled parasites and get a fucking life.