Following the news about Studio Wildcard's plans for the Ark franchise, the developer has received substantial backlash and has decided to partially amend its plans.
Originally, the developer planned to offer a bundle with Ark 2 and the Unreal Engine 5 remaster of Ark: Survival Evolved (titled Ark: Survival Ascended) for $49.99 on Xbox and PC, while fans on PlayStation would get the remaster on its own for $39.99. The caveat is that DLC would have to be repurchased separately for the remaster within two packages priced at $19.99 each.
Now, the plan has changed. The bundle is gone, and Ark: Survival Ascended will be priced at $59.99 on all platforms, but all the existing DLC will be included as follows.
- The Island (Released at Launch)
- Survival of the Fittest: The Island & Scorched Earth map variants (Released at Launch)
- Scorched Earth (Released at Launch)
- Aberration (Released by Q4 2023)
- Extinction (Released by Q1 2024)
- Genesis Part 1 (Released by Q1 2024)
- Genesis Part 2 (Released by Q2 2024)
- All the community-created maps are also to be released over time in 2024 (Fjordur, Ragnarok, The Center, Lost Island, Valguero, Crystal Isles)
The big difference, of course, is that Ark 2 will have to be purchased separately when it launches. Incidentally, it has just been delayed to a 2024 release for PC and Xbox Series X|S.
This means that you're saving a bit if you're planning to purchase only the remaster and the DLC, but it's very likely that, if you plan to jump into Ark 2 when it's released, you may very well end up spending the same or more depending on its price.
The developers also explained why they decided not to upgrade Ark: Survival Evolved into Ascended for free as initially mentioned.
Initially, when we had first considered doing an Unreal 5 upgrade, we planned just to port the Switch version of the game and undo the ‘graphical’ limitations required for that hardware. We weren’t going to maximize the potential of the new technology, we weren’t going to introduce new gameplay changes, and we weren’t going to make critical design changes that would have had an impact on existing save data.
After carefully considering what would be the best outcome for those who enjoy ARK: Survival Evolved and would want to continue to enjoy it in the years to come, we decided that our initial plan would not be sufficient. We want to provide you with an evergreen classic ARK experience, one that can continue to grow over time on a cleaned-up code base, making use of the new technological advancements not only in the industry but also in what we are working on with ARK 2.
We weren’t trying to mislead you with earlier comments; our plans and overall intentions changed. So you're probably asking, why don’t we make these upgrades to the original ARK: Survival Evolved (ASE)? Frankly, it would not be viable. Many of the changes we’re making in ARK: Survival Ascended will touch a lot of aspects of the game; it’ll invalidate save data, some mods may not be functional, some things may not play the same way as they did before, and we didn’t want to change that experience for those who prefer it or are unable to upgrade.
According to Studio Wildcard, Ark: Survival Ascended will include new features as follows:
- Dynamic navigation mesh and creature pathfinding overhaul (AI pathfinding)
- Photo Mode
- Nvidia DLSS
- Dino/Baby Management QOL
- Wild Babies
- Snap point improvements (new snaps, logic improvements)
- Character creation & customization improvements
- Cross-platform Multiplayer & Full Blueprint Modding (I know we mentioned this before, but we’re serious, it’s happening on PC and Consoles at launch, and we’ve got it working internally with Overwolf technology – this dramatically changes the nature of the console experience).