Studio Wildcard has announced that Ark: Survival Ascended will release on the Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as Windows PC, on November 14. It will launch with cross-play functionality and the Xbox version will have the same spec as the PC version at the time of launch. However, PS5 owners will have to wait a little longer. Studio Wildcard has said they need to shore up details with Sony but expect a launch date at the end of November.
The Original Ark
The original Ark: Survival Evolved launched in 2017 after two years in Beta. Using Unreal Engine 4, it received mixed reviews. Critics slammed its difficulty and the time sink required to level up and compete. Fans praised its open-world structure and incredible building options. It has a meta score of 70 and a user score of 6.5 on Metacritic. In 2021, Studio Wildcard announced more than 20 million copies had been sold and that the game had more than 40 million players globally.
Ark 2 Announcement
Such was the game’s popularity, Studio Wildcard announced a planned sequel in 2020.
At the time, developers said they expected the game to launch in 2022. The game will feature Vin Diesel, who is also serving as Executive Producer on the title, and will use the updated Unreal Engine 5. However, setbacks and delays have seen the launch delayed until 2024. Wildcard said that the delays were due, in part, to the challenges of working with Unreal Engine 5.
Presumably, developers used the original Ark game to test out the new engine as, at the end of March 2023, they announced Ark: Survival Ascended. At the time, hopeful gamers thought this might be a sign that the new Ark 2 game, which had been lacking in news and updates since its initial announcement, would launched imminently.
What Is Ark: Survival Ascended?
Survival Ascended is a remastering of the original Ark game, using Unreal Engine 5 to greatly improve the graphics and gameplay elements.
The game includes the original The Island map as well as Scorched Earth, Aberration, Extinction, ARK Genesis Part 1, and ARK Genesis Part 2. It also offers a host of improvements:
- As well as improved graphics, Ascended introduces baby dinos, which can be imprinted when the player mercilessly kills the parent. This will mean less need to spend hours pumping tranquilizers into some of the bigger dinosaurs.
- Greatly improved building mechanics and costs. While the building in Ark was enjoy by some, it certainly wasn’t without its problems. If you didn’t hit just the right snap point, it could easily ruin an hours-long build, and some of those snap points were virtually impossible to find. The cost of some building pieces meant you needed a lot of engrams before you could build pipes and some other features.
- Another problem with the original game was that the hitboxes of dinosaurs could be unpredictable. There have been improvements in this area, too, so players can more reliably swing and hit.
- Finally, dino AI has also been improved so you can expect some changes to the actions and reactions of prehistoric tames.
Ascended is expensive if you consider it doesn’t offer any new maps and really only affords players some graphical and mechanical upgrades. And existing Ark owners don’t get any concessions so still have to pay full price. The improvements are considerable, but will they be enough to make up for players’ extended wait for Ark 2?
Ark 2 will represent something of a change from the original game. Players will no longer have the option of first-person view. Movement will include mantling and sliding which, according to the developers, will provide a smoother movement experience. And, if the graphics of the newly updated Survival Enhanced are anything to go by, the game should look beautiful.