E3 2017: ARK Survival Evolved
During E3 2017, we had the pleasure of meeting with the team on ARK Survival Evolved. Fresh off the announcement of the exit from Early Access, you could feel the excitement in the Hotel Suite we visited. We were shown some trailers they had just released and we began talking about the game and future of ARK Survival Evolved.
Before we begin, let's mention why getting a release date is a big deal. ARK Survival Evolved is a title that has been in “Early Access.” For those of you who aren’t aware, this term is used for Developers to get their titles to gamers in a pre-released state, secure funding for further development, and have the community give direct feedback for the direction the game should take in the future. In the Early Access state, Developers will put the game out at a discounted rate. In most cases, when the game reached a completed state, the title will raise in price. This is exactly what is happening with ARK Survival Evolved.
ARK: Survival Evolved will be increasing in price, from $29.99, to $59.99 to coincide with the physical release of the game. In addition to the base version of ARK, there will also be a $99.99 Explorer’s Edition and a very limited run of a $159.99 Collector’s Edition. One point that was raised during our meeting is why a physical release is needed. Despite the ease of downloading games from platforms like Steam, Xbox Live, and Playstation Network, there are still a large number of players that won’t ever find your product unless it is available in a physical form.
Speaking of Physical form, the $159.99 Collector’s Edition of ARK Survival Evolved will be pretty spectacular. The game will come with the full game, an ARK logo necklace, a cloth map, a 200-page leather bound journal, game soundtrack, and the season pass. If you add it all up, there is so much content in here that fans of ARK will grab up this quickly. This is especially true when you realize the entire package is contained in a collectible faux-wooden chest box. So if you want one, you better preorder it as soon as you can.
The Explorer’s Edition will run $99 and include the full game and season pass. For the ARK fan that can’t afford the Collector’s Edition, or can’t find one, this will save you money over buying the Season Pass or individual DLC later down the road.
Finally, the base game will be $59.99 on all platforms and players can add DLC individually or as a season pass later. Pricing hasn’t been fully determined but we should expect to see around $50 for the Season Pass and $20 for each separate DLC purchase.
The development team behind ARK Survival Evolved really likes what they see with Xbox One X. The power of the console amazes them even if the PC can do more. The approach of having multiple versions of a console with a Good/Best type of configurations just makes their life easier. This is because ARK has added variable resolutions to help ensure the game has high frame rates regardless of platforms and regardless of specific configurations.
Even with that, the game will never drop under 600p and if the player enters, or builds, a base with lots of items in it, not even the biggest and best PC will be able to render it at high frame rates. However, they aren’t about to add any restrictions on their player base and gives them the freedom to make their individual worlds as they see fit.
After the game launches, the team hopes to keep the consoles and PC very close to each other on updates. While this can’t be done on the same day, they hope that consoles will remain about a week behind the PC. There is also talk that other hosting options might be available in the future. However, nothing is planned now.
The focus right now is to continue to refine the game, fix bugs, stabilize the code, and give their players and community the best possible experience they can no matter what platform they are playing on. And with the recently released Ragnorak map, now available on PC, they are soaring to the release on August 8, 2017.
Console players won’t have to wait much longer as they will see Ragnorak coming sometime around the July 4 weekend.
We are excited about the future of ARK and can’t wait to see how the game is refined as they work to deliver the second DLC in 2017 and the third, and planned final, DLC in 2018.