With Aberration, Ark: Survival Evolved's third expansion, now released, developer Wildcard is turning its attention back to the core game, and addressing some of its longest-standing issues. As part of that effort, it's unveiled more details on its long-promised TLC update, designed to beautify, and improve, some of Ark's oldest, and weirdest looking animals.
The aim of the multi-part process is, essentially, to add relevance to some of the game's earliest creatures, whose basic functionality has long been superseded by newer, more exciting additions. As a happy bonus, Wildcard is also taking the opportunity to update some of the Ark's older, more rudimentary creature model.
Four such creatures will be getting a TLC overhaul as part of Ark's Phase 1 update, which is expected to arrive in the week of February 18th: the Direbear, Procoptodon, Gigantopithecus, Direwolf, and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Wildcard has also shared a few details on Phase 2, which will seek to improve the Argentavis, and Spinosaur among others. Look!
The procoptodon, which you can see above in its original and all-new, less depressed guise, will be getting a full audio-visual makeover, and will receive improved functionality. Highlights include the ability to transport smaller creatures in its pouch, increased carry weight, reduced fall damage, a new knockback kick that can affect much larger dinos, plus an aimed jump.
The gigantopithecus, AKA Bigfoot, also gets the full beautification treatment, and receives the ability to carry and throw small creatures. Additionally, it will acquire an armour-degrading attack, the ability to use zip-lines, and an honest-to-goodness jump.
Onto the direbear, which, following the new update, will no longer look like it's been repeatedly punched in the face. It'll also gain a host of bee-related skills, including the ability to harvest (now twice as much) honey from a beehive without drawing the attention of its inhabitants. Furthermore, players riding a bear will be immune to bees.
Elsewhere, the direwolf gets a new look, and will be able to howl to give its pack a five-minute strength buff. It'll be also gain a few nose-based skills, including the ability to sniff out Explorer's Notes, stealthy or buried creatures, and anything with less that 50% health.
Last but not least in Phase 1 is a long-requested update for the mighty T. Rex which, thank goodness, will soon no longer look like a giant, scaly baby. Alongside improved environmental mobility, it'll gain a roar ability that can stun all smaller creatures in the vicinity. It will also cause the aforementioned creatures (including humans) to poop.
Hopping over to Phase 2, the beloved Argentavis, one of Ark's oldest fliers, will receive a model update that looks more bird of prey, less extremely angry, overweight pigeon. Post TLC pass, it will be able to carry more of certain materials, gain a saddle that can be used as a smithy, and the ability to lift creatures - including humans - in its beak and talons.
Finally, for now, the Spinosaur - which gets a rather more subtle visual makeover than some of its peers. In terms of functionality, it'll gain much improved mobility in the water, an increased chance of farming Prime Fish, and will function in bipedal and a quadruped mode - the former increasing attack power at the cost of speed, and vice versa.
All in all, very positive news for a game that's long needed a refresh of its older, less relevant systems. As engaging as Ark can be, it's an experience with ample room for improvement, so hopefully these initial TLC passes are only the tip of Wildcard's planned system overhauls. And if you're intrigued to know what else will be happening come the Phase 1 update, you can read Wildcard's latest blog post.