ARK: Survival Evolved

This ambitious survival game emerges from Early Access fully featured but just as in danger of toppling in on itself as ever before.

Key events

Digital FoundryArk: Survival Evolved on Switch is cut back to the absolute barebones

It's playable, but the visual compromises are extraordinary.

Nintendo's Switch has been a genuine surprise - a hybrid console based on a mobile chipset that has delivered some remarkable tech showcases: the Doom 2016 port was a mini-revelation while the Wolfenstein 2 follow-up was even more mind-blowing. But these were streamlined 60fps games pared back to 30fps, and built around an eminently scalable engine - a state of affairs that doesn't fully apply to Studio Wildcard's Ark: Survival Evolved, which seems to have been dragged kicking and screaming onto the Switch hardware with some good - and some very bad - results.

Ark: Survival Evolved's final expansion, Extinction, out today on PC, soon on consoles

Three years after it released in Steam Early Access, and one year after it launched for real, Ark: Survival Evolved's third and final DLC expansion, Extinction, arrives today on PC. It comes to PS4 and Xbox One on November 11th.

Extinction follows on from Ark's previous paid expansions, Scorched Earth and Aberration, and introduces a brand-new map, a new selection of mechanics, and new tameable critters.

For this, its final offering, developer Studio Wildcard has once again opted to go hard on the sci-fi, foregoing Ark's earlier, more natural environments for a brooding sprawl of dereliction. Extinction's map transports players to a ravaged Earth, which, for those invested in the series' lore, "holds both the secrets of the past and the keys to its salvation". Alongside its ample wasteland, Extinction includes the remains of a sprawling metropolis, waiting to be explored.

Read more

Ark: Survival Evolved gets a November release date on Switch

Studio Wildcard has announced the Switch version of its popular dinosaur-themed survival escapade, Ark: Survival Evolved, will launch on November 30th.

Ark on Switch, which was surprise-revealed back in March, has been developed in conjunction with porting studio Abstraction Games, and promises to deliver an authentic take on Wildcard's open-world survival adventure - albeit one that you can play on the go and perhaps even on a dinosaur if you know any.

The Switch version features Ark's original Island map and includes over 100 creatures. Some of these are inspired by actual prehistoric fauna, from the mighty T. rex to the Giganotosaurus, while others, such as the yeti, are pure fantasy fare. Many of these can be tamed, ridden, bred, or simply just murdered and eaten. Don't mess with the Giganotosaurus though, it's mean.

Read more

FeatureWhat it's like being a low-level streamer

Admiral Peach, reporting for duty.

Streaming video games is big business for some. Tyler "Ninja" Blevins reportedly makes $500,000 a month playing Fortnite on Twitch. But for the vast majority of streamers, barely anyone's watching, and precious few are paying. For the vast majority, streaming is a hobby. For others, it's the hope of something bigger - a bigger audience, perhaps, more views, more comments and, of course, more money.

Ark: Survival Evolved's ugliest dinosaurs are getting a makeover in the new TLC update

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!

Read more

Ark's new Aberration expansion has an enemy which can impregnate you

A second expansion pack for Ark: Survival Evolved has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It's called Aberration and it is, as the title suggests, unusual.

Aberration is the name of a malfunctioning Ark with an underground biome. There's radioactive sunlight, earthquakes, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear and weird creatures. There are spooky humanoids called Nameless, and Reapers who impregnate enemies to spawn offspring. Apparently if you let the Reaper Queen impregnate you, you spawn a Reaper you can tame and control.

It won't be the only new beast you can tame. You can climb and fly on the back of a camouflaged Rock Drake chamaeleon thing; you can stamp around with a giant Cave Crustacean, which is probably an overgrown crab; and you can light the way with a Lantern Pet.

Read more

Ark: Survival Evolved's next paid-for expansion Aberration finally has a release date

Studio Wildcard has announced that Ark: Survival Evolved's next full-scale, paid-for expansion Aberration will release on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on December 12th.

Aberration, which was originally slated to release in October, is the second paid-for expansion to come to Ark, following last year's desert-themed Scorched Earth.

Its main feature is a new, horror-tinged map, set on an inhospitable, malfunctioning Ark - which, for those not in the know, are basically [MILD SPOILER] giant, floating space zoos run by some very naughty aliens [/MILD SPOILER].

Read more

There was a time when Digital Foundry would produce bespoke performance videos - and indeed Eurogamer articles - for virtually every major release. With so many games seemingly rushed to market, how well a particular title would run was a crucial factor in any purchasing decision. Thankfully, quality in this area is much improved across the board, but in the case of Ark: Survival Evolved, performance remains a major weakness for the game - even now, after finally emerging from Early Access.

Ark: Survival Evolved review

Ark: Survival Evolved review

Tyrannosaurus vex.

I've been playing Ark: Survival Evolved for almost two years now, and I'm still not 100 per cent sure if it's a good game. Strip away the appealing dinosaur-themed veneer, and developer Studio Wildcard's long-in-early-access survival adventure starts to look surprisingly routine. Its core systems are overly familiar, uninspired even, and more than a little wobbly; it's devoid of depth or nuance, and it's a survival game where the only resource that's required most readily is your time. Yet, for all its foibles, I've poured hundreds of happy hours into Ark, and I'll doubtless play even more.

Ark: Survival Evolved

Developer: Studio Wildcard

Read more

FeatureHow Ark survived Steam Early Access

Studio Wildcard on DLC controversy, lawsuits and PR disasters.

Towards the end of 2014, Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak knew they wanted to make a game together. "It was just Jesse and me in the beginning. You don't set out as 'let's build a team and make a game but we don't have an idea for a game'. It was quite the opposite," Stieglitz says. The team they built would soon be known as Studio Wildcard, and even though they didn't know it yet, they were about to run one of the most successful Early Access campaigns ever for a game called Ark: Survival Evolved.

Ark dev makes abrupt U-turn on plan to wipe PvP servers

Just a day after announcing and defending the plan to press.

It's not often a developer changes its mind about a decision that would have had a seismic impact on its game just a day after announcing it to press, but that's exactly what the people behind dinosaur survival hit Ark have done.

Ark: Survival Evolved finally has a PS4 release date

Surprise! Ark: Survival Evolved comes out on PlayStation 4 on 6th December.

The open-ended dinosaur hit is already out on PC and Xbox One.

The Ark: Survivor's Pack will be available to buy. This includes the base game and the desert-themed expansion, Scorched Earth.

Read more

Ark fans burned by Scorched Earth, the Early Access game's "completely finished" expansion

Ark fans burned by Scorched Earth, the Early Access game's "completely finished" expansion

UPDATE: "Everyone wakes up every day thinking about how we can make Ark better."

UPDATE 6/9/16 9.30am: Ark developer Wildcard has issued a statement to fans enraged by the release of paid expansion Scorched Earth while the base Ark game is still in development.

In a blog posted to the game's official site, community manager Jat laid out the studio's "official take on the Scorched Earth Expansion Pack, and the future of ARK".

The message emphasises how development on Ark is still ongoing, despite the launch of the expansion - whose "early" release will allow for future expansions to be integrated far easier.

Read more

Early Access dino hit Ark gets "completely finished" expansion

Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview hit Ark: Survival Evolved is getting a "completely finished" expansion today.

Ark: Scorched Earth will strand players in a harsh, fiery new desert area populated by Wyverns, because you wouldn't want things to be easy in a survival game, would you?

While separate to the main game's area, players will be able to travel between the two locations and share items gleaned from the expansion.

Read more

Ark: Survival of the Fittest PS4 on hold

So dev can focus on release of main Ark game for PS4.

Ark: Survival of the Fittest, the competitive multiplayer online survival arena spin-off of the main Ark game, will not come out on PlayStation 4 in July as previously announced.

Ark: Survival Evolved patch looks to improve frame-rate on Xbox One

The developers of hugely popular dinosaur survival game Ark are working on a patch that they say will improve the frame-rate of the Xbox One version.

Last month Digital Foundry took a look at Ark on Xbox One and found its frame-rate in poor shape. Here's a snippet:

The game is crying out for a 30fps cap with an adaptive v-sync solution. Romps through swampland on both builds can see frame-rate dip well below 20fps, illustrating just how much of a challenge the developers face in getting Ark: Survival Evolved into shape.

Read more

Digital FoundryDigital Foundry: Hands-on with Ark: Survival Evolved on Xbox One

It's sold over 1m copies. Is the star of Microsoft's Xbox Early Access initiative worth buying now?

Ark: Survival Evolved - in its current, preview state - is best described as something of a technological work-in-progress in its Xbox One incarnation. By every measurable criteria Digital Foundry can attach to the game, it can often border on the disastrous. And yet, even in its early access form, Studio Wildcard has managed to shift over 1m copies, building a dedicated fanbase on both console and PC. Put simply, in this preview form, it's a triumph of concept over execution. Already a 'monster' hit, gamers have invested in the title's early access status and one of its key attractions is that users feel as though they're involved in the title's ongoing development.

Ark: Survival Evolved set for Xbox Game Preview this month

Early Access dinosaur adventure Ark: Survival Evolved will storm its way onto Xbox One next week, on 16th December.

The Steam hit will launch on Xbox One via the Xbox Game Preview programme, the console's own early access service. That means there will be a free playable trial, too.

Ark lets you hunt dinosaurs, tame dinosaurs, ride dinosaurs, fly dinosaurs and live on dinosaurs.

Read more

Cities: Skylines, Ark and more indies announced for Xbox One

Cities: Skylines, Ark and more indies announced for Xbox One

We Happy Few! Bloodstained! Thimbleweed Park!

Microsoft revealed a handful of independent titles comes to Xbox One and Windows 10 at its Gamescom press conference.

First off, acclaimed world-building sim Cities: Skylines will be making its console debut on Xbox One.

Dinosaur-hunting open world affair Ark: Survival Evolved and Team 17's bunker-based survival sim Sheltered are will be making their console debut on Xbox One as well via the Early Access-like Game Preview initiative.

Read more