Ark Dev Backtracks On Upgrade Plans And Cancels Bundle: “Not Our Best Move”

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Ark developer Studio Wildcard has backtracked on some of its plans for the future of the dinosaur-survival game series following what the studio said was “passionate” feedback about a bundle.

The biggest change, the studio confirmed in a blog post, is that the Ark Respawned Bundle is getting cancelled entirely. This Xbox-only bundle would have included Ark Survival Ascended and Ark 2, and the intent was to offer players a package that gave them “two products for the price of one,” Studio Wildcard said. However, the studio said with the benefit of hindsight, it sees that this was “not the best move,” so the bundle is being scrapped entirely.

“Our bad; we recognize how combining Ark Survival Ascended with Ark 2 and requiring further DLC upgrades wasn’t optimal, especially since you wouldn’t be able to judge Ark 2 as no gameplay or content would be available yet,” Studio Wildcard said.

The Ark Survival Respawned bundle was previously going to be sold for $50 on Xbox for up to one year. It was never planned for release on PlayStation, with those players instead originally offered a $40 Ark Survival Ascended standalone game with options to buy more content in two DLC packs at $20 each.

Going forward, the Ark Survival Respawned bundle is cancelled, replaced by a standalone version of Ark Survival Ascended for $60 on every platform, not just Xbox, so it will also release on PlayStation and PC. The bundle will include all the content listed below included in the product, with the previously announced paid-for expansion packs now included in the base game.

Ark Survival Ascended Bundle ($60) Includes:

  • 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)

Also in the blog post, Studio Wildcard explained why it is not making any upgrades to the original Ark: Survival Evolved and is instead focusing on the new, Unreal Engine 5-powered Ark: Survival Ascended and Ark II.

“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,” the developer said.

Ark: Survival Evolved official servers are closing on August 31, just before Ark: Survival Ascended launches. People who want to keep playing will have their save-data uploaded to continue playing on unofficial and player-hosted servers. But officially servers are going dark.

“While we know it’s not the same, we hope making the saves available for unofficial use helps diminish the loss. Our reasoning behind the decision is that those servers are essentially based on old technology and require significant development resources and time for our teams to operate & maintain,” the developer said.

Finally, Studio Wildcard said it understands that people might not be convinced just yet. Ark Survival Ascended is a new and more beefed-up version of Survival Evolved, but right now, fans are left to take the developers at their word because so little has been shown. The studio hopes to win over fans in the time ahead as it shares and discusses more.

“At the end of the day, these are just words and, frankly, may not mean so much. That’s okay; we understand what will really convince you is seeing screenshots and a gameplay trailer, and you will in time,” the developer explained. “We know there are going to be more questions, and we’ll be sharing more details over time. W’’re not quite ready to pull back the curtains just yet, so we hope you’ll hang in there with us, Survivors. It’ll be worth the wait!”

In addition to Ark Survival Ascended, Studio Wildcard is making Ark II, featuring Vin Diesel, using the Unreal Engine 5. More details on that title are expected to come in 2024.