Let’s Talk About ARK II

I'm excited for the animated series. ARK II the game? I'm not feeling it.

The Game Awards, announced ARK: Survival Evolved was getting a successor called ARK II. The new game was also getting an animated series.

First, I want to say Studio Wildcard should release what, they feel from the heart, is best for the company. I support the “Do You” energy, as long as no one is being hurt, oppressed, is at risk, etc. In this case, release ARK II how they want. It’s a “luxury” product in that it isn’t a requirement in life for anyone. I support and feel joy watching people enjoy some things that I have no interest in indulging in myself.

Which is exactly why, as of now, I’ll pass on ARK II. Let me explain why.

Starring Who?

In case you are unfamiliar, ARK: Survival Evolved is a sandbox game with dinosaurs. By sandbox, I mean the player creates their own story. I started playing it during early access. Currently, the base game is about the player and the dinosaurs. The game doesn’t have a story to play through, although there is lore. It does not have other characters like NPCs.

While Wildcard said ARK II will still be a sandbox, the video shows other characters in the game. Vin Diesel plays a character named Santiago. Little is known about Vin Diesel’s character, or about ARK II in general. What we do see is Santiago turning off the current ARK.

It looks like Vin Diesel’s character explains why the old maps are turned off. His character might explain the new map. Why is a new map needed? This could explain why he’s in the game with a story and keep ARK II a sandbox. Once the player is in the new world, Santiago fades to black in the game but lives on in the animated series. I’m excited for the animated series. I think it covers the period of time between when the current game dies and when ARK II starts. This period of time could be hundreds of years. They have the creative freedom to do what they want for the animated series without it interfering with past and future lore or storylines.

How wonderful it would be if the player turned off Genesis! After spending many hours playing the game. Thinking back on all the memories, having to make the decision to turn it off or purge it. If you think about it, Santiago is turning off or purging your character(s) and dinosaurs. If ARK II is hundreds of years in the future, the player’s character most likely died a long time ago. What happened to our characters and dinosaurs?

Think about this: Santiago is purging Genesis. Will Wildcard turn off the servers for ARK? Will they still update ARK? Can we play ARK on private servers? The message is very clear: ARK dies. ARK II is born.

I’m not interested in taking another adventure in a buggy game.

Looks Are Deceiving

ARK looks great but the game is not optimized, and it’s buggy. Thankfully, mod makers created mods to make the game feel more polished. Giving credit where it is due, Wildcard paid some mod makers and included their mods in the base game. They also hired people from within the community. That is awesome!

I have yet to see them release something that is not buggy or has mind-boggling game mechanics.

Miracles happen, right? The way I see it, the game will hit early access in 2021, since they announced it for 2022. It’s going to look great but, based on history, I expect it to be buggy and unoptimized.

Player vs player (PvP) has been an ongoing problem in the game. They have a hard time staying ahead of players exploiting their code. If they move away from PvP, the odds of the game being better coded goes up considerably.

There also is a lack of Tek items in the trailer. I think Tek items will return in time. The initial lack of Tek items makes balancing the game easier, especially without PvP.

Time Will Tell

ARK was their first game. One learns through experience. I expect with ARK II to have the polish of an AAA game made by a studio with experience. This time, it won’t be a mistake if they release a buggy unoptimized game, even in early access. It will be a choice, a choice I think they will make. A choice I do not want to support, no matter how much my friends might love the game.

Giving a company money for a product that isn’t quality sends the signal the consumer prefers it that way. Why else would they keep buying it? Imagine other products shipping in the state some games are released? The way ARK was released. If your car, graphics card, washing machine or coffee mug didn’t work as intended, there are consequences for that. A game is a product just like the ones I just listed and should function as advertised.

I have many hours in ARK and still play it thanks to mods. I’d be lying if I didn’t have instances, almost every time I play, that I say to myself “That’s ARK” because something is borked, buggy or has a weird game mechanic. It’s getting less tolerable to play after all these years.

I’ll pass on ARK II until I see Wildcard has matured and makes better choices and pray the animated series is amazing.