The Game Awards, announced ARK: Survival Evolved was getting a successor called ARK II. The new game was also getting an animated series.
I believe Studio Wildcard should release whatever they feel is best for their business, as long as it doesn’t harm or oppress anyone. In the case of ARK II, I support their decision to release it in the way they feel is most authentic to their vision. I understand that ARK II is a “luxury” product that isn’t essential to anyone’s life, and I support people who enjoy it. That being said, I have decided to pass on ARK II for now. Let me explain why.
In case you are unfamiliar, ARK: Survival Evolved is a sandbox game with dinosaurs, in which the player creates their own story. I began playing the game during early access, and currently, the base game is focused on the player and the dinosaurs. It does not have a specific story to play through, although there is lore, and it does not have other characters like NPCs.
While Studio Wildcard has stated that ARK II will still be a sandbox game, the trailer shows other characters in the game, including a character played by Vin Diesel named Santiago. Not much is known about Santiago or about ARK II in general, but the trailer shows Santiago turning off the current ARK.
It is possible that Santiago’s character will explain the reasoning behind the new map and the deactivation of the old maps, and may help to maintain the sandbox nature of ARK II. Santiago will continue to be present in the animated series after he fades to black in the game, which is expected to cover the time period between the end of the current game and the beginning of ARK II. This could be hundreds of years. The creators have the creative freedom to explore this time period and make decisions without conflicting with past or future lore or storylines.
It could be exciting for players to turn off Genesis and start anew in ARK II, but it is worth considering that Santiago’s actions may symbolize the purging of our characters and dinosaurs. If ARK II is set hundreds of years in the future, it is likely that our characters would have passed away long ago. It is also unclear what the future holds for ARK—will Studio Wildcard turn off the servers or continue to update the game? Will players be able to play on private servers? The message seems clear that ARK will come to an end and be replaced by ARK II. I am hesitant to embark on a new adventure in another one of their buggy games.
Looks Are Deceiving
While ARK looks like a great game, it has not been optimized and is prone to bugs. However, mod makers within the community have created mods to make the game feel more polished, and Studio Wildcard has even hired some mod makers and included their mods in the base game. Despite this, the company has not yet released something that is bug-free or has intuitive game mechanics.
Given their history, it seems likely that ARK II will hit early access in 2021, as it was announced for a 2022 release. It may look great, but based on past experiences, it is probable that the game will be buggy and poorly optimized.
Player vs player (PvP) has been a persistent issue in the game, and Studio Wildcard has struggled to prevent players from exploiting the game’s code. If they move away from PvP, it is likely that the game will be better coded.
The trailer for ARK II also seems to lack Tek items, which may suggest that they will be introduced at a later point in time. This could help to balance the game, especially if PvP is not included.
Time Will Tell
I understand the excitement surrounding the release of ARK II. However, it’s important to remember that the quality of a game should always be a top priority. While ARK was Wildcard’s first game, and they may have learned from their mistakes, it’s still important for them to release a polished and optimized product. Giving a company money for a subpar product sends the message that it’s acceptable. I’m sure we can all agree that we want to hold companies accountable for the quality of their products.
That being said, I also understand the appeal of being able to create your own story in a sandbox game like ARK. If the game is constantly plagued by bugs and weird game mechanics, it can be frustrating to play. I’m hopeful that Wildcard has learned from their experiences and will release a game that is both fun to play and well-coded. Until then, I’ll hold off on purchasing ARK II and keep an eye on the animated series.