- Get ready to respawn into a new dinosaur survival experience beyond your wildest dreams with Ark: Survival Ascended.
- Ark has been remade from the ground up utilizing next-gen tech with support for cross-platform modding with Unreal Engine 5.
- Ark: Survival Ascended will be available soon on Xbox Series X|S!
When we first introduced Ark: Survival Evolved to the world in 2015, no one at Studio Wildcard could ever imagine the game it became over the next eight years. The passion and support from the community worldwide helped our small indie title grow beyond our wildest dreams.
Today, we’re excited to reveal the next era of survival gaming: Ark: Survival Ascended, a top-to-bottom remake of the original game. There’s a lot that’s changed from the original, and today, we’ll be covering some of the key differences you may have noticed in the trailer, or you’ll see when you start playing soon.
Introducing Cross-Platform Modding
The most game-changing new feature coming to Ark: Survival Ascended is cross-platform modding. PC players of the original game have had the luxury of playing with mods for the last eight years, and soon that benefit will be available on every platform.
The new in-game CurseForge mod browser, which will be directly accessible from the main menu of the game, will soon be filled with new structures, dinos, maps, decorative pieces, and game modes. We’re also working closely with professional game studios and developers to bring their original content and IP to Ark: Survival Ascended to make it the ultimate gaming modding ecosystem and expect to have announcements with some of those partners very soon.
At launch, you will be able to start making your own mods by heading to the Epic Launcher and downloading the new Ark Devkit. We’ve tried to make it easy for existing mod creators by providing a porting mechanism for old Ark mods though you’ll still need to make some adjustments given the fact that it’s a new engine and there have been some changes.
The DevKit provides mod creators the capability to use the full power of Unreal Engine 5, including Blueprint, to create essentially anything, any kind of new content or gameplay, within Ark. We’ll be sharing tips and tricks for how you can create your own Ark: Survival Ascended mods, but for now we recommend checking out the tutorials and guides made by Unreal Engine 5 developers worldwide as they will be applicable for Ark: Survival Ascended!
The old game had around 30,000 mods available, and we’re pretty confident that this will grow with Ark: Survival Ascended, given its cross-platform nature, consoles having access to the mods and creators being empowered by the new revolutionary Unreal Engine 5 technology.
There’s a lot for players, creators, and frankly, ourselves to be excited about regarding this feature. We hope to see many new mods, game modes, and original content from existing IP holders come to the platform and be accessible to everyone. We will continually be expanding the Ark DevKit’s capabilities, providing more features and tools to help you create the best mods and games you can.
We’ve got a lot more to say about this, so stay tuned for a future article from our team and partners covering more details about modding and what’s to come!
Bringing Unreal 5 Tech to the World of Ark
The most impactful difference between the two games is that ASA has been built on Unreal Engine 5, giving us the ability to deliver cross-platform modding (we mentioned earlier), access to greater tools such as Lumen lighting, Nanite mesh rendering, Chaos physics, and more. Obviously, that’s just a bunch of technical jargon, and if you’re not a developer, you might not be familiar with what any of that means — so let’s break it down!
- Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination system, which means as the gameplay environment changes, the lighting around it also changes. It creates a richer, immersive, and realistically lit environment. Imagine riding your raptor through the jungles of The Island and experiencing a more lifelike world. Sunlight and moonlight filter through the dense treelines, bouncing off of water surfaces, torchlights illuminating the insides of caves, and bases adapting to light based on whether you’ve opened or closed a window, and all of that dynamic lighting adjusting based on how you play the game.
- Nanite allows us to use incredibly high-detail assets directly within the game, which get scaled and streamed onto the graphics processor in real time, tremendously increasing the visual fidelity of ASA. Imagine more environmental details, including realistic rocky textures, accurate tree patterning, and flourishing fauna. You’ll be able to construct highly detailed bases using the improved structure tile sets and, of course, tame sharper-looking dinosaurs! Frankly, everything looks better, and secondly, it really saves our development time, as Nanite eliminates the need to generate separate “level of detail” meshes and enables us to use the original high-resolution source meshes directly in-game.
- Chaos is a physics destruction system that simulates complex and large-scale destruction in real time. So, when you’re raiding a base, blasting it with your rocket launcher, or crushing it with the sheer force of a Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite, it will look more dynamic and realistic when those bases crumble and scatter around you.
The other added benefit of Chaos is that it has allowed us to remove the legacy physics systems from the game, as we can rely on this new system entirely… Which means no more frustrating ragdolls. Gone are the days of hunting a creature and seeing its corpse float into the abyss; instead, we’ve implemented realistic death animations and knocked-out animations on all creatures.
- Instanced-Based Rendering, this is a huge one. What do you love to do? Create massive bases, villages, and towns — basically, place down as many structures as you can fit into an area. This would have seriously affected client performance in the old game because it would have had to render basically everything. With instance-based rendering, you only pay the cost (on your frames) for the one structure piece. Meaning, one wooden wall on-screen has the same client impact on performance as a hundred — your game will be running a lot better in your giant bases!
- Our Fluid and Foliage Interaction Systems have been critical in delivering a more realistic, immersive, and dynamic world. We’ve tried to make it so that just about everything has a way of interacting with the foliage and fluids in the world. That means your Survivor running through the grass, creatures wading through streams, or explosives and other items will cause a visible physical reaction in the game world. These interactions dynamically adjust based on various factors such as size, velocity, or impact of what they’re interacting with. So, if you’re running through a stream with a Spino slashing at Coelacanth in shallow waters, expect to see a lot of water displacement, ripples, foam, splashes, and water droplets flying into the air around you.
The same can be said about foliage too, ride a Raptor through the tall grass, see how each blade gently reacts as you move forward, or as Brontosaurs flatten the earth beneath their feet and brush aside the leaves on the tall branches of a tree.
Creating a New Gameplay Experience
When you first jump into ASA, you’ll notice a huge overhaul of the User Interface. It’s been punched up visually and given more functionality to enable you to tailor your experience to match your playstyle. The options are there if you’re looking for a more minimalistic UI to keep the immersion or something that covers all the details.
We’ve also leveled up various other aspects of the game, including the third-person camera for players and creatures with additional per-creature customization and flexibility. A new, highly detailed map system that supports world pings and points of interest. Advanced dynamic navigation for intelligent creature pathfinding, so no more running into walls of your base, but running away from Carnivores just got tougher!
There’s so much more to cover, including more character customization options, unique color sets, quality-of-life improvements, new split-screen multiplayer functionalities, audio revamping, new gameplay items and structures, changes to existing items and creatures, and essentially, every inch of The Island has been redesigned, and much more.
A key thing to remember is that Ark: Survival Ascended will include all its previously released DLCs and maps in its remade form and will have its own content roadmap. This will include new story content for the game, further gameplay/QOL changes, new DLC, seasonal events, and over time, we’ll be releasing 11 brand new creatures (More than any previous DLC expansions).
Thank you so much for your support over the last eight years, and we can’t wait to continue to grow its universe with you, bringing you more of what you love about Ark. We’re also excited to see what you’re able to create with the powerful new cross-platform modding tools. And don’t worry, there’s still a lot on the horizon with Ark 2 and “Ark: The Animated Series.” See you all soon, once again, on The Island, Survivors!