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Ark: Survival Evolved remaster gets standalone release, but will cost $60

Studio Wildcard is changing its release approach for Ark: Survival Ascended, the Unreal Engine 5 remaster of its 2015 dinosaur survival game.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Key art for Ark: Survival Evolved, showing humans going to war while riding dinosaurs.

The remaster for Ark: Survival Evolved will no longer be solely bundled with Ark 2. Studio Wildcard confirmed the enhanced version of its 2015 game (known as Ark: Survival Ascended) will receive its own standalone release, albeit one that costs $60.

Last week, Wildcard announced its intentions to shut down Survival Evolved servers in order to make way for Survival Ascended, which is made with Unreal Engine 5. The plan was for it to be bundled with Ark 2 (releasing in 2024) at $50, and only for PC and Xbox. 

Following player feedback, the developer has now said it was doing away with that bundle, branded as Ark Respawned. "Our intention behind this was to provide a package where you essentially got two products for the price of one. In hindsight, not the best move," wrote Wildcard.

Going forward, Survival Ascended will come out in the fall and cost $60 on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC, without the inclusion of Ark 2. Remastered versions of the original game's expansions are included in this release, and will arrive at later dates. 

Wildcard said taking the sequel out of the release made sense, since players "wouldn’t be able to judge Ark 2, as no gameplay or content would be available yet."

Ark: Survival Evolved adds another wrinkle to the discussion of live service maintenance 

Whenever live service games get into full-blown sequel territory, their developers run into big challenges.

Blizzard, for example, elected to shut down Overwatch 1 ahead of the release of last year's Overwatch 2. The original hero shooter had a six-year lifespan, (not that far off from the eight years of Ark 1). The transition to a free-to-play live service model wasn't smooth for Overwatch 2but it appears to have gotten itself mostly in order. 

Similarly, Bungie's had its share of issues while keeping Destiny 2 running The online shooter infamously vaulted some of its older content and destinations, then brought some of it back under a new context. When the news was first announced, Bungie flat out said the move was done in part to avoid leaving the game's community behind. 

"Instead of building a Destiny 3 and leaving D2 behind, each year, we are going to cycle older, less actively played content out of the live game," wrote Bungie in 2020. 

Though Wildcard didn't intend to irate its player base with the initial news of Ark: Survival Ascended, such a reaction may be inevitability. Branding a game with a new number carries a different meaning than it did a decade ago, and for online multiplayer games, that naturally means that something's got to give.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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