Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has responded to those players left reeling after it released a $19.99 slice of paid-for DLC, even though the game is still in Early Access.
After fans flooded Steam with negative reviews, the studio has attempted to ease tensions by explaining Scorched Earth was always part of the dev plan. It just arrived sooner than expected.
"Our original vision for Ark always included the creation of expansion Arks, along with the infrastructure and technical systems to transfer data dynamically between live Arks," wrote the developer.
The studio says it chose to release Scorched Earth early after realizing it could reduce the risks integrating new systems post-retail launch.
"We determined that it is more sound to iterate on these systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn't 'get it right,'" continues the post.
"While that meant unveiling the first Expansion early, it also means an easier time integrating further post-launch expansions into the Ark network."
Wildcard does, however, admit that premium Early Access DLC won't be "everyone's cup of tea," but urges fans to see the bigger picture.