In April 2023, Studio Wildcard, the developer of ARK, stepped out to reveal that ARK 2 would be delayed for more than a year. It also took the opportunity to reveal a massive remaster of the first game, bursting at the seams with new content, features, and a whole host of improvements. So, what is ARK: Survival Ascended, and how does it differ from Survival Evolved?
Is ARK: Survival Ascended Different?
It’s different, but the same – but still different. By way of a monumental apology for delaying ARK 2, Studio Wildcard revealed ARK: Survival Ascended, a full, next-generation remaster of the original title that kicked off the franchise back in 2015.
ARK: Survival Ascended is easily poised to be one of the biggest and most ambitious remasters ever, with the game having been rebuilt to harness ‘the power of Unreal Engine 5’, according to Studio Wildcard. It’s a gargantuan re-release that promises to bring everything fans could possibly want to fill the void left by the delay of ARK 2.
But what is ARK: Survival Ascended, and why should you buy it?
ARK: Survival Ascended is the entire base game of Survival Evolved, remastered and expanded umpteen times. It’ll feature The Island, Survival of the Fittest, and a whole collection of DLC maps that’ll be released over time.
It features more quality-of-live improvements and upgrades than we can even list, and with the Unreal Engine 5 overhaul, it’s going to look better than ever and boast ‘Unreal Engine 5 performance gains.’
If the remastered engine wasn’t enough, don’t worry – Studio Wildcard has plenty more to whet your appetite.
When ARK: Survival Ascended is released, it’ll boast:
Cross-platform Multiplayer, which includes cross-platform accounts and cross-progression, uniting the platforms and bolstering the community.
Cross-platform modding, featuring a reported ‘industry-first cross-platform modding experience’, with PC-based mods being delivered to consoles.
Cross-platform anti-cheat functions, to alleviate any worries that console-based players may have.
Survival of the Fittest being integrated as a new, fully-supported game mode
Hundreds of improvements, fixes, and upgrades (see below)
We can’t possibly list every improvement that’s coming in ARK: Survival Ascended because the list was so long that Studio Wildcard couldn’t even note it down. But here are some snapshot examples of some of the most impactful changes coming to Survival Ascended:
All-new structures and building mode improvements
Queueing system for servers
New third-person camera mode
Pinging system for multiplayer
Gamepad cursor for ease of accessibility
Chibi slot and Skins tab in the menu
And that’s a non-exhaustive list.
But It Doesn’t End There
In June, ARK: Survival Evolved is set to receive its final content update, and then, it’ll start to wind down and head for retirement. It was confirmed that there will be no crossplay between Survival Evolved and Survival Ascended. On that note, Survival Evolved’s official servers for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC will all be closed when Survival Ascended launches.
But, players will still be able to enjoy the older title on single-player and unofficial servers.
There are planned holiday events, as well as a paid expansion dropping for ARK: Survival Ascended at the end of the year. Not only that but upgrades are actively being made to ARK’s Nintendo Switch and Mobile products.
So, what is ARK: Survival Ascended? It’s one hell of an upgrade and it’ll perfectly bridge the gap now opened up by ARK 2 being delayed.
When ARK: Survival Ascended launches in August 2023, it’ll be available in a bundle on Xbox X|S and PC that gives players access to both that game and ARK 2 (for $49.99) and on PlayStation 5, it’ll be a standalone product with a price tag of $39.99.