ARK: Survival Evolved Teases Terror Of The Deep

A gigantic vampire squid-like creature called Tusoteuthis vampyrus will be terrorising the seas of Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] soon. Well, soonish. A newly published Dino Dossier for the creature shows it wrestling with an unwilling ichthyosaurus and brandishing clawed tentacles.

Here’s what the developers have to say about Tusoteuthis vampyrus:

Wild Tusoteuthis vampyrus is a very aggressive water predator. Approximately 30 feet long, Tusoteuthis is the terror of the deep. Once it grabs its prey, it slowly crushes it into submission while using the talons on its tentacles to siphon and drain the victim of blood.

Tusoteuthis is a terrifying opponent for several reasons. Firstly, its grab slowly renders its victim unconscious, so death isn’t the first concern. Secondly, its vampiric blood drain instantly revitalises it even during combat. And finally, if Tusoteuthis is losing a fight, it sprays a cloud of ink into the water around it, blindinf its attacker to cover a sneaky escape.

Once tamed you can harvest its oily ink and refine it to produce gasoline.

Here is the part where I talk to you about squid IRL because I am excited about them and I have a book about them.

Tusoteuthis is a real genus of cephalopod molluscs from the Cretaceous period. It comprises one known species (Tusoteuthis longa) which probably nibbled other sea creatures but gave no indication of bloodthirsty strangling adventures. That said, there is a vampiric connection as Tusoteuthis is thought the be related more closely to vampire squid than it is to modern giant squid.

Vampire squid are interesting because they occupy a taxonomic space somewhere between a squid and an octopus. They are also interesting for how inappropriately dramatic their name is. Writing in the early twentieth century, author William Beebe once described them as “a very small but terrible octopus, black as night with ivory white jaws and blood red eyes”. Their name, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, translates as “vampire squid from hell”.

As Wendy Williams points out in her book, Kraken, “Recent undersea videos show us a vampire that’s more like a wallflower or a shrinking violet than a demon from hell. Rather than fight, the beleaguered squid sometimes wraps itself up in its own arms so that it looks likd of like a deep-sea tumbleweed. It may cavort and tumble in the water until a confused predator gives up. If that doesn’t work, the squid might distract its enemy by ejecting clouds of ink filled with glowing particles.”

I also like this analysis of a metaphor in Rolling Stone by a Wikipedia editor:

“A 2009 Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi likened investment bank Goldman Sachs to “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Although the metaphor was faulty, since vampire squids do not suck blood or have a “blood funnel”, it was later used by other critics of Goldman Sachs, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

There are a whole bunch of other Dino Dossiers in the pending queue for ARK: Survival Evolved so quite when Tusoteuthis is going to swim onto the scene is unclear. The more immediate future promises competitive multiplayer mode “Survival of the Fittest” and the ability to build things on top of your brontosaurus or plesiosaur. So that’s nice.


  1. LennyLeonardo says:

    Below the thunders of the upper deep,
    Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
    His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
    The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
    About his shadowy sides; above him swell
    Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
    And far away into the sickly light,
    From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
    Unnumbered and enormous polypi
    Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
    There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
    Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
    Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
    Then once by man and angels to be seen,
    In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

  2. Mrice says:

    This game needs boats. Hunting kraken from atop a dinosaur just doesent feel the same.

    • badmothergamer says:

      Coming soon. They are adding rafts and a dune buggy but more importantly adding functionality to the dev kit for modders to easily add more vehicles. From what I’ve seen they are going to rely on the mod community to really take over vehicles since they don’t have the resources for it right now.

  3. Minglefingler says:

    Lovely article, it put a smile on my cynical old face. It also sent me to Amazon to buy a book about squid and reminded me that I have a China MiĆ©ville novel which I’ve negelcted to start.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Oh man, read it!

      • Minglefingler says:

        I’ve got a Joe Abercrombie to get through, it’s been moved to the of the pile after that. I had actually forgotten that I’d bought it till tonight. Now I’m off to the local bar to quote Tennyson at some ladies and see if they swoon. My reputation is already in tatters.

    • SamChan says:

      Made an account to badger (squid?) Pip into reading Kraken by China Mieville. She could start her own squid cult!

  4. shrieki says:

    i really like the artwork for this game. wish subnautica had some of this kind of “creature sketches” and descriptions.

  5. teije says:

    Several years I read every book I could find on cephalopods and came very close to buying an octopus of my own. I was only deterred when I found out how tragically short-lived the octopus was. I couldn’t cope with a pet dying over a couple years.

    But still, the most fascinating group of creatures to inhabit the earth. Besides hummingbird moths, of course.

  6. Andy_Panthro says:

    “you can harvest its oily ink and refine it to produce gasoline.”

    That bit just sticks out for me. Is the intention of the game to end up with modern-ish era equipment? I kinda assumed that with the dinosaurs and stuff you’d be in a more pre-industrial technological state. It also seems like an odd choice for that step, since you would think having tar pits or similar and refining from there would be a better (and more accessible) idea. Having a stationary resource point like that would also provide a place to be fought over, captured and maintained, a source of power for whichever tribe/faction could hold onto it.

    • frightlever says:

      You should watch some videos. The game has rocket launchers, GPS trackers, mini-gun sentries. All late game stuff, of course.

      Your tar pit idea makes WAY more sense than harvesting it from sea animals, even if whale oil set a precedent.

      One piece of technology I would like to see is a pair of long fall boots from Portal because I have died more times from falling than from just about anything else, and since your body tumbles forever it makes item recovery pretty tricky.

      • badmothergamer says:

        Keep parachutes on hotkey. :)

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        I have only seen early-game videos (didn’t want to spoil anything, in case I wanted to jump in).

        My only worry about the tech level being modern (or futuristic) is that it quickly could descend into just another deathmatch involving people with guns (and occasional dinosaurs).

    • badmothergamer says:

      The game goes into modern tech already as frightlever mentioned but they are also working on a sci-fi tier that will have future tech. They are saying it should be released sometime in September.

      The great thing is the staff also maintains a mod for servers to use where only primitive (stone and lower) techs are available, so if you are like me and want to RP more of a caveman with dinosaurs experience, it’s simple to do.

    • SamChan says:

      The twist is that all the dinosaurs are actually petroleum sources. To harvest them, you need to kill them and wait for a cool-down timer for a couple million years.

  7. Distec says:

    Nope. Nope. NOPE.

    Cannot NOPE hard enough on this. My first act as Lord of the Games would be to outlaw any depiction of these fucking aliens from ever appearing in entertainment software.

    It’s bad enough with sharks and ichthyosaurs. But the moment you give it multiple appendages it turns into a creature from my darkest nightmares.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t sold on ARK to begin with, but if they’re going to put giant nightmarish marine life in it, no way in hell will I ever touch it. I cannot deal with giant looming -things- in the deep. At all.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        While I am not ready th swear off the game, I totally get what you guys are saying. I cannot remember how many nightmares I had as a child where I was out swimming in an ocean stretching as far as the eyes can see in all directions, water as dark as to almost be black and yet somehow aware of the lumbering beasts somewhere beneath me, tentacles and rows of fangs just biding their time.

        • melancholicthug says:

          Holy crap, those were your actual dreams?! I’d probably swear off sleeping altogether if it’d been me.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        You can do like you do in real life and just not go in the water.

  8. Xzi says:

    That’s neat and all, but they might want to worry about refining the core gameplay experience and fixing bugs/optimization issues before adding more content which will probably just add more bugs and optimization issues.

    • WildBill says:

      Or, they might want to follow normal game development practices and focus on adding content during the alpha phase, then work on the bugs, optimization, balance and refinement during the beta phase.

  9. Nimble Cat says:

    Thanks for the squid lesson!

    This game does look worth trying at some point. If only for the dinosaurs.

  10. TheOneFlow says:

    Has this become more playable since launch? Had a go at it at a colleagues house and it didn’t run too well on his rig. (Which is pretty powerful)

    • Flank Sinatra says:

      My question exactly. Back when it was first released on Steam I tried to play this on my GTX 770 and could only manage medium settings, which look horrible. I got a refund, but if they have optimized it and made improvements, I’d like to give it another go. If you have to have a 600 dollar video card to get the kind of graphics seen in the screenshots, then forget it.

  11. DaPyro says:

    *Tames Squid, Names it Kraken*


  12. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    This is one of those times I love (rather than just enjoy) reading RPS. Games! Science! Sciencey interesting stuff and recommended reading! Staring eye!