Ark: Survival Evolved leaving early access in August

After two years in early access, the dinosaur-riding sandbox survive-o-craft ’em up Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] will leave early access and launch on August 8th. It’s not clear how much this will actually change the game, as creators Studio Wildcard say they still plan to keep adding things after launch, but perhaps they’ll finally sort out Ark’s performance problems. And if wishes were raptors, beggars would ride, eh?

Before then, Wildcard are still busy. Today they launched Ragnarok, a free fantasy-ish makeover mod and new island. It’s the first mod from the Ark Sponsored Mods Program, which pays modders to mod, to get be officially added to Ark.

“The past two years have been one heck of a journey!” Wildcard say in today’s announcement. They originally planned to be in early access for only one year but have been busy these past two, with a content update or two coming every month. Additions have increasingly focused on late-game content for organised groups of serious players, who are often reviled as murderous dominating gits – though Ark does support private servers and offline play too. Anyway! Wildcard continue:

“With your help, we’re now about to reach the completion of core content for ARK: Survival Evolved and release the full game to the world!

“That was just the beginning; now we’ll be entering the next phase of our journey. Players who have been with us throughout this early access program and were excited with the launch of each update, have even more reason to be excited! ARK is going to become even more fun with surprise new content at launch and beyond, as we continue to have a massive amount of additional gameplay, creatures, and story elements in the works.”


As for Ragnarok, that is out now as a free expansion on Steam. It adds a huge new map which looks a bit like it should be in one of those TV shows with beardy men, and boshes in new creatures and a boss too. And yup, if you get a Griffin here you can take it back to the regular island. Here, have a look:

I do like the idea of Ark’s Sponsored Mods Program, which pays selected modders $4,000 per month to work on their mods. It’s a nice recognition that mods can be a huge boon – and selling point – for a game and that they take time and effort to make. Ark has been high in the Steam sales charts since it’s came out, and it’s good to see them put some of that money directly towards mods.

While I’m sorta on the subject, did you see Bethesda are relaunching paid mods for Fallout and Skyrim? They’ll sell a curated selection of purpose-made mods, essentially turning modders into DLC developers. I prefer Ark’s idea, obvs, but this new plan beats Skyrim’s first crack at paid mods.


  1. Halk says:

    Cool. I wonder when they’ll release the first paid DL… oh.

    • Bull1128 says:

      Wonder when they’ll release the first paid dlc worth 20$…oh wait.

  2. vexis58 says:

    I love dinosaurs and survival games, but I feel like I missed the boat since all my friends already played it and got bored with it two years ago. I’ve played enough unfinished games to be stubborn now about waiting until a game is done and released to buy it, but this has been way too long of a wait and I’m not even sure if I still care anymore.

    • JarinArenos says:

      You missed a pint of fun, but gallons of pain, so you’re honestly better off.

  3. cajuncustom says:

    Isnt even close to being worthy of a Release more of a just got outa Alpha moving to Beta , was to many performance issues that will be pushed off on customer looking for a good game , you will get more of a headache

  4. DodgyG33za says:

    Nearly 200 hours played, but it feels like most of that was grinding or frantically looking for my body in the undergrowth or shallows before it despawned, all playing on a private server.

    It could be a lot of fun, but it is grindy as hell. I really don’t have time to spend an hour grinding for a clip of ammo.

    Which is a shame because it is visually stunning, and riding dinosaurs is really good fun.

    • MajorLag says:

      So many otherwise decent games have been ruined by trying to imitate the worst parts of Minecraft.

    • Nelyeth says:

      That’s why I play with modifiers. 15x taming speed, because taking 6 hours to tame a dino is downright bollocks when you play a couple hours every other day, a mod to find my body, and 1.5x harvesting rate (could have gone higher, but it’s more a matter of finding the right dino to harvest). Played 139 hours totes, 50 solo, the rest with a friend, and almost all of it was a blast. I’d say I spent 10 hours raging about crashes/bugs/dino deaths.

    • fish99 says:

      If it’s a private server, why not adjust the drop/taming/xp rates to suit your tastes?

  5. rickn99 says:

    I “played” this on one of the free weekends a while back.

    “OK, I’ve spawned on a beach. I guess I should—” **DEATH**

    “Respawned on a different beach. Lets get out of the open and—” **DEATH**

    “Hmmm, in a different spot. I guess I’ll…is that a scorpion?” **DEATH**

    “OK, I’m good.” Uninstalls.

    • Gaminggumper says:

      While this is pretty common (especially if you spawn in the wrong starting location), you don’t lose any progress just whatever may have been on your corpse. Once you manage to scrounge for enough materials to create your first thatch hut, this will become a much less common occurrence.
      Like Naomi says, if you can find a well moderated private server, the game can be a real joy. Currently over 400+ hours in the game. Those complaining about “optimization” haven’t likely logged into the game in the last six months. It runs much better than it did all those months ago.

  6. Jrpetrak02 says:

    does this mean we will have to buy it again or do people who own it in early access get a copy for free?

  7. LockeCPM4 says:

    They didn’t launch Valhalla, they launched Ragnarok (by the makers of the Valhalla map).

  8. fish99 says:

    It’s gonna be so nice to finally play this game in its fully optimized state ;)

  9. Max_80 says:

    I dont know why everyone is so salty…this is the best death simulator I have ever seen!!!

  10. Naomi Swift says:

    I personally love this game and have my own non-official server open to everyone since Jan 2016, that officially switched to Ragnarok after a trial period and everyone voted. I’ve logged in nearly 3,700 hours of gameplay since Ark first came out and I’m looking forward to when its optimized and running at its best. So many people complain and cry because they bought an EARLY RELEASE game that doesn’t run perfectly or that the official servers are not modderated and if your not a top tribe that your screwed (which is true). Hence, why there are Un-official servers that are privately owned and moderated so others don’t kill your game fun.

  11. TheAudiophile34 says:

    I say this as someone that has 2500+ hours in Ark, Survival Evolved.
    I have played official, Unofficial, Solo, hell I have even been an admin of a popular Ark Server. I can honestly say, best $25 I have ever spent on a game. Hell even scorched earth at $20 was well worth it. Over the last year I have noticed slight improvements to Ark, From 2 years ago when I could hardly run ark at 60fps1080P, to now when it is supported by Geforce Experience and runs nicely at 4K 60FPS :). Not to mention the texture changes that make ark look stunning. Roughly a year ago Ark would crash at launch 40% of the time, you would spawn in your base and be unable to move then fall through the map to your death losing all your hard work. I can honestly say I have not had a random crash/fall through map incident in well over a month, and before that it was usually the mods the server was running.

    Bottom line, Yes I think Ark is almost ready for an official release, I am excited to see the new content that will come with the new stature!