Given what happened to the last open-world multiplayer survival game with dinosaur-riding, I've been a little reserved about Ark: Survival Evolved [official site]. But after a week on Steam Early Access, the game's sitting happily in Steam's top-ten most-played games list and - complaints about bugs, AI, and performance aside - seems to be going down fairly well with players.
A hearty update is due to arrive later this week, bringing the amphibious Spinosaurus to fight and ride, performance improvements, tribal governance systems, new structures to build, and the ability for flying creatures to pick up smaller creatures. Ooh! Just like in the movies!
Developers Studio Wildcard say in the future patch notes that they expect this first GPU optimisation pass will bring high-end systems performance gains of about 10%, mid-range about 20%, and 30% for low-end ones. That's not a bad start. They're giving balance a going-over too.
The 'Jurassic Ark' update is due to launch this Friday, uncoincidently alongside the release of Jurassic World in cinemas. It sounds like they're throwing in an in-joke or two, with cosmetic items like 'Nerdry's Glasses' to find.
Wildcard also mention that Ark has sold almost 450,000 copies in the first week. I'd thought we might be nearing the point where new Early Access survival games no longer excite people so, especially given how many duffers we've seen, but that's impressive. H1Z1 sold really well too, especially considering it'll eventually be free-to-play.
Ark: Survival Evolved is £19.08 on Steam Early Access. The full launch is planned for June 2016.