ARK Survival Ascended: Remake of ARK 1 to be Released in August

Published: Apr. 04, 2023
Updated: Apr. 04, 2023

German English

With the published roadmap of the ARK franchise by Studio Wildcard, the developers have announced ARK Survival Ascended. Basically, it is a remake of ARK 1 but offers additional content. Nevertheless, it has negative aspects, and we tell you what you need to know.

Here's what's going on: On 31 March, Studio Wildcard not only announced the postponement of ARK 2 by a whole 18 months but also presented ARK Survival Ascended. This is a remake of the first part based on the Unreal Engine 5.

ARK Survival Ascended: All Details on the Unreal Engine 5 Update

At the beginning of January, Wildcard used a meme to tease an update to Unreal Engine 5. Now they have announced that they will go through with their plan and completely redevelop ARK 1 based on UE5. The developers seem to have been working on this for some time, because the release of ARK Survival Ascended is planned for the end of August 2023.

The game will not only be a prettier version of the original, but will also offer several improvements and new content. Exact details are not given here yet, but they give us a few teasers anyway:

  • Unreal Engine 5 Overhaul with Nanite, Lumen and RTXDI
  • Dynamic Water
  • Interactive Foliage
  • Unreal Engine 5 performance gains: instanced-rendering (large-bases etc.), threaded server networking, and native physics engine
  • Cross-platform Multiplayer
    • This includes cross-platform accounts and cross-progression, cross-voice chat & friends, etc. No matter what platform you start playing on, you can access your account, character, dinos, and items on a different platform for the ultimate cross-platform experience.
  • Cross-platform Modding
    • Premium Mods: Reviewed by Overwolf and Wildcard for quality control and value, Mod authors will optionally be able to specify price points for their Mods (with 50% of the price point going to the Mod author). This is necessary to pay for the custom infrastructure required for Overwolf to support, administrate, and deliver Mods to the console.
  • Cross-platform Anti-Cheat
  • Survival of the Fittest
    • SOTF will be integrated into the main product as a new fully-supported game mode. It will have a dedicated team that will continue to work on more gameplay changes, mechanical improvements, quality of life, maps, and balance adjustments. The initial mode will be revamped with an exclusive ARK: Survival Ascended update, including:
      • Upgraded to Unreal Engine 5 with complete cross-platform and cross-modding support (the SOTF UE5 source content will be released for modders to utilize as they wish within ASA)
      • Scorched Earth SOTF Map
      • Matchmaking queue
      • Character and Creature customization with cosmetics
      • Local Lobby where you can group up with your friends, configure the look of your survivor and dinos, and queue up for lobbies together
      • Lots of bug-fixes and balance and functionality improvements
  • Art Assets are being upgraded throughout the entire game
  • Newly-designed holiday events take advantage of the next-gen pipeline, released as mods, so they’re always available to play!
  • New content, QOL improvements, balance, and gameplay changes, including but not limited to:
    • Updated mini-map (pan, zoom, pings, etc – similar to the SOTF mini-map)
    • New structures (display cases, smaller TEK Teleporters) & building QOL improvements (snap fixes, increased foundation support, foundation height adjustments, and more)
    • Queueing System
    • New third-person camera (with the option to opt out)
    • Directional Sprinting and Walking
    • Ping system
    • Gamepad cursor
    • Chibi Slot and Skins Tab
    • Balance passes (e.g. Cave Entrances, MEKs, Aberration Creatures, more breedable creatures, etc)
    • …and more! (seriously, a lot more, this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’ll get super long if we list everything, and there’s more we’ll decide to do between now and launch too)

ARK Survival Ascended Costs $80 – What Will happen to Survival Evolved?

A bit of a shock for many players but an understandable step from the developer's point of view. ARK Survival Ascended will not be made available as a free update, as originally announced, but will be offered as a stand-alone product in the shop.

Thus, ARK Survival Ascended will be offered for €49.99 for PC and Xbox in the first year, i.e., until August 2024. However, this includes a copy of ARK 2, including 1-month early access to the game at the end of 2024. PlayStation 5 players, who may not receive ARK 2 until 2025 or 2026, can purchase Ascended individually for €39.99.

If you want to play the expansions, you'll have to dig into your pockets again and buy two expansion passes:

  • $19.99 for Explorer’s Pass, which includes Scorched Earth, Aberration (Q4 2023), and Extinction (Q1 2024).
  • $19.99 for Genesis Pass, which includes Genesis Part 1 (Q1 2024) and Genesis Part 2 (Q2 2024).

What the community says: Even if this decision and pricing policy is initially met with outrage, there are also fans who find it reasonable. Millions of players have spent hundreds or even thousands of hours with ARK 1, and over the last 8 years there have always been expansions and smaller updates.

Wildcard needs to make money to fund ongoing development and without BattlePass or an in-game shop, they have no choice. Yet there is criticism that Wildcard previously promised that this would be a free update and then they just change it without apologising.

What Happens to ARK Survival Evolved at the End of August 2023?

As soon as ARK Survival Ascended is released, the slow death of ARK 1 will begin. Because Survival Evolved will no longer receive any major updates from that point on, apart from a new dino from the last community vote, no new events and only minor bug fixes will be released. The official servers will also be shut down, although you can save your gamefile locally to continue playing on your own.

The Rhyniognatha will be the last new creature in ARK.

According to this, ARK 1 will only have private servers available, which will probably all switch to the optimised ARK Survival Ascended over time. ARK 1 will therefore suffer a slow death until everyone has switched to Ascended at some point.

What do you think of the UE5 update? Will you buy the game again and look forward to the new features and the optimized game experience, or will you stay with ARK 1? Write us your opinion in the comments!

Are you looking for more helpful guides on ARK: Survival Evolved? Then look at our ARK guide overview, where you will find more of our dinosaur, crafting, resource, and technology guides. You can also chat with us and other players on our Discord server. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Sascha Asendorf is the co-founder of Guided.news and has been running online magazines in the gaming sector since 2013. Starting with a strong focus on survival games, Sascha now deals a lot with role-playing games and is an expert on survival and RPG titles like Conan Exiles, Baldurs Gate 3 & Cyberpunk 2077.
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