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Ark 2: Stuck in Limbo?

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With the recent push for recruiting and expansion within the Tactical Gaming community comes a search for new titles to bring to Vanguard. While some promising titles have been tried and turned out not to be great fits for the organization (Hunt, Valorant, Division, etc) the majority of 2023 releases were simply incompatible with coordinated gaming.


Releases like Starfield, Baldur’s Gate, Diablo, Legend of Zelda, and Dead Space have rocked the gaming industry this year, diverting the average player’s attention away from competitive team-based titles. While I personally have been relieved to see a resurgence in the single-player and cooperative genres, this has not been conducive to the growth of TG. 


The search for new titles to introduce has revealed that some of the most compatible games simply aren’t here yet, which has us optimistically looking forward to 2024 with wide eyes. One title that I have been watching like a hawk is Ark 2, but its future is uncertain at best. The sequel to one of the greatest open-world survival games ever released should be an easy pick for our next big title, but that can only happen if it is released in a playable state (or at all).


Originally set to release in 2022 but pushed back twice to an unspecified date in late 2024, Wildcard Studios has stated that the delays were “for the betterment of the final product.” To be fair, any studio that can admit its own shortcomings and address them pre-release deserves to be credited for doing so, but a roughly 48-month delay is cause for concern. As of late October 2023, the studio has still not announced a release date for the following year, indicating a lack of certainty that could spell trouble.


In addition to the lack of a clear release date, the absence of gameplay footage is also troubling to many Ark fans. While cinematic trailers featuring Vin Diesel are visually appealing, the studio has failed to release even a single clip or screenshot of actual gameplay. PCGamesN reports that this is because the game “simply isn’t ready yet,” which brings to question whether a title that is entirely unready for visual presentation can be ready for release within a year. 


Diving into the potential causes of Wildcard’s delays is not a difficult task by any means. To start, the studio is not working on a sequel to Ark: Survival Evolved in the typical sense. Rather than maintaining the majority of the original game’s mechanics and focusing primarily on developing a new story/setting, the developer is essentially rebooting the game entirely. 


Anyone familiar with Ark knows that it is primarily a first-person survival game with rugged combat and building systems similar to Rust. Ark 2, on the other hand, will be a third-person exclusive title with “souls-like combat” and parkour-adjacent movement systems. This is an absolutely massive shift in gameplay mechanics which, tied with the decision to utilize Unreal Engine 5, puts an immense amount of work on the shoulders of its developers. It is worth noting that Wildcard partially credited the well-being of its development team as a cause for the most recent release date setback.


In addition to purely mechanical changes to the Ark title, Wildcard Studios is also proudly pursuing other significant improvements on the original title. Component-based crafting, dynamic world events, advanced template building/sharing, and sensory-based creature AI are but a few of the massive improvements prophesied on the official Ark blog.


As if the massive mechanical overhaul and vast array of gameplay improvements weren’t enough, Ark 2 will be deviating from the primarily unguided storyline in Ark: Survival Evolved by following an epic storyline starring Vin Diesel. Hired to both lead creative development and to star in the game as legendary Ark hero Santiago, the Fast Franchise star is surely putting his best foot forward to ensure the delivery of a high-quality product.


Ark 2 undoubtedly has the potential to redefine the survival genre and raise the bar for all future games of its likeness. By combining souls-like combat, parkour movement, and Ark’s own survival-builder mechanics, this title could blow every competitor out of the water and set the foundation for years of expansions and additional releases. The major concerns associated with this title are the repeated delays, massive mechanical overhauls, utilization of Unreal Engine 5, and potential marketing complications associated with deviating too much from the previous title.


As of now, Ark 2 is an enigma of sorts. Few studios have attempted to make such great leaps as Wildcard has with this new title, and fewer have succeeded. Now all we can do is hope that the studio is able to complete the game before running out of money, and without making major sacrifices to the quality of the finished product.


What do you think about the current direction Wildcard is taking with Ark 2? Let us know in the comments below!


User Feedback

No mention of Ark: Survival Ascended?

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