Studio Wildcard shared a plethora of ARK: Survival Evolved information in a Twitch livestream Sunday evening after it achieved its $25,000 Extra Life fundraising goal. The studio shared some PlayStation 4 details, which includes a December release, plus a little of its roadmap leading up to the PC and Xbox One versions exiting Early Access. There was also a mention of cross-play and the Nintendo Switch.
ARK: Survival Evolved has been submitted to Sony for certification on the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro, as previously covered here. The game will feature the same content as the Xbox One version and will share the same update schedule. Patches may or may not release at the same time as the certification processes for both Sony and Microsoft aren’t always on the same schedule.
The PS4 Pro looks like it may be the preferred console platform as it will receive a resolution bump from the current 720p and can run consistently above 30 frames per second (fps) and reach 60 fps occasionally. The exact resolution the new console will support was not announced.
“I’m really impressed with the PS4 Pro’s level of performance,” Lead Developer and Studio Wildcard Co-Founder Jeremy Stieglitz said during the livestream.
“I think Sony has done a hell of a lot of good with that hardware. It’s the first time I can ever recall loading up a console and being like ‘holy s***, there is some serious power in this.'”
While the PlayStation 4 will receive ARK: Survival Evolved this December, the PC and Xbox One editions will not exit Early Access this holiday season. This means an early 2017 release, but all three versions of the game will be the same. The game is just releasing to the PS4 without the “Early Access” moniker. To be clear, there will be no content differences between the three platforms than typically occurs now between PC and console. How deep the official release of the game goes into 2017 depends on Studio Wildcard’s roadmap, which they plan to share in the coming weeks.
Stieglitz did share a little of what is planned in the coming months. Work continues on Procedurally Generated ARKS, which were just recently introduced to the PC version. This will be added to the Xbox One version in December.
The user interface will get a complete overhaul prior to the official launch, but after the PS4 release. More gameplay options in the pause menu were also mentioned such as more exposure to server settings for single-player and missing items such as the ability to toggle certain graphics options like bloom and light shafts on consoles.
ARK Survivors on the Xbox have asked for the ability to scroll back in the chat window pretty much since the release of the game. That is coming along with the option to switch between first-person and third-person mode with the press of a button instead of going into the menus.
There is also loads of more content coming to the game. The caves on The Island are getting a graphical and performance refresh with loot changes, including an Explorer Notes chest. The Tek Tier will also likely be introduced early next year, based on comments from Stieglitz, which will add even more sci-fi tools, weapons, and armor to craft.
Existing dinosaurs will get a “TLC” pass, as previously covered. This includes updating the models and skins used for the original animals that came with ARK: Survival Evolved as well as giving some of them new abilities. The Rex, Raptors, and Spinosaurus have been among those mentioned.
Expect to see more time spent dedicated towards optimizing ARK: Survival Evolved leading into the official release too. Stieglitz mentioned putting more resources towards making the game and its servers run better. The upcoming 250.0 PC patch notes list a 20 percent server performance increase, for example.
Cross-platform play between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was mentioned by Stieglitz. However, fans should expect the same amount of progress as Rocket League has enjoyed, which is to say none. The Lead Developer says there are no technical limitations hindering cross-play in ARK: Survival Evolved, but it does require approval from Microsoft and Sony. The former is all for it while the latter has shown they are not particularly enthusiastic.
Xbox Play Anywhere was not discussed during the livestream. However, Studio Wildcard previously mentioned it is targeting a December release.
There was talk of the missing DX12 update promised for ARK: Survival Evolved. It was placed on hold due to the fact testing showed it was resource intensive and did not give the anticipated performance gains at the time. Studio Wildcard also has only one graphics engineer on staff and he has had higher priority items to tackle, such as performance improvements.
Improvements have been made to the Unreal Engine 4 engine’s handling of DX12 since Studio Wildcard’s last test. The developer plans to explore DX12 once again after the current crunch to the official release. Support for AMD’s Vulkan graphics API and Apple’s Metal graphics API were also mentioned for some time in 2017.
Studio Wildcard has also been talking with Nintendo about bringing ARK: Survival Evolved to the Nintendo Switch. It’s possible the game could come to the new console, but there is no guarantee and it would be well after the launch of the new console if does happen.
Finally, there are no plans for any additional paid ARK: Survival Evolved expansions prior to the official release. The release of the Scorched Earth expansion while the game is in Early Access continues to be a controversial point among the gaming community. Stieglitz said the team is focused solely on getting the main game done now.
[Featured Image by Studio Wildcard]
[Edit: Added clarification about the PS4 release not being different from the PC and Xbox One versions.]