Studio Wildcard made a shocking announcement Thursday concerning its ARK: Survival Evolved spin-off, Survival of the Fittest. The Hunger Games-style multiplayer arena game is headed to the PlayStation 4 this summer, with no news about the Xbox One.
ARK: Survival of the Fittest is currently targeting a July 19 release to the PlayStation 4. The game is currently free-to-play for PC owners with no micro-transactions. While Studio Wildcard does plan to monetize the game eventually, there has been no mention of what economic model will be used for the console release.
What is confirmed is the PS4 version of ARK: Survival of the Fittest will support splitscreen, local LAN play, possibly offline play against bots, and the monthly cash prizes that are part of the Survivor League. The Xbox One version of ARK: Survival Evolved has received some optimizations that have reached over to the PC version of the game. The PS4 release of Survival of the Fittest should provide the developer with the same opportunity.
For those that aren’t familiar, ARK: Survival of the Fittest started as a total conversion mod for Survival Evolved that pits up to 72 players into a Hunger Games-like match. The twist is, players are competing on an island full of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures that can be tamed or kill you. Players are dropped around a circular platform in the center of the map, where they can make the decision to rush to the middle for supplies, weapons, and an early fight, or take off into the relative safety of the surrounding woods. It’s relative, because the woods are also filled with dinosaurs.
From there, it is a race to craft weapons and armor, plus tame animals without being killed by other players, animals, or your own poor planning. A force field surrounds the arena that slowly shrinks to force players back to the platform where the action all began. Along the way, events will happen in the world, such as carnivores suddenly spawning in to wreak havoc or acid rain to fall and cause damage to armor and players without some kind of shelter. Player profiles are projected into the sky as they die until only one is left standing and can be declared winner.
The Survivor League is Studio Wildcard’s eSports spin on Survival of the Fittest. It provides a dedicated eSport ranking, matchmaking, and rewards for ARK: Survival of the Fittest. The top-10 ranked players in each of the four game modes receive cash prizes of over $50,000. Winners also qualify for invitationals and other future events being planned by the studio to promote the game.
The release of ARK: Survival of the Fittest potentially signals a change for Sony. The game is currently available via Steam Early Access on Steam with a projected release date of the fourth quarter of 2016. The PlayStation 4 currently does not have a system to allow early access type titles on the console, so this is a significant change.
Meanwhile, the Xbox One has the Game Preview Program for ARK: Survival Evolved and other early access games. The status of ARK: Survival of the Fittest is still unknown. I contacted Studio Wildcard to get an answer, but the only response so far has been the following Twitter post from Community Manager Jat Karunakaran.
Update: It appears this may be a timed-exclusive for the PlayStation 4. Studio Wildcard Co-Founder Susan Stieglitz shared on Twitter that the Xbox One will eventually receive ARK: Survival of the Fittest.
Update 2: Here is a complete update on the situation with ARK: Survival of the Fittest coming to PS4 before Xbox One.
What do you think about ARK: Survival of the Fittest coming to the PlayStation 4? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Studio Wildcard]