‘ARK: Survival Evolved’ The Center Map Release To Support More Players, Other Updates

Studio Wildcard is prepping the official release of “The Center” map for the PC and Xbox One this month. The developer has some interesting updates planned for the new map, including an increased player count.

As previously covered, The Center started out as a custom mod for ARK: Survival Evolved created by Ben Burkart, aka Evil Mr. Frank. Studio Wildcard elected to make the hand-designed map an official map for the game and is currently slated to arrive on the Xbox One on May 17 via the 734.0 update and the PC on an unknown date after the release of patch 241.0.

Lead Designer and Co-Creative Director Jeremy Stieglitz has been talking about the work and updates being made to prep “The Center” map for release via his Twitter account. Perhaps the best news revealed is the new map will run better than “The Island.”

“It will be a super-optimized, updated version of TheCenter. It runs better than TheIsland,” Stieglitz said of The Center.


Burkart spent time a significant amount of time optimizing the map himself, as he built the map to compete in a mod contest hosted by Studio Wildcard. It already runs well on the PC despite being almost twice the size of The Island, so it will be interesting to see how it performs on the Xbox One.

The optimizations performed by Burkart and Studio Wildcard on The Center will allow for another significant upgrade – the ability to run 100 player servers. The max player count on official servers for The Island currently sits at 72.

Stieglitz confirmed official servers for both the Xbox One and PC will support the increased player count, saying, “TheCenter is truly an epic (and generally more optimized) map, so it’s time to raise the stakes!”

There will be approximately 60 official ARK: Survival Evolved servers for The Center when it launches on the Xbox One. This will be a mix of PVP and PVE servers. Studio Wildcard plans to “scale rapidly up from there if the demand is there.”

ARK: Survival Evolved - The Center Custom Map (PC) A peek into one of the caves of The Center. [Image via YouTube]It continues to be of interest to see how Studio Wildcard handles its official server count. The developer recently added a fresh batch of servers to the hundreds of servers already available for the Xbox One. Many players rushed the new servers in an attempt to get valuable spots and/or attempt to become an “alpha tribe.” However, the overall player counts on most of the existing servers are still not close to full.

ARK: Survival Evolved players should expect a big draw for The Center when it is released to official servers. In addition to providing a stunning new land to explore, it also hosts a bevy of interesting places. The floating island is obviously one, but there is also an extensive cave system, a Mordor-like island with twin volcanos, ruins to find, and more.

Studio Wildcard has some extras planned for the release of The Center, however. Stieglitz said the official release of the map to ARK: Survival Evolved “will have some major new endgame secrets for Survivors to uncover — also has a tougher difficulty!”

He later added, “Its endgame will challenge even the most hardened veterans.”

ARK: Survival Evolved - The Center (PC, Xbox One) [Image via Studio Wildcard]Here’s a breakdown of what is known about the official release of The Center.

  • Will release with Xbox One update 734.0 targeted for Tuesda, May 17. (Updated from Monday)
  • 60 servers (PVE and PVP) at launch with more added based on demand.
  • PC release will arrive after patch 241.0.
  • Official The Center servers will host 100 players, up from 72 for The Island.
  • The Center has been optimized and performs better than The Island.
  • New endgame secrets added to The Center.

ARK: Survival Evolved will also receive the Primitive+ mod as part of an official release for the Xbox One and PC later this summer.

[Image via Studio Wildcard]

[Update: The release of update 734.0 and The Center for the Xbox One has been moved to Tuesday, May 17. Updated article to reflect this. The PC version of ARK is receiving official servers the same day.]