The “something big” teased by Studio Wildcard for ARK: Survival Evolved was finally revealed Thursday. The open-world survival game for the PC and Xbox One will receive its first full-fledged expansion pack, called Scorched Earth, which is full of dragons and desert without much water.
“Scorched Earth is a completely new and different experience from The Island,” Studio Wildcard announced on its website. “Stranded naked, dehydrated and starving on a fiery, drought-ridden desert world, Survivors must immediately seek water, hunt for food, harvest new flora, craft new items, and build shelter from the extreme heat.”
The Scorched Earth expansion costs $19.99 and is currently available to purchase from Steam and the Xbox Store. The expansion comes with an all-new map, which is almost completely desert-based. This changes the dynamic of the game as water goes from being widely available to being scarce. Oases are set at the Obelisks on the map while small water wells are scattered about. Additionally, some new creatures can be used to harvest and store water, like the Jug Bug.
The ARK: Survival Evolved expansion brings more mythical creatures into the game. The fire-breathing Wyvern is added along with Moths, camel-like Morellatops, giant insects, lizards, the ultra-cute Jerboa, and more. There are even Earth Elementals that appear to be regular rocks when dormant until disturbed by Survivors looking to harvest with a pickaxe.
There are two new Alpha creatures in Scorched Earth. The Wyvern is the obvious first-choice, but the second is a Death Worm. These are like the sandworms from Dune and almost as big and nasty.
The new boss creature for ARK: Survival Evolved is the Manticore. This mythical beast guards a secret that high-level survivors can obtain.
Scorched Earth also comes with a hefty amount of new items for ARK: Survival Evolved players to craft. There are over 50 new items in all across weapons, armor, structures, and more. Some of the new weapons include whips, boomerangs, flamethrowers, chainsaws, and swords. Meanwhile, players can build tents and adobe structures.
Wind turbines are another new item to provide powers to Survivors, but they must be built in certain parts of the map that get enough wind. Oil refineries are another new item that can be built to pull oil out of the ground. The oil can be used to power generators or even placed on the ground and set on fire.
Survivors will have to contend with new weather effects, as well. Studio Wildcard has added electrical storms, which will cause power to blink out. There are also sand storms that bring the visibility down to zero and vicious heat waves.
ARK: Survival Evolved players will be able to transfer their characters and items and tames between the vanilla game on the already existing maps and the new Scorched Earth expansion via the new Gateway feature. Player progress will be retained while items and tamed animals transfer between the different versions of the game on unofficial servers.
It’s important to note the Primitive and Primitive Plus game types will not be supported in Scorched Earth. This is because of the difference in items and the overall difficulty of the expansion. Primitive Plus creator Cedrick explained he doesn’t think the official mod he created has the items necessary to survive.
The obvious question is how Studio Wildcard can justify releasing a paid expansion pack when the game is still in Steam Early Access and the Xbox Preview Program. In the Twitch live stream revealing the expansion, community manager Jen explained the studio felt the expansion has enough content to essentially be a new game.
What do you think of the Scorched Earth expansion for ARK: Survival Evolved? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Studio Wildcard]