In the surge of survival games that flooded the market around the time of Minecraft‘s release, only a few were able to carve out an audience and survive. Those that did were the ones that had strong mechanics, lots of content, and a unique spin on the world. Ark: Survival Evolved was a little late to the party in some ways, hitting early access in 2015 and fully launching in 2017, but was a hit right from the start. That was, of course, thanks to the key feature of the game: dinosaurs.
Ark 2 is a rare sequel to a game that typically tries to simply build on and expand a base game with constant updates. However, a sequel was not only announced but also has the involvement of none other than Vin Diesel himself. Seeing Diesel riding on the back of a T-Rex might be enough to sell most people on this ambitious survival game alone, but for everyone else who needs a bit more information before investing in this prehistoric adventure, here’s everything we know about Ark 2.
Originally announced in 2020, and scheduled for 2022, the date has been pushed back to a vague 2023 during the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase in 2022. With no further information than that, we suggest you don’t expect this game until late 2023 until we hear otherwise.
Unlike Ark: Survival Evolved, Ark 2 will launch on console and PC simultaneously. However, as indicated by Microsoft on their website, Ark 2 will be a console launch exclusive for the Xbox Series X/S. That means that, for some duration of time, PlayStation 5 players will not be able to play. This could be as little as three months but could also as long as a year depending on the deal. We do know that it will only be a PC and current-generation game, though, so no Xbox One or PS4 versions will come out at all.
The announcement trailer for Ark 2 made its debut on the Game Awards stage in December 2020 with a flashy, and lengthy, video.
The trailer opens on a girl observing a strange creature camouflaged as a flower. She watches it scurry along a branch as none other than caveman Vin Diesel comes up from behind and tells her they need to leave. They rejoin their small tribe wandering through the jungles but are stalked by cloaked beast-men. Vin faces off against the leader of this group in a drawn-out battle that ends up getting cut short when a T-Rex breaks through the trees and eats the beast-man.
As it attacks Vin’s tribe, someone sacrifices themselves to save the girl. There’s a lot of fighting, running, and epic music until Vin, the girl, and a woman escape into a cave. Here, we see that everyone has a glowing stone embedded in their forearms that is reacting to some sci-fi technology. A screen scans Vin, identifying him as Santiago Da Costa, along with a bunch of details about him, including that his Engram Imprinting is incomplete and he’s restricted from cloning access.
Santiago turns off the device, and they leave the cave and stand on a massive vista of impossible landmasses and dinosaurs.
Acting almost like a re-reveal of sorts, the next Ark 2 trailer didn’t drop until the June 2022 Microsoft and Bethesda Showcase.
This much shorter trailer finally gives a little context to the story and world of Ark 2. The opening monologue from Meeka, the girl from the first trailer and daughter of Diesel’s Santiago, explains that there was a war in the past that led to the state of the world being a mashup of prehistoric animals and futuristic technologies. Their life on this new planet, which was populated by animals sent there from Earth, is a constant struggle for survival.
The big shot of the trailer is Santiago and Meek riding on the back of a massive dinosaur that has been decked out with a saddle and armor.
Despite the major focus in the trailers so far being on Diesel’s Santiago character, Ark 2 will still primarily be a sandbox game just like the first. According to the lore from the first game, Santiago is actually a clone of the player character from that game. Ark 2 will be placed after the final expansion to the first game from 2021, though there was never a huge emphasis placed on story in the first place.
Everything shown of Ark 2 has been cinematic, but as a sequel, a lot should carry over from the first game. We expect it to remain focused on survival and crafting, with tons of recipes, things to discover, upgrade, build, and all that fun stuff. Either alone or with friends, we anticipate a game where you start off with nothing but can work your way up to near-invincible levels. The first also had tribe mechanics, and some very interesting ways characters could interact with each other.
Combat, again drawing from the first game, may or may not have as much futuristic weaponry. We haven’t seen any yet, but the first hosted all manner of sci-fi guns next to your primitive spears and axes. As in any shared-world survival game, you can team up with, or fight against, other human players along with the AI enemies.
Combat is said to be more Souls-like, in which locking on, dodging, combos, poise, and special moves are all included. To go along with this, in a big change, Ark 2 will now be a third-person game rather than first-person. Not only will this help with the new combat, but also the new methods of traversal.
Ark 2 will feature plenty of RPG elements, mainly in the form of leveling up and working through a skill tree with different abilities, parks, and buffs.
Finally, the big one: dinosaurs. There was no way Ark 2 would ditch that aspect, and it looks like they’re doubling down on the ability to tame and ride on these prehistoric monsters. How it will work this time around, we don’t know, but we’re excited to find out.
Ark 2 is fully multiplayer, and that’s about all we know so far. We don’t know what multiplayer mechanics from the first will carry over, or even how many players will be able to be in the same world together. We also don’t know if you can make your own, private world and play alone at this time.
Ark: Survival Evolved thrived thanks to dozens of updates and DLC additions, so Ark 2 is almost certainly going to follow that same trend. It isn’t technically being billed as a live service game, but in the same way that Minecraft is, Ark 2 is meant to be a game you keep coming back to whenever a new zone, dino, or set of items to make is added.
Once cool feature is that user-created mods, which allow for new monsters, items, and even game mechanics, will be shared between PC and consoles.
There’s just the big, wide year of 2023 for a release window right now, so no pre-orders are available anywhere. However, there is the option for PC users to add the game to your wishlist on Steam if you want to get ahead of the game. For everyone else, we’ll let you know when true pre-orders go up.