Studio Wildcard’s Ark: Survival Evolved was released in Early Access as far back as June of 2015, and it has remained in Early Access to this day. So when the developers of the game announced their new paid expansion called Scorched Earth earlier this week – seemingly out of nowhere – many fans of the game weren’t too happy over their move. The new DLC is reported to include a new desert area along with new tools, creatures, and weapons. However, since the game isn’t officially released, this move made fans question Studio Wildcard’s decision to release a DLC when they have yet to finish the game, creating controversy for the gaming studio. According to PCgamer, many fans voiced their anger over Steam, leaving negative reviews on the game and shifting the overall amount of reviews from mostly positive since its Early Access launch to mostly negative over the last couple of days. So Studio Wildcard and Ark developers were forced to issue a statement in regards to their paid DLC and fans’ frustration over it.
In a blog post from their Survivetheark website, developer community manager, Jat, addressed the issue. In a statement which also introduces a new creature, Jat defended the developers’ rationale:
Put simply: we are absolutely committed to driving aggressive development towards a solid, feature-robust game launch for Ark: Survival Evolved. Everyone at Wildcard wakes up every day thinking about how we can make Art into a better game today that it was the day before. It’s not always easy, but our intent is ever-forward progress towards a retail release that will be far more ambitious in scope and features than our original vision when we launched Ark into Steam Early Access in June 2015. Your feedback enables us to continually expand the game to become better than ever!
Jat goes on to remind fans that the team of developers had always intended to make future expansions to the game, and that releasing one now is the team’s best route for their future goals. Jat reasons that they’d much rather release an expansion now that they’ve finished one, and when their game is still on Early Access, so that players can let them know if they ‘get it right’. They don’t want to gamble with releasing it after the retail launch and getting negative feedback on it.
Jat goes on to state that
we understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and we appreciate the enjoyment people seem to be getting out of this initial view of how Expansion Arks can work. Now that we have the systems in place to support them, we can ensure minimal integration issues with subsequent releases after Ark: Survival Evolved itself has launched.
Whatever fans of Ark have said, or what their frustrations are with the developers, it seems like Studio Wildcard’s bold move was a success – that is, a financial success. Last week, Ark’s Scorched Earth expansion was the week’s top selling game on Steam. Ark: Survival Evolved is still currently on Steam for Early Access and will be until it is scheduled to be officially released for retail purchase sometime in December of this year.