Last week, the unfinished dinosaur survival sim Ark: Survival Evolved got its first expansion, and that led to a backlash from people who think it’s wrong for a studio to sell new content while the base game is still incomplete in its Early Access state. Now, the developer is responding to that criticism.
Studio Wildcard addressed player concerns in a blog post today. The company thanked fans for their support, and then it explained that it is still going to finish the core Ark: Survival Evolved game. The developer also gave its reasoning for launching Scorched Earth for $20 before technically launching the 1.0 version of Survival Evolved. Wildcard claims it wanted to test out linking an expansion and the base game while Ark is still in Early Access on Steam and Game Preview on Xbox One.
“Our original vision for Ark always included the creation of Expansion Arks, along with the infrastructure and technical systems to transfer data dynamically between live Arks,” reads the blog. “We determined that it is more sound to iterate on these systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn’t ‘get it right.’ While that meant unveiling the first Expansion early, it also means an easier time integrating further post-launch Expansions into the Ark network.”
In response to the add-on, fans have pummeled Ark with negative user reviews on Steam. Many complain that this is a greedy move from a developer that only wants to squeeze players for more money. Others claim that the developer took resources away from finishing Survival Evolved to make Scorched Earth. Studio Wildcard has updated Ark around 250 times in the last 12 months, and it’s said that it doesn’t plan to introduce microtransactions for items or cosmetics (though a paid expansion isn’t this same as those).
Regardless, many consumers are upset that they paid for something and now they have to pay for something else if they want to get the full Ark experience. But the studio plans to keep using this expansion method in the future — with the difference that Survival Evolved will likely reach a retail release before a second expansion.
“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,” reads the blog. “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.”