Ark remaster delayed, now early access, but cheaper

Ark Survival Ascended, the Unreal Engine 5 remaster of Survival Evolved, is delayed into October and will now launch in early access, with more maps in 2024.

Ark Surival Ascended delay - a brown-haired woman grimaces as a shadow falls across her face.

Ark Survival Ascended is delayed into October, as developer Studio Wildcard announces that the Unreal Engine 5 Ark remaster for the beloved dino survival game will now launch in early access. Ark Survival Ascended will also be broken up into parts, with The Island releasing first, Scorched Earth set for December, and the other maps arriving at a later date in 2024.

“With what we’ve learned about remastering The Island from the ground-up, it wouldn’t be feasible to complete Scorched Earth to a standard we’re happy with,” Studio Wildcard announces on its blog. “We had initially planned to ship with more content on day one, but that won’t be happening.” As such, the team is also slightly lowering the game’s launch price point to $45 (down from $60), with an extra discount for those who pick it up at release.

The remaster was initially announced as a way for the team to familiarize itself with Unreal Engine 5 development before Ark 2. It was then reframed slightly, with the team responding to negative feedback by instead bundling all the expansions into one package, which would be priced at the aforementioned $60.

Now, with the delay from August to October, you’ll get the package for $45, or a discounted $40 if you buy in when the game releases in early access. However, as mentioned above, you’ll just get access to The Island initially – Studio Wildcard’s current plan is “that Scorched Earth will be coming to ASA in December this year, Ragnarok and Aberration will follow in Q1 2024, and the rest of the maps beyond then.”

Ark Survival Ascended - weapon comparison between the two versions of Ark.

All of this still appears to have rankled the ire of the game’s normally dedicated playerbase, who have devolved from its initial disappointment and anger that the remaster, which was initially expected to be a free update, is instead a full-price paid product. Instead, the predominant tone right now appears to be a joking one – in particular, the Ark subreddit is currently full of memes about the latest update.

In particular, fans point to the latest weapon comparison image shared as part of the update, which shows a club, bow and arrows, and tools in the original Survival Evolved’s UE4 engine alongside the new-look Survival Ascended equivalent. “They’re the same picture,” one post remarks, in reference to the popular meme of Pam from The Office US.

“We know you’re excited, curious, and skeptical; we understand,” Studio Wildcard says. “Our plan is to show gameplay close to the launch of ASA, as that’ll be when it’s completely ready and will best represent the final product, so you’ll have to stay tuned until then.”

Ark Survival Ascended - a man rides a dinosaur through a forest.

It also confirms that, to match the delay, the Ark Survival Evolved official network will now be shut down on September 30, 2023 instead. In addition to this, the delay to Scorched Earth means that you won’t be able to transfer your server when Survival Ascended launches; instead, server transfers “will become enabled when Scorched Earth releases in December.”

Ark Survival Ascended releases in October 2023 on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S at an early access price of $44.99, with a launch discount bringing it to $39.99 at release. The game is planned to stay in early access until “late 2024 once all the content has finished its next-generation remastering.”

For now, you can play the original Ark Survival Evolved via PC Game Pass, if you have an active subscription to Microsoft’s game library. Ark 2 is planned to join it there, but there’s currently no confirmation whether Survival Ascended will be on the service.

We’ve got more of the best dinosaur games on PC if you love a bit of prehistoric frivolity, or you can check out the best Ark mods for plenty of ways to enhance your game right now.