When thinking about Early Access survival games a lot of things come to mind, most of them extremely rude. ‘Hunger Games-style e-sports mode’ is, perhaps surprisingly, not one of them. ARK: Survival Evolved has proved to be the best and most successful of the “but with dinosaurs” survival sub-genre by not being a totally unfinished buggy hunk of crap. Now it’s expanding to include ‘Survival of the Fittest’ – a game mode where tribes battle it out to be the last one standing.
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If you’re familiar with the line of teen-novels-cum-slightly-crap-movies, you’ll recognise the set up. Teams start in the middle of a large map and can choose to either bomb it for the weapons cache in the center or flee to the outer edges. To prevent stalemates a “continually shrinking ring of death” pushes inwards, making space tight. Obviously, all the usual ARK systems are in place to let you ride dinosaurs into your enemies.
The mode will be revealed for the first time on August 1st, streamed live via Twitch. 35 teams are going to battle it out, with viewers able to vote on which of a series of events take place every 30 minutes. One of them is called Dino Assault and, knowing nothing else about it, I suggest voting for it whenever possible.
Fraser quite enjoyed the game in its original Early Access version, but suggested readers wait until it’s more stable and has better performance. Given they’re introducing PvP modes, I would hope significant strides have been made in that area.