Ark: Survival Evolved creator responds to price complaints: "That's pretty rich coming from Dean Hall." | PCGamesN

Ark: Survival Evolved creator responds to price complaints: "That's pretty rich coming from Dean Hall."

ark survival evolved dean hall twitter

Back on July 5, Studio Wildcard, the developers of Ark: Survival Evolved, doubled the game’s price. It jumped from $30 to $60. The developers said this was "ARK: Survival Evolved has increased its price on Steam to ensure retail parity for the upcoming launch."

For the full skinny, have a read of our Ark: Survival Evolved guide.

This decision sparked anger in the community, with some, like DayZ creator Dean Hall, calling the move greedy:

Speaking to us earlier this week, Jeremy Stieglitz, Studio Wildcard’s co-founder and design director on Ark: Survival Evolved, explained in greater detail why the price hike had happened and what he thought about Dean Hall’s statement.

“I don't know if we really communicated to the player base exactly why it happened,” Stieglitz says. “We're honestly sometimes not as focused on communication as we should be.” He points out that the community team also manage QA and balancing the game on top of managing its fans – “So they're pretty overwhelmed!”

Stieglitz says that the price increase came from a demand from the retailers who were going to stock Ark in the shops. “They wouldn't accept the digital version being cheaper than the retail version,” Stieglitz explains. “We always intended the game to be $60. What would have been ideal would have been raising the price at the exact point of transition from Early Access to retail but for the pre-orders it was necessary – they wouldn't be able to run a pre-order programme if there was a much cheaper digital version of the game available.”

Even though the game has seen incredible success as a digital title, Stieglitz emphasised how important a retail release was to him. For one, he says, “a lot of players today still don't download games digitally.” The other reason is pride: “I want to see that game on store shelves.”

Ark Survival Evolved

As to Dean Hall saying the decision was “ greed - pure and simple,” Stieglitz says “That's pretty rich coming from Dean Hall. Maybe he should decide to voice his opinion when he finishes his own game.”

And, to the non-Dean Hall Ark players, Stieglitz says, “I can only say first off, I think when the game is finished it's a $60 game. It has huge amounts of content in it, both for a single-player and a multiplayer gamer. I think the scope of the game really speaks for itself. You have a really truly viable single-player mode, a tremendously scaled multiplayer mode that has all kinds of variants to it – PvE, PvP, there's local multiplayer, there's also the large-scale persistent servers, there's tonnes of variety of them – there's an official total conversion that we've included in the game for primitive style gameplay, there's multiple maps as well as procedurally generated maps, and over 600 items you can learn and get in the game and over 100 dinosaurs.

“We have over three times the amount of content in the game now than we did at launch in Early Access. Does that equate to $60? I will say that I've seen a hell of a lot of games for $60 that have a hell of a lot less content and fun factor. I would only say that I'm glad everyone bought in at $30. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them and we'll continue to work hard, both in terms of what has been done in the past and what will be done in the future, to justify $60.

“I can't imagine anyone saying it doesn't have sufficient content to merit $60. Personally, I think it's worth $60 as we head into launch. I hope players do too.”

After a beat, Stieglitz adds: “I'm sure looking forward to Dean Hall's next game.”

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
QDP2 avatarshayne.oneill avatarJmoore avatar
QDP2 Avatar
QDP2(5 hours played)
8 Months ago

The RRP may have been $30, but expected prices were much lower. Standard price-drop (every 2 months) was down 67% off (to just under $10, or £7.58 in the UK). Combined with the Humble Bundle inclusions (both in standard and monthly bundles), the game had more legitimate keys than players. 3rd party websites were flooded with keys and in the past I've seen prices below £5. A bit odd of him to shoot at DayZ, a game that received pretty much no sales (nothing better than 10% in the last 9 months; as far back as records hold). Whilst I am certainly not supporting the buggy flawed game that DayZ is, I find Hall's comments fair in this case.

A price hike is expected pre-launch. Normal procedure to say a thank-you to Early-Access players (for investing early) whilst still making your value from the project. The problem is how heavily Stieglitz and Wildcard sold out with the game. You can't expect price inflation to work overnight. To hike the price to $40, 50 and $60 over the course of release would have kept the community relatively happy. As it currently stands, ARK holds many bad reviews (it's renown as THE worst perpetrator that abused Steams Early Access system) and many comparative titles when it comes to multiplayer survival games. Wildcard's chance to invest into bringing this title out of early access has long passed.

shayne.oneill Avatar
shayne.oneill(113 days 21 hours played)
8 Months ago

"it's renown as THE worst perpetrator that abused Steams Early Access system"

Oh what a load of nonsense. Yes the Scorched earth thing was a mistake. But even notoriously harsh critics like Jim Sterling have said that Ark was an early access good citizen, compared to the absolute oceans of companies that actually exploited early access as an excuse to ship crap.

QDP2 Avatar
QDP2(5 hours played)
8 Months ago

By 'the Scorched earth thing', are you referring to the time they tried to sell DLC for an unreleased title? Yeah, that was a form of daylight robbery. I hadn't even considered that on my original post, so thanks for strengthening my point.

Sorry but I wouldn't refer to Jim Sterling as a game critic in just the same way I wouldn't refer to VideoGameDunkey or Yahtzee as critics. They air footage on YT for public entertainment and very little else. Rarely if ever are these 'critics' trying to review a game, but instead are either conforming with their viewers (in hunt of likes) or standing against the general public (as a form of controversy, increased views). Go find a provider of information rather than clickbait. Be it IGN, PCG, Metacritic or hell the publics opinion through Steam reviews; it makes no difference to me where you source from. There is a reason the title gets so much hate.

My opinion on Hall's comments being fair and the price hike being ridiculous is nothing to do with the amount of content in the game. Sure, you can account for the fact that there is enough content there to fuel a game and 3 DLCs, but that doesn't fix the un-optimized mess Wildcard want to sell at AAA prices. It's a 2 year old game-engine now, trying to flog new players a price as if they're releasing a new anticipated title.

To go back to flagship games of it's time (they chose to compete with these titles by hiking the price to this level), they're up against titles such as TW3, MGS5 and Tomb Raider (all at most half the price for games with better graphics and better optimization).

Compare it to titles of 2016 and you get Overwatch, Dark Souls and Battlefield 1 to flagship the lists. Again, better graphics, better optimization, none over three fifths of ARKs new price.

Bring it to modern games, argue that this is ARKs release date now, so these'll be the titles it'll be competing against for sales. It's up against Destiny 2, Middle Earth 2 and a new Uncharted game. The flagships are releasing at the same time, but there is so little that ARK offers beyond these flagship experiences.

Maybe I'm thinking about their project the wrong way, I shouldn't be comparing ARK to all these AAA companies titles, but instead against other games of it's multiplayer survival genre. Games like PUBG, H1Z1, Minecraft, Hurtworld and Don't Starve. All half the price and ALL perform far better than the mess that is ARK. You've invested enough hours to know the performance problems ARKs rain-forest gives. The flawed Dinosaur AI systems and the woeful server management. If you still believe that this price change was fair, warranted or appropriate, there is nothing else I can do to tell you otherwise.

Jmoore Avatar
8 Months ago

The game is shocking ive had it since pre release i ha e mega tribes that wipe u for the fun of it most servers dupe items and roll nack the server so of u wipe them theu roll ot bacl and uve wasted however long of ur life attacking them the game randomly eats ur tames wildcard are ignorant af when u open a dispute u rarely hear bk id save ya cash its a waste the nerf all tames damage speed ect made the game rubbish since pre release wish id of never bothered