Ark 2: Everything we know about the ARK: Survival Evolved sequel

Ark 2 is now dropping in 2023 with what developer Studio Wildcard is calling ‘Souls-like melee combat’ and a new third-person perspective. Info on Ark 2 had been light since its announcement back in 2020, but we now have a much better idea of what the game will be like when it drops next year. 

In the meantime, keep reading to find everything you need to know about Ark 2, including Vin Diesel’s involvement. 

Ark 2 release date

Ark 2

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Studio Wildcard has pushed the Ark 2 release date to 2023. When the game was announced at The Game Awards in 2020, Microsoft said it would launch in 2022. But seeing as we went two years without an update, and the unprecedented impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had on development pipelines, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Studio Wildcard pushed Ark 2 to 2023. 

Ark 2 platforms

Ark 2

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Ark 2 is a console launch exclusive for Xbox Series X. Studio Wildcard announced this partnership with Microsoft Gaming alongside its reveal of the game – it’s a deal which ensures that the only console platform you’ll be able to play Ark 2 on at launch will be Xbox. Ark is also coming to PC, just like its predecessor Ark: Survival Evolved. 

Ark 2 trailer

The first Ark 2 trailer was revealed in 2020, as part of The Game Awards. The Ark 2 reveal trailer was fully captured in-engine, though Studio Wildcard has since confirmed that development has moved to Unreal Engine 5. While this reveal trailer doesn’t feature any gameplay, it does set the tone of the upcoming sandbox, reveal some famous faces that are joining production, and hint at some of the new features we can expect to see when Ark 2 finally launches. 

The Ark 2 trailer that dropped at E3 2022 though is captured in Unreal Engine 5 and looks utterly stunning. Although it’s not gameplay, it sets the tone for the game’s storyline, which takes place in a world long after a massive battle. Of course, in a world filled with dinosaurs, every day is still a battle, but thankfully Vin Diesel’s character and his daughter are ready with their very own pet T-Rex complete with bone armor. 

Ark 2 development

Ark 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Studio Wildcard is yet to confirm whether there will be an Ark 2 early access period, however it is worth noting the developer’s history here. When Ark: Survival Evolved first released in 2015, it did so as a console launch exclusive in the Xbox Game Preview program. This allowed Studio Wildcard to gain “valuable feedback from Xbox One players along the way before launching in August 2017 (opens in new tab).”

Given that Microsoft Gaming has maintained a close relationship with Studio Wildcard. Ark: Survival Evolved was one of the first games to be optimized for both the Xbox One X in 2017 and the Xbox Series X in 2021, and the sandbox survival experience has remained a constant fixture in the Xbox Game Pass library since 2019. If Ark 2 early access happens, it’s likely the Xbox Game Preview program will be involved once again. 

Ark 2 story

Ark 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

The Ark 2 story is set to take place after the events of Genesis: Part 2 – the fifth and final paid DLC expansion pack released for ARK: Survival Evolved in 2021 – on an unknown, alien planet. While Studio Wildcard is yet to detail all that much around the Ark 2 story, we can begin to piece together some clues by looking at the Genesis: Part 2 ending. 

The expansion, which is set onboard a colossal colony vessel, ends as the Genesis Ship is ruptured in two. One half (Rockwell’s corrupted ring world) crashes into a gas planet, while the other is dormant in space. In Genesis: Part 2’s closing moments, we see one of the Santiago clones wake up from stasis – just in time to be fired from the debris of the Genesis Ship towards a mysterious Earth-like planet. It’s likely to be the planet Ark 2 is set on. 

Ark 2 Vin Diesel

Ark 2

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Vin Diesel is set to star in Ark 2 as the hero character, Santiago. For those of you not keeping up-to-date with the overarching series story here, Santiago is a clone of the ARK: Survival Evolved player-character Santiago da Costa. Studio Wildcard promises that we’ll learn more about the character when he crosses over in the upcoming Ark: The Animated Series, which is set to launch in 2022.

As Vin Diesel’s involvement, he actually holds the title of ‘president of creative convergence’ at Studio Wildcard. Now, we can’t even begin to explain what that means, but Microsoft says that the Fast and The Furious star is a massive fan of the series, having logged over 1,000 hours in ARK: Survival Evolved. Studio Wildcard CEO Doug Kennedy says Diesel is putting that experience to good use: “He understands the game intimately and is providing direct feedback to the development process.”

Ark 2 gameplay

Ark 2

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

We are yet to see any direct Ark 2 gameplay, but developer Studio Wildcard has started to tease what we can expect. Originally Ark 2 was set to be much like its predecessor, aka a ‘sandbox survival experience’ but things have changed somewhat.

It will feature what Studio Wildcard is calling “Souls-like melee combat”, where you can target-lock, block, dodge, pull off combos, staggers, and even special attacks. It’s also switching from first-person to third-person perspective, with “advanced character traversal mechanics”, which includes sliding, swinging, free-climbing, mantling, parkour, and more. 

It’s all set in a massive new alien environment, which will offer up dynamic world events that happen independently to what you’re up to. The choice whether to interact with them will then yield their own rewards and challenges. 

You’ll also be able to craft weapons and tools from various modules to design their look and functionality, making for millions of possible combos. Materials will also affect the look of these items too. 

Plus, there’s a PvE component too, where hostile Atarai will come looking for you on the backs of their own tamed creatures in order to drive you from their world. 

Ark 2 mods

Ark 2

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Studio Wildcard also confirmed as part of its E3 2022 announcements that Ark 2 will feature mod.io’s cross-platform mod and user-generated content support. What that means is that it will enable mods and UGC to function across PC and Xbox platforms. 

“ARK 2’s fully stackable, user-created mods will open the door for players to generate new dinosaur and creatures, items, and gameplay features, with maps distributed across all platforms — including onto Xbox — and support for modded servers, via mod.io!” reads the developer’s statement (opens in new tab).

ARK: The Animated Series crossover

Ark: the Animated Series was announced alongside Ark 2, and will release in 2022. Studio Wildcard co-created and produced the series together with director Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns). The animation studio behind the series is Lex + Otis, who are also working on an Army of the Dead spinoff anime with Zack Snyder. Ark composer Gareth Coker will also write the music for the show.

Not only that, but the animated series is also chockfull of A-list actors. Vin Diesel as Santiago will, of course, be there, but also the likes of Gerard Butler, Michelle Yeoh, David Tennant, Russel Crowe, Karl Urban, Elliot Page and many more, some of whom you can already hear in the trailer.

Ark: the Animated Series will have 14 30-minute episodes, and will tell an original story that will segue into or at least feature characters from Ark 2. This is the synopsis according to the official press release:

“ARK: The Animated Series chronicles the story of a mysterious primeval land populated by dinosaurs and other extinct creatures, where people from throughout human history have been resurrected. When 21st Century Australian palaeontologist Helena Walker awakes on the ARK after a tragedy, she must learn to survive and find new allies, or die again at the hands of ruthless warlords – all while trying to uncover the true nature of their strange new world.”

As you can see in the trailer, characters such as Michelle Yeoh’s Meiyin Li have been transported from their different time periods to the Ark, showing that no matter who you are or where you come from, dinos will come for us all.

For more exciting releases on the horizon, be sure to check out our roundup of new games for 2022 (and beyond). 

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