Ark: Survival Evolved devs respond to backlash over $50 remaster: now it costs $60 and comes with DLC instead of Ark 2

Ark Survival Evolved
(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

After considerable backlash to its plans of selling a major Ark: Survival Evolved update that was previously set to be free, developer Studio Wildcard has responded by making the pricey upgrade slightly pricier.

Ark is upgrading to Unreal Engine 5, and the developers said in the past that this update would be a free one. Last week, they announced that this upgrade would actually come in the form of Ark: Survival Ascended, a full-on remaster that would only be available to Xbox and PC players as part of a $49.99 USD bundle that also comes with the upcoming sequel Ark 2

On top of that, the DLC would be sold separately, so even if you owned all the original Ark content, you'd need to spend upwards of $90 to get everything under this formerly "free" update. The response was not particularly kind.

The devs have now backed off that initial plan, and Ark: Survival Ascended will now cost $59.99 USD. While the bundle no longer includes Ark 2, it does include all the DLC at the same price the current version costs with all the extras. Beyond the visual upgrades, the new version is set to overhaul creature pathfinding, provide quality-of-life upgrades to dinosaur and baby management, and introduce cross-platform multiplayer.

At this point, the review bomb has calmed down and the game's Steam page features a pretty even mix of positive and negative user reviews. You'll still see a whole lot of very negative responses in the comments on the announcement, but there are certainly some members of the community who are taking a more optimistic stance.

It's not uncommon to see a $60 price tag for a full-on remaster of a video game, but it is unusual to see an ongoing online game go for a major paid remaster while the original still has an extremely active player base. I'm not a regular Ark player, but from an outside perspective it's tough to see this as anything other than an effort to push the game's most dedicated fans into upgrading.

"At the end of the day, these are just words and, frankly, may not mean so much," Studio Wildcard acknowledges in its new announcement. "That’s okay; we understand what will really convince you is seeing screenshots and a gameplay trailer, and you will in time. We know there are going to be more questions, and we’ll be sharing more details over time."

New old games? What about just new games for 2023?

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.