Open-world survival community in uproar as 'free' update actually costs $50 and renders official servers extinct

Ark: Survival Evolved
(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Ark's community has been left reeling by a double announcement that has seen the sequel delayed and Survival Evolved's official servers marked for extinction. 

The reveals come from developer Studio Wildcard itself, which says in a meaty update post that Ark 2 has been delayed to the end of 2024 "for the betterment of the final product and the team's well-being". 

The short of it is that Unreal Engine 5 is new to the developers, and has required more time to get to grips with. As such, you won't see any gameplay, screenshots, or videos of Ark 2 this year, though you'll still get a regular showcase of Ark 2 assets. 

"Our desire to push the boundaries of what Ark 2 is on a next-generation platform has led us to the decision to create an intermediary Unreal Engine 5 Ark product utilising some of the new technology we are building, allowing us to further our mastery of the new engine and ultimately battle-test some of our riskier technical advancements," the statement reads.

There is some good news as Ark: Survival Evolved is getting an Unreal Engine 5 glow-up called Survival Ascended that will release later this year for PS5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC. 

Even then, though, there are some caveats. 

Xbox and PC fans will only be able to get Survival Evolved as part of an "ultimate-value bundle" that features an Ark 2 pre-order that costs $49.99 – PS5 players can get it as a stand-alone purchase for $39.99. 

Also, once Survival Ascended releases, official servers for Survival Evolved will be shut down, though saves will be "uploaded for players to re-host on their own servers or play in singleplayer". 

Also also, an Ark co-showrunner previously implied last January that the upgrade would be free. 

Fans are, to put it mildly, not pleased.

The whole fanbase yesterday from r/ARK
We're chilling. You guys stay safe, though. from r/ARK

Studio Wildcard hasn’t said anything since the announcement, though we imagine something will need to be said before long.

Ark 2 promises plenty of new features for the game, like "Souls-like melee combat".

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.