Ark: Extinction goes live today, Ark: Survival Evolved is free to play for the week

The big Ark: Survival Evolved expansion Extinction is set to go live today, adding a brand new map and massive mega-dinosaurs to the game, and finally concluding the story that began, and will end, on the ruined world we call Earth.   

The launch trailer sets up the story in broad strokes: Earth looks like it used to be a pretty nice place, but it's clearly suffered from neglect in recent years. It's also got a bit of a pest problem, which you and your dinosaur pals are apparently going to have to sort out. The trouble is that as big as your helmet-head T-rex looks compared to you, so do they appear when stacked up against the colossal creatures called Titans that are now roaming free on our former homeworld.   

The solution? Build a Mek that's even bigger. Which doesn't strike me as a particularly efficient way of handling the problem—hasn't anyone around here heard of air power?—but it should make for some pretty cool "let them fight"-style moments. 

The dungeon-boss Titans are the centerpiece of Ark: Extinction, but it will also add new creatures like the balloon-like Gasbag, the frosty, flying Snow Owl, and the spine-firing Velonasaur. New technological additions include Pokemon-esque Cryopods, which will enable players to store tamed creatures and carry them around in inventory, and chasm-spanning Tek Bridges, while Orbital Supply Drops will deliver gear and resources in the field—which Element-corrupted dinos will probably want to fight you for. 

Existing Ark: Survival Evolved characters can be transferred from their current servers into Extinction, but items and tamed creatures cannot; characters, items, and tames can be transferred out of Extinction onto other maps, however. Studio Wildcard said that process will be identical to that of the previous Scorched Earth and Aberration expansion. As for an exact start time, that's a bit mushy at the moment: The developers said they'll be rolling it out slowly, beginning with North American and European servers. 

"We will be releasing an initial start batch of servers, and bringing more servers online as needed so please be patient for us during this period. The servers will be the standard 70-player cap. Extinction will be included in all CrossARK clusters (except 'TheHundred'), as well as Conquest and Small Tribes servers," Studio Wildcard explained on Steam

"Extinction will not be supported in Primitive Plus on launch, but it is something we will consider looking into at a later date. Extinction will also not have NoTek/NTek-NoTaming, Primitive, or TheHundred servers for those currently playing on those subsets of gamemodes. The legacy network will get a few servers, however they will be in small supply." 

Ark: Survival Evolved will also be free to play for most of the week, beginning at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on November 6 (so, right now, basically), and running through November 11. It's also on sale until November 13 for $20/£18/€22. 

And now, enjoy some dino-screens.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.