Ark: Extinction brings pocket dinosaurs, ridable 'Gasbags,' and massive titans to Earth

Note: an earlier version of this story said that items could be frozen in the cryochamber: this is incorrect. Only dinosaurs can be frozen.

Following a countdown on Ark: Survival Evolved's Twitch channel, the teaser trailer for Ark: Extinction was revealed. Extinction, as many players suspected, takes place on Earth, but it's not any kind of earth we recognize. With a mix of dinosaurs and sci-fi technology, is this the earth's past or its future? That's one of the mysteries players will get a chance to unravel this November 6 as Ark: Survival Evolved's third DLC arrives. The trailer above shows off some new creatures and tools coming to Extinction, as well as a Titan: a massive monster that despite its enormous size is being referred to by Studio Wildcard as a 'miniboss'.

If that humongous thing is a miniboss, that would imply there's a final endboss that's even bigger, right? I spoke with Studio Wildcard about Extinction, and here's what they told me.

Concept art of a ridable dino currently called "Gasbags"

First, let's talk about a few new dinos. You can one see in the trailer, called an enforcer: a synthetic dino that can climb walls, strafe, and make short jumps via teleportation. Studio Wildcard isn't sure if players will tame or craft enforcers—they're still working on some of the finer details of Extinction—but either way you'll be able to ride enforcers when you acquire one, which will allow you to make those blink-style teleporting jumps around the landscape.

Another new dino isn't shown in the trailer but you can see its concept art above. It's tentatively being called 'Gasbags' (this may change), and will serve as a pack mule. You can load it up with resources out in the wild, then inflate it like a balloon and float away on its back, piloting it as it expels the air it has sucked in. Bizarre, but kind of cute, I think, and it definitely sounds like a useful creature for getting around with a heavy load of minerals.

As for that immense Titan seen in the trailer? It'll be tamable, too. It serves as what Wildcard amusingly calls a 'miniboss', though there's nothing particularly mini about it, except perhaps in comparison to the as-yet unseen endboss of the expansion, which is even bigger than the Titans. To confront Ark's final boss, players will first have to best all the different Titans in Extinction.

If you're not into endgame stuff, don't worry: Titans won't be freely roaming the map and smashing your base at will. Players will have to seek them out through dungeon levels before they'll appear, and while Studio Wildcard didn't reveal much in the way of specifics, or even how many Titans there are, each Titan will be a little different and it'll require more than just damage-dealing to defeat them.

Several new items will arrive with Extinction, including drones called scouts that can be remotely piloted by players. You'll be able to peer through special binoculars to see through your scout's camera as you send them out for recon (the trailer shows a few seconds of footage from the perspective of a scout), allowing you to tag enemies and explore without putting yourself in danger. You may even be able to rig your scout with explosives should you want to send one into an enemy camp on a mission that involves more than just spying.

There's also a tool that is temporarily being called an 'item balloon'. If you're out gathering resources you can load it up and float it back to your base or the location of your choice, or perhaps do the reverse: use it to airlift a supply of resources to your location. Sounds like a nice option if you haven't managed to tame a gasbag. Other players may be able to shoot your balloon down and help themselves to your goods, however.

Want to get weird? Or at least, weirder? Extinction will introduce a cryochamber that will allow you to freeze creatures into "ice cube form," and then carry them around in your pocket. Sort of a pocket monster that you can then deploy as needed (though these ice cubes will slowly degrade in your pocket). The cubes are still heavy, but make for an easier way to transport dinos than having to lead them through the world (and while frozen, they won't need to be fed). Studio Wildcard suggests this will also make for a good way to trade dinosaurs with other players, as anyone collecting a cube can claim its contents (which also means if another player kills you, they can take your cubes).

Along with these new items and systems, I'm told movement features from the last expansion, Aberration, will be present in Extinction, including the climbing system, gliding, and ziplines, so you'll have plenty of ways to get around the world.

Players will also have to contend with untamable 'corrupt' dinosaurs. There are areas of the world where corrupted Element appears (seen in the trailer as a spiky black spire growing from the ground), and that corruption has spread to some dinos. This corruption has made these infected dinosaurs hyper-aggressive and given them a hive-mind mentality, and even species that normally flee from players will now attack if they're corrupted. New PvE events will occur in the world where the players can attempt to collect large amounts of Element while fending off wave-based attacks of corrupted dinos attempting to consume it. Studio Wildcard described it as almost a tower defense-style event, with the potential for some simultaneous PvP if an competing clan shows up to claim the Element for themselves.

There's more to be revealed, and leading up to Extinction's release on November 6, new Explorer Notes will be dropped into Ark and its expansions which will shed more light on Extinction and unlock new skins for players. Extinction is included in Ark's Season Pass, and can be purchased separately on Steam.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.