Next week will see the perennially popular survival shooter ARK: Survival Evolved (opens in new tab) go free to keep on the Epic Games store for another week. From September 22nd to September 29th, the dinosaur-riding survival extravaganza will be totally free. You can just have it.
Free this week are magic fox exploration platformer Spirit of the North and adventure game The Captain. Next week's other free game will be Gloomhaven, a quite good (and huge) digital adaptation of the hit cooperative RPG board game. I gave it an 87 in the PC Gamer review. (opens in new tab)
Ark's a classic for a reason, though. From its sojourn in the early access wilds to its string of expansions, Ark's blazed a trail that defined the survival genre and has outlived nearly all its peers from the mid-2010s. That's in part due to a focus by developer Studio Wildcard on not just solo survival, but various kinds of cooperative and competitive play.
This isn't the first time Ark has been free on Epic Games, or free at all. It was free in 2020 on Epic and earlier this year on Steam. The giveaway makes some sense, given that Ark 2 (opens in new tab) is being developed in Unreal Engine 5, which necessitates close collaboration with Epic Games.
That second free period was to celebrate the reveal of that wild trailer for Ark 2. You know, the one where Vin Diesel fights a bunch of dinosaurs (opens in new tab) because he's not only starring in the game, he's working (opens in new tab) as an executive producer on it? Either way it shouldn't be surprising to anyone to see known D&D-loving nerd Vin Diesel playing a video game.