Studio Wildcard’s Ark: Survival Evolved remains in Early Access, however last week released its first paid expansion. The majority of comments found here—not to mention the fact that the game’s Steam reviews have swung from Mostly Positive to Mostly Negative over the past few days—would suggest a sizeable number of players have been upset by the move. Studio Wildcard has now officially responded.
As part of a new blog post that introduces a new creature as well as where the game is heading in future, the developer’s community manager Jat speaks directly to the paid DLC and the rationale behind its release.
“Put simply: we are absolutely committed to driving aggressive development towards a solid, feature-robust game launch for Ark: Survival Evolved. Everyone at Wildcard wakes up every day thinking about how we can make Ark into a better game today than it was the day before,” says Jat. “It’s not always easy, but our intent is ever-forward progress towards a retail release that will be far more ambitious in scope and features than our original vision when we launched Ark into Steam Early Access in June 2015. Your feedback enables us to continually expand the game to become better than ever!”
Jat goes on to suggest Studio Wildcard’s vision “always included” the idea of expansion Arks, and that releasing them while the main game is still in Early Access/unfinished is the best route in doing so.
The post continues: “We determined that it is more sound to iterate on these systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn't ‘get it right’. While that meant unveiling the first Expansion early, it also means an easier time integrating further post-launch Expansions into the Ark network.
“We understand that this isn't everyone's cup of tea, and we appreciate the enjoyment people seem to be getting out of this initial view of how Expansion Arks can work. Now that we have the systems in place to support them, we can ensure minimal integration issues with subsequent releases after Ark: Survival Evolved itself has launched.”