Ark: Survival Evolved gets a "Survival of the Fittest" tournament mode

Ark: Survival Evolved Survival of the Fittest

Going by the title alone, there's no mistaking that survival of one sort or another is a central part of the Ark: Survival Evolved experience. But sometimes, it's not enough to just survive. Sometimes, "survival" means killing a whole lot of other people.

Ark's new Survival of the Fittest mode is a to-the-death tournament in which combatants enter the field in a circular formation surrounding a cache of valuable items. It's a very Hunger Games-style setup, in which players can make a dash for the loot—making themselves targets in the process—or run into the forest and hide, leaving the others to battle for the gear.

After that, it's a perma-death fight to the finish. And to ensure that there is fighting, rather than a whole bunch of cowardly huddling in dark corners, the field will slowly contract within a "Ring of Death" that will force competitors together.

Survival of the Fittest will debut in a livestreamed tournament beginning at 12 pm PT on August 1, with 35 teams slugging it out for a $20,000 grand prize, plus various bits of kit from Logitech and Gunnar Optiks. During the tournament, which is scheduled to run for five hours, the audience can vote on Evolution Events, described as "powerful world-altering sequences that will occur every 30 minutes" like freak weather, a dinosaur attack, or a supply drop, that will mix things up even further.

We're currently trying to come up with a way to convince Chris to take part in the tournament, without actually telling him that it's a tournament—or team-based—because we think surprise online suffering (his, in particular) is funny. After all, look what happened to him the last time. (Or the time before that.)

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.