Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard has clarified that the Ovis Aries—better known to the world as "sheep"—will be coming to the game in its next major update, regardless of whether or not it takes the prize for "Best Use of a Farm Animal" in the ongoing Steam Awards. The announcement was made following a wave of criticism over the original Ovis Aries reveal, which implied that the wool-bearing beasts would be added to the game only if Ark wins the award.
"We were encouraged by Valve to rally the Community to come together and vote in the upcoming Steam Awards. We thought what better way to do this than add a modern-day farmyard animal! In our excitement, Ovis Aries was designed as a celebration of the nomination," the studio said in the "re-announcement" of the sheep. "We want to make it clear that regardless of whether Ark wins a Steam Award or not, Ovis will be making its debut in the next major Ark version update!"
The original announcement, which has since been deleted but can be seen through the Wayback Machine, is somewhat more open to interpretation. "Head over to http://store.steampowered.com/SteamAwards/ on Thursday the 29th of December, as you’ll have the opportunity to come show your support for Ark by voting for us!" it said. "If Ark wins the award, we will ensure that our fluffy friend quickly makes its debut on the Ark in the next major version update!"
That could be taken to mean that winning the award would spur the studio to ensure that the sheep arrive with all possible quickness, but many players read it as an all-or-nothing proposition: No prize, no sheep. A flurry of negative feedback blew in, both on and off Steam, as gamers shared their outrage over the attempted "bribery," leading Wildcard to pull the initial announcement and issue the update.
A date for the update hasn't been announced, but voting for the Steam Awards' "Best Use of a Farm Animal" will begin later today. Ark: Survival Evolved is up against some major rural competition: Goat Simulator, Stardew Valley, Blood and Bacon, and Farming Simulator 17.