Zombie games are a dime a dozen in the industry, but there rarely seems to be games about dinosaurs, with one notable exception being Dino Crisis. Simply put, there is a disturbing lack of dinosaur games available on current gaming platforms.
A new developer known as Studio Wildcard has recognized this fallacy, and they are striving to correct it. Introducing ARK: Survival Evolved, a game that looks to be the dinosaur game to end all dinosaur games.
ARK is a first-person, open world, online multiplayer survival game set on the titular island known as ARK Island. Players can work together or impede one another while exploring the island, but considering the island is filled with monstrous, prehistoric beasts, cooperation may be in the best interest of most.
Players begin the game as either a male or female, naked, and without any supplies. From there, they are free to explore, to build shelter, acquire weapons, and build relationships with other players to increase their chances of survival. As they progress through the game, players will become adept at utilizing a number of weapons, such as a bow and arrow, a hatchet, a variety of firearms, and more, in order to fell the gigantic dinosaurs that also inhabit ARK Island.
The relationship with dinosaurs will extend beyond simply hunting them. Players can also tame at least some of the dinosaurs in the game and use them as mounts; the trailer shows players riding stegosauruses, flying on the backs of pterodactyls, skittering along the beach atop giant scorpions. The wildlife is incredibly diverse in ARK, and the way that players choose to interact with that wildlife will dictate a large part of the experience.
Another gameplay element appears to be base-building. There is one point during the trailer where the camera pans around what seems to be a half-finished building, with a sign that says “MY BASE”. How far these base-building aspects will go remains to be seen, but what is shown in the trailer looks promising.
One of the most striking aspects of the trailer is its gorgeous graphics. Despite being an indie game, ARK is quite arguably one of the best-looking games shown off for the PS4 and Xbox One to date, with a stunning amount of detail in everything from the actual game world to the incredible beasts.
ARK: Survival Evolved should be welcome news for those that have been anticipating a dinosaur game, and those with Steam can opt to pick up the Early Access version as early as June 2nd. In actuality, there appears to be a resurgence of interest in dinosaur-related video games, as ARK: Survival Evolved is just the latest in a line of announced dinosaur-centric titles.
A couple of years ago, Sony announced Primal Carnage: Genesis was making its way to PS4 as well as PC. Unfortunately, development on that game has been indefinitely suspended, leaving a dinosaur-sized void in the PS4 library.
Recently, there were also rumblings of a remake for Turok. Turok is one of the few video games that has actually explored the use of dinosaurs, and seeing him return on new consoles would be great. That being said, ARK appears to be bringing to the table a very different brand of gameplay than Turok, and honestly, looks much more impressive than any of the Turok games from the past.
Finally, the third major dinosaur game on the way is the much more cutesy LEGO Jurassic World. Releasing in June to take advantage of the hype surrounding the new movie, LEGO Jurassic World will take players through the story of all four movies from the film franchise. That being said, the trailer for LEGO Jurassic World doesn’t quite match up to the one released for ARK, to say the least.
It’s a good thing that dinosaurs seem to be making a comeback in the world of video games, as they have been neglected for the longest time. Out of all of the potential upcoming dinosaur games, though, ARK: Survival Evolved could have the most potential, thanks to its survival gameplay, a gorgeous open world, and online multiplayer to boot.
ARK: Survival Evolved currently has no release date, but it will hit Steam Early Access on June 2nd.