It turns out that ARK: Survival Evolved‘s notorious poop button has darker origins that many would imagine, according to Studio Wildcard’s co-founder.
ARK: Survival Evolved contains an interesting mechanic, allowing players to defecate at the touch of a button. While human feces does serve a purpose in-game, allowing players to craft fertilizer in a compost bin or tame dung beetles, it turns out the poop button has a darker back story.
Speaking to Kotaku at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Studio Wildcard co-founder Susan Stieglitz explained the secrets behind the button’s origins. According to the developer, she came up with the idea when looking for a way to allow ARK players to commit suicide, should they become trapped in a location and need to respawn, however the studio did not want to add a simple instant-death button.
“If you’re trapped in a room, [pooping] is the only conceivable biological function you could kill yourself with. Originally, we were debating putting in a suicide key to escape situations like that. Pooping is obviously pretty funny, and it had some marketing value, but it actually emerged as a solution to the idea of a suicide hot key — of instant death that would just feel cheap.”
The process is simple. Simply poop and then consume the leavings, taking 70 points of damage each time. Repeating the process leaves the players with a less-than-elegant suicide method that is more interesting than most games bother with.
It’s not just the survivor that utilizes the poop mechanic, all of ARK‘s many creatures produce fecal matter in various volumes and all of the material can be used for the same purposes. While it’s not a glamorous feature, the poop button is potentially one of the bigger reasons why ARK is one of the more evolved survival games on the market.
In other recent ARK news, developers Studio Wildcard recently announced the release of a new free-to-play, standalone title Survival of the Fittest, a battle royale game which puts players against one each other in a quest to survive in a deadly environment. It’s unlikely that players will be looking to kill themselves in the survival game mode but, because of the developers’ intelligent design, the mechanic can still be used by the survivors to fertilize crops and keep themselves alive.
With the addition of ARK: Survival Evolved to the Humble Monthly subscription service, more players than ever have access to the dinosaur-themed survival game, making it one of the more popular titles available today. The game is set for a full release sometime in June 2016 and will be coming to PS4 in addition to its current platforms.
ARK: Survival Evolved is available now in Early Access on Steam and Xbox One.