Studio Wildcard has announced revised release dates for Ark: Survival Ascended’s The Center and Scorched Earth expansion map remasters following a delay for the latter last year, confirming they’ll arrival in February and April respectively.
A spruced-up version of Scorched Earth was originally due to launch alongside Ark: Survival Ascended — the controversial full-price remaster of Wildcard’s 2015 dinosaur survival game Ark: Survival Evolved — last year. However, in July, the studio announced that not only was it pushing the launch of the base game back to October, its expansions would be delayed too.
As per its revised plans, Scorched Earth was now targeting a December launch, with Ascended’s remastered Ragnarok and Aberration maps due in «Q1 2024». Unfortunately, it became apparent Wildcard’s propensity for delays had struck again when a updated roadmap released in December showed Scorched Earth was now due in March 2024, with Aberration aiming for July 2024 and Raganarok not unexpected until September.
And Wildcard has now announced a further delay for the desert-themed Scorched Earth map as part of its latest community update; the map’s Ascended remaster is now due to arrive on 1st April 2024, bringing a full visual overhaul, a new dinosaur in the form of the sand-swimming Fasolasuchus — described as «the ultimate desert steed» — plus western-themed customisation parts for bases.
Scorched Earth — and all other world expansions released for the previous version of Ark — will be free to owners of Ascended, but it launches alongside new paid DLC in the form of the Frontier Adventure Pack, which features a «treasure trove of desert-themed goodies» including cowboy-inspired clothing and buildable trains.
While Scorched Earth’s slip back to April will be disappointing to some, its late arrival is offset by the fact Ascended’s enhanced version of The Center map — originally a community created map that got an official release in 2016 — is now coming a couple of months earlier than listed on December’s roadmap. According to the studio’s latest update, The Center will be available to download — alongside the new «feathered behemoth Gigantoraptor — at the «end of February».
Elsewhere in Wildcard’s update, the developer says it’s currently «laser-focused» on improving server performance, network movement, and measures against exploits and hacks (it makes no mention of further improvements to the performance and crashing issues that have plagued Ark: Survival Ascended since its PC launch in October, but fingers crossed), and says it’s releasing a «colossal-sized dev kit update» at the end of January.
This, it says, will «put the power of unbridled game creation directly in your hands», enabling modders to create «entire custom Unreal Engine games» inside Ascended. «Want to build a Mario-esque rampage through Crystal Isles?,» it adds, «Go for it! Dream of a PvP arena where Tek Rexes joust against Spinos? Buckle up.» Promised features included the ability to design custom main menus, to host and browse multiplayer game sessions from within a mod, and to progress seamlessly from one level to the next. The update comes with a Mario-inspired platfomer to demonstrate its features — and no mention of the word «metaverse» in sight, either!
As a lapsed Ark: Survival Evolved player, I quite enjoyed my time with Ascended’s spruced-up The Island map when I took it for a spin at the end of last year. The whole thing, though — from technical issues to weird design choices — was a bit of a mess, despite some unquestionable improvements, so I’ll be interested to see what Wildcard cooks up in the months to come.