Studio Wildcard's hit dinosaur-themed survival game ARK: Survival Evolved is coming to Android this spring, and you can pre-register for the release right now on playark.com. Interestingly this upcoming on-the-go version of ARK is being designed and developed by War Drum Studios as a free-to-play release. It's supposed to closely mirror the online survival experience contained in the PC and console versions, though there will be some necessary changes with the shift in monetization, which leaves me apprehensive as to how the finished product will turn out.

So far details are pretty light, but what we do know is that the game will be tailored to mobile. Currently, there are a few listed features from the recent announcement. These include dinosaur taming, blueprint discovery, crafting and building, farming, 50 player multiplayer, and a tribe system. If these sound interesting, you can check out the full descriptions below.

Taming: Use cunning strategy and tactics to befriend, ride and breed the many dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the dynamic, persistent ecosystems across land, sea, air, and even underground.

Discover: Unearth rare blueprints and Explorer Notes written by previous human denizens of the ARK from across the millennia, detailing the mysterious Island’s creatures and backstory.

Craft and build: Using any means necessary - survive, craft weapons, clothes, and items, and build shelters, villages, or even large cities.

Plant, harvest, build, level-up, and customize everything visually and functionally, including procedurally-generated RPG statistics for creatures, characters, resources, clothing, gear, and weapons, both primitive and modern.

Play alone or team up to survive: Team up with, or prey on, up to 50 other players in a large-scale multiplayer online first-person environment, or choose single player mode to test your mettle against the world solo.

Join a tribe: The 'Tribe' system encourages cooperation, by supporting dynamic parties to share resources, experience points, and re-spawn points.

Now, it's claimed that this upcoming release will maintain a "true ARK experience," but some concession will obviously have to be made so that it's better suited for mobile devices. This means you can expect faster-paced gameplay and a unique user interface and specialized control setup for touchscreens. There will also be an optional upgrade system that allows survivors an easy way to acquire special in-game resources that help you progress faster, obtain certain buffs for periods of time, build special crafting structures, and bring your tames back from the dead.

Other than the faster gameplay and touchscreen support these few new additions sound a lot like a pay-to-win structure that rewards those that spend the most money. And sure, this may be the norm on the Play Store when it comes to FTP games, but I can't help but feel that these features will ultimately ruin the experience.

Of course, it's still exciting to see that ARK is coming to Android this spring, though I have to question the devs motives when clear pay-to-win mechanics are planned. I would kill for the chance to play a premium version of this upcoming mobile release, but sadly that is not the hand we are being dealt. Undoubtedly I will still give this one a closer look once it is out, but let's just say my enthusiasm is pretty low.

ARK: Survival Evolved officially coming to Android on June 14th

This morning an official tweet went out from @PlayARKMobile that clearly states ARK: Survival Evolved will release worldwide on Android and iOS on June 14th. Up until today, all we had to go on was a tenuous "spring" release date to look forward to.

A specific release date isn't all the good news I have for you today, as I also dug up some info about how the mobile release will be specifically monetized. So if you are interested in those details, check out the quoted text below.

For those who never want to spend a dime on the game, you don’t have to. ARK: Survival Evolved is free-to-play on iOS and Android, and you can obtain every purchasable structure, item and buff in the game without spending any money. Ancient Amber is a rare resource that can also be purchased (making it an in-game currency) and is tied to your account on an individual server or in single player. It can be obtained without purchasing it directly in a variety of ways:

  • Harvested from large predators
  • Found in Amber deposits scattered around The Island
  • Random chance to obtain from Free Gifts
  • From watching Ads
  • Random chance to obtain from stones picked up off the ground

Additionally, we have optional timed XP Boosts and Free Gifts that can be redeemed multiple times per day in return for watching an ad.

When it comes to what you can spend your Ancient Amber on, we have many different types of purchases available. All of these have been created with the goal of offering convenient options for players who are not able to put in the hours to grind out everything they want in the game. These purchases include:

  • Structures - Primarily, paid structures include crafting stations that can be used to instantly craft items for yourself or your tribe, including other structures, ammunition, kibble, and paint dyes. These structures become available for purchase as you level up. For example the Lumber Mill, which is used to build wooden structures, becomes available for purchase at Level 15.
  • Buffs - Timed buffs are available to help you get through tough situations. Available buffs include increased weight capacity, resistance to weather elements, and reduced hunger.
  • Items - Single-use consumable items such as the Soothing Balm, which increases your taming effectiveness when fed to a wild creature.

We also offer a subscription service that applies across all servers and in Single Player with Primal Pass. Primal Pass is available on a subscription basis for $3.99 a month, or you can purchase the annual pass for $34.99. With Primal Pass you get a permanent double XP buff, the removal of all ads (including those on the aforementioned Free Gifts), reserved slots on all servers, early access to news & upcoming special events, and access to our Primal Pass-exclusive servers.

As you can see, there are a couple options available no matter how you would like to play. It's definitely nice to hear that anyone can play for free, though we have yet to see how the gameplay is balanced to know for sure if this is really true without expecting an excruciating grind to go right along with that free gameplay. At the very least we can also choose to subscribe to a monthly service that will offer a premium experience for those of us who prefer such things.