Not enough survival of the fittest in ARK: Survival Evolved for you? Then let's ramp it up a notch.
The age of open-world survival sandboxes is far from over, if the latest Steam stats are any indication. In the top 20 games being played on Steam right now, ARK: Survival Evolved sits at #4 with a peak of just over 68,000 players.
Rust and H1Z1 are in the top 20 as well, with peaks of just over 23,000 and 25,000 players today respectively, and Terraria is still sitting about Warframe, Clicker Heroes, Skyrim and Rocket League in the top 10.
So the news that the ARK developers are adding a Hunger Games-inspired game mode should be of some interest to quite a few people. It's called Survival of the Fittest (SotF) and was built using the game's total conversion functionality.
"Each SotF battle takes place on a modified version of the ARK Island, with the objective being to eliminate all other survivors before they can eliminate you," the Steam announcement says. "The map is covered by a dome-shaped forcefield that shrinks as the match progresses and there have been many alterations made to the core-game which effect leveling, taming, gathering to ensure that players are able to reach the end game before the dome completely shrinks."
"Survivors not only have to worry about each other and the elements, but also the mysterious ‘Evolution Events’ which take place every 30 minutes and can have a major impact on the game, such as drastic weather changes, or predators falling from the sky."
It also seems like a smart business move, capitalising on the popularity in H1Z1 for its Battle Royale mode. It plays into the way people play these kinds of games anyway: they form alliances, pit enemies against each other, pit friends against each other.
There's also one other change in the latest update, with the developers (of which there are four) pushing out a "streamlined version" of the Unreal Engine 4 editor "to simplify the creation and sharing process" for ARK mods.
"The updated tools will include everything in the game thus far, as well as provide the players with the own ability to make their own changes, introduce their own weapons, creatures and items into their own version of ARK!"
If you want to check out how the Survival of the Fittest mode was put together, you can do that too — since the full source code has been included with the latest patch.
It's coming to the Xbox One Game Preview program as well early next year, with a full release on PC/Mac/Linux/PS4/XB1 scheduled for June 2016.