Early-access darling Ark: Survival Evolved is nearing completion. Studio Wildcard told Kotaku that it will finally give the game a proper launch on August 8 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, with an Xbox One X version coming on November 7. It will even have two collector's editions.
Wildcard is also adding the fan favourite mod map Ragnarok, created by player Excited Kangaroo, to its official map roster on Steam today, and to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 within the next few weeks. Ragnarok's arrival marks the first fruits of Wildcard's Sponsored Mods Program, an initiative set up to offer financial support to those mods that sufficiently impress the studio.
Ragnarok spans 144 square kilometres, which should please those that find Ark's default Island map a little suffocating in scale. It promises unique Explorer Notes, an active volcano, dungeons, unique bosses, alternate versions of existing Ark critters, and an entirely new creature of its own. There are also unique biomes to explore, including caves, ruins, hot springs, and a "future" desert — which I'm assuming means that it won't be included in the initial release.
"After Ark's release in August, we have a pretty long road-map of post-launch content planned, including expansion ARKs, and also base game additions beyond the scope of our original goals, including new creatures, mechanics and vehicles along the lines of the newly-added Tek ATV," Ark lead designer Jeremy Stieglitz told Kotaku.
When Ark officially launches on August 8, potential purchasers will have a lot of options. You can buy it digitally on all platforms, or nab a physical disc — though Australian pricing and availability has not yet been confirmed, in the US it will run you $US60 ($80). A $US100 ($133) "Explorer's Edition" contains the game's Season Pass, which grants access to Ark's already released desert-themed Scorched Earth expansion, plus two more full-scale, top-secret future expansions — one due later this year and the other in 2018.
Finally, the $US160 ($212) Limited Collector's Edition packs the base game, all free content, the Season Pass, a leather-bound Explorer's Notebook featuring the dossiers of every in-game creature, a necklace, a cloth map of the Island, the game's soundtrack, and a poster of everyone on Wildcard's development team — which seems like a bit of an odd thing to hang on your wall unless you're directly related to them, but who am I to judge?